Perfection at the Demarini Invitational for softball

Feb. 28, 2022, 1:02 a.m.

Playing in front of a home crowd at Smith Family Stadium, Stanford softball (14-2, 0-0 Pac-12) had a weekend performance that can only be described as perfect. 

Over the course of the four-game DeMarini Invitational, the Cardinal threw a no-hitter, a perfect game and another no-hitter in back-to-back-to-back games, giving up just two hits and zero runs in total. Sophomore Regan Krause, junior Alana Vawter and senior Molly Millar were the pitchers for the four games, with Krause going the distance in both the first and fourth games of the weekend en route to four straight run-rule victories.

Krause’s first start came in a Friday night matchup against Mount St. Mary’s (2-7, 0-0 Northeast Conference). She immediately set the tone for the weekend, taking only four pitches to strike out the first batter she faced — one of her four strikeouts of the night. 

From there she remained locked in, breezing through the Mountaineers’ lineup for the next four ⅔ innings of softball. Krause’s lone blemish was a walk in the top of the fifth, which was quickly erased by two groundouts and a popup to end the game. Her 63-pitch no-hitter was the team’s first since 2018.

“One pitch at a time,” Krause said when asked about her mentality on the mound in a postgame interview with softball alum and Pac-12 broadcaster Jenna Becerra ‘12. “[Assistant Coach Tori] Nyberg and I talked a lot this year about attacking them one pitch at a time.”

“Go right at them and let my defense work…my best is better,” Krause added.

Vawter followed up Krause’s performance less than 24 hours later in a 3:30 p.m. PT game against Fresno State (1-12, 0-0 Mountain West Conference), the first of a Saturday doubleheader. She matched Krause’s dominance pitch for pitch in every regard, hurling the Cardinal’s first perfect game since 2013. 

Vawter threw 68 pitches, recorded eight strikeouts and made quick work of the Bulldogs in another 10-0, five-inning win.

Millar faced Mount St. Mary’s again in Saturday’s nightcap looking to continue the ten-inning hitless streak. Although she had to throw an extra inning — Stanford didn’t score the final two required runs in the team’s 8-0 victory for the run-rule to take effect until the sixth inning — she pitched flawlessly, extending the hitless streak by Cardinal opponents to 16 innings. 

Of the 18 outs Millar recorded in her dominant performance, 14 were strikeouts. The Mountaineers’ sole baserunners reached via three hit by pitches.

The 16 hitless innings across three games from Krause, Vawter and Millar were the first three straight no-hitters or perfect games for the program since 2010. Even more impressively, the games were pitched by three different players, a feat that has never been accomplished in the team’s 28-year existence.

In the Sunday finale, head coach Jessica Allister tabbed Krause as the starter once again. She threw a hitless top of the first but ran into slight trouble in the second with back-to-back hits. With one quick strikeout and groundout, however, the Cardinal were back in the dugout to hit with the shutout intact. Stanford’s offense piled on the runs once again, handedly winning 8-0 in five innings.

Offensively, the entire team hit throughout the weekend. That tends to happen when a team scores 36 runs on 37 hits in 21 innings — needless to say, the Cardinal bats were alive. Production from up and down the lineup propelled the team to crooked numbers in multiple innings and allowed Stanford’s pitchers to work ahead and attack opposing hitters.

Five Cardinal players — senior utilities Emily Young and Emily Schultz, junior infield Sydnee Huff, junior outfield Kaitlyn Lim and senior outfield Taylor Gindlesperger — recorded multi-hit games over the weekend. Sophomore catcher Aly Kaneshiro, sophomore outfield Caelan Koch and Young each hit home runs over the course of the four games.

Stanford’s deep, dominant pitching staff and all-around offensive prowess sets up the team well for when Pac-12 play kicks off at the end of March. Until then, the Cardinal have plenty to build upon following a historic and record-breaking DeMarini Invitational.

Coming up, the Cardinal will take on UC Davis (5-7, 0-0 Big West) in a Tuesday afternoon matchup at 3 p.m. PT, followed by the Tulsa Invitational next weekend. 

Jeremy Rubin was the Vol. 260 Executive Editor for Print and Sports Editor in Vol. 258 and 259. A junior from New York City, he studies Human Biology and enjoys long walks, good podcasts and all things Yankees baseball-related. Contact him at jrubin 'at' stanforddaily.com.

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