Briana Knight’s Slam Lifts Santa Clara in Tournament Finale
SAN JOSE, Calif. – Briana Knight hit a first-inning grand slam to power Santa Clara's softball team to 5-2 victory over UC Santa Barbara in the final game of the 2012 SCU Bronco Classic in San Jose.
Knight – an All-Pacific Coast Softball Conference outfielder and .413 hitter a year ago – blasted a 1-0 pitch towards leftfield in her first at-bat Sunday morning, easily clearing the wall, and clearing the bases as well to give the Broncos a 4-0 lead.
Knight finished the day 2 for 3 as did All-America JC transfer Alyssa Jepsen and junior Jamie Wallis. Wallis added an RBI-double in the fifth, one of eight Bronco hits.
"That homerun felt real nice," said Knight. "I am really excited it was a grand slam. But first and foremost, I have to credit my teammates for getting on base. I really think this game was fantastic for us in a number of ways. We have been so close and it was nice to take advantage of our opportunities today."
Santa Clara (4-20) – a team that has played much better than its record indicates – broke through with a much-needed win as they hope to build momentum heading into PCSC play at the end of the month.
UC Santa Barbara (10-17) was denied a 4-1 weekend in San Jose. The Gauchos had defeated St. Mary's 7-5 in comeback fashion earlier Sunday morning, a game they trailed twice before rallying to win in nine innings. See the complete tournament results and box scores below.
Sophomore starter Jessica Turner (1-5) got off to a good start Sunday, holding UCSB without a hit until the third, but was able to work out of a two-on, one-out jam to keep the Broncos in front 4-1.
"Jess pitched her tail off," said Knight when asked about the keys to the game."Santa Barbara is a good hitting team and to hold them to two runs was a goal of ours."
Shelby Wisdom (6-8) took the loss for UCSB. The Elk Grove, Calif. native was effective after allowing singles by Stephanie Fisher, Wallis and hitting Kelly Scribner in the first inning, which set up Knight's game-changing swing in the early stages.
However, Wisdom was out-dueled by Turner, who threw a complete-game four-hitter, striking out three and allowing just one earned run.
"I was very proud of our defense," said Turner. "Our defense backed me up. At the beginning of the season we had struggled with our defense and lately we are seeing so much improvement, cutting down on our errors. It does a lot for my confidence as a pitcher and I think this win is going to help us out with our confidence overall."
SCU BRONCO CLASSIC
March 9-11, 2012 - Spartan Stadium (San Jose, Calif.)
SAN JOSE STATE 6, St. Mary's 5 - Box Score
SAN JOSE STATE 3, UC Santa Barbara 1 - Box Score
St. Mary's 2, SANTA CLARA 0 - Box Score
UC SANTA BARBARA 7, St. Mary's 1 - Box Score
UC Santa Barbara 3, SANTA CLARA 1 - Box Score
UC Santa Barbara 7, ST. MARY'S 5 (9) - Box Score
SANTA CLARA 5, UC Santa Barbara 2 - Box Score