SANTA CLARA, Calif. — In the final day of action hosting Sacramento State, Santa Clara fell to the Hornets 4-3 in a late-game comeback from the visitors. Sacramento State moves to 8-5, and the Broncos fall to 2-13. Santa Clara hits the road next, heading to Oklahoma State for a tournament March 8-10.
"We started the game well," said Bronco head coach Lisa Mize. "It was a good game, we just need to close it up. We tend to play tight in the final innings and if we just relax a bit and play our game, we'll get those wins. It will come - we just need to keep our confidence up."
Sac State wasted no time putting runners on base. Swinging at the first pitch from Bronco starter Jessica Turner, Hornets leadoff hitter Kelli Frye reached on a single up the middle. With two outs, Paige Martin's single was enough to bring home Frye. Santa Clara catcher caught Martin trying to steal second for the third out of the inning.
Santa Clara drew even with Sac State in the bottom of the second. Jordan Newell led off the second inning for the Broncos with a shot to center field, good for a double. Kelly Scribner followed with a double of her own to center field, scoring Newell and erasing the Hornets one-run lead. Catcher Breezy Brenard flied out to deep right field, allowing Scribner to advance to third, but Santa Clara was unable to continue the rally.
With the top of the lineup starting off the bottom of the third, Rochelle Rivera started off with a base hit to center field. Chiara Biagini laid down a sacfarice bunt to move Rivera to second base, and Stephanie Fisher crushed a double to center field to score Rivera, giving the Broncos a 2-1 lead and forcing Sac State to switch pitchers. Jordan Newell, again taking advantage of the gap in center field, reached on a base knock, scoring Fisher and giving the Broncos a 3-1 advantage after three innings.
Santa Clara held Sac State at one run through six. With the top of the Hornets lineup starting off the seventh, Paige Martin notched a single, scoring Yesenia Alcala. Kayla Papez added a hit of her own, driving in two more runs, giving the Hornets a 4-3 lead halfway through seven.
Tuner worked through six plus innings. She ended the afternoon allowing nine hits and one run. Ciara Gonzalez entered in the seventh, allowing two hits and one run.
"Jess pitched a great game," said Mize. "Her pitch count was up when she gave up two hits in a row, so we thought it was a good time to make a change. Ciara came in yesterday and pitched well so we wanted her in again today, but unfortunately that it didn't go our way."
Hornets starter Kaitlyn Yerby lasted 2 plus innings, allowing four hits and three runs, while striking out one. She was replaced by Jennifer Hartman, who worked through the final innings for the Hornets, allowing four hits.