University of San Francisco starter Riley Ornido pitches against Portland in March of 2019 at Dante Benedetti Diamond at the University of San Francisco. (Ryan Gorcey / S.F. Examiner)

College Roundup: USF baseball sweeps Santa Clara, SF State splits in L.A.

Riley Ornido and Jonathan Allen have big days against Santa Clara after last year’s stumble

Losing two of three games at home last year to a lowly Santa Clara team put a serious dent in the University of San Francisco baseball team’s NCAA postseason hopes, and the Dons made sure to avoid a similar fate this year, dominating the Broncos over the course of the three-game series en route to a sweep at Stephen Schott Stadium.

Six shutout innings by Riley Ornido powered San Francisco (16-11, 6-3 WCC) to a 10-0 win in the series opener, with Jonathan Allen homering twice and driving in five. Scott Parker kept up the stellar pitching in the middle game, allowing just four hits and four walks over seven innings of one-run ball. A three-run top of the seventh helped the Dons stretch their lead in that contest to 6-1, and those runs ended up factoring in as Santa Clara (4-21, 0-6) got three runs back over the final two frames before Joey Steele struck out Ryan McCarthy for the save. Steele had hit Dawson Brigman with a pitch to start the inning and allowed an RBI double to pinch-hitter Matt Smithwick, but shut the door from there.

Rather than getting a huge starting pitching performance in the finale, the Dons chose to bring Alex Pham in out of the bullpen. A now-healthy Grant Nechak pitched the first four innings, allowing just a solo homer to Jake MacNichols, and Pham took care of the final five innings without allowing a run. Robert Emery’s solo homer had given USF a 1-0 lead in the top of the fourth, and after MacNichols tied it in the bottom half, an Allen RBI groundout put the visitors back in front in the fifth. A two-run single by Emery in the seventh provided the final margin.

Art U softball rolls at Tournament of Champions: The Academy of Art softball team swept their final three games at the Tournament of Champions, hosted in Turlock by Cal State Stanislaus. With a 5-0 win over Cal State East Bay, a 3-2 win in extra innings over Concordia and a 3-1 win over Montana State Billings, the Urban Knights improved to 8-9 behind a monster weekend from sophomore catcher Lauryn Henderson. She hit .625 over the course of the five-game tournament with a pair of game-winning hits, earning both the tournament batting champion title and the PacWest Player of the Week.

SFSU baseball splits in LA: A 14-3 loss on Sunday to Cal State LA left the San Francisco State baseball team with a split. The Gators, No. 6 in the NCAA D2 West Region and No. 17 overall, also dropped the series opener on Friday but swept a Saturday doubleheader, winning a pair of one-run games. Jack Higgins starred in Saturday’s opener, a 4-3 win, pitching seven innings without allowing an earned run.

Urban Knights women’s tennis sweeps Azusa Pacific: Art U’s 10th-ranked women’s tennis team swept 16th-ranked Azusa Pacific on Monday morning, with Alma Thell-Lennthorp picking up her 62nd singles win to become the winningest singles player in program history.

Gators softball goes 2-3 in Turlock: SF State’s softball team also played in the Cal State Stanislaus Tournament of Champions, dropping three of their five games. In Sunday’s finale, they squandered a five-run lead in a 6-5 loss to Dominican, allowing four runs in the sixth and two more in the seventh. Winning pitcher Lauren Persi knocked in the walkoff hit for the Penguins.

SFSU track smashes records: New personal bests were a common theme over the course of the weekend for the San Francisco State track team, including Alexis Henry’s time of 24.31 seconds in the 200m at the Stanford Invitational. She tied the fourth-fastest time in the nation with her mark, while Devanique Brown finished second in the triple jump, posting the third-best mark in program history at 12.03 meters.

Accolades roll in for Art U track on both coasts: Academy of Art’s track team racked up awards at both the Pepsi Florida Classic in Gainesville and the Mike Fanelli Track Classic in Hayward. Ombretta Piccolie Minkue Meye, a native of France, finished with the top Division II time in the women’s 200m, finishing in 24.09 seconds. Victor Moreau finished second in the 1500m at 3:46.65 while Camille Jouanno posted a new career mark in the triple jump to stay in the top three in the nation.

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