Stanford softball (13-26, 0-14 Pac-12) proved unable to break its recent losing streak last weekend, as the team was swept by No. 24 Utah (30-13, 11-4) in Salt Lake City.
The Cardinal’s pitching struggled in the notoriously difficult Dumke Family Softball Stadium, and Stanford’s batters couldn’t make up the difference as the team lost two of their games by run rule and gave up 8 in the third. The losses make nine in a row for the Cardinal, who are still searching for their first win in conference play.
In the opener early on Friday afternoon, Stanford failed to establish any momentum as the team was defeated 13-0 in five innings. The Cardinal offense managed just two hits over the course of the game, a double from senior catcher Jessica Plaza and a single from sophomore infielder Lauren Wegner. Meanwhile, the home side combined for 14 hits of its own as it got the better of starting pitcher freshman Carolyn Lee and sophomore reliever Haley Snyder.
The Cardinal did show considerable improvement later that day, however, as they began the second game of the Friday doubleheader. Lee still struggled in the circle, giving up 7 runs in the third inning, but the team’s bats finally managed to break their silence in the top of the fourth. Plaza led off this resurgence with her second double of the day and was soon brought in by another double by Snyder, who had come in for the inconsistent Lee. A single from sophomore utility Arden Pettit then scored Snyder, narrowing the gap to five.
Utah extended their lead by one in the sixth before a two-out rally in the seventh nearly brought the Cardinal level. An RBI single by Plaza was followed by a 3-run home run from Wegner that succeded in narrowing the team’s deficit to 2.
Unfortunately, Snyder struck out on the next at-bat, handing the Utes a nervous 8-6 victory.
The final game of the series proceeded much more like the first than the second, with Utah riding a 9-run first inning to fell the Cardinal in 5. Utah’s pitchers once again all but completely shut down the Stanford bats as the Cardinal managed just two singles in their Sunday outing as they failed to seriously threaten their opponent.
Stanford will continue to search for ways to break its recent slide when the team returns home this weekend to face rival California, with the first game taking place on Friday at 7 p.m.
Contact Andrew Mather at amather ‘at’ stanford.edu.