March 27, 2007
SANTA CLARA, Calif. - The Santa Clara softball team came through Tuesday afternoon to hang on for a 4-3 victory over San Jose State in game two of their doubleheader at Marsalli Park. Ashley Blier got the Broncos started with a two-run home run and Nicole Picard had a key hit in the bottom of the sixth to break the tie and help Santa Clara to their seventh win of the season.
The Broncos didn't waste any time putting runs on the board. With two out in the first, Angela Kabanuck singled to right field, and then Ashley Blier blasted a home run to centerfield to give the Broncos an early 2-0 lead.
Jackie Morales started the game in spectacular fashion, not allowing a hit in her first three innings, and, less a walk in the second, retiring the Spartans in order in each of those three innings.
In the bottom of the third, the Broncos snagged another run thanks to hits from Nori Kamada and Kabanuck. A passed ball moved Kamada from first to second before Kabanuck's single up the middle scored the speedster from second base.
In the fourth inning, Morales got into a little trouble after retiring the first two Spartans. A walk, two singles and an error by shortstop Alyc Kalamaha allowed three runs to score. Then, with a runner at first base, a shot to the gap in right center field by Shannon Krein forced a play at home plate. Kabanuck's throw hit the relay, and Kalamaha threw a strike to catcher Ashley Grove to nail the runner and end the inning with the score tied 3-3.
In the fifth, Santa Clara tried hard to break the tie, loading the bases with two outs after two hit batsmen and a single, but failed to score any runners.
In the sixth, San Jose State had a rally effort of their own thwarted by Santa Clara thanks to a double-play. A flyball to right field found a quick-thinking Picard, whose throw to second base beat the runner, who wasn't tagging. A strikeout from Morales was the perfect way to retire the Spartans and gave the Broncos the momentum they needed.
In the bottom of the sixth, Ashley Grove doubled down the rightfield line, setting the table for the Broncos to grab the go-ahead run. Freshman Britney Sanford grounded out to the shortstop, advancing Grove to third, and then a clutch hit through the gap between third and short by Picard sealed the deal, scoring Grove from third.
Three putouts by Kalamaha in the top of the seventh sent the Broncos home with their seventh win of the season, a 4-3 victory to split the doubleheader. Morales earned her fourth win of the season, and had five strikeouts.
The Broncos (7-30) will be back in action next Tuesday, April 3 when they host the University of Hawaii for another doubleheader at Marsalli Park, beginning at 2:00 p.m.