SMC opens the Classic on Friday, March 9 with a 12 p.m. game against San Jose State. The following day, the Gaels will take on Santa Clara at 9 a.m. and UC Santa Barbara at 11:15 a.m. Saint Mary's will conclude the tournament on March 11 with a 10 a.m. matchup against the Gauchos.
All games will be played at San Jose State's Spartan Softball Stadium while a new Santa Clara softball stadium is being built.
The Gaels enter the weekend with a 5-10 record and have dropped five straight games. Most recently, Saint Mary's dropped a hard fought game with No. 10 Stanford on Wednesday, March 7 in Moraga. The Cardinal led 9-1 heading into the bottom of the seventh and appeared to have run away with the game before the Gaels stormed back to score five runs in the bottom of the inning.
Saint Mary's enters the weekend as the top hitting team in the Pacific Coast Softball Conference with a .323 average and a .505 slugging percentage. Senior Michelle Mounts continues to lead the Gaels this season at the plate and is second in the PCSC with a .489 (22-for-45) batting average. Mounts also leads SMC with a .778 slugging percentage, a .556 on base percentage, eight doubles, and 15 runs scored.
Sophomore Brittany Sabatini (.404) is hitting over .400 as well after a 3-for-4 day against Stanford, while Nicole Arce (.387), Christine Torrise (.372), Rebecca Sabatini (.362), and Mandy Camuso (.308) are all hitting over .300. B. Sabatini leads the team with four homeruns, while R. Sabatini has paced the Gaels with 13 RBI this season.
Senior Britany Linton (3-5) and junior Jessica Lemmon (2-4) have pitched the majority of innings this season for Saint Mary's. Linton enters the weekend with a 5.91 ERA and has pitched 45.0 innings, giving up 62 hits and 38 earned runs with 24 strikeouts. Lemmon has a 5.69 ERA so far this season after having pitched 39.1 innings and giving up 40 hits and 32 earned runs with a team-leading 28 strikeouts.
San Jose State enters the weekend with a 10-12 record and has won three of their last four games, including two wins over Santa Clara. The Spartans are led at the plate by Michelle Cox who is hitting .403 (27-for-67) this season. SJSU is hitting .258 as a team, while opponents have a batting average of .286 against them. Spartan pitcher Amanda Pridmore leads the pitching staff with a 3.17 ERA and a 6-4 record, including 60 strikeouts in 59.2 innings pitched. The Gaels are 12-31 all-time against San Jose State, including two losses to the Spartans in 2010.
Santa Clara enters the weekend with a 3-18 record and defeated SMC, 12-10, in the Gaels' season opener on February 10. The Broncos are hitting .250 as a team and are led by Jamie Wallis who is hitting .421 (24-for-57) this season. Carissa Theis has a team-leading two wins this season with a 7.47 ERA, while Briana Rios leads the team with a 4.82 ERA. In the history of this Bay Area rivalry, the Gaels are 76-45 all-time against Santa Clara.
UC Santa Barbara has gone 7-15 this season and has lost four of their last five games after a trip to Hawaii this past weekend. Kathryn Pilpil leads the Gauchos with a .323 batting average, while UCSB is hitting .239 as a team. UC Santa Barbara has used just two pitchers this season in Shelby Wisdom (4-7) and Andriana Collins (3-8). Wisdom leads the Gauchos with a 4.42 ERA and 66 strikeouts in 71.1 innings. Collins has a 5.07 ERA in her team-leading 18 appearances. The Gaels are 1-13 all-time against UC Santa Barbara, with the last matchup between the two programs having come in 2005.
Following the SCU Bronco Classic this weekend, Saint Mary's will return home to host the 2012 Gael Classic from March 16-18. The Gaels will welcome Iowa State, Santa Clara and Cal Poly to Moraga for the three-day Classic.