Softball to Open Up PCSC Play at Portland State

April 2, 2009

SANTA CLARA, Calif. - The Santa Clara softball team will open up Pacific Coast Conference (PCSC) play at Portland State from April 4-5. The Broncos will take on the Vikings in a weekend doubleheader in Portland, Ore. First pitch is set for noon on both Saturday and Sunday. SCU (5-27), who has played their last 14 games on the road, will play four games at PSU before returning home to open up the home half of their conference schedule versus Loyola Marymount.

Last Time Out
Santa Clara dropped their season series to local rival San Jose State on March 31, in San Jose, Calif. SCU fell 7-1 and 9-1 to the Spartans, scoring their lone runs of each respective game in their final offensive innings. After six scoreless Bronco innings, Megan Smith, who went 1-for-3, singled to left field to score Stephanie Smith. It was M. Smith's fourth RBI of the season. SCU was unable to rally in the final inning of the game and fell 7-1.

Santa Clara shortstop Kristin Welsh had the strongest combined offensive outing against SJSU. In game one, she went 1-for-2 with a single to right field in the third inning. She also reached after getting hit by a pitch in the top of the first. She led off the SCU lineup in the second game and was responsible for the Broncos' solo run. Welsh went 1-for-2, for the second straight game, and had a RBI and a walk in the 9-1 loss.

Welsh Leads Bronco Offense at SJSU
Freshman shortstop Kristin Welsh posted a strong outing at San Jose State on March 31. At the midweek doubleheader, the La Habra, Calif. native went 2-for-4 with a RBI and a walk. She also reached first in the early game after getting hit by a pitch. After walking onto the team this past fall, Welsh has played in 25 games and started 23. She's tallied 12 hits, six runs and two RBIs this season.

Ho'opi'i Posts a Strong Road Trip
Senior captain Noelani Ho'opi'i has been a stronghold in the Bronco lineup all season. As the lone senior on the team, she provides her fellow teammates with veteran leadership both on-and-off the field. While at then-No. 24 Cal Poly and UC Santa Barbara last week, the Kaneohe, Hawai'i native went 5-for-13, with three RBIs and a run. On March 24, against CP she was responsible for three of the Broncos seven runs in the game. This season the Bronco first baseman is hitting .230, with 17 hits, nine RBIs and seven runs. She is the top-10 in three different statistical categories in the Pacific Coast Softball Conference (PCSC), and is tied for third with nine steal attempts and seven stolen bases. She has also been hit by three pitches this season, for sixth in the PCSC.

On the Road Again
Santa Clara has not felt the comforts of playing at home since a doubleheader sweep of Northern Illinois on March 11. Since posting a perfect 2-0 record at home, SCU has played their subsequent 14 games on the road. The Broncos will remain on the road for four games at Portland State on April 4-5, before returning home to host conference rival Loyola Marymount from April 10-11.

Knight Continues to Lead in Breakout Rookie Campaign
Outfielder Briana Knight continues to tear up the plate in her freshman campaign with a team-leading .319 batting average. The Bay Area product is 29-for-91 this season, with 18 RBIs, 11 doubles, 10 runs, four stolen bases, three home runs and a triple in 29 starts and 30 games played. She is eighth in overall batting average in the Pacific Coast Softball Conference (PCSC) and is in the top-10 in eight different conference statistical categories. She leads the league with two sacrifice flies, is second overall in doubles with 11 and is in third place with a .586 slugging percentage. Knight rounds out the conference top-10 in batting average, on base percentage, RBIs and walks.

From the Plate to the Mound: Jenna Fong an All-Around Asset
In only her second year in the Bronco uniform and her first season as a pitcher, sophomore Jenna Fong has made her mark in the SCU lineup. Fong, who pitched in all four games this past week, leads the Santa Clara rotation with 28 strikeouts, three wins and three complete games. In 24 appearances she has pitched a team-high 87.0 innings. At the plate she is hitting .241, for third on the team. She posts 14 hits, five RBIs, five runs, four doubles and a home run.

Scouting Portland State
The Vikings host their conference home opener versus the Broncos this weekend after going 2-1 this past week. On March 29, they swept Seattle University, 9-1 and 6-1, and suffered their lone loss on the week at Oregon on April 1. The Vikings fell 2-0 to the Ducks.

Leading PSU (14-13) is Jackie Heide, who is 33-for-79 with a .418 batting average. Heide's hit 23 RBIs, 13 runs, eight home runs, a triple and a double in 27 straight starts. Arielle Wiser has also proven her offensive prowess for the Vikings, as she is the only other Portland State player to be hitting above .300. Wiser is 31-for-88 in 27 straight starts. She is hitting .352 with 18 runs, 10 RBIs, seven doubles and two home runs. On the defensive end of PSU's game, Nichole Latham leads the five-player Viking pitching rotation. Latham, who has pitched the bulk of PSU's games this season, is 9-6 this season in 22 appearances and 102.2 innings pitched. She's thrown 10 complete games and one shutout, while tallying 82 strikeouts. Latham has allowed 86 hits and 55 runs, and has thrown 44 walks this season.