SAN JOSE, Calif. - A four-run ninth inning, all coming after two outs, lifted Santa Clara baseball to a 7-3 win over San José State in Friday's season opener at Excite Ballpark.
Jason Dicochea started the two out rally for Santa Clara (1-0) reaching base after getting hit by a pitch by Jonathan Clark. Up to that point, Clark had been cruising holding the Broncos hitless through 4 1/3 innings in relief while striking out eight.
With Dicochea at first, left-hander Jake Hernandez came in relief to face Jake MacNichols and gave up a single to put runners at the corners. Ryan McCarthy's sharply singled up the middle to put the Broncos ahead 4-3. The Broncos added three more runs on Tony Boetto's two-RBI double followed by Hernandez's throwing error off of Cole Kitchen's infield single to allow Boetto to round home to put the Broncos up 7-3.
Travis Howard (1-0) pitched a 1-2-3 ninth inning to pick up the win after giving up the game-tying two-run home run to Ruben Ibarra in the bottom of the eighth.
Aside from that blemish, the Broncos pitching staff had a strong outing with five pitchers combining to hold the Spartans to six hits and three runs, two of which were earned, while fanning 11 Spartans. Starter Russell Grant II threw three hitless innings and was followed by relievers Alex Tisminezky, Locke Bernhardt and Brandon Buckley before Howard's appearance.
The top half of the batting order supplied the Broncos offense, with the number one through the five hitters accounting for 10 of the 12 total hits, driving in six runs and scoring all seven runs.
With the Broncos ahead 1-0 in the fifth, Dicochea and McCarthy hit back-to-back RBI doubles to knock out San Jose State (0-1) starter Spencer Long. Mike Bowes, a fifth-year transfer who played the last two seasons for the Spartans, led the inning off with a single before coming home on Dicochea's second double of the evening. Two batters later, McCarthy followed with a double to plate Dicochea to give the Broncos a 3-0 lead.
McCarthy led the charge going 3-for-5 while he and Boetto drove in two runs apiece.
Ibarra went 2-for-4 with two RBIs for the Spartans with Clark (0-1) the losing pitcher on record.
-Freshman Coleman Brigman made his debut starting at centerfield, picking up a hit and swiping two bases.
-Freshman Cole Kitchen came in as a defensive replacement in the eighth at right field and got an infield hit in his first collegiate at-bat.
The opening weekend series continues with a doubleheader on Saturday at Excite Ballpark. First pitch at 1 p.m.