Santa Clara Softball Wins Conference Opener, Game Two Comeback Comes Up Just Short

SANTA CLARA, Calif. – Opening the newly formed West Coast Conference, Santa Clara softball split a doubleheader with newest WCC member Pacific by finals of 2-0 and 8-6. The Broncos are now 5-21 overall and 1-1 in WCC action on the season while the Tigers are now 12-21 overall and 1-1 in conference play.

Santa Clara returns to the field tomorrow, Sun., April 6 at 12 p.m. in the finale of the three-game series.

Game 1

Ciara Gonzales (2-7) started for Santa Clara and picked up a win in the complete game. Gonzales allowed five this with one walk and one strikeout. Geenamarie Bonilla was 1-4 with a double and two RBI to lead the offense. Rochelle Rivera was 1-4 with a run scored while Stephanie Fisher had a walk and a run scored.

Tori Shepard (4-9) started for Pacific and picked up a loss in 7.0 innings. Shepard allowed two unearned runs on three hits with three walks and six strikeouts. Gabby Goyette was 2-3 to lead the offense. Melanie Habib, Bailey O'Mara, and Taylor Brink each added a hit.

Pacific got the first two runners on to lead off the bottom of the first and a single by O'Mara loaded the bases with just one down for the Tigers. Gonzales came back with a lineout double play to escape the jam.

Santa Clara scored the only two runs of the game in the top of the third. Amanda Delfino led off the inning and was hit by a pitch. Rivera laid down a sacrifice bunt but reached on an error to put runners on the corners. Fisher hit into a fielder's choice that saw Delfino gunned down at home. Bonilla picked up Fisher with a two-RBI double to centerfield.

The first two Broncos reached in the top of the fifth and a double steal put runners on second and third with one out. Kelly Scribner went down looking and Breezy Bernard grounded out to end the inning.

In the bottom of the seventh, Nicole Zapotoczny led off with a walk but the next three batters went down in order to give Santa Clara the win.

Game 2

Brianna Rios (1-5) started for Santa Clara and picked up a loss in 3.0 innings. Rios allowed three runs on five hits with two walks and four strikeouts. Fisher was 3-5 with a double, a run scored, and a RBI to lead the offense. Rivera was 2-4 with two runs scored while Bonilla was 1-3 with a run scored and two RBI.

Dani Bonnet (7-6) started for Pacific and picked up a win in 6.0 innings. Bonnet allowed five runs on 11 hits with three walks and two strikeouts. Shepard picked up the save. Taylor Petty was 3-4 with two RBIs to lead the offense. Habib was 3-3 with a RBI and three runs scored while Zapotoczny was 1-3 with a triple, a run scored, and two RBI.

The Broncos loaded the bases in the top of the second but were unable to score. Scribner led off with a walk and after two were out, Jordan Newell singled. Delfino walked to load the bases but a fielder's choice ended the inning.

Habib singled up the middle with one out in the bottom of the third and O'Mara walked with two down to put two runners on. Zapotoczny tripled in both runners and Cassidy Gustafson followed with a RBI double to right field to make the score 3-0 Pacific.

Jessica Turner came in to pitch in the bottom of the fourth and loaded the bases without recording an out before being lifted for Gonzales. Habib was hit by a pitch to bring in a run and Petty followed with a two-RBI single to left. With the score 6-0 Tigers and runners on the corners with no outs, O'Mara kept the offense going with a RBI single to center. Three consecutive groundouts followed to end the fourth.

Santa Clara bounced back with a two-spot in the top of the fifth. Rivera and Fisher led off the inning with singles. With runners on the corners and one out Scribner doubled in a run. Bernard followed with a RBI single down the right field line but Scribner was cut down at home trying to score.

A two-out rally in the top of the sixth got Santa Clara within two runs. Cassandra Padilla singled and Rivera followed with one of her own before Fisher doubled in a run. Bonilla followed with a two-RBI single through the right side to make the score 7-5.

With one out and the bases loaded in the bottom of the sixth, Gustafson hit a RBI groundout to extend the Pacific lead back out to three runs. A ground ball ended the inning with the score 8-5 Tigers.

After the first out was recorded in the top of the seventh, Krista Jensen and Jordan Newell singled before Delfino walked to load the bases. Padilla singled to left to make it a two-run game and keep the bases loaded. The next two Broncos went down to end the game.