After a tough stretch that saw it lose seven straight games, the Stanford softball team started to get back on track with a win over San Jose State on Tuesday. The No. 14 Cardinal (31-12, 4-8 Pac-10) jumped out to an early lead and never looked back, cruising to a 4-1 win.
Offensively, Stanford was led once again by senior left fielder Alissa Haber and sophomore second baseman Ashley Hansen. Haber went 1-2 with two walks and two RBIs, while Hansen went 1-4 with an RBI. Overall, Stanford’s lineup rebounded well after being dominated by UCLA’s pitching staff last weekend—the team went 7-24 and drew four walks while only surrendering two strikeouts.
On the other side, San Jose State went with a succession of three pitchers against the Stanford lineup. Starter Amanda Pridmore gave up all four runs in 3.2 innings of pitching before being replaced by Jaclyn Imhof. Jennifer Ames finished the game with 0.1 innings at the tail end.
After surrendering 27 runs as a team to the Bruins last weekend, Stanford’s pitchers desperately needed a strong game to bounce back. The staff has struggled since the loss of freshman Teagan Gerhart to injury two weeks ago. Prior to her injury, Gerhart had been the anchor of the team, with a 22-6 record and a 1.67 ERA.
Junior pitcher Ashley Chinn, who took the brunt of last weekend’s onslaught, pitched all seven innings well against the Spartans. She gave up five hits and only one run, which was unearned, while throwing 114 pitches. Chinn also threw five strikeouts in the game.
Second baseman Julianne Aiello led San Jose State offensively, going 2-2 with an RBI while drawing a walk, one of only two issued by Chinn in the entire game.
Errors also figured prominently in the game for both teams. The Spartans committed three errors while the Cardinal committed two.
Control has also been one of the bigger problems for the Stanford pitching staff of late—Chinn gave up 10 walks to the Bruins last weekend. Her outing against San Jose State may mark a return to form, which will be crucial for the remainder of Stanford’s schedule.
The next test for the Cardinal will come this weekend, when it hosts No. 9 Arizona State (37-10, 6-6). The Sun Devils are coming off a 2-1 series win against Oregon and are fifth in the conference standings, two games ahead of the seventh-place Cardinal. In addition, Arizona State swept UCLA in Los Angeles three weeks ago.
On the mound, Arizona State will counter Chinn with pitcher Hillary Bach, who won both of the Sun Devils’ games against the Ducks last weekend and has an 18-4 record on the season. Bach will try to contain Haber and Hansen to get the upper hand on a Cardinal lineup that will look to build on its performance against San Jose State.
Meanwhile, Chinn will look to contain a Sun Devil lineup that has played very well as of late, scoring 20 runs in its last three games. She will face a particular challenge with the top two batters for ASU, center fielder Lesley Rogers and designated player Taylor Haro.
The first game against Arizona State is on Friday at 7 p.m., with games on Saturday and Sunday as well. All three games will be played at Smith Family Stadium.