Thursday’s showdown between No. 10 Stanford and No. 12 California lived up to the hype, as sophomore pitcher Teagan Gerhart threw her 19th complete game of the season in a thrilling 2-0 loss at the hands of Jolene Henderson and the Golden Bears.
With the loss in the first game of a three-game series, Stanford (31-9, 5-5 Pac-10) snapped a seven-game win streak that included a series win over UCLA and a sweep of visiting Oregon State. The victory for Cal (29-8, 6-4) was its fifth in a row, and moved the Bears past the Cardinal in the Pac-10 standings.
After Henderson sent the first three Stanford hitters down in order in the first inning, Cal struck quickly and took an early 1-0 lead on a bases-loaded walk.
The Cardinal threatened to answer immediately following a single by freshman designated player Danielle Miller and a double down the line by second baseman Jenna Rich. But Henderson proved up to the task, as she stranded both runners by inducing a groundout and getting a strikeout and popout to end the threat.
Both teams’ offenses were silenced as Gerhart and Henderson took over, with Henderson allowing just five hits and walking just one batter alongside her five strikeouts. The Cardinal mounted one more challenge in the top of the sixth, loading the bases with one out before escaping unscathed.
Cal’s Lindsey Ziegenhirt led off the sixth with a solo home run to provide the final 2-0 margin. On the day, Stanford ended up stranding six runners and failed to string hits together, but there’s hope for the offense to get back into gear—junior shortstop Ashley Hansen is batting .488 for the season with six home runs and 34 RBI, and senior outfielder Sarah Hassman is hitting .413 with a team-high 27 steals.
Stanford and Cal are back at it today at 3 p.m. in Berkeley, with the final game of the series scheduled for Saturday at 1 p.m.