March 3, 2010
SANTA CLARA, Calif. - The Santa Clara softball team will meet its first conference opponent of the season this weekend, kicking off the CSU Northridge Matador Invitational with a mid-day tilt against Saint Mary's (5-4 overall). The Broncos will also face two other opponents over the three day tournament.
Saturday afternoon, the Broncos will play their second Pacific Coast Softball Conference opponent, taking on CSU Bakersfield (5-8 overall) at 1 p.m., immediately followed by a 3 p.m. game against hosts CSU Northridge (5-9 overall). On Sunday, Santa Clara's day begins the day at 9 a.m. with its second contest against Bakersfield, immediately followed by an 11 a.m. game against the Gaels.
The Broncos are still looking for their first win of the season but head coach Lisa Mize feels the team is making progress. "We are taking baby steps, but I truly believe we are getting better and I see it with each game and practice," said Mize. "Change doesn't always come quickly and that is part of our focus now along with staying positive. We have the talent we just need everything to come together, for everyone to keep believing in themselves, and to trust the coaches and each other. Once that first win comes, it will boost our team's confidence level and hopefully it will spur other positives for the rest of the season."
"Our ultimate goal for this season is to be playing good ball once conference season comes around and to make a run at the end of the year. We'll get our first look at Saint Mary's this weekend, and from what I've seen they have been doing well this year. It's a good test for us and we're looking for our girls to compete hard. We can hang with them like I felt we hung with Pacific two weekends ago. Against Pacific I really felt we missed some opportunities and we beat ourselves. We got runners on base several times but just one little play here and there seemed to foil the inning's work. That's where I need a few to several of our players to step up into a leadership role and tell themselves that they are going to be the difference for our team and win a ball game for us."
Santa Clara was scheduled to play a doubleheader against UC Davis on Feb. 24 but due to inclement weather the games were moved to March 11.
"We really could have used those games against Davis to help build some momentum heading into this weekend, said Mize. "I felt that those games could have helped our team and it's unfortunate that we couldn't play but we can't control Mother Nature."
The Broncos are led offensively by sophomores Briana Knight and Catherine Surane. Surane and Knight are batting .286 and .278 respectively and have combined for nine hits. All four pitchers on the roster have had played in at least three games but senior Kaitlyn Rauschnot and freshman Ali Nash have seen the most innings.
Live stats on CBS College Sports' GameTracker will be available for all five games in Northridge. The tournament web page can be found by clicking here.