Six Road Games Will Test Santa Clara Softball This Week
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SANTA CLARA, Calif. - Santa Clara University's softball team goes back to work this week, preparing for six road games, including a Wednesday night doubleheader at the University of the Pacific and a weekend trip to San Diego to play a four-game Pacific Coast Softball Conference (PCSC) series against the Toreros.
Wednesday, April 11 - Bill Simoni Field (Stockton, Calif.)
Santa Clara @ Pacific 4 p.m.
Santa Clara @ Pacific 6 p.m.
Saturday-Sunday, April 14-15 - USD Softball Complex (San Diego, Calif.)
SAT - Santa Clara @ San Diego 12 noon
SAT - Santa Clara @ San Diego 2 p.m.
SUN - Santa Clara @ San Diego 9 a.m.
SUN - Santa Clara @ San Diego 11 a.m.
The Broncos (7-31; 2-6 PCSC) surrendered leads in both games of its series-ending doubleheader at Sacramento State last weekend. Close losses have really hurt Santa Clara's overall record, playing in 15 games (and losing 10) that have been decided by two runs or less. Two weeks ago, Santa Clara stunned LMU by winning twice in Los Angeles, and this weekend the Broncos will be trying to upset a San Diego team that currently sits atop the PCSC Coastal Division. Look for SCU's offense to rebound from a difficult weekend in Sacramento, where the team hit .173 collectively and scored nine times in four games.
The Tigers (24-13; 4-2 Big West) announced recently that they will be joining the West Coast Conference in 2013-14. That gives hope to a possible WCC softball league, as next year a revamped seven-team PCSC will feature five WCC schools (Santa Clara, LMU, BYU, St. Mary's, San Diego). Currently, Pacific is one of the top teams in the Big West and is coming off a BWC Championship season in 2011 and beginning its 2012 league campaign 4-2. The Tigers return nine starters from their 37-19 championship team last season, including the reigning BWC Player of the Week sophomore UT/C Kelsey Rodriquez (.372 BA).
The Toreros (19-13; 6-2 PCSC) have enjoyed a great deal of success over the past few years under head coach Melissa McElvain, nearly winning the PCSC Coastal Division title in 2011. This season, the Toreros have jumped out to a 19-13 start and are leading the division after the first two weeks of PCSC play. Sophomore RH Jenny Lahitte (9-6; 2.19 ERA) threw a no-hitter against St. Mary's last weekend and has combined with classmate RH Cassidy Coleman (8-4; 2.19 ERA) to make up one of the top pitching combinations in the PCSC.
Junior transfer SS Alyssa Jepsen (.320 BA) – a local All-America JC player last season – went 5 for 13 (.385 BA) last weekend in Sacramento and brings a seven-game hitting streak into Wednesday's games at Pacific. Jepsen has come in and posted a team-leading .421 on-base percentage, setting the table at the top of the SCU batting order along with OF Stephanie Fisher (.330 BA), who leads the team in batting average. Santa Clara's most dangerous offensive player continues to be All-PCSC OF Briana Knight (.265 BA), who leads the team in most every power category: HR (7), RBI (27), slugging % (.513) and total bases (58). As mentioned above, the Broncos hit just .173 as a team last weekend in Sacramento, so the team is looking to get things going offensively this week, beginning in Stockton Wednesday night.
Hard-throwing sophomore RH Jessica Turner (2-7; 6.42 ERA) limited Sacramento State to just five runs in 13-plus innings last weekend. Turner started twice and threw a complete-game three-hitter in a 2-1 loss Friday afternoon. The CG was Turner's third this season, which leads the team. RH Carissa Theis (2-8; 6.45 ERA) also went the distance last weekend, but a lack of run support eventually led to her taking a pair of losses. Theis and freshmen RH Briana Rios (3-10; 5.30 ERA) and Jaymi Bautista-Geiger (0-6; 9.32 ERA) have added much-needed depth to an improved Broncos pitching staff this season.
"Our pitching staff is very diverse this year," said Santa Clara freshman catcher Breezy Bernard, who calls her own game behind the plate. "We have four very different options that we can go with, and every single one of our pitchers has been very successful on the mound. Throughout the season I have watched their movement, placement, and mental focus improve consistently."
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.
IMMEDIATE IMPACT: FRESHMAN CATCHER BREEZY BERNARD
Freshman Breezy Bernard has made an immediate impact for the Santa Clara University women's softball team, starting at catcher in her first collegiate season. In the midst of a grueling 56 game schedule, SantaClaraBroncos.com (SCB) caught up with the backstop about the team's stunning comeback against LMU, her work with the pitching staff and the plethora of young talent on the roster. Read more.
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 (April 10)
San Diego (6-2) 19-13
St. Mary's (4-3) 15-19
Sacramento State (3-3) 21-13
LMU (4-4) 26-15
CSU Bakersfield (3-5) 10-28
Santa Clara (2-6) 7-31
Portland State (6-2) 16-15
Utah Valley (5-3) 24-12-1
Weber State (5-3) 16-21
Seattle (4-4) 11-20
Idaho State (2-6) 6-28
Northern Colorado (2-6) 17-22
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
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