April 15, 2007
SANTA CLARA, Calif. - The Santa Clara softball team began their PCSC series with the University of San Diego Sunday with a rare tripleheader at Marsalli Park. After having to put off games for an entire day, the Broncos didn't get off to the start they would have liked. Jackie Morales had a tough first inning, and despite impressive relief efforts by freshman Kaitlyn Rauschnot and Jerrica Castagno, the Broncos were not able to respond offensively, and they were defeated 3-1.
In the top of the first inning, the Toreros led off with two consecutive singles off Morales. A sacrifice bunt followed by a hit batsman loaded the bases with just one out. Patience at the plate on the part of San Diego forced Morales to work hard, and two consecutive walks gave the Toreros a 2-0 lead, and forced Morales from the ballgame.
On the flip side, the Broncos had trouble with Toreros pitcher Jennifer Ellenbeck, who gave up only three hits, though issuing five walks. Every time the Broncos managed to reach base, the Toreros sent them back to the dugout empty handed.
Thanks to a great effort by Rauschnot, the Broncos gave the Toreros a taste of their own medicine. In three and two thirds innings, Rauschnot held San Diego scoreless, giving up just three hits, and no walks.
In the bottom of the fourth inning, after drawing a walk, Rauschnot was replaced by Castagno who followed suit with a strong performance. In her first two innings, her only err was a hit batsman with two out in the sixth, which she took care of by getting the Toreros' Danielle Duhart to strike out looking.
In the bottom of the sixth, the Broncos had their best chance of the game to draw even, down by two runs. With one out, Angela Kabanuck reached base on an error by the shortstop. After Kabanuck stole second base, Sara Overmier drew a walk, giving the Broncos two baserunners for the first time since the first inning. Castagno sacrificed the runners along and then Ashley Blier walked to load the bases with two out.
With their best chance of the game to score runs, head coach Steve Rianda brought freshman Jennifer Clarke off the bench to pinch hit, her first at bat since injuring herself at the Stanford Invitational in February. Unfortunately, she was not able to score the runners, grounding into a fielders choice, 4-to-6 to retire Blier at second base.
In the top of the seventh, the Toreros added an insurance run after a leadoff walk a sacrifice bunt and then a double by Virginia Fritsch.
Down by three, the Broncos were unable to get anything going in the last of the seventh, and the game ended 3-0.
The Broncos have two more games on tap Sunday, with games scheduled for 1:00 p.m. and 3:00 p.m.