Tigers complete comeback at Santa Clara

Tigers complete comeback at Santa Clara

Pacific baseball (18-16, 5-8 WCC) got all the way down to its last strike on Friday night against Santa Clara, but came back to win over the Broncos (7-24, 1-9 WCC) on Friday night, 9-8.

The Tigers took a 1-0 lead in the top of the second inning but gave it up in the bottom of the second. Santa Clara went on to build a five-run advantage, but the Tigers chipped away at it until finally tying the game on a two-run Tyler Ryan double with two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning. An inning later, Pacific scored twice more to clinch the 10-inning win.

Senior Tyler Ryan doubled twice in the game including his game-tying one in the ninth. He had three RBIs. It was his third three-RBI game of the season. Sophomore Bryce Kirk had a two-RBI night and senior Kevin Sandri had two hits and two runs scored.

Sophomore pitcher Nick Swanson got the win. He was stellar in the final two innings of the game striking out five, which tied his career-high for strikeouts in a game and brought him to 23 in his 20.1 innings pitched this year.

Despite trailing for most of the game, it was Pacific that opened the scoring in the top of the second when sophomore Grant Mona hit a two-out single to score Sandri. However, a half-inning later, the Broncos took their first lead with a home run and wild pitch that scored the run. Two more homers in the bottom of the third inning gave Santa Clara a 5-1 lead and ended senior left-handed pitcher Ricky Reynoso's day. The Tigers used a total of seven pitchers in the game, none of which pitched more than 2.1 innings.

Santa Clara pushed another run across before the end of the third inning to make it 6-1 and take its biggest lead of the night.

In the top of the fifth inning, Kirk punched a two-out two-run single into right field. Ryan followed it up with a one-run double that scored junior catcher James Free to make it 6-4.

Santa Clara tallied a run in the bottom of the fifth inning, but Pacific pulled it back in the top of the sixth inning when freshman James Arakawa hit a sac fly to right that scored Sandri to make it 7-5.

In the top of the ninth, the game took a turn for the unusual. First, Kirk reached on a catcher's interference with two outs to put runners on first and second. In the next at-bat, Ryan hit a ball into the gap in left-center that forced Santa Clara's centerfielder to dive, but the ball was barely beyond his reach. It scored LeForestier as well as Josh Winkler, who pinch ran for Kirk, and tied the game at 7-7.

In the bottom of the ninth, Swanson worked his first inning and struck out the side.

In the top of the 10th inning, with two outs again, LeForestier hit what looked to be a fly ball that would end the inning to left, but the Santa Clara left fielder dropped the third out and allowed junior Keaton Glover to score to give the Tigers their first lead since the second inning. Carter Hayes singled into right field to score LeForestier.

Santa Clara kept it interesting in the bottom of the 10th. A leadoff walk and a hit by pitch put runners on first and second to start the inning. Swanson recorded two outs before getting a grounder to second that looked like it would end the game, but the Tiger first baseman dropped the ball on the throw from second to allow the Broncos to score a run and keep the game alive. Swanson got a strikeout in the next at-bat to end the inning.

The come-from-behind win was Pacific's second in a row. The Tigers can seal the series victory with a win tomorrow over Santa Clara in a 1 p.m. game. Sophomore Hayden Pearce will take the mound for the Tigers.