SCU Softball Team Update; Iowa State and Cal Poly Next This Weekend

PCSC Weekly Release (PDF)
SCU Softball Interactive Virtual Guide

SANTA CLARA, Calif. –
Four games this weekend await Santa Clara University's softball team in nearby Moraga, where the Broncos face Iowa State and Cal Poly. The weekend-opener will be against Iowa State at 3 p.m on Friday. Fans can follow all the weekend action live via the link below.

2012 GAEL CLASSIC

Friday-Sunday, March 16-18 - Cottrell Field (Moraga, Calif.)
Friday 1 p.m. - Iowa State (7-14) vs. ST. MARY'S (6-13)          
Friday 3 p.m. - Iowa State vs. Santa Clara (4-20)

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Saturday 10 a.m. - Iowa State vs. Cal Poly (7-13)
Saturday 12 noon - Santa Clara vs. Cal Poly

Saturday 2 p.m. - Iowa State vs. ST. MARY'S
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Sunday 10 a.m. - Iowa State vs. Santa Clara
Sunday 12 noon - Cal Poly vs. Santa Clara
          
Sunday 2 p.m. - Cal Poly vs. ST. MARY'S
Live Stats


SANTA CLARA
The Broncos (4-20) are looking to build off some momentum generated by an uplifting 5-2 victory over UC Santa Barbara this past Sunday in San Jose. SCU has played nine games decided by two runs or less, making the team's 4-20 overall record a bit deceiving.  The focus for SCU is geared towards playing its best softball of the season when Pacific Coast Softball Conference (PCSC) play begins Saturday, March 31 at LMU.

IOWA STATE
The Cyclones (7-14) opened their West Coast swing Wednesday with two disappointing losses during a doubleheader at LMU in Los Angeles. Scores of 6-0 and 17-0 (5) dropped Iowa State's record to 7-14. The Big 12 Conference offers the Cyclones a series of games against nationally-ranked competition during league play. Iowa State went 18-13 through non-conference play last season, 3-15 in conference.

CAL POLY
The Mustangs (7-13) came up to the Bay Area and played in Stanford's Invitational last weekend, where they beat James Madison 4-3, but lost to Ole Miss 6-4, Colorado State 2-5, San Jose State 8-4 and No. 10 Stanford 10-0. Cal Poly has yet to play at home and has gone 7-11 at neutral venues, which included a 14-7 win over No. 22 Nebraska on Feb. 25 in Palm Springs. Games this weekend and Monday against Fresno State cap off a 26-game season-opening road trip.

NOTABLE SCU PERFORMANCES
Senior OF Briana Knight (.276 BA) and sophomore RH Jessica Turner (1-5; 7.38 ERA) led SCU to that aforementioned victory over UCSB. Knight went 2 for 3 Sunday, which included a grand slam. Knight had six RBI last week, which raised her season RBI-total to a team-best 15. She batted 5 of 16 (.313 BA) through five games last week, also hitting a double and scoring two runs. Turner threw a complete-game four-hitter against UCSB, striking out three and allowing just one earned run, including working out of a two-on, one-out jam in the third. She threw 80 strikes in 136 pitches.

QUOTABLE
"We need to use our pre-conference games as a way for us to learn and get better as a team," junior shortstop Alyssa Jepsen told SantaClaraBroncos.com. "Ultimately, our goal is not only do well in PCSC, but to finish at the top."

THE OFFENSE
OF Jamie Wallis (.415 BA) – a junior from San Jose's Lynbrook High School - ranks fifth in the PCSC with a .415 batting average (27 for 65). Wallis has also posted a .500 on-base percentage, swiped four bases and has scored 13 times. Wallis had six hits in five games last week, batting in the cleanup spot. She has also provided clutch hits, going 9 of 18 (.500 BA) with RISP. Freshman 3B Jordan Newell (.350 BA) has returned from mononucleosis to provide a spark in the eight games she has played in. SS Alyssa Jepsen (.300 BA) has a pair of triples, four stolen bases and 18 hits. OF Briana Knight (.276 BA) and 1B Kelly Scribner (.246 BA) have 15 and 14 RBI respectively, producing the bulk of the team's RBI. 

PITCHING
Freshman LH Briana Rios (1-5; 4.19 ERA) and junior transfer Carissa Theis (2-5; 6.57 ERA) have emerged as quality starters as first-year Broncos. Rios worked into the seventh on Saturday versus UCSB, limiting the Gauchos to one earned run to give SCU a chance to win. Rios leads the team in ERA (4.19). Theis is the staff-leader in opposing batting average (.295) and turned in one of the league's top pitching performances of the year thus far, striking out 13 in a win over Seattle on Feb. 26. Look for Turner to build on her game-winning effort this past Sunday and the continued development of freshman RH Jaymi Bautista-Geiger (0-5; 9.66 ERA) who has started five games and logged 36-plus innings.

FIELDING
Sunday's starting pitcher Jessica Turner was quick to point out how well her teammates are playing defensively. Wallis made some terrific catches in centerfield this past weekend, as did Knight in leftfield. Newcomers, Jepsen and Newell, were solid on the left side of the infield. SCU limited its errors to seven in five games last week, including playing error-free against St. Mary's Saturday morning.

PCSC STANDINGS (March 14)
Coastal Division
LMU 18-9
Sacramento State 14-8
San Diego 11-10
St. Mary's 6-13
CSU Bakersfield 6-13
Santa Clara 4-20

Mountain Division

Utah Valley 10-4
Northern Colorado 9-9
Portland State 9-10
Weber State 7-11
Seattle 6-11
Idaho State 3-18

PCSC SHIFTS TO SEVEN TEAMS NEXT YEAR
Brigham Young University has accepted an invitation to join the Pacific Coast Softball Conference in 2013. The addition of BYU will give the PCSC seven teams for the 2013 campaign as the Big Sky Conference will begin sponsoring softball in 2013, meaning the PCSC's Big Sky core-members of Idaho State, Northern Colorado, Portland State, Sacramento State and Weber State will leave the PCSC after this season. Seattle University will also be leaving the PCSC for the Western Athletic Conference (WAC) following the 2012 campaign.

While the West Coast Conference (WCC) does not sponsor softball, the Cougars will be among five WCC schools in the soon-to-be seven-team PCSC in 2013. BYU will play the 2012 season in the WAC before joining fellow WCC members Santa Clara, Loyola Marymount, San Diego and Saint Mary's in the PCSC.

PCSC alignment for 2013
Santa Clara, LMU, BYU, St. Mary's, San Diego, Cal State Bakersfield, Utah Valley