After having seen its offense stagnate in recent games, Stanford softball (13-17, 0-6 Pac-12) can breathe a sigh of relief after defeating the University of Pacific (17-14) 11-3 by run rule in its final non-conference game.
Sophomore Haley Snyder pitched one of her best outings of the season, and the Cardinal bats sprang to life in the third and fourth innings to end a three-game losing streak. Snyder allowed just three earned runs while recording hits in three out of her four at bats as the team drove in more runners than in the previous seven games combined.
Snyder and fellow sophomores Lauren Wegner and Whitney Burks were the drivers of this offensive resurgence, collectively contributing eight of the team’s 14 hits. Snyder also hit her second home run of the season and drove in the game-winning RBI in what proved to be a truly do-it-all performance for the sophomore.
More good news came for the Cardinal on the injury front, with senior Bessie Noll making a return to the starting lineup. Noll led the team in batting average and home runs before picking up an injury during the team’s trip to Hawaii, and she will hope to regain her form quickly to bring some continuity to Stanford’s offensive momentum as it begins a difficult stretch of conference play.
The Cardinal will now look forward to a three-game series against No. 15/13 UCLA (22-11-1, 4-3-1) in Los Angeles this Saturday through Monday.
Led by a talented lineup of batters that includes five players hitting over the .300 mark, UCLA has proven a difficult opponent for Stanford and has won each of the last five meetings. The Bruins are coming off a 2-1 series win against Oregon in Eugene that ended the Ducks series-winning streak in conference play that dated back to 2013.
The Cardinal will have to hope that their pitching can remain consistent if they wish to steal a win down south. Snyder and freshman Carolyn Lee will each be coming off strong outings in which they largely shut down their opponent’s offense, but any break in discipline could quickly get out of hand given the Cardinal’s inconsistent hitting and error-prone defense.
Stanford will begin its series against UCLA at 7:30 p.m. Saturday on Pac-12 Networks.
Contact Andrew Mather at [email protected].