February 10, 2012

Santa Clara Softball Tops Rival in Early-Season Tournament Play

LAS CRUCES, New Mexico – The Santa Clara University softball team beat local rival St. Mary's 12-10 today during tournament play at the 2012 Hotel Encanto Invitational hosted by New Mexico State.

Santa Clara (1-2) scored four times in the fourth inning, using RBI singles from all-league outfielder Briana Knight (Fairfield, Calif./Angelo Rodriguez) and first baseman Kelly Scribner (Loveland, Colo./Mountain View) to transform a 7-6 deficit into a 10-7 lead. Knight singled in another during a two-run SCU fifth, which put the Broncos up 12-8.

"We haven't beat St. Mary's in a couple years and our girls were jazzed to get this one done; it was really a great win for us," said fourth-year Santa Clara head coach Lisa Mize. "It went back and forth, and it was not the prettiest game, but again, we got it done. Really excited to see we kept fighting. We continued to hit and score runs throughout the game, battling all the way through."

True freshman Ashley Haney (Watsonville, Calif./Aptos High School) hit her first collegiate homerun and Stephanie Fisher (Tracy, Calif./Tracy) enjoyed a two-RBI game, as did Knight.

Junior transfer Carissa Theis (San Jose, Calif./Leigh) closed out the Gaels with five innings of five-hit softball to pick up her first win, striking out three while not allowing a walk. Theis' season record moves to 1-1.

"It was nice to see Carissa bounce back from yesterday's opener and hit her spots and throw with confidence just like we know she can," said Mize.

In Santa Clara's second game Friday, an afternoon matchup with Illinois-Chicago, the Broncos trailed 1-0 in the fifth before UCI manufactured a pair of runs on three singles and an SCU throwing error. Jessica Turner (Tulsa, Ok./Broken Arrow) took the hard-luck loss despite allowing just two earned runs in a complete-game effort, walking just one.

"You know that was a good game (versus) UCI," said Mize. "We actually out-hit them and had some chances, but they are a good team. We had the bases loaded in the seventh and it was good to see us finish the game strong with some good at-bats. Mentally, I think we are stronger than we have been in past years; that was great to see."

The 2012 Hotel Encanto Invitational continues through the weekend. See the complete schedule below. 

"We are playing some tough competition this weekend," said Mize. "Our goal moving forward is to continue to get better. We can compete with anybody if we play our A game. It is very early in the season and despite being young we are a talented team and we will have quite a bit of success along the way."

THIS WEEK' SCHEDULE/RESULTS:
Thursday, Feb. 9, 2012

UTEP 11, Santa Clara 3 (El Paso, Tex.)
Friday, Feb. 10, 2012 (Hotel Encanto Invitational; Las Cruces, NM)
Santa Clara 12, Saint Mary's 10
Illinois-Chicago 5, Santa Clara 1
Saturday, Feb. 11, 2012 (Hotel Encanto Invitational; Las Cruces, NM)
vs. Indiana - 2:30 p.m. (PT)
@ New Mexico State – 4:30 p.m. (PT)
Sunday, Feb. 12, 2012 (Hotel Encanto Invitational; Las Cruces, NM)
vs. UTEP - 11 a.m. (PT)