SANTA CLARA, Calif. - Looking to avoid the sweep, Santa Clara baseball took on Portland in the finale of a three-game weekend series. The Broncos edged the Pilots by a final score of 5-4. Santa Clara is now 16-8 overall and 1-5 on WCC play while Portland is 16-6 and 3-3 in conference games.
LHP Powell Fansler (5-1; 2.77), the Broncos usual midweek starter, went 6.0 innings in the start for Santa Clara. He allowed three runs, two earned, on six hits and two walks with two strikeouts while picking up a no-decision. RHP Paul Twining (3-2; 3.00) picked up the win by pitching 2.1 innings out of the bullpen. On offense 1B Andrew Biancardi led the way by going 2-4 with a home run, one RBI and two runs scored. His home run in the bottom of the seventh proved to be the winning run. OF Pat Stover also added a homer.
Santa Clara will return to Schott Stadium to play Fresno State on Tue., Apr. 3 at 1 p.m.
"It was great to get a run early today, in the second inning," said Santa Clara OF Justin Gisch. "We had struggled to score all weekend so it was important to score quickly. We kept saying it was a dogfight all day because they kept coming back. We just stayed positive in the dugout and we grinded out the win."
On the first pitch of the bottom of the first CF Matt Ozanne singled through the left side and stole second on the next pitch. Biancardi grounded out to second to put Ozanne on third with only one out. LF Pat Stover, the Broncos' leader in RBI with 18, was unable to knock in the run as he popped out to second. C Peter Summerville flew out to center on the first pitch he saw to end the inning without a run scoring.
DH Drew Ozanne reached on a two out error on the third baseman and stole second. In his first collegiate at-bat, Gisch, who had redshirted the season up to this weekend, doubled to right for his first career hit and RBI in his first career start to put the Broncos up 1-0. SS Justin Viele struck out to end the inning.
M. Ozanne led off the bottom of the third by reaching on an error by the second baseman and stole his second base of the game to put a runner on second with no outs. Biancardi sacrificed M. Ozanne to third to give Santa Clara its second scoring chance of the afternoon. Stover struck out on pitch in the dirt for the second out of the inning and Summerville line out softly to short to strand the runner.
3B Evan Peters drew a one out walk in the bottom of the fourth and stole second as D. Ozanne struck out. Gisch came up with two outs and lined a ball to left field that was tracked down to end the inning.
Biancardi raked a two-out double into the left field corner in the bottom of the fifth. Stover followed with his third home run of the year to put Santa Clara up by a score of 3-0.
With one out RF Colin Sowers hit a no-doubt home run to left field with one out in the top of the sixth to bring the Pilots within two. After a pop out to first, DH Turner Gill singled to right field to bring the tying run to the plate in the form of LF Caleb Whalen who already had two homers on the weekend. Whalen walked and CF Nick Armenta singled to right to load the bases. C Beau Fraser tied the game with a two RBI single to right but Armenta was thrown out at home trying to score all the way from first to end the inning with the scored tied at three.
DeMerritt smacked a single up the middle to lead off the home half of the sixth. After Portland starter RHP Chris Johnson was removed for LHP Brandon Snyder who balked the runner to second. 3B Evan Peters fouled out to the catcher for the first out without advancing the runner. DeMerritt stole third and D. Ozanne hit a sac fly to center to break the tie and make the score 4-3. Gisch struck out to end the inning.
Fansler was lifted after hitting 2B Jeff Melby to lead off the top of the seventh. LHP Max Deering came into the game in relief and got a perfect double play ball to short but Viele bobbled it and both runners were safe. SS Kris Kauppila popped up to first after pulling back a bunt for the first out. A fielder's choice put runners on the corners with two outs for 1B Brian Frattali. Frattali reached out and poked a ball to center for a game-tying single. A walk to Gill loaded the bases and Deering was taken out for RHP Paul Twining. The first batter Twining faced was Whalen who popped out down the right field line to end the threat with the score 4-4.
After two quick outs Biancardi launch his third home run of the year to left field to put the Broncos back on top 5-4.
A hit batter and a single put runners on the corners for Portland with two outs. Pinch hitter Michael Lucarelli flew out to deep left field to keep Santa Clara ahead by a run.
Twining came out for the ninth and got the first out on a called strike three. Frattali came up and singled through the right side to put the tying run on base. After the second out was recorded on a fly out to center by Gill, Whalen popped out to second to close out the5-4 Santa Clara win.
Game Notes: First pitch was at 12:03 ... Santa Clara's first home conference win since a 12-6 win vs. San Francisco on May 9, 2010 ... attendance was 359.