An upset of No. 3 Florida highlighted the No. 10 Stanford softball team’s (15-3) 3-1 showing at the DeMarini Invitational in Fullerton, Calif. last weekend.
Although it did beat Florida, the weekend was not all positive for the Cardinal. Stanford was almost no-hit by the University of North Carolina, and its opportunity to avenge an earlier loss to Northwestern was rained out.
The Cardinal opened the weekend, however, with its biggest win of the season.
Freshman pitcher Teagan Gerhart, who has essentially assumed the role of Stanford’s No. 1 pitcher, was the star of a 2-0 Cardinal victory, going the distance while allowing just two hits and one walk and striking out five Gator batters.
Another freshman, shortstop Jenna Rich, paced the Stanford offense with a pair of clutch two-out RBIs.
Rich put the Cardinal on the board in the bottom of the third with a two-out RBI single to left field, scoring sophomore center fielder Sarah Hassman. Hassman was hit by a pitch with one out and advanced to second on sophomore second baseman Ashley Hansen’s infield single.
Stanford’s offense was quiet until the bottom of the fifth, when with two outs Rich struck again, this time blasting her fourth home run of the season over the left field fence.
Rich and the Cardinal rode their momentum into their second game Friday, a 13-1 five-inning thrashing of host Cal State Fullerton.
Rich was one of several offensive stars in the rout, hitting two more home runs and knocking in five runners. Senior left fielder Alissa Haber also had three hits, scored three runs and hit a homer.
Unfortunately for Stanford, it could not take some of its offense from Friday and use it Saturday, as it was shut out 3-0 by North Carolina.
Tar Heels’ pitcher Danielle Spaulding took a perfect game into the bottom of the seventh, when Stanford finally mustered a base runner on Haber’s infield single.
For the game, Spaulding struck out an impressive 18 Cardinal batters and allowed just the one infield hit.
In the afternoon Saturday, rainstorms forced the Stanford-Northwestern game to be canceled, which prevented the Cardinal from seeking revenge against the Wildcats, who beat Stanford on Feb. 26 at the Cathedral City Classic.
Stanford was able to end the weekend on a positive note, defeating the University of Indiana 4-0 on Sunday morning, fueled by two Hansen RBI doubles – one in the first inning and a second in the fifth.
The Cardinal will now have 12 days off for final exams before returning to the field during the school’s Spring Break Mar. 19, when it hosts the Stanford Louisville Slugger Classic.
Coming to town for the four-day tournament are a group of unranked opponents: Santa Clara, Princeton, Saint Mary’s and Cal Poly. The Cardinal will play Saint Mary’s twice and each other team once.
The highlight of the tournament will likely be the reunion of the Gerhart triplets: Teagan, Kelsey and Whitley. Teagan and Kelsey are freshmen on the Cardinal squad while Whitley is a freshman outfielder for Cal Poly.
After the Stanford Louisville Slugger Classic, the Cardinal will travel to UC-Davis for a single game on Tuesday, Mar. 23, and then host the Stanford Invitational, with Cal State Bakersfield, Brigham Young University, UC-California Santa Barbara and the University of the Pacific coming to town the weekend of Mar. 26-28.
The Stanford Invitational marks the end of Stanford’s pre-conference schedule, with rigorous Pacific-10 Conference competition beginning in April during Spring Quarter.