In a wild conclusion to the regular season on Saturday, Arizona (32-24, 9-15 Pac-12) defeated No. 13 Stanford softball (37-19, 13-11 Pac-12) 4-3 in nine innings of play to clinch the series victory. The Wildcats also won 5-3 in Thursday’s contest while the Cardinal came out on top 2-0 on Friday. The victory marked the second straight Pac-12 series taken by the Wildcats, who also defeated No. 5 Arizona State (45-10, 16-8 Pac-12) in the prior series. Stanford had previously swept its last two Pac-12 opponents before losing this series.
After jumping out to the early 2-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning on a Kayla Bonstrom triple, Stanford surrendered a run in the fifth and two runs in the sixth to trail 3-2. Down to the final out in the bottom of the seventh, sophomore Leah White hit an RBI double to left field to knot the game at three apiece. However, the Wildcats would take the lead for good off Chelsea Goodacre’s solo home run in the ninth inning and the Cardinal stranded the bases loaded in the bottom half of the inning.
Missed opportunities defined the two Cardinal losses on the weekend, as Stanford left the bases loaded three times in the game on Thursday night and also saw sophomore Cassandra Roulund thrown out at the plate on a single to left field. In Sunday’s game, the Cardinal outhit the Wildcats 8-6, yet left 10 runners on base over the course of the game.
Roulund and freshman Bonstrom performed well on the weekend, collecting four hits a piece across the three games. Bonstrom picked up 4 RBI as well and ended the season with a team-best .414 batting average. Bonstrom also led the team in slugging percentage, on base percentage and doubles and tied for the lead in RBI–culminating in an extremely successful first season on the Farm.
Senior Jenna Rich went hitless in her final regular season with the Cardinal, but, nonetheless her season capped off a spectacular career that saw her set the Stanford all-time RBI record and finish second all-time in home runs. She anchored the middle of the Stanford lineup, collecting a team-leading 12 home runs and tied for the team lead with 51 RBI.
In addition, senior Teagan Gerhart also wrapped up her Cardinal regular season career on Saturday, taking the loss despite scattering six hits and a run over seven and two-thirds innings. She finishes the year with a 19-11 record and a 2.53 ERA, leading the Cardinal pitching staff in wins and ERA.
Stanford will begin the quest for its first College World Series since 2004 by first playing in the NCAA Lincoln Regional, structured in the double-elimination format. The Cardinal will be joined by Tulsa, Northern Iowa and the regional’s host, Nebraska. Stanford will face Tulsa Friday afternoon to start the postseason.
Contact Michael Peterson at [email protected].