Over the weekend, Stanford softball (7-2, 0-0 Pac-12) played its final three games of the Stanford Invitational, first against California Baptist University (CBU) (5-9, 0-0 WAC), then against Cal (4-2, 0-0 Pac-12) for the second time in 24 hours and finally against CBU again on Sunday.
The Cardinal got off to a rough start in the first Saturday game, with an error allowing CBU to reach first on its first at-bat. Sophomore pitcher Alana Vawter then struck out the next batter and the Cardinal threw out the next two girls to keep the Lancers hitless. Graduate right fielder Teaghan Cowles started the Cardinal off with a single to left field, complementing it by stealing second. Center fielder Taylor Gindlesperger advanced Cowles to third base, but was unable to beat out the throw to first. Cowles was left on base as the first inning ended scoreless.
The Cardinal allowed its first hit in the top of the second, but graduate catcher Montana Dixon threw the runner out on an attempt at stealing second. The Cardinal threw out the next batter and Vawter secured her second strikeout of the game to get the third out.
In the bottom of the second, sophomore pinch hitter Sydney Steele hit a double to deep center field and Dixon hit a single just above the head of the Lancers second baseman, who couldn’t quite handle the ball, allowing Steele to score. Junior left fielder Emily Klingaman hit a hard single to shortstop to keep the two-out rally going for the Cardinal, bringing up Cowles again, who walked. A high pop-up by Gindlesperger was lost in the sun by the Lancers, allowing both Dixon and Klingaman to come home and bring the score to 3-0.
CBU started out the third much like the second, with a hit to third. A later batter hit a hard slap to third, and graduate student third baseman Kristina Inouye threw out the runner at home with a nice tag from Dixon to keep the Lancers scoreless. The Cardinal’s final out was again secured on a Vawter strikeout. Back-to-back pop-outs kept the Cardinal hitless in the third until Steele came up with a single to right field, making her 2-2 on the day, but Stanford couldn’t quite bring her home before the inning ended.
Vawter picked up another strikeout in the fourth as the Lancers were again held scoreless. Stanford went on a hitting streak with back to back doubles by Cowles and Gindlesperger, the latter of which brought Cowles home. Singles by Young and Schultz advanced Gindlesperger, who scored on Schultz’s single to extend the Cardinal’s lead to 5-0 after four frames.
The fifth inning saw three-and-outs for both Stanford and California Baptist, and the top of the sixth was the same for the Lancers. A double by Young prevented the Cardinal from going hitless itself in the inning, and Stanford secured the 5-0 victory in the top of the seventh, with graduate student pitcher Nikki Bauer coming in to allow only one hit while striking out one.
Saturday’s second game was less successful for the Cardinal. Taking on Cal for the second time in 24 hours, Stanford found itself in a big hole early on and never came back. Both teams left two runners on base in the first inning, with singles from Young and Gindlesperger leading the way for the Cardinal.
In the top of the second, back-to-back singles by Cal and a Stanford error allowed the Golden Bears to find themselves in the favorable position of bases loaded with no outs. They took advantage, with two more singles to make the score 2-0, before Stanford ended the inning. The Cardinal found itself in a similar position as Cal, after singles by Steele and Dixon and a Cal error loaded the bases with only one out, but the Cardinal couldn’t capitalize and left all three runners stranded.
Things were similarly bleak for Stanford in the third inning. Two Cardinal errors and two Cal hits resulted in three runs, putting Stanford in a 5-0 hole after only three innings. Stanford and Cal held each other hitless in the fourth, and despite two Cal hits in the top of the fifth, Stanford was able to keep the score at 5-0.
The Cardinal made things interesting in the fifth with singles by Ginlesperger and Young, as well as a Cal error that allowed Schultz to reach first and Gindlesperger to score. Graduate infielder Eleni Spirakis brought home Young on a groundout to shortstop to cut the lead to 5-2 after five innings. An inside-the-park home run by Gindlesperger in the bottom of the seventh was the last time either team would score, as Cal secured a 5-3 victory.
Continuing the misfortune of Saturday’s Cal game, Sunday’s game against California Baptist started off rough for the Cardinal. An error led to a baserunner, and while Stanford recorded two outs after that, a hit between center and right field allowed CBU to score and take a 1-0 lead before the half-inning ended. Gindlesperger got things started off for Stanford in the bottom of the first with a single to center field. Young was walked to bring up Schultz, where a bobbled pitch by the catcher allowed Gindlesperger to steal third and an overthrow let her steal home, tying the game at one run apiece. Spirakis walked, and Steele hit a beautiful double down the third-base line and into left field to bring home Young and give the Cardinal a 2-1 lead after two innings.
Klingaman hit a rocket triple to deep right field in the second to bring up Cowles and the top of the lineup for the Cardinal. Cowles brought Klingaman home to make it a 3-1 game before stealing second, and a fielding error allowed Gindlesperger to reach first. Young walked for the second time in as many at-bats to bring up Schultz with the bases loaded. Schultz hit a high sacrifice fly into left field and Cowles tagged up from 3rd to bring the score to 4-1.
Another three-and-out for the Lancers started off the top of the third, but the Cardinal matched that with a three-and-out of its own, bringing the fourth inning quickly. Freshman pitcher Regan Krause struck out the first batter in the fourth before walking the second, and the Cardinal almost created a double play on CBU’s third hitter, but the throw was just late to first. It had little consequence, however, as Stanford ended the top of the fourth on the next batter.
The fifth inning was another three-and-out, as Stanford’s strong defensive abilities were on full display. Young hit a single up the middle in the bottom of the fifth, but recorded the only hit of the inning. Stanford continued its impressive defense in the top of the sixth, with another three-and-out. In the bottom of the sixth, freshman catcher Aly Kaneshiro hit a double deep to the gap between right and center field and Klingaman followed up with a single of her own to advance Kaneshiro to third, but an unlucky double play by the Lancers ended the inning.
The Cardinal secured the victory in the seventh with a three-and-out, including a strikeout by Krause to make the final score 4-1. Overall, Stanford went 3-1 on the weekend to bring its total record to 7-2. A particularly strong performance by Young, who hit .545 over the weekend, brought her season average to .519.
The Cardinal plays next in the DeMarini Invitational next weekend at Stanford against Nevada (9-5, 0-0 MW), BYU (6-7, 0-0 WCC) and UC Santa Barbara (1-5, 0-0 Big West).