February 19, 2007

Santa Clara Can't Hold Off Pacific, Lose 5-3 at Stanford Invitational

Feb. 19, 2007

Box Score

PALO ALTO, Calif. - The Santa Clara softball team played another strong game Sunday against Pacific in the final game of the Stanford Invitational, but gave up two runs in the top of the 7th inning to give Pacific their 5-3 victory. Alyc Kalamaha had two doubles, while Noelani Hoopii hit the team's first home run of the season. On the season, the Broncos are 0-10 but have forced their last two opponents to work extremely hard for their victories.

Things started out on the rough side for Kaitlyn Rauschnot, who started the game for the Broncos. After the leadoff batter flied out, Lizzie Hagen had a homerun down the left field line. An error and two walks loaded the bases, but Rauschnot forced Pacific to put the ball in play, and two flyballs ended the inning with only one run scoring.

Alyc Kalamaha got a rally going for the Broncos in the bottom of the second with a double down the left field line. She later stole a base but was stranded on third.

In the third inning, the Broncos defense held strong as the Tigers continued to put the ball in play. Ashley Blier and Kalamaha connected on defense to prevent a sacrifice bunt from advancing a runner from first base, and Nori Kamada had a nice effort on a flyball deep to right field. A single to left knocked in a run, but one run was all Pacific would get in the third.

Leaving runners on base was a problem that continued to plague both teams Sunday. Through the first three innings, the Broncos had left five runners on, four in scoring position, while the Pacific Tigers had left a total of six.

After a solo home run by Pacific's Briana Santos in the top of the fifth, the Broncos mounted their best offensive effort of the game. After a walk to Jackie Morales and a single by Kamada, the Broncos got a little too excited on a single by Angela Kabanuck, and Morales was thrown out at home plate. But another walk to Blier loaded the bases. Pinch hitter Emily Batt was hit by the first pitch she saw, giving the Broncos a run, and the next batter, Kalamaha was walked to bring the Broncos within one. With the bases loaded and two outs, Sara Overmier was unable to find a gap, and the side was retired.

In the sixth, Rauschnot was replaced by freshman Lauren Passafuime, who sent Pacific back to the dugout in order. And then in the bottom of the inning, Hoopii made it a game again, leading off the inning with a shot down the left field line, a home run. It was the first home run of the season for the Broncos and it tied the game at 3-3.

Hits by Morales, Kabanuck and Blier kept the Tigers honest in the bottom of the sixth, but the Broncos headed back to the dugout with the bases loaded for the second straight inning.

In the top of the seventh, with the top of the order coming up for the Tigers, the pressure was on for Passafuime. Two leadoff hits and then an error by Hoopii at first base loaded the bases with nobody out. Passafuime battled back though, retiring the next two batters. Unfortunately, both were sacrifices, scoring the go-ahead runs.

In the bottom of the 7th, Kalamaha had another double to lead off the inning and the Broncos had new life again. After Overmier flied out to center, a wild pitch allowed Kalamaha advance to third, bringing Hoopii to the plate. Hoopi struck out looking, which brought Passafuime to the plate. Freshman Britney Sanford pinch hit for Passafuime and was hit by a pitch, putting runners at the corners for Jackie Morales, who had been on base in each of her four at-bats. But a flyout to center ended what had been a very positive performance for the Broncos by a final tally of 5-3.

Passafuime (0-2) took the loss for the Broncos, whose record fell to 0-10. Santa Clara will continue in search of their first win when they travel to Santa Barbara, Calif. this weekend and face off against the University of Texas-San Antonio, NIU and UCSB starting Friday, February 23rd at 12:00 p.m.