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Bruins Cruise Past Falcons for Second-Straight Shutout

The Santa Clara Bruins improved to 4-1 in league after shutting out the Saratoga Falcons 14-0. It was Santa Clara's second straight shutout.

The birds were no match for the bears on Thursday afternoon in Saratoga when the Santa Clara Bruins barrelled past the Saratoga Falcons with ease. Santa Clara stormed out of the gates in the top of the first and never looked back. Before Bruins’ starting pitcher John Kepner even toed the rubber for his first pitch of the game, Santa Clara already had a 4-0 lead.

An RBI double from Andrew Traffas, as well as run-scoring singles from Connor Houle and Greg Salgado, were the key hits to give Kepner four runs of breathing room prior to taking the mound. The Bruins ace took advantage of the early cushion and impressed with both his pitching arm and his glove.

Kepner threw four shutout innings and made an incredible defensive play from his pitching spot to end the third inning. After knocking the comebacker down, the ball was then rolling towards the infield dirt between first and second where no infielder was in position to field it. The Bruins second baseman was running to the spot where the ball was headed initially before Kepner knocked it the opposite direction. Kepner though was able to sprint towards it, and backhand flip it to first for the out while tumbling to the ground.


“I had a play similar to that against Live Oak,” chuckled Kepner. “And the runner was safe by a step, but so I saw the opportunity there again and was like, ‘Why not just lay out and see what happens?’”

What happened was the web gem of the game, a sparkling defensive play, one that coaches can’t teach.

“That’s just great instincts; if Cal-Hi Sports was here, that would have been their top play of the week,” chimed Bruins Manager Pedro Martinez. “You don’t teach that; you can’t practice that.”

Kepner didn’t just shine in the field and on the mound but at the plate as well. The junior had a pair of loud doubles to left field and nearly had an opposite-field double as well that was just short of the track in right-center field where the Falcons’ center fielder tracked it down. It was an all around terrific performance from the Bruins’ two-way star.

“Whenever he is playing, I know we are going to have a good game, especially when he’s pitching,” chimed teammate Jacob Horne. “I don’t think I got a single ball to me in the outfield. I was just watching, basically.”

Horne was arguably the second most impressive Bruin on the afternoon, launching multiple line drives. In his final at bat, he had to settle for a single on a ball crushed to the wall over the center fielder’s head as the two runners ahead of him could only advance 90 feet. The ball was hit so hard, the runners had to wait to see if the ball would be caught.

Horne and the rest of the Bruins would eventually combine for a final tally of 14 runs on 21 hits. Kepner and Matthew Conklin combined to hold the Falcons to zero runs and just one hit in seven innings of work on the mound. The team’s second-straight shutout after having previously beaten Fremont 4-0.

Santa Clara improves to 4-1 in league play and will next take on Woodside on March 29.

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