Unlike what the title “Battle for the Bay” may imply, this past weekend’s series between Stanford softball (13-29, 0-18 Pac-12) and the California Golden Bears (28-18-1, 9-7-1) was far from a competitive battle, as Berkeley handed the Cardinal their sixth conference series sweep.
Other than a 1-0 pitching master class from secondary Cardinal starter Haley Snyder, the rest of the Cardinal’s weekend looked indicative of their season as a whole as they struggled to score offensively, losing 10-1 and 11-5 in the first and third games of the series. The Golden Bears dominated a struggling Cardinal defense that couldn’t stop allowing Cal’s lineup runs.
On the mound, Cardinal freshman starter Carolyn Lee couldn’t find control over her pitches and ended the weekend giving up 9 earned runs on 19 hits and 4 errors. The freshman right-hander now owns an unfortunate 6-18 record over the season and a heightened 5.65 ERA.
However, the Cardinal pitching, despite allowing an astonishing 22 runs to score over the three-game series, provided one of the only Stanford highlights of the weekend when sophomore Haley Snyder provided a 5-hit, 7-inning performance during Saturday’s game. The right-handed pitcher allowed only 1 run in the first inning and looked dominant and comfortable on the mound for perhaps the first time all season.
Yet Snyder’s 1-run outing still couldn’t lead the Cardinal to their first conference victory on the season, as the Golden Bear rotation suffocated the Stanford batters all weekend. With team batting-leader Kylie Sorenson missing the rest of the season with a broken wrist, Stanford couldn’t seem to make contact on many pitches, going 12-for-74 with a dismal .162 batting average.
Meanwhile, right-handed senior pitcher Nisa Ontiveros started both Friday and Sunday for the Golden Bears, and the Cal ace continued her spectacular pitching, befuddling a Stanford lineup. After last weekend’s series sweep, Ontiveros moves to 12-5 on the season and lowered her ERA to a Pac-12-leading 1.59.
Ontiveros was joined by fellow team-standout sophomore Jazmyn Jackson in leading Cal’s demolition of the Cardinal team. Batting in her normal leadoff spot, Jackson scored 3 runs and batted in another while hitting 6-for-13 on the weekend. With yet another exceptional series, Jackson improves her batting average to .397, good for sixth in the Pac-12.
For Stanford, this series sweep means that the Cardinal are still winless in conference play with only two more series left in the season. Next weekend, the Cardinal embark on their final road trip of the season against a struggling Arizona State (27-22, 3-15). This will be the first time the Cardinal will face the Sun Devils this season, and Stanford will look for a road victory in order to escape the season without being shut out in the win column.
In order to gain victory on the road, the Cardinal must challenge Arizona State’s top pitcher Kelsey Kessler and establish offensive rhythm unlike in past series.With Stanford losing team-leading hitter Sorenson, the Cardinal offense will need to fabricate runs from other options, a problem they have yet to solve this season.
Stanford opens its last away series of the season Friday at 7 p.m.
Contact Lorenzo Rosas at enzor9 ‘at’ stanford.edu.