March 18, 2006
SANTA CLARA, Calif. -
Santa Clara got a bases-loaded single in the bottom of the ninth inning to defeat Northwestern 5-4 in its first of seven games in California. SC tied the game in the bottom of the seventh inning and loaded the bases with no outs in the ninth before the walk-off single. Offensively for NU, Aaron Newman led the way with a 3-for-4 day at the plate.
Santa Clara took an early 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning as a trio of singles plated the first run of the game.
After a two-out error extended the inning, the Wildcats loaded the bases with a pair of singles by shortstop Tommy Finn (Valparaiso, Ind./Andrean) and Aaron Newman (Palatine, Ill./Palatine). But a sensational diving stop on a ball headed into centerfield by the Bronco shortstop forced the NU runner at second and ended the inning.
In the top of the third inning, catcher Pat McMahon (Mundelein, Ill./Carmel) took a 2-1 fastball deep over the left field fence to tied the game 1-1. It was McMahon's first home run of the season.
Still in the third, a two-out walk to Stanley Finch (Lubbock, Texas/Cooper) and single by right fielder Max Mann (Los Angeles, Calif./Brentwood) crossed the plate on a throwing error by the Santa Clara third baseman. The two unearned runs gave NU a 3-1 lead.
In the bottom half of the third, a hit batsman and two singles loaded the bases with no outs. Wildcat starter Dan Brauer (Wheaton, Ill./Wheaton-Warrenville South) struck out the next hitter before a single off the left field wall scored one run. NU's second double play ended the Bronco threat, this time it was a come backer to Brauer on the mound.
NU extended its lead to 4-2 in the top of the fourth inning when Antonio Mule
(Lodi, N.J./Lodi) lined a single to right field, scoring Newman from second base. Newman was hit by a pitch to lead off the inning and went to second on McMahon's second hit of the game.
SC answered NU's run with one of their own in the bottom of the fourth. A leadoff double past a diving Finch at first baser scored on a single through the right side.
The score after four complete innings was 4-3 Northwestern.
After a Santa Clara pitching change, NU squandered a bases-loaded, one-out opportunity in the top of the sixth inning. Newman led off with a single to center followed by a base-on-balls to second baseman Jake Owens (Stevens Point, Wis./Pacelli). Following a strikeout, Mule was intentionally walked filling the bases with Wildcats. A strikeout and groundball ended the threat.
Brauer was lifted after six complete innings for junior right-hander Andrew Smith (Fort Mitchell, Ky./Beechwood). Brauer scattered nine hits and struck out a season-high nine in his fifth start of the season.
Smith promptly gave up the tying run on a one-out sacrifice fly to left field in the bottom of the seventh inning. Smith walked the leadoff hitter, who advanced to third on a one-out single, setting up the sacrifice fly.
With SC tying the game at 4-4, Brauer did not factor in the decision. As a matter of fact, in all five of his starts in 2006, Brauer has yet to earn a win or loss.
Santa Clara finished its comeback in the bottom of the ninth inning when a leadoff walk came around to score on a bases-loaded single to left centerfield. The first two hitters singled and an intentional walk loaded the bases for SC.
The two teams wrap up their three-game series with a doubleheader tomorrow at Stephen Schott Stadium in Santa Clara, Calif. Game one begins at 3 p.m. (PT)