SAN DIEGO, Calif. - The Santa Clara softball team nearly ruined San Diego's chance for a PCSC Championship birth, fighting the Toreros all the way to the end in today's first game of a doubleheader but ultimately losing, 6-5, and the second game, 4-0.
Just one San Diego loss this weekend could possibly knock the Toreros out of PCSC Championship contention if it is combined with a Saint Mary's sweep of Cal State Bakersfield.
The Broncos tried their best to play the spoiler and jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first inning fueled by sophomore Briana Knight's two-run single, but San Diego had an answer in the second inning.
The Toreros scored three runs on three hits in the bottom of the second on one sacrifice fly and two RBI-singles to take the one run lead.
The game then teetered back in favor of Santa Clara in the fourth inning after an explosive offensive burst that began with junior Amanda Edmonson's lead-off double. Two batters later, senior Niole Picard smacked a triple. Following Picard, sophomore Catherine Surane doubled to keep the runs coming. Junior Jackie Nicora finished off the scoring in the inning with an RBI-single that scored Surane, one of her four hits on the day in seven at-bats over the two games.
The Broncos retained the lead for just one inning as San Diego rallied to tie the game in the fifth inning courtesy of a two-run homer by Taylor Hensley.
Santa Clara was held scoreless over the next two tries at the plate and the Toreros won the game in the bottom of the sixth with an RBI-single.
Freshman Riley McKay started the game, pitching 1.2 innings and conceding three runs. Fellow rookie Ali Nash relieved McKay for the final out of the second inning and went on to pitch 4.1 innings, striking out two and allowing just four hits. Nash was charged with the loss, her eighth of the season.
In the second game, the Broncos were shutout but managed six hits on San Diego pitcher Kaitlin Healy. Santa Clara pitcher Kaitlyn Rauschnot also went the distance, her 11th complete game of the season. Rauschnot struck out one and allowed eight hits in 28 batters faced.
The Broncos stranded six runners on base in the game, including two in the final inning.
Mickell Escobar drove in the first run for San Diego in the second inning with a single to left field. Steady production from the batter's box scored three more runs for the Toreros in the fifth inning as the scored held up at 4-0 in favor of San Diego at the game's end. Santa Clara, now 9-34 overall, will complete its 2010 season tomorrow as it faces San Diego in one last doubleheader. First pitch is scheduled for noon.