Over the weekend long-time rival Santa Clara Broncos visited USF for a three game series. USF was able to win the series over the Broncos by taking two out of the three games. The Dons won handily in each of their victories, winning on Saturday by the score of 9-1 and on Sunday by the score of 7-3. The series victory gave the Dons their second WCC series win of the season and put their record at 19-21 overall and 6-6 in the WCC.
The series started on Friday with sophomore left-hander Matt Lujan (2-6) taking on junior right-hander Nate Garcia (6-3). Santa Clara easily won this pitching battle as Garcia pitched a complete game, only allowing one run off seven hits while striking out 10. Lujan did not pitch a terrible game but it surely wasn’t one of his best starts as he allowed four runs off eight hits in 6.1 innings while striking out five hitters. Santa Clara was able to jump to an early lead, going up by three after the second inning. In the first inning junior Geoff Klein was able to pick up an RBI after bringing home senior Kevin Madden, who hit a double that led to the run. Then the Broncos followed up the first inning with a two-run homerun by freshman Lucas Herbst. This gave Santa Clara the early 3-0 lead that they were able to hold onto. The Dons didn’t score until the sixth inning and it was too late for a comeback, especially against Garcia with the way he was pitching. Santa Clara was able to win the game 4-1, giving them a 1-0 series lead over the USF Dons.
The next day the Dons seemed focused and determined to win the second game of the series. Sophomore Thain Simon took the mound for the Santa Clara Broncos against Doug Murray, who got the start for the Dons. Simon struggled against the Dons, especially in the third inning where he gave up five earned runs. The Dons seemed to have his number as they locked in and came through with a huge lead. USF was up by six in the third and their big lead and gave Murray a lot of room to work with. Murray pitched well again, earning his seventh victory of the year and putting his record at 7-0. The Dons added three more runs in the fourth inning to put them up 9-0. The lead was too steep for Santa Clara to climb, as their pitching and hitting were not producing for them. Santa Clara was able to add a run in the fifth inning but it wasn’t enough to win the game or even make the game close as the Dons cruised to an easy 9-1 win. With the series now tied, the Dons took on Santa Clara on Sunday for the series victory.
Again the Dons came out ready to play as they won the game and the series over Santa Clara. San Francisco sent sophomore right-hander Matt Hiserman to the mound to face the Bronco’s junior right-hander Alex Rivers. The Dons again got out to an early lead, winning 2-0 after the second inning. But Santa Clara was able to score a run in the fourth inning, which cut the USF lead in half. But behind the bat of sophomore Stephen Yarrow, the Dons were able to pull of the victory. Yarrow hit two homeruns on the day, a solo shot in the fifth inning and a two-run bomb in the sixth. The Dons went on to win the game 7-3, which enabled them to win the series 2-1.