MORAGA, Calif. – In the first conference action of the season, Santa Clara softball topped Saint Mary's 5-4 and lost on a walk-off 2-1.
Taylor Burns gave Santa Clara (9-23, 1-0 WCC) a pair of leads in the first game of the day but both times Saint Mary's (14-20, 0-1 WCC) was able to make comebacks. Geenamarie Bonilla's finally gave the Broncos a lead for good in the top of the sixth with her team-leading third home run of the season.
In the bottom of the seventh, the Gaels rallied for the third time and got the tying run 60 feet away. After Abbey Mariana singled to right to make it 5-4 and put runners on the corners, Santa Clara starter Micaela Vierra got the game-ending strikeout.
Vierra (5-7) went the distance for the win. She allowed four runs on eight hits with five strikeouts and a walk.
Burns finished 2-for-4 with a home run and three RBIs. Bonilla added the home run and two RBIs as well and Ellie Fisher picked up a pair of hits while scoring twice.
Burns got Santa Clara off to a good start with a two-run shot the center in the first inning. Saint Mary's would respond in the bottom of the frame with a run and then tied the game with another in the second.
With two down in the top of the third, Burns came through again for the Broncos. She singled to center to bring in Fisher and give Santa Clara a 3-2 lead. The Gaels, however, had another answer in the bottom of the fifth when Hailey Sparacino doubled to left to tie the score at 3-all.
Sparacino was 2-for-2 with a double and two hit by pitches while knocking in two runs. Nikki Alexander went 2-for-3 with a double, a walk, and two runs scored.
Katie Moss (8-8) started and went 5 1/3 innings. She allowed five runs, four earned, on seven hits with six strikeouts and a walk.
Three consecutive hits with two outs in the bottom of the seventh led to the victory for Saint Mary's (15-20, 1-1 WCC). Dylan Linton and Sparacino knocked the first two base hits and Hannah Chew got the game-winner to left.
Chew and Alexander collected the RBIs for the Gaels and the top four hitters in their lineup each collected two hits.
Katlyn Whitt (5-6) when the distance for the win. She allowed one run on six hits with four walks.
Fisher and Burns were at it again to get Santa Clara (9-24, 1-1 WCC) out to an early lead again. Fisher singled to lead off the game and stole second. After a ground out, Burns doubled to left center to give the Broncos the 1-0 lead.
Ciara Gonzalez (2-6) picked up the loss in 2 2/3 innings out of the bullpen. She allowed one run on three hits. McCall James started and tossed four innings while allowing an unearned run on seven hits with a strikeout.
The two teams conclude the series tomorrow at noon.
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