Costly Error Opens Door for One-Run Loss at Santa Clara
An error charged to Tanner Donnels in right field opened the door to a three-run Santa Clara eighth.
April 27, 2014
SANTA CLARA, Calif. - A costly error charged to Tanner Donnels in right field opened the door for a three-run Santa Clara eighth inning as the Broncos (19-24, 10-8 WCC) earned a heartbreaking 8-7 victory over the Lions (25-19, 13-8 WCC) on Sunday at Santa Clara's Stephen Schott Stadium. With the victory, Santa Clara took the three-game series over LMU.
Leading 7-5 headed to the bottom of the eighth, Donnels had a fly ball off the bat of Quinton Perry clank off his glove in right field to start the inning, allowing Perry to reach second base. A walk and a wild pitch pushed runners to second and third, as the momentum continued to shift in favor of Santa Clara. Kyle Cortopassi contributed a sacrifice fly to cut the deficit to one run, and a second wild pitch allowed Zach Looney to move to third. In a tight spot, LMU called upon closer Bret Dahlson to try to escape the jam, and the right-hander nearly did just that, inducing a shallow fly ball to right for the second out without allowing the run to plate. Unfortunately, LMU's luck ran out from there as Greg Harisis lined an RBI-double down the right field line to even the game at seven. After working the count to 2-2, Jose Vizcaino, Jr. came up the hero with a single into left centerfield to bring home the go-ahead run.
LMU managed to put the tying run aboard in the top of the ninth inning, but Reece Karalus, who like Dahlson was recently added to the NCBWA Stopper of the Year Watch List, held on to earn the victory and move to 5-1 on the year. After being charged with one run on two hits over two-thirds of an inning, Dahlson was tagged with the loss and fell to 0-1.
LMU came out alive on Sunday afternoon offensively, scoring twice in the top of the first on a two-RBI single from Donnels. The native of Coto de Caza, Calif. finished the game 3-for-5 with a run scored and three RBI. Freshmen David Fletcher and Austin Miller each collected multiple hits, going 3-for-4 and 2-for-5, respectively.
Just as it did seemingly throughout the series, Santa Clara punched right back after giving up Lion runs in the first, scoring three times to take a 3-2 lead. A double from Greg Harisis was followed by a hit-by-pitch and a two-RBI double from Stevie Berman to quickly make it 2-2. An unearned run came into score on the ensuing play as David Edwards errantly threw to first on a chopper up the middle from Casey Munoz, pushing the tally to 3-2.
Santa Clara added a run on a bases-loaded sacrifice fly off the bat of TJ Braff in the third inning, extending its lead to 4-2 after three. Singles from Harisis, Berman and Munoz set the table for the run-scoring opportunity. Harisis finished the game 3-for-5 with three runs scored and an RBI, while Munoz was 3-for-4 with an RBI.
LMU caught a huge break in the sixth inning en route to claiming a one-run lead at 5-4. After loading the bases on one-out singles from Donnels, Cole Trezek and Edwards, reliever Jason Seever entered and struck out pinch-hitter Tyler Cohen for the second out. Kevin Garcia followed with what looked to be a routine fly ball to left field that should have ended the inning, but Munoz lost it right off the bat. With Vizcaino, Jr. giving chase from shortstop, the native of La Jolla had the ball hit off his glove and fall into left field for a bases-clearing three-RBI double.
Both teams traded a run in the seventh, as Donnels punched a two-out RBI single into centerfield in the top-half of the inning before Munoz came up with a clutch two-out RBI single of his own in the home-half to bring home Vizcaino, Jr. and cut the deficit back to one at 6-5.
Looking to add some breathing room, LMU plated its seventh run of the game in the eighth when Edwards led off with a walk and moved to second on a sacrifice bunt from Cohen. Garcia, who finished with a career-high four RBI as part of a 2-for-4 day, provided the run-scoring hit, lining a single into centerfield to bring home Edwards, but the excitement in the top of the eighth was followed shortly by the horror of the bottom of the inning as Santa Clara rallied for three runs to take the victory.
LMU will return to action on Tuesday when it hosts San Diego State in non-conference play at 6 pm from Page Stadium.