April 22, 2003
Junior pitcher Jaime Forman-Lau threw the first perfect game in Santa Clara University softball history last Saturday, as she led the Broncos to a 6-0 victory over San Diego. But this most recent accomplishment is just one more in a list lengthening as the season progresses, as the native of San Jose and former Archbishop Mitty High School product is setting new standards across the boards for the Bronco program.
Forman-Lau struck out struck out the first three and last three Toreros she faced on Saturday-and eight more in between-for 14 Ks in the historic outing. It marked her 15th win of the season, the second best in SCU history. With seven more victories, she can top Jessica Accord's 1995 mark of 21.
As she heads for the victory record, Forman-Lau has already set the single-season strikeouts with her first of a March 26 game against Western Washington. In her prior outing, she tied Accord's 1995 standard of 149. She currently has 212, with 14 games remaining on the Broncos schedule. She is averaging 8.5 per game, ranked 29th nationally by the NCAA.
Additionally, Forman Lau is just one shutout shy of tying Accord's 1995 mark of 10, while her ERA (1.41) is on pace to be fourth best.
"Jaime has been outstanding for us all season and for her to complete not only a no-hitter, but a perfect game is a huge accomplishment." SCU head coach Marcy Crouch said after Saturday's contest. "The focus that goes into 21 straight outs can be credited to the hard work she has put in all season, and the hard work of catcher Roni Rivera and our defense. A perfect game truly is a team accomplishment and I'm glad that we get to finish our weekend on such a high note."
"I had never even caught a no-hitter before, so that was by far, one of the best catching experiences I have ever had.," Rivera added. "We call our own game, so it was just us two working on it every pitch, figuring things out. It was amazing."
The Broncos have 14 games remaining in the 2003 season, allowing Forman-Lau the opportunity to push that number out of reach. She has had nine contests in which she has reached double figures in strikeouts, including an 18 K performance against Humboldt State on Feb. 16, in which she pitched a complete 15-inning game. She also had a seven-inning, 16-strikeout outing on March 13 against Southern Utah.
"Jaime's dominance on the mound this season has been an integral part of our team success," Crouch added. "She is very talented and has an intense work ethic, making her very deserving of setting the new record."
Forman-Lau has already been honored with the Pacific Coast Softball Conference's Pitcher of the Week honor on five occasions this season, including this week's recognition. She joined the Broncos this season, after transferring from Stanford, where she has pitched at the College World Series. She brings postseason leadership experience to a young Bronco pitching group.
"Jaime is the highest caliber pitcher I have ever caught, and I'm not knocking previous pitchers I've worked with, but she's just comes in here and holds herself to the highest standard," Rivera said. "She expects a lot out of herself and she's made the team rise up."
Forman-Lau is just one of the many reasons Santa Clara has a 24-19 overall record, and at 6-2 in league action, is currently tied for first place in the Pacific Coast Softball Conference. The Broncos are tied with LMU, and just ahead of third-place Sacramento State, the Broncos' opponent this weekend.
Prior to the Hornets, Santa Clara will break from conference action with a doubleheader against Bay Area neighbor and 13th-ranked Stanford this evening. First pitch at the Boyd and Jill Smith Family Stadium is at 5 p.m. The Broncos will then make up a game against Saint Mary's on Thursday that was postponed April 12 due to rain. That doubleheader will take place in Moraga at 2 p.m.
With eight games scheduled this weekend, the Broncos only need two wins to tie for the most victories by a Bronco squad in a single season. The program's best mark of 26 wins, was set in 1986.
Santa Clara hit the 20-win milestone April 6, marking only the fourth time the win plateau had been reached in the 25-year history of the program. That 3-0 victory over LMU also marked the second straight 20-win season for the Broncos, who posted 25 wins in 2002. The other 20-win season came in 1995 when SCU posted 22 victories.
"We're going to break the school record by the end of the week," Rivera concluded. "We know we're going to do it, the question for us is when. We're so focused and ready to roll. It's good to be a part of conference. We have NCAA at-large hopes. If we finish strong, good things can happen. We dreamt big in the beginning of the season and set our goals high. We've just been working on them ever since. If we don't win our conference, we'll be disappointed. We have big games over the next 12 days. This is the big time for us."