March 25, 2010

Broncos To Play Four Games At Stanford Invitational

March 25, 2010

SANTA CLARA, Calif. - The Santa Clara softball team (5-13 overall) will face a challenging set of four games this weekend at the Stanford Invitational, taking on three in-state opponents, one a Pacific Coast Softball Conference member, as well as the Mountain West's BYU. This is the second consecutive weekend the Broncos have played in a tournament at Stanford.

Santa Clara is paced offensively by sophomore Kristin Welsh, who is hitting .348 with one double, two home runs, and a .500 slugging percentage. Sophomore Briana Knight and junior Jackie Nicora share the RBI lead with 10 each. Knight has two doubles and three home runs. For the Bronco pitching staff, senior Kaitlyn Rauschnot has an ERA of 4.76 and one save. Freshman Ali Nash is 3-3 with a 6.88 ERA.

Santa Clara will start play on Saturday, Mar. 27 at 9 a.m. with a game against UC Santa Barbara (8-17). The Gauchos split a doubleheader with San Diego on Tuesday and broke its five-game losing streak (including four losses to PCSC teams) with a 6-1 win over the Toreros. Cal State Bakersfield is the only common opponent the Broncos have with UCSB, and the Roadrunners took both games in a doubleheader from the Gauchos, 4-3, and 5-0.

UC Santa Barbara has two batters over .300. Jessica Ziegler is batting .350 with four RBIs, while big-bat Brooke Putich is .327 with two doubles, a triple and a home run. Jessi Beristianos has six doubles and Kelly McDonald leads the team in home runs (2) and RBIs (12). Pitcher MeLinda Matsumoto has collected the most wins (4) but has the second-best ERA (4.56) behind Lindsey Correa (4.36).

Immediately following the game against the Gauchos, Santa Clara will face BYU (16-7). The Cougars were left out of the NFCA/USA Today Top 25 this week, but received two votes. BYU is on a three-game slide, falling twice to then No. 10 Arizona State and once to Pacific at the ASU Tournament from Mar 12-13 and will be returning to the field on Friday against UCSB and Stanford after a 13-day break from competition. Against common opponents with the Broncos, BYU is 3-1 overall, having defeated San Jose State, Cal State Fullerton, and Cal Poly.

Many of the Cougars' regular starters have been solid at the plate, but are led by Angeline Quiocho with a .478 batting average, 10 doubles, six home runs, 23 RBIs, and a .884 slugging percentage. Andrea Ramirez leads the team in home runs (9) and RBIs (27). Paige Affleck is No. 1 in the circle for BYU with an 11-5 record and a 2.56 ERA.

On Sunday the Broncos will again play at 9 a.m. and immediately after play a second game. In the first game, Santa Clara will face PCSC opponent Cal State Bakersfield for the second time this season. The Roadrunners are 10-15 overall, are on a four-game losing streak, and have dropped six of their last seven games. Against common opponents, CSUB went 1-3 against San Jose State, 0-1 against Saint Mary's, and split with Cal State Northridge.

Ryane Petersen leads the Runner offense with a .392 batting average, eight doubles, five homers, 25 RBIs, and a .684 slugging percentage. Two pitchers see most of the action; Sammy Rodriguez is 6-7 with a 2.66 ERA and Shawna Truan is 3-6 with a 5.33 ERA.

The final game of the weekend for the Broncos will be against Pacific (10-14). The Tigers hold a 2-0 edge this season over Santa Clara, earning shutouts in a doubleheader in Stockton in late February. Pacific has earned three victories over ranked opponents this season, dispatching No. 21 Tennessee (2/25), No. 22 Northwestern (2/26), and No. 23 BYU (3/13), but has been unable to get much of a winning steak going. Against common opponents with the Broncos, the Tigers are 1-3, splitting with Princeton and dropping two to Fresno State.

Lindsey Pierce has been the most consistent bat for Pacific, batting .424 with one double and two triples. Kellee Wilson leads in home runs (2) and RBIs (15) while Nikki Armagost has six doubles. Armagost is the only pitcher with a winning record (4-3) and has a 2.70 ERA.

Santa Clara will play one more game against San Jose State on April 6 before it begins PCSC play on April 10, heading to Sacramento State for two days of doubleheaders against the Hornets.