Posted: Feb 18, 2020
SANTA CLARA, Calif. – Santa Clara baseball remained perfect on the season behind some timely hitting and another solid pitching performance by the Broncos pitching staff to down No. 25 Stanford 3-2 on Tuesday night.
In the bottom of the second inning, Tony Boetto drew a leadoff walk and Dawson Brigman cranked one deep over the left field wall against Cardinal starter Max Meier to put Santa Clara (5-0) up 2-0. The home run would be the last hit of the game for the Broncos who managed to put another run across in the sixth without a base knock.
Leading 2-0 in the sixth, Jake MacNichols and Ryan McCarthy reached base on walks against reliever Jackson Parthasarathy to start the inning. Boetto moved the runners over on a sacrifice bunt and Stanford head coach Dave Esquer elected to intentionally walk Mike Bowes to load the bases. Austin Reyes hit a sacrifice fly to left field to easily score MacNichols in what turned out to be the game-winning run.
Travis Howard started on the mound for Santa Clara and was dominant, tossing three perfect innings. The right-hander pounded the strike zone and struck out two Cardinal in each frame. His six total strike outs all came in the swinging variety.
Alex Waldsmith came in relief of Howard to start the fourth and also threw three scoreless innings. Waldsmith faced the minimum number of hitters, allowing a single to the first batter he faced, Brock Jones, before inducing Christian Molfetta to hit into a double play to retire eight straight.
Stanford (1-3) finally got on the board in the eighth taking advantage of two free passes issued by Santa Clara's fourth pitcher on the day, Alex Reelfs. With runners at second and third, pinch-hitter Cole Hinkelman hit a double down the right-field line to bring home Nick Bellafronto and Kody Huff to trim the lead to 3-2. Lefty Russell Grant II was brought in and struck out right-handed pinch-hitter Nick Oar to end the Cardinal threat.
Ethan Heinrich pitched a 1-2-3 ninth to pick up the save to give Santa Clara their first win over Stanford since 2016, in a game that young Howard also started. Howard (2-0) was credited with the win as the most effective pitcher in a predetermined rotation. Meier (0-1) took the loss for the Cardinal.
-The last time the Broncos started the season 5-0 was in 2012 when they won the first five.
The Broncos travel to face No. 5 Georgia for a four-game series starting Friday. First pitch at noon PT.