April 22, 2007
SAN MATEO, Calif. - The Santa Clara softball team came from behind to defeat the Sacramento State Hornets by a score of 9-6 in eight innings Sunday afternoon. Playing at the College of San Mateo due to the threat of rain at Marsalli Park, the Broncos took an early 3-0 lead, which was squandered by a 6-run third inning from the Hornets, all culminating with a two-run single by Ashley Blier to tie the game in the top of the seventh, and then a three-run home run over the wall in left-centerfield by senior Angela Kabanuck to steal a 9-6 victory in eight innings.
After a routine top of the first, Jackie Morales sent the Hornets down in order in the bottom of the inning, energizing the Broncos in their next set of at-bats. Blier led off with a solo home run to centerfield, and three batters later, after a single by Noelani Hoopii and a double by Nori Kamada, the Broncos grabbed two runs on a controversial play.
Meghan Chavez's two-out single up the middle went right between Kamada and Sacramento State shortshop Amy Tompkins. When the two collided, the batted ball went past Tompkins into centerfield, allowing Hoopii to score from third base, and creating a play at home plate on Kamada. Bewildered by the continuation of play following the collision, Hornet's pitcher Kayla Meeks misplayed the ball when trying to cut the throw home on Kamada, and Kamada scored after the ball deflected towards the first base dugout, giving the Broncos a 3-0 lead.
Morales went back out in the second and retired the Hornets in order again, but in the third inning she would have no such luck. After giving up two singles to the first four batters, the Broncos had two outs with runners at second and third. A walk to Saturday's hero Whitney Loomis loaded the bases. Then, a groundball to Chavez was overthrown, allowing two runs to score, and putting the runners at second and third. A walk to Meeks loaded the bases again, which led to trouble.
Coming to the plate was Melissa Cross, who had replaced Amy Jo McKenzie in the second inning after surviving a foul ball to the face. Cross proceeded to crush the ball over the fence in deep left field, bringing the Hornets run total to six runs in the inning to take a 6-3 lead.
The Broncos did not give up, however as they were only down three runs. With one out in the fourth, freshman Ashley Grove launched her second home run of the season over the fence in left field, a solo home run making the score 6-4.
Morales gave up just a single in the bottom of the fourth, and just two more in the fifth while striking out two to keep the Broncos in the game. After five tough innings, Morales was replaced by freshman Kaitlyn Rauschnot on the mound, and slid into right field. In the sixth, Rauschnot saw the best and worst of the defense behind her. After an error by Blier to lead off the inning, freshman Breann Netto picked her up with a tag-em-out throw-em-out double play to end the inning.
Down to their final at-bats, the Broncos had to score two runs to prolong the game. With one out, two straight walks got the Broncos going. After Morales hit into a fielders choice at third base, the Broncos were down to their final out with runners at first and second. Blier's bloop single into right field scored pinch runner Nicole Picard and brought a play to the plate on Morales. Morales beat the throw which was cut off and thrown down to second where the Hornets snagged Blier for the final out, but a run too late.
In the bottom of the seventh, Morales returned to the circle and the Hornets went three-up-three-down forcing extra innings.
After two quick outs, it was up to the top of the batting order. A walk by Kamada and a single by Chavez set the table for Kabanuck, whose final at bat of the game couldn't have been any better. A shot over the fence in left-centerfield by Kabanuck paved the way for a 9-6 victory after Morales was perfect in the last of the eighth.
For the game, the Broncos were led by Kamada, Kabanuck, Blier and Grove, who combined for nine of their 13 hits, and Kabanuck and Blier each had three RBIs. Next up the Broncos will conclude their series with Sacramento State.