Santa Clara, Calif. – The Santa Clara softball team travels to Reno, Nev. this weekend to take on Idaho State and Nevada. They meet Idaho State at 10 a.m. and Nevada at 12:30 p.m. on March 23, and then again the next day, with the first game at 10 a.m. against Idaho State and a finale against Nevada at 3 p.m.
The Broncos (3-20) are coming off a three-game series with UC Santa Barbara at home last weekend, where Santa Clara won the first game, but fell in the final two. On the first day of action, pitcher Carissa Theis tossed eight shutout innings, striking out four. The Broncos walked off with the win when Krista Jensen scored on an error in the bottom of the eighth inning.
On the second day of action, the Gauchos won the first game, 10-1, behind a 12-hit attack.
In the final game of the series, Theis allowed just three hits, including one homerun, in her second sterling pitching performance in two days, but the Broncos failed to score and dropped the second game of a doubleheader 1-0 to the Gauchos on Saturday.
The Broncos are led by junior outfielder Stephanie Fisher, who is ranked 39th in the nation with a .438 batting average. She has notched a hit in 21-of-23 games thus far, good for a total of 29, including a current four-game hit streak. Junior outfielder Rochelle Rivera (.258 BA) has recorded 17 hits and two runs. Jordan Newell (.218 BA) has 12 hits, and Chiara Biagini and Kelly Scribner have 11 apiece.
Turning ahead to the upcoming games, the Broncos have already tangled with Idaho State this year. Santa Clara squeaked out a 4-3 win on Feb. 24 at home against the Bengals. Sophomore lefty Briana Rios pitched six-plus scoreless innings in relief to lead Santa Clara past Idaho State. Rios came on with Santa Clara down 3-0 after five batters in the first inning. She was terrific the rest of the way, fanning six and scattering just six hits. While Rios was negating any further Bengals offense, the Broncos rallied to immediately plate three runs in the bottom of the first inning to even the score at 3-3. In the third, Fisher stole third and took home on a wild throw, which proved to be the winning run.
The Bengals (9-14) are coming off an 8-7 loss to Boise State. They are led by Vicky Galasso, whose .473 batting average is good for 10th in the nation. She has 35 hits, including nine homeruns, and 20 runs to go along with 22 RBI. Amanda Fitzsimmons (.386 BA) has 22 hits and 18 runs.
Nevada (17-12) is riding a seven-game win streak into this weekend, having scored at least 10 runs in six different games this season. They are coming off wins against Northern Colorado and UTSA. The Wolfpack are led by Erin Jones (.398 BA), who has 37 hits, including 13 doubles, 17 runs and 25 RBI. Karley Hopkins (.390 BA) has recorded 39 hits and 27 runs.