April 9, 2010
SANTA CLARA, Calif. - The Santa Clara softball team begins 2010 Pacific Coast Softball Conference play this weekend, taking on Sacramento State in a four-game series beginning Saturday. The Broncos will play two doubleheaders against the Hornets, with competition beginning at noon on Saturday and Sunday.
Santa Clara (8-15 overall) got a preview of two PCSC teams early in the season having played Saint Mary's, who the Broncos fell to 2-0, and Cal State Bakersfield, who they defeated twice, 6-5 and 11-3. Sacramento State is 10-24 overall and has yet to play a conference team this season. Santa Clara is 20-42 all-time against the Hornets, who have won each of the last nine meetings in the series dating back to 2007.
The Broncos are led offensively by sophomore Kristin Welsh, who is batting .367 and has started all 23 games this season. In her 60 at-bats, Welsh has 22 hits including two doubles, a triple, two home runs, and 10 RBIs. Welsh is one of just five players to start every game. Leadoff hitter sophomore Briana Knight leads the team in RBIs (12) and home runs (3) and is tied with Welsh for the most hits on the team. Knight also has yet to make an error and has 38 put-outs and two assists.
In the circle for Santa Clara, senior Kaitlyn Rauschnot has established the best ERA of the four-woman staff at 2.90. Rauschnot has three wins and one save and has logged the most innings on the team (82.0). She has tossed seven complete games and earned a complete-game shutout victory (1-0) over Pacific on March 28 in an outing where she only allowed five hits. Freshman hurler Ali Nash has started seven games in 10 appearances and has a 3-3 overall record, pitching two complete games.
The Hornets will be without the services of top players shortstop Desiree Beltran, second baseman Jessica Abelia and pitcher Megan Schaefer, who are all out with injuries. Infielder Erin Jones (.354) and first baseman Alyssa Nakken (.339) are both hitting well, but every other player on Sacramento State's roster is hitting .241 or less. In the circle this weekend, expect to see either Shelby Voelz (3.82, 5-13) or Megan Schaefer (3.83, 3-3) starting. Voelz has started the most games (13), but Schaefer, a first-team All-PCSC pitcher last season has just returned from a concussion that caused her to miss three weeks.
Live stats and live audio will be offered free for all four games this weekend via www.hornetsports.com. Saturday's doubleheader will also serve as the Hornet's "Think Pink" event which supports breast cancer awareness.