February 20, 2008

Santa Clara Drops Extra Inning Heartbreaker to Cal

Feb. 20, 2008

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Santa Clara, Calif- Leading Cal by two with two outs in the seventh, Santa Clara seemed poised to upset the Golden Bears and put an end to their winless start, but Cal scored two runs in the seventh to send the game into extra innings and two more in the eighth to defeat Santa Clara 7-5.

Kaitlyn Rauschnot pitched a heroic game, her pitch count into the 140s. She blanked Cal in the first three innings, setting up Santa Clara's first lead of the game when Amanda Edmonson singled home Shelby Gibbs in the bottom of the third, putting the Broncos up 1-0.

In the fourth, Rauschnot found herself in the middle of a jam. After giving up an unearned run earlier in the inning, Cal loaded the bases with just one out. She got out of the inning with no further damage after scooping up a grounder and throwing to home for a force out, then punctuated the end of the inning by striking out Valerie Arioto looking.

In the top of the fifth, Cal took the lead for the first time with another run to make the score 2-1, but it was short lived. Santa Clara came back with a vengeance in the fifth as Jeanine Ruffoni got things started with a single to right. The Broncos soon loaded the bases and scored two runs on an error by the pitcher. Noelani Ho'opi'i then scored Edmonson with a single and later in the inning Ashley Blier doubled to left center to score Ho'opi'i.

Cal came back with one run in the sixth, but still found themselves down 5-3 with two outs in the seventh with one runner on second. Sanoe Kekahuna singled to start the ralley, scoring one run. Then Brittany LaRosa came in to pinch hit and singled to left field to tie the game.

Santa Clara could not score in the seventh and the game went on to extra innings. Rauschnot recorded one out, but soon loaded the bases. Jerrica Castagno came in to relieve her. She walked the first batter she faced, walking in a run, forced a pop-up, then walked in another run, giving Cal a 7-5 lead. And that's how the game would end as Santa Clara could not manage a baserunner in the bottom of the eighth.

Blier went 2-4 on the day with an RBI, Ho'opi'i went 1-3 to extend her team leading batting average, Ruffoni went 2-4, and Ashley Grove was 1-3 in one of Santa Clara's best offensive games of the year so far.

The Broncos quest for their first win of the season continues Friday at the Mustang Classic hosted by Cal Poly. Santa Clara will face off against PCSC foe Sacramento State to start the day at 2 p.m., then will meet host Cal Poly in the night game at 7 p.m.