Stanford softball had its seven-game win streak snapped over the weekend, losing two of three in close contests to archrival Cal in Berkeley.
The losses drop No. 10 Stanford back to .500 in conference play (6-6) and 32-10 overall. No. 12 Cal moves to 30-9 on the year and 7-5 in the Pac-10.
Despite solid pitching in the series, the Cardinal bats struggled to convert, stranding 22 baserunners over the series while only scoring three runs in three games.
Thursday’s opening tilt was a microcosm of the series. Sophomore Teagan Gerhart pitched well, allowing just one earned run on four hits, but still got tagged with the loss. Cal’s Jolene Henderson gave up five hits but no runs to get the complete game shutout win, moving to 26-5.
The Golden Bears took an early lead in the first after loading the bases. Designated player Ashley Decker drew a walk to give Cal a 1-0 lead. Gerhart got Victoria Jones to pop out to end the inning, limiting the damage.
The Cardinal threatened in the top of the second, as freshman designated player Danielle Miller led off with a double and advanced to third on sophomore second baseman Jenna Rich’s single. But Henderson was able to retire the next three Cardinal batters to escape the inning.
The top of the third followed the same pattern, with Stanford failing to make good on a leadoff single by Gerhart.
With the score still 1-0 in favor of Cal, Stanford looked to take the lead in the sixth, loading the bases but failing to score. Freshman left fielder Corey Hanewich and junior shortstop Ashley Hansen singled with one out, and Miller reached on an error to load the bases. But Henderson was able to wriggle out of the jam, getting the next two Cardinal batters to pop out.
Cal catcher Lindsey Ziegenhirt hit a solo home run in the bottom of sixth to make the score 2-0, the same way it would end.
Stanford battled back to even the series on Friday, winning a close 2-1 game that saw both teams load the bases in the final inning without scoring. Senior starter Ashley Chinn allowed one run and three hits over four innings to get the win, pushing her to 15-2 on the year. Gerhart pitched three innings of one-hit ball to get the save, her third of the year.
The Cardinal scored both its runs in the top of the first. Junior center fielder Sarah Hassman led off with a single and then stole second. Hansen moved her over to third on a single, and with two outs, Rich reached on an error by Cal first baseman Alex Robben, scoring both Hassman and Hansen.
The Bears responded in the bottom of the inning, with shortstop Britt Vonk scoring on a fielder’s choice. Cal eventually loaded the bases, but Chinn got two straight outs to end the inning.
In the seventh, both teams loaded the bases without doing any damage. Stanford was unable to capitalize on an error by Cal center fielder Frani Echavarria. Gerhart escaped her inning by turning a comebacker into a double play to end the game.
Gerhart was back in the circle Saturday, but was less successful in her rubber match start, taking the loss to fall to 17-8. Gerhart was replaced by Chinn in the fourth after giving up a two-run home run. Cal’s Henderson got the win, making her the pitcher of record for all three games and moving her to 27-6 on the year.
Cal once again scored in the bottom of the first, as Berkeley third baseman Jace Williams singled in left fielder Jamia Reid.
In the fourth, Stanford couldn’t convert singles by Hanewich and Rich, leaving two runners in scoring position.
Cal made it 3-0 in the bottom of the frame on a two-run shot by right fielder Elia Reid. Stanford responded by bringing in Chinn to finish the inning. She allowed a run in the fifth to make it 4-0, as Cal designated player Ashley Decker hit a sacrifice fly to center.
Hansen spoiled Cal’s shutout bid in the sixth, when she hit her conference-leading 20th double of the season to plate Hanewich.
Stanford never stopped fighting, loading the bases on a two-out rally in the seventh. But Hansen flied out to end the inning, and the game, with the final score at 4-1.
Stanford looks to start a new win streak today as the team travels to UC-Davis, a school Stanford has beaten twice already this year. The Cardinal follows that up this weekend with its final homestand of the year against Washington.