April 11, 2011

Santa Clara Softball Begins 13-game Homestand This Week

SANTA CLARA, Calif. – Coming off a pair of conference victories the Santa Clara University softball team will play six games this week, including the team's home-opener at 12 noon on Thursday, April 14 against Oregon State. Thirteen of Broncos next 14 games will be played on their home field at West Valley College.

This Week's Schedule:

TUE 7 p.m. @ Pacific
THU 12 noon vs. OREGON STATE
SAT 12 noon vs. LMU* (DH)
SUN 12 noon vs. LMU* (DH)

*Pacific Coast Softball Conference (PCSC) game
Live scoring for all SCU home games can be accessed online at www.Santa ClaraBroncos.com

The Broncos (6-13; 2-2 PCSC) will travel to play at Pacific Tuesday night before beginning its homestand, which has the team playing at West Valley College in Saratoga 13 times between now and May 1.  A single game against Oregon State and a weekend conference series with LMU are on tap this week.

"We are going to try and build on the weekend," said Santa Clara head coach Lisa Mize after splitting four games at Cal State Bakersfield. "We almost had three of four here and that is encouraging. Playing a lot of games this week will allow us to get a number of different players some playing time. We are off to a decent start in conference and we are going to keep improving."

The Broncos saw outfielders Briana Knight (.429 BA) and Jackie Nicora (.304 BA) combine to go 12-for-23 in the four-game set against the Roadrunners. Knight hit three homers, had six RBI and scored five runs. She leads the PCSC in batting average (.429), slugging % (.918) and on-base percentage (.500). Nicora extended her team-leading hitting streak to seven games.

The offense has also benefited from the power surge of junior UT Catherine Surane (.182 BA) and sophomore SS Jamie Wallis (.216 BA). Wallis hit two homers and two doubles against CSUB and Surane provided timely hits, including a go-ahead solo homer in the Broncos 4-3 win Saturday morning. No player has been more clutch for SCU than true freshman 1B Kelly Scribner (.262 BA), who is batting .455 with runners in scoring position. Scribner also ranks second in the PCSC in on-base % (.492).

"Recently I've put in a lot of practice with our hitting coach who has been very positive and encouraging," said Wallis in a recent interview. "I think this has definitely contributed to my success at the plate lately."

Mize has been using the pitching combination of senior RH Jenna Fong (5-4; 6.28 ERA) and freshman RH Jessica Turner (1-8, 10.59 ERA). Fong tossed a complete-game shutout against CSUB on Sunday. The final-year player from Sacramento is off to a great start to her senior season, already claiming five wins, a marked improvement on her 1-3 record a year ago. Look for Turner to continue to progress as her rookie season continues. The 5-foot-10 Oklahoma native won two state championships as a prep player at Broken Arrow High School in Tulsa.

Scouting this week's opponents, Pacific (24-13; 4-2 Big West) is coming off a 6-0 win over UC Davis Sunday. Pacific beat Santa Clara 11-1 back on February 26 in Stockton. Pacific has already matched its 24-game win total from 2010. The Tigers are hitting .314 as a team and have two quality starters in RH Nikki Armagost (11-8; 2.96 ERA) and RH Tori Shepard (9-5; 2.85 ERA).

Oregon State (17-13; 1-5 Pac-10) is just 1-5 in Pac-10 play thus far, but faced No. 7 UCLA and No. 5 Arizona. The Beavers had won nine-straight and owned a 16-8 overall record before losing five of six to the Bruins and Wildcats. OSU's pitching has been impressive, with the team's three starters combining to post a 2.71 ERA. OSU is going to play three games at Stanford later this weekend.

LMU (19-21; 3-1 PCSC) was one win away from sweeping St. Mary's last weekend in Los Angeles. The Lions endured a rough stretch where they went 3-11 in late February and early March. However, a six-game winning streak got them back on track and they enter the week having won 11 of 15. Junior 1B Kelly Sarginson (.339 BA) leads the PCSC with 12 homers and 40 RBI. 

PCSC Coastal Division Standings (April 10)
Loyola Marymount ... 3-1 ... 19-21 (L1)
San Diego ... 3-1 ... 13-14 (W3)
CSU Bakersfield ... 2-2 ... 14-20 (W1)
Santa Clara ... 2-2 ... 6-13 (L1)
Sacramento State ... 1-3 ... 9-19 (L3)
Saint Mary's ... 1-3 ... 5-16 (W1)

PCSC Mountain Division Standings (April 10)
Northern Colorado ... 0-4 ... 6-23 (W4)
Seattle ... 3-1 ... 7-23 (W1)
Utah Valley ... 3-1 ... 10-19 (W1)
Portland State ... 1-3 ... 13-15 (L1)
Weber State ... 1-3 ... 8-24 (L1)
Idaho State ... 0-4 .... 6-23 (L5)

Saturday, April 16

Portland State at IDAHO STATE (DH) – 11:00 am
Northern Colorado at WEBER STATE (DH) – 11:00 am
CSU Bakersfield at SAN DIEGO (DH) – 12:00 pm
Loyola Marymount at SANTA CLARA (DH) – 12:00 pm
Saint Mary's at SACRAMENTO STATE (DH) – 12:00 pm
Utah Valley at SEATTLE (DH) – 12:00 pm

Sunday, April 17
Portland State at IDAHO STATE (DH) – 11:00 am
CSU Bakersfield at SAN DIEGO (DH) – 12:00 pm
Loyola Marymount at SANTA CLARA (DH) – 12:00 pm
Saint Mary's at SACRAMENTO STATE (DH) – 12:00 pm
Utah Valley at SEATTLE (DH) – 12:00 pm