Stanford softball earned a series win against Washington in its final homestand of the season this weekend, taking two of three over the Huskies to regain a winning conference record.
Despite being blown out on Saturday 7-1, the No. 13 Cardinal (35-11, 8-7 Pac-10) rode two complete-game outings from sophomore pitcher Teagan Gerhart to take the contests on Friday and Sunday, clinching the season series against No. 11 Washington (32-11, 7-8 Pac-10).
“It felt awesome to take the Washington series, especially since it was our last home Pac-10 Conference series,” said sophomore second baseman Jenna Rich. “Heading into our last two weekends of conference play, I feel that this win will boost our team to snatch some more important victories before heading into postseason.”
Gerhart earned her 20th win of the season on Sunday after pitching her 21st complete game. The two wins move her to 20-8 on the year—she has a 1.61 ERA and is averaging over a strikeout per inning. Junior center fielder Sarah Hassman registered her 31st stolen base in 33 attempts, tying the Stanford single-season record set in 2001 by Jessica Mendoza. Hassman has been fundamentally important to the Cardinal’s success this year, batting .394 with a .506 on-base percentage in the crucial leadoff spot.
Friday’s 2-1 win saw Gerhart doing it all for the Cardinal, as she snapped a four-game losing streak to Washington. At the plate, she scored her team’s first run and hit a walk-off sacrifice fly to end it. In the circle, she pitched a four-hit complete game while not surrendering an earned run and striking out four.
Stanford got on the board right away, coming home in the bottom of the first. After Gerhart reached on a fielder’s choice, she stole second (her 22nd steal of the season) and was singled in by freshman left fielder Corey Hanewich.
Washington responded in the fourth to tie the game at one. Center fielder Kimi Pohlman reached on an error and then stole second before Washington pitcher Kaitlin Ingelsby knocked her in on a two-out single through the right side.
The Huskies threatened again in the sixth, putting their first two runners on, but Gerhart got three straight outs to wriggle out of the jam.
Stanford broke the stalemate in the bottom of the seventh. Sophomore pinch-hitter Alix Van Zandt reached on a hit-by-pitch, and junior center fielder Maya Burns doubled to put two in scoring position with no outs. Gerhart made the situation count, hitting the walk-off sac fly to right field. Ingelsby’s loss dropped her to 19-6 on the year.
Saturday’s 7-1 loss showed why Washington is a highly ranked team, dominating the Cardinal on both sides of the ball. Ingelsby bounced back to pitch a four-hit complete game win, allowing no earned runs while striking out six. Stanford’s usually consistent pitcher—senior Ashley Chinn—struggled, giving up 10 hits, five walks and five earned runs over seven innings. It was only Chinn’s third loss of the year, dropping her to a still impressive 15-3.
Washington scored three in the second on three hits, two walks and an error. Hassman scored Stanford’s lone run in the bottom of the third, coming home on an error. Washington scored another run in the fourth and put the game well out of reach with another three in the sixth, when Huskies’ first baseman Niki Williams went deep to left center. She finished with four RBI on the day.
The Cardinal jumped out early during Sunday’s rubber match and never trailed, winning 3-1. Senior first baseman Melisa Koutz led off the second inning with a walk. Stanford then went on to load the bases and score, as Hassman singled in Koutz to right field.
Stanford loaded the bases again in the third, chasing Washington starter Bryana Walker from the circle. The Huskies went with Ingelsby for the third day in a row, and the move paid off. Ingelsby got Burns to ground out and then struck out junior third baseman Jenna Becerra to end the inning.
But the Cardinal once again loaded the bases in the fourth on consecutive no-out singles by Gerhart, Hassman and junior shortstop Ashley Hansen. Rich then drew an RBI walk, plating Gerhart and giving Stanford the lead. Hassman scored on an RBI fielder’s choice by freshman right fielder Michelle Prong, sliding in to beat the throw at home.
The Huskies derailed Gerhart’s shutout bid in the sixth when Jenn Salling hit a sac fly to center, scoring Morgan Stuart. It was the lone run Gerhart would give up, as she allowed just four hits and no walks while striking out eight.
Stanford’s final home game of the season is tonight at 6 p.m. against Santa Clara. The Cardinal then closes out its season with back-to-back weekend road trips to conference foes Oregon and Arizona State.