Broncos Fall to Pepperdine 5-2 in First Game of WCC Baseball Championship
STOCKTON, Calif. — The Santa Clara Broncos jumped out to an early 2-0 lead against Pepperdine in Thursday's West Coast Conference Baseball Championship opener, and the Waves responded with five runs in their last five innings to win 5-2. The Broncos face elimination Friday at 12 p.m. against the loser of Thursday night's game between the No. 2 seed LMU Lions and the No. 3 seed Gonzaga Bulldogs.
Santa Clara starting pitcher D.J. Zapata (L, 3-8) allowed five earned runs on eight hits with one walk and three strikeouts in 7.2 innings for the Broncos (26-29, 0-1 WCCBC). The senior sat down nine of the first 10 batters he faced and retired the side in order three times Thursday afternoon.
Pepperdine starting pitcher and WCC ERA champion Corey Miller (W, 8-4) gave up two earned runs on six hits with three walks and four strikeouts for the Waves (37-16, 1-0 WCCBC). Freshman Chandler Blanchard and Senior Eric Karch (SV, 12) recorded back-to-back 1-2-3 innings in the eighth and ninth.
After junior first baseman T.J. Braff led off the second with a single, senior designated hitter Quinton Perry hit his team-best sixth home run of the season to left to give the Broncos a 2-0 lead. The First Team All-WCC pitcher Miller did not allow a home run in the regular season, a streak that Perry broke after 99.2 innings in 2014. Santa Clara got runners on first and second with one out after a single by freshman third baseman Max Kuhns and a walk by sophomore right fielder Kert Woods before Miller ended the inning with two straight outs.
In the fourth, Pepperdine got two baserunners after a leadoff walk by junior third baseman Austin Davidson and a single by junior center fielder Aaron Brown. Sophomore first baseman Brad Anderson hit an RBI double to put the Waves on the board with one out in the inning. Freshman catcher Aaron Barnett tied the game on an RBI sacrifice fly to center and sophomore second baseman Hutton Moyer put the home team in front 3-2 with a two-out, RBI single.
Perry recorded his team-best second hit with one out in the sixth and Looney's two out walk put runners on first and second for the Broncos ahead of an inning-ending groundout. In the seventh, senior center fielder Greg Harisis reached on the only error of the game as Davidson's throw bounced short in front of Anderson at first. Sophomore shortstop Jose Vizcaino, Jr.'s single put the potential game-tying run at second with no outs before freshman catcher Stevie Berman hit into a double play and senior left fielder Casey Munoz grounded out to Davidson at third to end the inning.
Zapata needed three pitches to record the first two outs of the eighth, and the Waves followed with four straight hits to increase their lead to 5-2. The Broncos brought in freshman Jason Seever with two outs and runners on second and third, and Barnett hit a two-RBI single to extend the lead.
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Game Notes: First pitch was at 3:06 p.m. … time of game was 2:19 … Seever faced two batters in the eighth.