April 15, 2007
SANTA CLARA, Calif. - The Santa Clara softball team continued their tripleheader at Marsalli Park against the University of San Diego on Sunday afternoon. After Kaitlyn Rauschnot and Jerrica Castagno kept the Torero's offense at bay in game one, Castagno continued her spectacular efforts, holding San Diego scoreless into the sevnth inning, and then hanging on for the victory with some offensive help from her teammates.
To start the game, Castagno was perfect, retiring the first seven batters she faced. Even after a walk in the third inning, she responded by striking out the Toreros' Stacy Compton before retiring the side on the next batter.
Even after a throwing error by Ashley Blier, Castagno didn't let up, retiring the next five batters in a row, carrying a no-hitter into the fifth inning. With two out, it was Compton who would reach base again, this time with a sharply hit ball which Blier could only knock down and keep in the infield.
For the Broncos, they again faced a challenge from Torero's pitcher Christina Haake, who gave up only five hits, and struck out eight. The Broncos first chance to score came in the fourth after Angela Kabanuck hit a flare which dropped between the pitcher and the second baseman, streaking down the line and reaching first without a throw. Kabanuck would advance all the way to third base after infield groundouts by Sara Overmier and Jackie Morales. Unfortunately, Blier followed suit, leaving Kabanuck stranded at third base.
In the sixth, San Diego finally broke the deadlock. With two outs, a single by Virginia Fritch, followed by a walk to Danielle Treiber and then a bloop single over Blier at third base delivered the first run of the game, giving the Toreros a 1-0 lead. Castagno didn't give up, however, sending San Diego back out to the field the very next batter.
Haake struck out the side in the bottom of the sixth, leaving the Broncos with just three more outs to avoid losing their second straight. Castagno did her part, sending the Toreros down in order and then Santa Clara got to work.
With one out, Blier singled on a sharply hit ball to third base. Pinch runner Britney Sanford advanced to second thanks to a groundball by Castagno, bringing freshman Emily Batt to the plate with two out and Sanford in scoring position at second.
Batt was up to the task, knocking an almost identical hit to the one which gave the Torero's their lead, a blooper to left field, scoring the speedy Sanford from second and tying the game 1-1, and sending the Broncos and Toreros to extra innings.
Castagno got help from her defense in the top of the eighth. A double by Kathleen Bonja with one out looked like trouble. But then, after Fritch launched a fly ball to Kamada in left field, Kamada gunned down a tagging Bonja at third, ending the inning.
A leadoff walk by Kamada was a great start to the bottom of the eighth inning. Then a chopper right in front of the plate by freshman Breann Netto forced Toreros catcher Stacy Compton into an errant throw, well over the head of firstbaseman Alicia Massei, sending Kamada to third and Netto to first.
With nobody out and runners at second and third, Haake was lifted from the game, replaced by Katie Jo Nelson. Then came the ultimate show of respect, as Angela Kabanuck was walked intentionally, loading the bases with no outs, and bringing Sara Overmier to the plate.
And then, one of Nelson's pitches got away from Compton and Kamada came screaming down the third base line. A quick reaction by Compton almost had Kamada beaten as she went into a headfirst slide into home plate. But at the last second, the ball came loose from Nelson's glove, which brought a screams from the home plate umpire and a bunch of screaming Broncos who had just come from behind to beat the Toreros by a score of 2-1 in eight innings.
For Castagno, she pitched eight innings, walking three and striking out three as she earned her fourth win of the season.
The Broncos have one more game left on the schedule Sunday afternoon, before wrapping up the series Monday at 10:00 a.m. at Marsalli Park.