March 11, 2009
SANTA CLARA, Calif. - In their 2009 home opener the Santa Clara softball team posted a dominating performance versus Northern Illinois, 3-11 overall, to go 2-0 on the day. The back-to-back wins break a three-game losing streak and were the result of an all around performance from the Broncos on both ends of the ball. After playing their first 16 games on the road, SCU, 4-14 overall, hosted their first game at their new home field - the West Valley Softball Complex.
"It was great to have a strong day at our home opener," said head coach Lisa Mize. "We looked at today's games as the beginning of the second half of our season and wanted to turn things around. I think that we had a lot of strong performances and we were able to get momentum going into this weekend's road trip."
In the first game of the doubleheader, the Broncos defeated the Huskies, 5-3. Pitcher Kaitlyn Rauschnot earned her first win of the season, in her complete game performance. The junior posted three strikeouts in her third career win. Allowing only six hits in 29 batters faced, the Morgan Hill, Calif. native tallied three innings where she allowed no hits in nine batters faced.
At the plate, the Santa Clara offense supported the strong performance from pitcher Rauschnot. After ending the top of the first inning down 3-0, the Broncos did not allow NIU to regain the lead for the following six innings. Freshman slugger Briana Knight led off the SCU scoring run in the third inning with a single to left field. Three batters later, sophomore Amanda Edmonson doubled to left center to bring home Knight and get Santa Clara on the board for the first time at home. In the fifth inning, senior captain Noelani Ho'opi'i singled to right center, advancing transfer Megan Smith from first to third. Ho'opi'i then stole second and Smith came home off a Huskies catching error.
To conclude their offensive run, SCU scored three times in the bottom of the sixth. Edmonson was hit by a pitch to lead off the inning. Two batters later, catcher Emily Batt singled to right field, advancing Edmonson to third. Batt then stole second and Breann Netto was walked to load the bases. Pitch hitter Catherine Surane singled to left center bring home a fourth Santa Clara run. Knight, the next batter at the plate walked with the bases still loaded to score Batt. The final run of the inning was scored off an error by the Huskies catcher.
In the second game of the day, NIU once again got on the board first, with a 1-0 lead in the top of the second. Third baseman Edmonson responded in the bottom half of the inning with her first home run of the season to tie the score at one-all. The following inning outfielder Knight hit her third career home run to take a Santa Clara lead. Concluding the Bronco scoring run was pitcher Jenna Fong, who hit her first home run of the season. All three of SCU's runs were scored off of home runs, in their 3-2 victory.
Fong earned her second win of the season versus the Northern Illinois on the mound. She tallied two hits, in her seven inning complete game performance. The Sacramento, Calif. native allowed only seven hits and two Husky runs.
With an overall stellar home opening performance, the Broncos look to use the momentum of today's two wins in Reno, Nev. this weekend. Santa Clara will take on University of Nevada in a three game series on March 14-15. On Saturday the 14th, SCU will play at 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. The following day they will close out the weekend with the Wolf Pack. First pitch is set for noon.