Pacific Baseball: Tigers Take Down Santa Clara, 12-7
Santa Clara looked to make it interesting in the top of the ninth inning, but Pacific's 12 runs were enough to hang on and topple the Broncos 12-7 on Wednesday, April 28.
With the win Pacific improved to 25-14 while Santa Clara dropped to 15-23. Pacific is now only five wins away from its best season in the past decade, when the Tigers won 30 contests in 2006.
Trailing 1-0 to start out the game, the Tigers came back and evened the score in the bottom of the second as senior Matt Fuson (Lodi, Calif.) singled with senior Joe Oliveira at third to tie the game, 1-1.
Pacific was finally able to break through the tie in the bottom of the fourth inning when Paul Twining came in to relieve Rhett Nelson on the mound for Santa Clara. Junior J.B. Brown opened up the frame with a single up the middle and promptly behind him, Oliveira took a 1-0 pitch to the body to put runners at first and second base. With a runner in scoring position, freshman John Haberman singled to left field for the game-leading RBI bringing in Brown from second base to take the final lead, 2-1.
The rally continued with no one out, after senior Ben Gorang (Turlock, Calif.) dropped a bunt down the third base line that third baseman Matt Paradise watched hoping the ball would roll foul. It never did as Gorang landed safely aboard first and loaded the bases with Haberman at second and Oliveira at third. One out into the inning, junior Nick Longmire (San Diego, Calif.) worked a full-count walk with the bases loaded to bring in another run and give the Tigers a 3-1 lead. Pacific would tack on one more run when sophomore Brett Christopher (Livermore, Calif.) reached on a fielder's choice to shortstop that brought home Haberman for the 4-1 lead.
Over the next three innings Pacific's offense continued to pound away with three more runs in the bottom of the fifth, four in the bottom of the sixth and one final run in the bottom of the seventh for a 12-3 lead.
Senior Jamie Niley (Elk Grove, Calif.) came in relief for Pacific in the top of the fourth and held the Broncos to three scoreless innings, relinquishing only three hits to go on and record the win for the Tigers.
In the sixth inning, Longmire drew another walk to lead things off. Christopher followed behind with a single into left field. All the while, Longmire was rounding second and moving to third, as a relay throw from left field helped Christopher move into scoring position at second base. Longmire slid into third before the tag as both runners safely moved into scoring position. That's all junior Brian Martin (Livermore, Calif.) needed to bring in another run after he singled through the right side and brought home both Longmire and Christopher to take a 9-3 lead with no one out. Senior Mike Walker (Marysville, Calif.) kept things rolling for Pacific when he singled to third base and moved Martin to second. Brown was the next batter up to record a hit as he tallied the fourth-consecutive hit with a single through the right side to load the bases. Two outs later, Gorang knocked in the frame's final two runs with a single into right field that drove in Walker and Martin for an 11-3 lead.
Up 12-3, Pacific went to the top of the ninth inning and cycled through two more bullpen pitchers who surrendered four final Bronco runs before closing the book on the game and taking the final 12-7 victory to avenge this season's earlier loss on the road at Santa Clara.
On the mound, Niley earned the win and improved to 1-0 on the season, while Paul Twining suffered his first loss of the season and dropped to 0-1. Offensively, four Tigers recorded three-hit nights to lead Pacific to 20 hits in the win. Martin, Brown, Oliveira and Gorang each tallied three hits while Martin recorded three RBI and Gorang drove in a team-leading four.
The Tigers next return to action when they take on No. 13 Cal State Fullerton for a three-game series that kicks off Friday, April 30 at 6 p.m.