In a tight game decided by defensive play and errors, the Stanford softball team (31-10, 7-5 Pac-12) eked out a 3-2 win over Fresno State (30-15, 8-7 Mountain West).
The game was scoreless through the first four innings, a testament to the strong pitching of sophomore Maddy Dwyer and senior Carolyn Lee, who only allowed two hits in the first four frames. The closest the Bulldogs came to scoring came in the bottom of the third, when two walks gave Fresno State two runners on base with only one out. The Cardinal defense stood strong, though, and the next two batters were taken out.
While the tight matchup did indicate a near-perfect defensive effort by the Cardinal, their performance on the other side of the bat wasn’t so spectacular. A single to left field by freshman Emily Klingaman accounted for the only hit by the Cardinal during this time. The usually consistent power hitter junior Teaghan Cowles appeared to be having an off day, as she fouled out and grounded out in her first two at bats.
The game got much more exciting in the fifth inning. Emily Young reached first base off of a fielding error and then stole second, putting her in perfect position to score on the next play when freshman Emily Schultz tripled to right center. Schultz scored off of a Klingaman sacrifice fly and the Cardinal suddenly found themselves up by two. While freshman Taylor Gindlesperger had a nice bunt to account for Stanford’s third hit of the game, she was left stranded on base.
Just as the Cardinal seemed to be taking control of the game, though, the Bulldogs decided to also use the fifth inning to get their bats rolling. A two-run homer with two outs turned the momentum quickly in Fresno State’s favor and the game was tied again going into the sixth. Three walks and and one catcher’s interference later, Stanford scored their second unearned run of the game, the run that would end up deciding the game.
Overall, while Fresno State had five hits compared to Stanford’s three, it was the two Bulldog errors that led to their demise. The Cardinal played an error-free game. and it helped them squeak by in a game closer than they likely expected.
Next up for Stanford is a three-game series at home against Arizona State (25-17, 5-10 Pac-12) from Friday April 26 through Sunday April 28.
Contact Sally Egan at egansj18 ‘at’ stanford.edu.