March 30, 2014

Pacific Finds A Gem And Heartbreak In A Doubleheader Split With Santa Clara

Stockton, Calif. - Playing a pair on Sunday afternoon do to the rain out on Saturday, the Tigers split with the visiting Broncos to close out their 2014 season series with Santa Clara. Pacific took the opening game of the day 7-0 before falling in the evening contest, 7-6, With the afternoon win, the Broncos took the conference series 2-1 over the Tigers as Pacific fell to 12-17 on the year and 4-5 in WCC play while the Broncos improved to 11-17 overall and 2-4 in conference play. 

Game 1

Continuing his dominance on the mound in conference play, sophomore Jake Jenkins (2-0) came up with a career outing against the Broncos in game one of the day to lead Pacific to the win. Running through the Santa Clara batting order, Jenkins tossed a complete-game gem for the Tigers as he went a full nine innings for the first time in his young career. Never finding himself in any real danger throughout the game, Jenkins stayed around the zone the entire contest as he scattered just five hits and walked one to earn the victory. Even when Jenkins allowed a Bronco on base, his defense quickly erased the threat as Pacific's infield turned a trio of double plays in support of their pitcher. 

In all, Jenkins' complete game was the second of the season for the Tigers after senior John Haberman tossed a one-hitter against San Jose State earlier in the month. The complete game shutout was the first for the Tigers since Cory Popham dominated UNLV, 3-0, on Feb. 22, 2013.

In support of Jenkins, the Tigers' offense made the sophomore's day easier as Pacific threw up seven runs on the board on eight hits. The Tigers posted crooked numbers in the third, sixth, and seventh innings of play to do their damage, led by sophomore Gio Brusa's big game. For the second-straight contest, Brusa led the Tigers with a 3-for-4 effort at the plate, scoring three runs and driving in another. Making each of Brusa's hits count was sophomore J.P. Yakel who, while calling the shutout from behind the plate, added two hits and drove in three to do his damage at the plate.

Game 2

Picking up where they left off the game prior, the Tigers offense came out hacking from the outset against the Broncos in the second game of the day. Pacific immediately got on the board in the bottom half of the first as Brusa and Yakel hooked up once again to plate a run. Brusa kept up his big series at the plate with a double to right center before Yakel drove his classmate home with a single up the middle.

An inning later, the Tigers tacked on two more with a little help from the Broncos' defense. Behind a hit, error, and a hit batter, Pacific loaded the bases for the bottom of their order where junior Jimmy Gosano delivered the first of his three run-producing hits. Gosano's single through the left side brought in two and pushed the Tigers' lead to 3-0. 

After yanking one through the infield in his first at bat, Gonsano came up big again in the bottom of the fourth when he blasted a solo shot down the left field line to put Pacific up by four runs. The home run was the first Division I round-tripper for the junior college transfer and first of the weekend for the Tigers.

Gosano's home run proved to be even more important than it originally appeared when Santa Clara responded with its first runs of the day against the Tigers in the very next inning. In the fifth, the Broncos took advantage of new life as an inning-ending double play ball was misplayed in the field putting two on board. The mistake immediately came back to hurt the Tigers as Quinton Perry matched Gosano's blast from the inning prior with one of his own to left field, cutting Pacific's lead to just 4-3.

The Broncos took the lead two innings later as they came up with three-straight hits to drive in a pair. The big hit of the inning came from Jose Vizcaino, Jr., who chopped a ball down the third base line that appeared to go foul but was called fair for a two-RBI double. They would tack on a third run with a sacrifice fly after a wild pitch moved Vizcaino to third.

Pacific would get the runs back in the bottom half of frame with two more runs of its own thanks to a double by junior Taylor Murphy and another RBI single off the bat of Gosano. The Gosano knock was the second run of the inning after freshman McKay Koissian drove in senior Erik Lockwood from third with a ground ball to short after Lockwood had reached on a throwing error.

Despite coming back, the winning rally was not in the cards for the Tigers as the Broncos delivered the final knockout blow to Pacific in the top of the ninth scoring a single run on four hits. Pacific would threaten in the bottom of the inning but leave the tying run stranded at third to end the game. The loss went to freshman Vince Arobio (0-1) who gave up the run in the ninth while Reece Karalus (2-1) picked up the victory with 1.2 innings of scoreless relief.

In all three games of the series, the Tigers outhit the Broncos as Pacific tallied 13 in game two led by Brusa, Lockwood, and Gonsano's three hits apiece. Brusa recorded three hits in each of the three games while Gosano finished with five total hits and four RBI, all of four of which came in the final game of the weekend.

Pacific will hit the road beginning on Tuesday, April 1 when they head to Fresno State to take on their older rival in the Bulldogs. After Fresno, Pacific hits the road to Provo, Utah to take on BYU in WCC play on Thursday, April 3 through the Saturday, April 5.