PORTLAND, Ore. - In a pair of career firsts, Holden Bernhardt picked up his first Bronco win and Connor Henriques smacked his first career home run to lead Santa Clara baseball to an 8-3 win over Portland to even the West Coast Conference series on Saturday.
Santa Clara (10-30, 3-14 West Coast Conference) homered three times – solo shots by Jake MacNichols and Andre Nnebe and a two-run blast by Henriques – to help the Broncos power past the Portland (22-21, 4-16 WCC). The Bronco trio collected two hits each along with Jason Dicochea as part of an 11-hit attack by the Bronco bats.
MacNichols went yard in the top of the second inning against Portland starter Eli Morse (2-7) to put the Broncos on the board and the homer by Henriques gave Santa Clara a 4-0 lead in the fifth with Nnebe's blast providing an insurance run in the ninth.
Bernhardt (1-5) tossed a career-high five innings, allowing four hits and did not issue a walk while striking out three. The junior college transfer gave up just one hit in the first five frames on a lead off single by Chad Stevens in the first. Two other base runners reached base on an error in the third and a hit batsman in the fourth.
Leading 4-0 in the sixth, the Bronco left-hander allowed three straight singles and a run to score to open the inning and was replaced by Ethan Heinrich. The Santa Clara reliever inherited two runners with one out but escaped the inning to preserve a 4-1 lead.
Heinrich threw three innings of middle relief work before giving way to closer Eric Lex in the ninth with the Broncos up 8-3. Lex threw a scoreless ninth to close out the game.
The trio of Bronco pitchers issued just one walk in the game while striking out seven.
The first pitch for Sunday's rubber match is at 1 p.m.