Normally, a single victory over the course of a long season would not mean anything more than the next, simply representing a single notch in the win column. However, though Sunday’s win won’t define Stanford’s season, picking up a win over No. 2 Arizona State Sun Devils could be a needed boost to postseason aspirations and confidence.
After being outscored by the Sun Devils 23-8 over the first two games of its weekend series, No. 14 Stanford (27-12, 5-7 Pac-12) turned the tables on Arizona State (36-4, 7-2 Pac-12) in Sunday’s series finale, stunning the Sun Devils 4-3. In front of an enthusiastic home crowd, Stanford pulled off the upset behind solid pitching and a balanced offensive display.
With any hope of a victory resting on the Cardinal’s ability to mitigate ASU’s potent lineup, senior Teagan Gerhart delivered a standout performance in the circle. A day after giving up 10 earned runs and seven walks in a 12-6 loss, Gerhart (15-6) largely shut down the nation’s highest scoring offense, allowing only six hits and three earned runs to earn the complete-game victory.
Gerhart’s effort was particularly impressive considering the potent ASU lineup. The Sun Devils boast eight batters with at least 20 RBI’s, six hitters with at least five home runs, and an overall team batting average of .352, easily tops in the Pac-12. However, on Sunday against Gerhart, the Sun Devils hit .214 while managing only two extra-base hits.
Gerhart’s outing began similarly to her first start of the weekend, as the righty gave up a two-run home run to Sun Devil shortstop Cheyenne Coyle, her 14th of the season, in the top of the first inning. However, Gerhart buckled down, allowing only one more run over the final six innings of her 135-pitch complete game victory.
“You have to hit every pitch [against ASU],” Gerhart said. “One pitch over the plate and it’s over the fence. So it’s very stressful to make sure you hit the spot every time… You have to work both sides of the plate, up and down, and just have to keep them honest with every pitch.”
Stanford’s offensive production at the plate also helped key Sunday’s upset over ASU. In the 4-3 victory, seven Cardinal managed hits off of ASU starter Dallas Escobedo. Sophomore left fielder Leah White continued to provide clutch hits for the Cardinal with an RBI single over the head of Coyle in the bottom of the fourth inning to plate the game-winning run.
Sophomore right fielder Cassandra Roulund also had a strong weekend, hitting .500 with three RBIs during the three game series. In particular, Roulund turned in one of the best performances of her entire career in the first game of the series. Roulund went 3-4 with three RBIs and three runs scored in the Cardinal’s 12-6 loss.
After singling in the bottom of the fourth inning, Roulund flashed some of her own power against ASU reliever Mackenzie Popescue. In consecutive at-bats in the fifth and seventh innings, Roulund blasted home runs to right field, marking Roulund’s first multi-homer game in her time on the Farm.
After emerging as a full-time starter midway through her freshman season last year, Roulund has become one of the leaders for the team’s young core. While youth and the lack of experience may be seen as a disadvantage for some teams, Roulund believes otherwise.
“It works in our advantage,” Rouland said, “because everybody just has this excitement and passion to play. And we really are cohesive, we really work well together, and we just kind of click… We really love it.”
One thing is for certain, though, as Stanford enters the second half of Pac-12 play: Stanford showed that it can take a game from the class of the conference.
Stanford will host local foe San Jose State in a midweek non-conference game on Wednesday before entering its bye weekend. First pitch is scheduled for 6 p.m.
Contact David Cohn dmcohn “at” stanford.edu.