SAN JOSE, Calif. – Breezy Bernard hit a game-tying double in the fourth and Stephanie Fisher rounded the bases with an inside the park homerun in the fifth, but Santa Clara (1-10) lost its home-opener to UC Davis 3-2 Tuesday.
UC Davis (4-8) received 15 strikeouts and a complete-game effort from freshman starter Justine Vela (2-3), while back-to-back RBI singles in the bottom of the fifth by Kelly Schulze and Kayla Tyler provided just enough cushion for the Aggies to come away with the win.
"Give UC Davis a lot of credit," said Santa Clara head coach Lisa Mize. "We have played a tough schedule so far, Davis is a good team, and I think playing the early-season schedule we have so far is going to pay off. We were pretty evenly matched today and I think you will see more of that this weekend and into conference."
After three scoreless innings, UC Davis pushed in the game's first run after SCU starter Jessica Turner (0-4) loaded the bases by hitting a batter and issuing two walks. But Turner kept the Broncos in it, allowing three runs on five hits through five innings.
Trailing 3-1 in the fifth, Fisher drilled a ball deep to right-centerfield and used her speed to score on a bang-bang play at the plate. On the day SCU registered six hits, getting two apiece from Briana Knight and Bernard.
"It was good to see us respond well to a weekend where we did not play up to our potential," said Mize, referring to the recent trip to Fresno. "We were really sharp at times tonight and there was a lot of positives that we will get from this one."
With the game at 3-2 in the top of the sixth, freshman lefty Briana Rios came on to relieve Turner and fanned two before Knight came up with a terrific game-saving catch with the bases-loaded, making a shoestring grab in the right-centerfield gap to save at least two runs and maybe more.
Rios shutdown the Aggie offense and provided the Broncos new life and two more chances to tie or take the lead in the sixth or seventh. However, Vela struck out the side in the sixth and despite Bernard drawing a leadoff walk in the seventh, Vela punched out the next two and induced a fielder's choice groundball to end it.
The Broncos will play four times this weekend at the PCSC Crossover Tournament in Moraga, facing Seattle University twice, along with single games with Portland State and Northern Colorado. The weekend action begins Friday morning at 8:30 a.m. against Seattle.
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