By Sally Egan
This past weekend, the Cardinal softball team continued to show they are a transformed team from past seasons. While Stanford (19-4, 0-0 Pac-12) wasn’t the unstoppable force of nature this weekend that they have been as of late, they still came away from the Cardinal Classic with three more wins. At 19-4, the softball team is only five games away from matching their win total from last season before conference play even begins.
The Cardinal started out by playing Bucknell (6-10, 0-0 Patriot league) in a tight matchup that featured strong efforts from pitchers senior Carolyn Lee and junior Kiana Pacino. Stanford started out strong, taking the lead in the first inning with reigning PAC-12 Player of the Week junior Teaghan Cowles’ fourth home run of the season.
However, the Cardinal would only score once more, this time from junior outfielder Hannah Howell’s clutch two-out RBI double in the bottom of the third. The run would prove to be key as an unearned Bucknell run in the fifth caused Stanford to come away with just a 2-1 victory. Lee allowed only four hits and one walk in five innings pitched while Pacino allowed zero hits in two innings en route to her fifth save of the season.
The Cardinal’s second game Friday was much more of an offensive matchup, with four Stanford players hitting at least .500 against UMass Amherst (6-8, 0-0 America East). The Riverhawks took the early lead, scoring twice in the second inning — but Stanford capitalized on their sloppy play, scoring three unearned runs in the third inning.
Junior outfielder Alyssa Horeczko and senior outfield Molly Fowkes had hits in the fourth and fifth innings, respectively, to bring in another two runs. Both players finished the game two for three at the plate.
U-Mass then scored four runs, including three unearned, in the top of the sixth to reclaim the lead at 6-5. Stanford recovered quickly later that inning, though, with Cowles bringing in the game-tying run on a triple and freshman utility Emily Klingaman singling into left to bring Cowles home. The excitement ended with another Stanford victory, 7-6.
Saturday saw Stanford’s 12-game win streak snap to UNLV (19-5, 0-0 Mountain West) in a tough 1-0 defeat. The game was scoreless through 6 innings, but it wasn’t for lack of opportunity. The Cardinal outnumbered UNLV five hits to one but left six runners on base throughout the first six innings. This mistake would prove to be costly as UNLV responded with two hits in the seventh, which brought in a single run. Stanford couldn’t answer and UNLV took the win.
Later in the day, the Cardinal bounced back, though, beating UMass Lowell for the second time in two days. Both junior infield Kristina Inouye and freshman utility Emily Young went 2 for 3 and junior catcher/infielder Montana Dixon hit her first home run of the season in another strong offensive showing for Stanford. UMass started with the lead, scoring in the first, but the Cardinal was determined to not drop another game and responded with two runs later in the inning.
A rainy Sunday afternoon game against UNLV resulted in the Cardinal’s second defeat of the weekend. Once again, Stanford matched up evenly with the Rebels for the majority of the game. The score remained tied 0-0 through four innings, but Stanford gave up four runs in the fifth and couldn’t recover. Cowled went 2-3 again and Stanford’s five hits again were more than UNLV’s four, but the Cardinal only scored once as they fell 4-1.
Stanford next begins conference play at Cal on March 23.
Contact Sally Egan at egansj18 ‘at’ stanford.edu.