February 17, 2007

Surging Broncos Come Up One Short, Fall To Stanford 4-3

Feb. 17, 2007

Box Score

PALO ALTO, Calif. - The Santa Clara softball team wrapped up day two at the Stanford Invitational against host Stanford at the Smith Family Stadium in Palo Alto, Calif. Strong pitching from Jerrica Castagno and Jackie Morales kept the Broncos in the game, but the unlucky breaks on defense hurt the Broncos again, as they lost 4-3 to one of the nations top teams.

Jackie Morales got the Broncos rolling in the top of the first, leading off with a single up the middle. After Nori Kamada sacrificed Morales to second, Ashley Blier hit a blooper to shallow centerfield. As the centerfielder, shortstop and second baseman all converged on the ball it was the centerfielder Alissa Haber who made the final attempt and the ball knicked off her glove as she came charging in, allowing Morales to score from second on what was ruled an error.

The defensive start for the Broncos was tough, as it has been throughout the tournament. A leadoff double was mishandled on the warning track by Angela Kabanuck, and Haber advanced and scored on the throw. It didn't get easier for Castagno, who gave up three runs in the first.

But then in the top of the second, the Broncos bounced right back. Meghan Chavez led off with a single, stole second and then advanced to third on a single up the middle by Noelani Hoopii. Jackie Morales tied the game with a shot to the shortstop whose throw to first was off target; Chavez scored from third and Hoopii came around on the error.

Castagno pitched very well the rest of the game, and she received very good defensive support from her teammates as Stanford continued to put the ball in play. Finally, in the fourth inning, four consecutive singles gave Stanford the game-winning run.

For the remainder of the game, both sides impressed with their pitching. Jackie Morales retired all six batters she faced in the fifth and sixth innings, including three strikeouts. But down by a run, the Broncos offense simply ran out of outs.

In the final game of the evening, Missouri defeated Pacific, so Santa Clara will conclude the Stanford Invitational Sunday at 10:00 a.m. against Pacific.