SAN JOSE, Calif. – Carissa Theis kept visiting St. Mary's off the scoreboard through five innings and the host Broncos brought the go-ahead run to the plate in sixth, but the Gaels held on to win Saturday's opening game of the SCU Bronco Softball Classic, 2-0.
Santa Clara (3-20) then lost a tight 3-1 contest to UC Santa Barbara (9-15) in the 1:30 p.m. game. St. Mary's (6-12) and UCSB will play Sunday morning at 10 a.m., followed by Santa Clara and UCSB matching up again at 12:15 p.m.
Fans can follow all the action live as tournament play continues at Spartan Softball Stadium in San Jose this weekend.
SCU BRONCO CLASSIC
Friday-Sunday, March 9-11 - Spartan Stadium (San Jose, Calif.)
Friday: SAN JOSE STATE 6, St. Mary's 5 - Box Score
Friday: SAN JOSE STATE 3, UC Santa Barbara 1 - Box Score
Saturday: St. Mary's 2, SANTA CLARA 0 - Box Score
Saturday: UC SANTA BARBARA 7, St. Mary's 1 - Box Score
Saturday: UC Santa Barbara 3, SANTA CLARA 1 - Box Score
Sunday, 10 a.m. - UC Santa Barbara vs. ST. MARY'S
Sunday, 12:15 p.m. – UC Santa Barbara vs. SANTA CLARA
Helped by error-free defense in Game One and a pair of terrific catches in centerfielder Jamie Wallis, Theis (2-5) fanned seven in a complete-game six-hit effort for Santa Clara against SMC.
The Gaels gave true-freshman Sarah Lira (1-0) her first career start, and she responded with a gem – posting a five-hit shutout, walking just one. Michelle Mounts led off the Gaels' two-run sixth with one of her two hits and teammates Rebbeca Sabatini and Kayla Gonzales provided RBIs to put SMC up 2-0 heading into the late stages.
Jordan Newell continued her hot hitting by singling in her first at-bat for SCU. The heart of the Bronco order also came through with hits from Wallis, Kelly Scribner Breezy Bernard, as did leadoff hitter Alyssa Jepsen.
In Santa Clara's second game, playing UCSB, freshman Jaymi Bautista-Geiger nearly homered in the second inning for the Broncos, driving a ball off the left-field wall. The opportunity was followed by another scoring chance in the third, when Jepsen doubled down the right-field line.
However, the Gaucho pitching combination of Andriana Collins and Shelby Wisdom (6-7) was able to work out of trouble and keep the game scoreless through four innings.
In turn, Bronco freshman lefty Briana Rios (1-5) responded by throwing strikes all afternoon, limiting UCSB to three hits before an infield single and Allison Taylor's two-out double produced the game's first run in the fifth.
Trailing 1-0 in the bottom of the sixth, Stephanie Fisher doubled off the wall in left-center to lead off the inning, putting SCU in position to rally. The go-ahead run reached first base moments later, then Briana Knight lined the second pitch she saw from Wisdom into the alley in left-center, scoring Fisher and tying the game at 1-1.
Rios threw 88 pitches (55 for strikes) in six-plus innings, leaving the game in the top of the seventh when Taylor hit her second RBI-double of the game to give UCSB back the lead 2-1. A sac fly later in the inning scored Taylor to extend the Gaucho advantage to 3-1.
Wisdom limited Santa Clara to one run despite Knight's one-out double in the sixth and would close the door by inducing a game-ending double-play grounder in the bottom of the seventh.