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Santa Clara Sweeps North Dakota State

March 14, 2006

Box Score

Sunnyvale, Calif. - Despite the nasty weather the Bay Area has suffered in recent days, the Santa Clara softball team braved the rain and wind to capture two victories this afternoon over visiting North Dakota State.  While the twin bill was initially cancelled due to rain, head coach Steve Rianda was able to book the Twin Creeks Sports Complex in nearby Sunnyvale, Calif. for the contests.  And his Broncos proved to him that he did the right thing, as they swept the Bison 4-3 in eight innings in the first game and 2-0 in the second one.  Jenny Brown led the way on offense with a 4-6 effort from the plate.  Ashley Blier added two hits and two RBI in the winning efforts.

Santa Clara improves to 10-15 on the season and will return to action tomorrow at Marsalli Park against Miami (Ohio) University. Game time is set for 3 p.m.

North Dakota State got off to a hot start in the first game, belting starting pitcher Jackie Morales for three hits and it resulted in a quick 3-0 lead. Hurler Amber Garrett kept Santa Clara off balance until the third inning, when Jessica Clee tripled to left field with Angela Kabanuck at third, closing the gap to 3-1. Another run was scored in the same inning when Shannon Linerud sacrificed flied to left field, sending Clee across the plate to leave the Broncos trailing by one run.

Santa Clara was unable to produce any more offense until the seventh inning. Brown got things going with a single to left center, while Kabanuck reached base on an error. Shannon Linerud then got to first base on a fielder's choice and Kabanuck was initially ruled out at second, but umpires later reversed their decision to load the bases for Santa Clara. Blier then put the ball into play to score Brown and knot the game up at 3-3. Despite having bases loaded with only one out, the Broncos were unable to capitalize on their opportunities and left the inning stranding three runners.

Into the eighth inning, Morales kept the visitors at bay with a 1-2-3 inning, setting up Santa Clara for the win. Brittany Pucci started on second base, thanks to the international tiebreaker rule that mandates every inning past the seventh begin with a runner at second base. Meghan Chavez put down a sacrifice bunt to send Pucci to third base and Liz Courter belted a single to left field to advance Pucci home, securing the come-from-behind victory.

Morales (2-2) picks up the victory, while Amber Garrett (3-4) took the loss. Santa Clara racked up a total of 10 hits to North Dakota State's 5.

Courter started the second game in the circle and effectively retired the Bison side in the top of the first inning. Her teammates were able to support her pitching efforts by giving her the necessary offensive output. In the bottom of the first inning, lead-off hitter Brown singled to center field and advanced to second on a Kabanuck ground out. Clee also grounded out on the following play, but was able to send Brown to third base. After being walked, Linerud subsequently stole second base, and amid the confusion, Brown took the opportunity to advance home to give her team the early 1-0 lead. Blier was next up at bat and promptly hit a single that enabled Linerud to score and push the advantage to 2-0.

The rest of the way, Courter managed to limit North Dakota State to only three runs on the way to Santa Clara's 2-0 victory. She struck out six batters in seven innings and was able to notch her second win of the season. Bekki Rasmussen (1-7) suffered the loss after giving up five hits.