Cardinal softball (18-4, 0-0 Pac-12) kept rolling, winning its sixth game in a row on Wednesday at BYU (11-12, 0-0 WCC) and bringing good energy into its first Pac-12 matchup on Friday against Utah (11-9, 0-0 Pac-12).
Similar to the team’s first two matchups with the Cougars earlier this season, both of which Stanford won, this was an even matchup with the lead switching back and forth throughout the game. Stanford scored early in the top of the first, with junior first baseman Emily Schultz doubling into right-center field to bring home graduate right fielder Teaghan Cowles, who had walked, and junior center fielder Taylor Gindlesperger, who had reached base on an error. This single error by BYU was the only of the game, and it turned out to be costly as those two unearned runs were the difference in this 5-4 Stanford victory.
BYU kept fighting, though, hitting a three-run homer in the bottom of the first, the first home run sophomore pitcher Alana Vawter had given up all season. This is an especially impressive feat for BYU given that even with those three earned runs, which doubled Vawter’s total for the season, her ERA is still just 0.62, which ranks in the top 20 in the nation.
Stanford regained the lead immediately after this homer with a crucial two-out rally. After third baseman Kristina Inouye walked, BYU got two consecutive batters out before Cowles was hit by a pitch. Back-to-back singles by Gindlesperger and junior shortstop Emily Young advanced the runners and brought home two runs to give Stanford a 4-3 lead.
The game was mostly defensive after the second, with each team only recording three more hits apiece the rest of the game after both had three hits over the first two innings combined. Stanford scored once more in the top of the fourth when Cowles stole home, and BYU scored again in the bottom of the fourth off a solo home run. That put the score at 5-4, where it would remain for the rest of the game.
Stanford is in a good place heading into their first Pac-12 matchup against Utah on Friday. The team cut down on errors in recent games, which were a major problem early on, and it is hitting much better as a team, taking some of the pressure off its superb pitchers. The first pitch is at 3 p.m. PT on Friday in Salt Lake City.