Santa Clara, Calif. – Santa Clara Softball opened PCSC play with the first half of a four game set on Friday at the SCU Softball Field and dropped the first two games to LMU in extra innings. LMU took game one, 2-1, in 10 innings and won game two, 5-3, in eight innings. The Broncos slipped to 3-25 on the year while LMU upped its record to 21-16.
Game one needed extra innings for a decision. Broncos' starter Carissa Theis was brilliant, working through the entire game striking out nine allowing nine hits and two runs.
Santa Clara threatened in the bottom of the first, with Casandra Padilla being tagged out at home after sending a laser to the fence good for a double in her first at-bat at SCU Softball Field. Jordan Newell's hit that would have been extra bases was enough for Padilla to try for home.
The tie was broken in the top of the fifth. With a Lions' runner on second, Broncos starter Carissa Theis struck out two in a row. LMU's Nicole Clowdus ripped a shot up the middle, scoring Sterling Shuster and giving the Lions a 1-0 lead.
Santa Clara benefitted from an LMU error in the bottom of the fifth, allowing Krista Jensen on base. With two out, Jensen advanced to second on a passed ball. Stephanie Fisher, who is ranked 2nd or higher in every major batting category in the PCSC, stepped to the plate and ripped a double to the center field fence, scoring Jensen and pulling the Broncos even with the Lions, 1-1.
Neither team was able to push a run across through seven innings. Headed to extra innings, the Lions were unable to push anything across in the top of the eighth.
The Broncos came close to a walk-off in the bottom of the eighth. With two out, Padilla swung at the first pitch, notching a stand-up double and advancing to third on a stolen base, but the Lions were able to escape the inning without allowing Padilla to score.
LMU drove across one run in the top of the 10th inning, which would prove to be the winning run.
LMU starter Sydney Gouveia lasted the duration of the two-hour duel, allowing four hits and one run while striking out 11.
Santa Clara scored a pair of runs after two were out in the bottom of the seventh to force extra innings in game two, but the Lions responded with a pair in the top of the eighth for the win
After Scribner and Wallis both grounded out to second to open the SCU seventh, Krista Jensen walked and Rochelle Rivera reached when her grounder to short got between the legs of Stephanie Maciel for an error.
Fisher then lined a sharp single up the middle, her second hit of the game and third of the day, to score Jensen and pull the Broncos within one. Casandra Padilla hit a sharp one-hop grounder in the hole between third and short that nicked the glove of third baseman Meghan Harman and drifted back towards center field allowing Rivera to score the tying run. Biagini grounded out with the with the winning run on third to end the inning.
A leadoff walk in the eighth proved the undoing of SCU starter Brianna Rios. She walked Olivia Alvaraz on four pitches and was relieved by Carissa Theis.
Maciel attempted to sacrifice the runner and her bunt back to Theis was thrown low to first and skipped down the right field line putting runners on second and third with no out.
Theis uncorked a wild pitch allowing pinch runner Meghan van Behren to score the winning run. Montalban stroked a single to center for an insurance run and a 5-3 Lions lead.
The Broncos had two runners on base with two out in the bottom half of the inning but failed to score.
LMU took an early 1-0 lead with a run in the top of the first, and added another run in the top of the third to take the 2-0 lead.
Santa Clara had runners in scoring position in the third and fourth innings. Jensen led off the third with a walk, and advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt. Fisher reached on an error, moving Jensen to third, but with two outs, Padilla was unable to extend the rally. Chiara Biagini was hit by a pitch leading off the fourth and with one out was sacrificed to second base. Kelly Scribner grounded out to third to squelch the threat.
The Broncos got on the board in the fifth scoring after two were out. Rochelle Rivera dropped a single into left field for the Broncos' first hit of the game. She advanced to second on a wild pitch and scored on a single to right by Fisher that glanced off the glove of a diving Schuster.
The Lions added a run in the top of the seventh to go up 3-1. Hannah Montalban ripped a double down the right field line and scored when Meghan Harman singled to center and Bronco's fielder Rivera bobbled the ball and threw late to home.
Broncos starter Brianna Rios allowed five hits and four runs, none of which were earned, and fell to 1-5 on the year.
Dana Waldusky went the distance for LMU giving up six hits and one earned run to improve to 5-12.