SCU Softball Preps for Southern California Trip, UCR Tournament

PCSC Weekly Release (PDF)
SCU Softball Interactive Virtual Guide

SANTA CLARA, Calif. –
Following a wet weekend in the Bay Area, which limited Santa Clara University's softball team to just one game at the Gael Classic in Moraga, the Broncos head to Southern California to play four times at UC Riverside's Tournament Friday through Sunday, March 23-25.

2012 UCR TOURNAMENT
Friday-Sunday, March 23-25 – Amy S. Harrison Field (Riverside, Calif.)
TOURNAMENT CENTRAL

Friday

Colorado State vs. Brown 9:00 a.m.
Santa Clara vs. Brown 11:30 a.m.
Santa Clara vs. Colorado State 2:00 p.m.

Saturday
Santa Clara vs. Brown 9:00 a.m.
UC Riverside vs. Colorado State 11:30 a.m.
UC Riverside vs. Brown 2:00 p.m. 
Sunday
Colorado State vs. Brown 9:00 a.m.
UC Riverside vs. Colorado State 11:30 a.m.
UC Riverside vs. Santa Clara 2:00 p.m.

SANTA CLARA
The Broncos (4-21; PCSC) have played much better than their record may indicate. Santa Clara has played 19 of 25 games on the road and has lost six games by two runs or less. Look for continued improvement throughout the rest of the month leading up to Pacific Coast Softball Conference (PCSC) play, which begins April 31-May 1 at LMU.

BROWN

The Bears (2-7; 0-0 Ivy League) are playing an abbreviated 37-game schedule in 2012, and are just nine games into their season thus far. A 5-4 win over Mount St. Mary's Sunday in Baltimore and a season-opening 10-5 victory over UT-Arlington account for Brown's two victories. Brown has been out-scored this season 86-32, averaging 3.5 runs per game. The Bears were 14-22-1 last season, going 8-12 in Ivy League play.

COLORADO STATE
The Rams (12-17; 0-0 MWC) and second-year head coach Jen Fisher have rebounded nicely from an 8-43 season in 2011. After a slow start, CSU has gone 8-5 since March 2, including an impressive 3-2 weekend at Stanford's Louisville Slugger Classic two weeks ago. The Rams offense is averaging 2-plus extra-base hits per game and the team's collective on-base percentage is .373.

UC RIVERSIDE
The tournament host Highlanders (12-14; 0-0 Big West) have been on a roll as of late, winning 11 of 16 heading into their weekend event at Harrison Field. UCR's has a deep pitching staff, highlighted by senior Jordyn McDonald (7-7; 3.93 ERA) and freshman Taylor Alvarez (3-3; 4.30 ERA). McDonald has eight complete games in 11 starts. UCR went 13-33 overall and 6-15 in the Big West in 2011.

QUOTABLE
"I was very proud of our defense," said Santa Clara starting pitcher Jessica Turner following a recent victory over UC Santa Barbara March 11. "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."

THE OFFENSE

Junior OF Jamie Wallis (.403 BA) is in the midst of an outstanding month of March, going 11 of 26 (.423 BA) with a .516 on-base percentage in the past 10 games. She leads the team this season in batting average (.403), slugging percentage (.507), on-base percentage (.487), hits (27), walks (11) and is tied for the team-lead in steals (4). Three other Broncos have hit .300-plus this month – all newcomers – freshmen 3B Jordan Newell (.318 BA) and C Breezy Bernard (.270 BA) along with transfer SS Alyssa Jepsen (.281). For the season, sophomore OF Stephanie Fisher (.314 BA), classmate 1B Kelly Scribner (.265 BA) and senior OF Briana Knight (.269 BA) have provided invaluable offensive production as everyday players. Fisher leads the team in runs (15) and doubles (6), while Scribner and Knight each have 15 RBI and three homers.

PITCHING
The Broncos and fourth-year head coach Lisa Mize (who was an Olympic pitcher at the 1996 Games in Atlanta) can go to four different pitchers this season – a notable upgrade from a two-pitcher lineup a year ago. Freshman LH Briana Rios (1-5; 4.19 ERA) leads the staff in ERA as a first-year collegiate player and classmate RH Jaymi Bautista-Geiger (0-5; 9.66 ERA) have emerged as immediate contributors at the Division I level. Junior transfer RH Carissa Theis (2-6; 6.70 ERA) took a tough loss to Iowa State last weekend, but is a proven talent, leading New Mexico State in starts (24) as a true freshman in 2010 and helping the Aggies claim a Western Athletic Conference (WAC) title as a sophomore last season. RH Jessica Turner (1-5; 7.54 ERA) throws harder than any other Bronco and has been called upon to start more games (8) than any of the four pitchers this season.

FIELDING
The Bronco defense has been playing extremely well. SCU has limited its errors to seven in the past six games. The Broncos played error-free in Sunday's 6-2 loss to Iowa State. Jamie Wallis made some terrific catches in centerfield two weeks ago at the SCU Bronco Classic in San Jose, as did Briana Knight in leftfield. Newcomers, Alyssa Jepsen and Jordan Newell, have been solid on the left side of the infield.

INSTANT ACCESS
For the very latest on Santa Clara softball, follow the team's official Twitter page (@SCUSoftball) and the Bronco softball Facebook page for updates and information throughout the year.

ALYSSA JEPSEN GIVES FANS AN INSIDE LOOK AT SCU SOFTBALL 
It's always an adjustment for transfers to be successful in their first year at a new university. But Alyssa Jepsen, last season a National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA) Junior College All-American shortstop and pitcher at the College of San Mateo, has immediately become Santa Clara's leadoff hitter and everyday shortstop. She recently took the time to give us an inside look at SCU Softball. Read more.

PCSC STANDINGS (March 20)
Coastal Division
LMU 20-10
Sacramento State 16-8
San Diego 13-11
St. Mary's 7-14
CSU Bakersfield 6-19
Santa Clara 4-21

Mountain Division

Utah Valley 13-5
Portland State 10-11
Northern Colorado 11-13
Seattle 6-11
Weber State 7-13
Idaho State 3-19

PCSC SHIFTS TO SEVEN TEAMS NEXT YEAR
Brigham Young University has accepted an invitation to join the Pacific Coast Softball Conference in 2013. The addition of BYU will give the PCSC seven teams for the 2013 campaign as the Big Sky Conference will begin sponsoring softball in 2013, meaning the PCSC's Big Sky core-members of Idaho State, Northern Colorado, Portland State, Sacramento State and Weber State will leave the PCSC after this season. Seattle University will also be leaving the PCSC for the Western Athletic Conference (WAC) following the 2012 campaign.

While the West Coast Conference (WCC) does not sponsor softball, the Cougars will be among five WCC schools in the soon-to-be seven-team PCSC in 2013. BYU will play the 2012 season in the WAC before joining fellow WCC members Santa Clara, Loyola Marymount, San Diego and Saint Mary's in the PCSC.

PCSC alignment for 2013
Santa Clara, LMU, BYU, St. Mary's, San Diego, Cal State Bakersfield, Utah Valley