May 6, 2003

Softball's Championship Hopes Dashed by SMC

May 6, 2003

Box Score| Photo Gallery

MORAGA, Calif. - The Santa Clara University softball team failed to win two must-win games this evening against Saint Mary's for the inaugural Pacific Coast Softball Conference Championship. The Gaels' spoiled the Broncos' attempt for the title, scoring three runs in the seventh inning of the first game of a doubleheader for a 3-0 win, and took the night cap 2-0 at Cottrell Field.

Santa Clara, 30-25 overall, finishes the PCSC season with a 12-6 mark (.667). The Broncos were in a must-win situation today to win the conference title, as the league standings are based on win percentage. The loss hands the championship to Loyola Marymount, who finished its season with a 14-5 league record, or a .737 winning percentage.

Santa Clara was picked to finish fourth in a preseason poll by league coaches.

Saint Mary's moves to 25-27, 7-12.

Gael pitcher Jordan Larsen had a career day in her final appearance on the mound, as she hurled her way to two complete game shutout victories, allowing just six hits in the process.

Game one was a pitchers' duel through the first six innings, as each team allowed just one hit. The Gaels opened the game in the seventh, scoring three runs on three hits. Tiffany Redding led the inning off with a walk and Kim Milner got the rally started with a single over second base. With runners on first and third, Jordann Bass hit a triple to center field, driving in both runners and posting what would become the game's winning RBI. Staci Hamaguchi continued the rally with a single to score Bass, giving the Gaels a 3-0 advantage.

In accordance with PCSC rules, the Broncos were the home team, allowing them one last chance to take the lead. The Broncos threatened, loading the bases with two outs. Jessica Clee reached on an error by Hamaguchi, but was thrown out in the next at bat as Tracie Hall reached on a fielder's choice. Shannon Linerud walked in the next at bat and Rachel Sherman singled to load the bases one batter later. However, with two outs in the bottom of the seventh Roni Rivera fouled out to end the game.

Jordan Larsen threw a two-hit complete game shutout, walking just one batter and striking out five. Bronco pitcher Jaime Forman-Lau suffered the loss, as she allowed four hits and no earned runs while striking out six and walking two. Jordan Bass went 2-for-3 in the game with one run scored and two RBI.

The pitchers controlled the nightcap as well, holding it scoreless through the seventh inning. Once again the Gaels rallied in the seventh to break the game open. With one out in the seventh Jennifer Arnold was hit by a pitch. In the next at bat her pinch runner, Teresa Janisch, was driven to third on a double by Redding. Kim Milner then placed a bunt, allowing Janisch to score the game's first run on the suicide squeeze. The Gaels posted an insurance run in the next at bat as Redding scored on a wild pitch.

Jordan Larsen (12-13) picked up her second win of the day, throwing complete game four-hit shutout. Forman-Lau (21-14) suffered her second loss of the day, pitching a complete game three-hitter. The Bronco pitcher gave up two earned runs and struck out two batters.

Today's doubleheader concludes the regular season for the Broncos. Games against Portland State that were rained out last Sunday will not be rescheduled. Santa Clara will look ahead to this Sunday and the NCAA Selection Show, where the Broncos hope to receive an at-large bid. The Division I Softball Tournament participant selections will be announced live on ESPNews Sunday, May 11, at 7 p.m. Pacific Time.