Bronco Softball Plays No. 20 Stanford Wednesday; CSUN and UC Davis This Weekend

Bronco Softball Plays No. 20 Stanford Wednesday; CSUN and UC Davis This Weekend

SANTA CLARA, Calif. – Fresh off opening its new on-campus facility, the SCU Softball Field, the Bronco softball team will play four times this week in Palo Alto. Santa Clara will matchup with No. 20 Stanford at 5 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 13 at the Cardinal's Boyd & Jill Smith Family Stadium. Over the weekend, Santa Clara will return to Stanford's campus to play CSU Northridge and UC Davis on Saturday and Sunday as part of the 2013 Stanford Nike Invitational Tournament. 

2013 Stanford Nike Invitational Tournament
@ Smith Family Stadium (Stanford, Calif.)
Wednesday, Feb. 13
Santa Clara @ No. 20 Stanford – 5 p.m.  LIVE STATS 
Saturday, Feb. 16
Santa Clara vs. CSU Northridge – 9:30 a.m. LIVE STATS
Santa Clara vs. UC Davis – 2 p.m. LIVE STATS 
Sunday, Feb. 17
Santa Clara vs. UC Davis – 12:15 p.m. LIVE STATS 

Santa Clara (0-2; 0-0 PCSC) dropped a pair of games to (soon-to-be West Coast Conference foe) the University of the Pacific on Saturday. The Broncos will be moving into the newly-formed WCC sponsored softball league in 2014. The doubleheader with Pacific also marked the opening of the Broncos recently constructed SCU Softball Field.

"I think today's atmosphere was fantastic," said fifth-year SCU head softball coach Lisa Mize after Saturday's games with UOP. "To have this many people out here on Opening Day to support, not just us, but softball in general, was awesome. Great sense of what kind of support we are going to it and we plan to build on that."

Games scores went 6-0 and 8-1 in favor of the Tigers. Junior OF Stephanie Fisher (.333 BA) went 2 for 6 with an RBI to start the season for SCU. True freshman DP Chiara Biagini (.333 BA) – batting in the No. 2 spot - singled, walked twice and was hit by a pitch during the two games against UOP. C Breezy Bernard (.333 BA), OF Rochelle Rivera (.333 BA) - pictured above - and 1B Kelly Scribner (.333 BA) also had multiple hits during the doubleheader, but as a team SCU left 10 runners on base and was able to score just once in front its capacity crowd on Opening Day.

"We played tough for four innings," Mize said when looking back at the doubleheader. "We let the game get away from us a little bit after the fourth inning in both games. So, staying strong through seven innings and having our hitting come around, especially timely hitting, is something we will be working on this week."

Senior starter RHP Carissa Theis (0-1; 6.23 ERA) and true freshman RHP Ciara Gonzales (0-1; 10.12 ERA) both pitched well against UOP, keeping Santa Clara within striking distance until the later innings. Mize - a former Olympic pitcher - has stocked her 2013 roster with five available arms. Experienced RHP Jessica Turner (0-0, 0.00 ERA) along with underclassmen LHP Briana Rios (0-0; 27.00 ERA) and RHP Jaymi Bautista-Geiger (0-0; 27.00 ERA) were all used Saturday against UOP. 

Stanford (4-2; 0-0 Pac 12) is ranked 20th nationally in the latest Softball Collegiate Top 25 Poll. Wednesday night's game against Santa Clara marks the 2013 home-opener at Smith Family Stadium. Stanford played six times down in Tempe, Ariz. at the Kajikawa Classic hosted by No. 3 Arizona State. The Cardinal went 40-19 last season, 11-13 in the Pac-12, en route to a 6th-place conference finish. Stanford went on to advance into the NCAA tournament for the 15th time in school history. This year, the Cardinal is again picked to finish 6th in Pac-12, returning 13 letter winners, including 2012 All-American INF Jenna Rich (.333 BA). 

CSU Northridge (1-4; 0-0 Big West) also opened the season at the Kajikawa Classic in Tempe. CSUN lost to San Jose State 6-5 in their opener and after losses to No. 3 Arizona State, No. 5 Florida and No. 8 Cal, rebounded to top Western Michigan 6-1 in their final game at the tournament on Sunday. The Matadors were 10-42 last season, 5-16 in the Big West. CSUN last went to the NCAA tournament in 2007, which was the team's fourth appearance in the national postseason field since 2001.  

UC Davis (3-2; 0-0 Big West) beat Southern Miss twice and also defeated UTEP in their opening weekend of play in Fresno. The Aggies are led by 9th-year head coach Karen Yoder. Last year, UC Davis went 22-28 overall and 7-14 in the Big West. Last spring in San Jose, it was UCD coming away with a 3-2 victory over Santa Clara on a Tuesday night at PAL Stadium. SCU's Breezy Bernard hit a game-tying double in the fourth inning of that game versus UCD last season and Stephanie Fisher rounded the bases with an inside the park homerun but the Aggies prevailed thanks to 15 strikeouts and a complete-game effort from freshman starter Justine Vela.

"We feel very fortunate to get the chance to finally to play on campus," said junior pitcher Jessica Turner when asked about the Broncos' brand-new softball facility. "We are forever grateful to all the parties involved in making this happen for us.  In the past, playing at other sites for our games has never really felt like we had a real home. We have some great talent this year and we have been working hard to prepare for our upcoming season. And it is even more exciting that we have been given the opportunity to defend our home turf!"

"It's a great day for Santa Clara, and particularly this Bronco softball program," said Santa Clara's Director of Athletics and Recreation Dan Coonan, who said a few words to the sell-out crowd on hand for Opening Day prior to the ceremonial first pitch. "This field has been a long time in the making.  We are so appreciative of the University's efforts to make this happen.  It will be a well-deserved home for this team for years to come."

"This year, I am really looking forward to playing BYU," said SCU first baseman Kelly Scribner when asked what games she has circled on the schedule this spring. "This will be the first year we are playing them, as they have entered the PCSC (Pacific Coast Softball Conference) for the last year of the conference. Everyone, myself included, is looking forward to next year when softball will finally become a WCC sport. Also, BYU has a very good softball team, and it will be a fun challenge to play them!"

Recent approval of softball as the 
West Coast Conference's 14th sponsored sport will have Santa Clara competing in the WCC beginning in 2014, with the WCC champion receiving an automatic berth in the NCAA Tournament. This spring, Santa Clara will be playing its final season within a realigned Pacific Coast Softball Conference (PCSC)

Santa Clara's softball team is proud to announce its newly formed Dugout Club. The goal of the Dugout Club is to bring together supporters of the program. Alumni, current parents, and alumni parents, friends of the program, community partners, and organizations are all encouraged to join. The Dugout Club gifts go directly to the softball program's operating budget and will be used to help fund team travel, equipment purchases, new uniforms and costs associated with recruiting.

Season tickets at the newly-built SCU Softball Field can be purchased for just $50 ($20 for youth and seniors). To purchase tickets online visit the Bronco Ticket Zone. For complete season and single-game ticket pricing for SCU softball click here. Fans can also call the ticket office directly at (408) 554-4660 to buy tickets or for additional information.   

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!