Broncos Lose Lead Late, Fall in 10 to Gonzaga

SANTA CLARA, Calif. – Opening the final weekend of home games in 2013, Santa Clara baseball fell to Gonzaga by a final score of 6-4 in 10 innings. The Broncos are now 10-33 overall and 0-19 in conference while the Zags are 29-14-1 and 16-6 in WCC action.

The Broncos return to the field tomorrow, Sat., May 4 at 3 p.m. vs. Gonzaga.

Reece Karalus (0-7, 6.91) started for Santa Clara and got a no-decision in 7.1 innings. Karalus allowed four runs, three earned, on four hits with three walks and six strikeouts. Tommy Nance (2-3, 5.04) got the loss in 1.1 innings out of the bullpen. The offense was led by Justin Viele who was 2-4 and Casey Munoz who was 2-4 with a double and a RBI.

Marco Gonzales (6-2, 2.93) started for Gonzaga and got a no-decision in 8.0 innings. Gonzales allowed four runs on nine hits with three walks and 12 strikeouts. Kenny Smith (4-0, 3.98) got the win in 2.0 innings out of the bullpen. The offense was led by Clayton Eslick who was 2-4 with two RBI and Corey Lebrun who was 1-3 with a double, a walk and a RBI.

Mitchell Gunsolus led off the game with a flare to right field for a single. Gunsolus moved to second on a ground out ad Cory LeBrun walked to put runners at first and second. Eslick hit a seeing-eye single through the right side to bring in a run and give Gonzaga the early 1-0 lead. Karalus got out of the inning with a 6-4-3 double play off the bat of Steven Halcomb.

Greg Harisis worked a two-out in the bottom of the first and Munoz followed with a two-out RBI double to left field to tie the score.

Billy Moon walked with one out in the top of the second. The Bulldogs would not have another base runner until two down in the top of the fifth, a span of 10 batters in a row set down by Karalus.

Zach Looney legged-out an infield single to third to start the bottom of the fifth. With one down, T.J. Braff singled through the right side and Kyle DeMerritt put the Broncos up 3-1 with a two-run double to left center.

Harisis walked leading off the bottom of the sixth. Munoz laid down a bunt that he beat out and the throw from the pitcher went by the first baseman to put runners on corners with no outs. Jose Vizcaino, Jr. followed with a single to right on the first pitch he saw to extend the Bronco lead to three at 4-1. Matt Ozanne pinch ran for Vizcaino at first and Looney laid down a sac bunt to advance both runners. Drew Ozanne pinch hit for C.J, Jacobe and was intentionally walked to load the bases. Braff hit into a double play to get out of the inning.

Gunsolus walked with one down in the top of the eighth. Caleb Wood hit a routine fly ball to left that Justin Gisch dropped to bring the trying run to the plate. After a visit to the mound by Bronco head coach Dan O'Brien, Lebrun worked a long at bat and finally doubled to right field to get the Zags within two at 4-2. Chris Mendoza came in to pitch and surrendered a RBI single to left by Eslick that put runners on the corners. Halcomb laid down a safety squeeze but Braff got the runner at the plate for the second out of the inning. Alex Bonczyk tied the game with a single to right field and pinch runner Beau Bozett was thrown out attempting to score when the throw from right field got away from the defense.

Eslick led off the 10th with a sharp double to right center field and Lebrun sacrificed him to third with one out. Gonzales came to the plate as the designated hitter but was intentionally walked. Halcomb laid down a suicide squeeze to bring in the go ahead run and reached first on a bobble by Braff. Nelson Benjamin pinch ran at second and both runners moved up on a pitch in the dirt. Bonczyk was hit by a pitch to load the bases for pinch hitter Brock Slavin. Max Deering came in to face the lefty but Slavin hit a sac fly to extend the lead to 6-4.

The top of the Santa Clara order was unable to muster a rally and Gonzaga escaped with the win.

Game Notes: First pitch was at 6:04 … Time of game was 3:09 … Attendance was 355 … Justin Viele was caught stealing for the second out in the bottom of the third … Marco Gonzales balked in the bottom of the seventh when he slipped on the mound attempting to throw a pitch … Payden Cawley Lamb pinch hit to lead off the eighth … Joey Harris came in to catch in the bottom of the eighth … Tommy Nance came in to pitch to start the top of the ninth … Nicholas Minteer pinch ran in the top of the ninth … Kenny Smith came in to pitch the bottom of the ninth for Gonzaga … It was the sixth extra innings game of the year for Santa Clara.