Heading into a three-game home series against Washington this past weekend, the Stanford softball team had lost four out of its past five games. With the regular season winding down, the Cardinal needed to quickly find an answer to its recent string of losses.
And answer quickly it did.
The No. 9 Cardinal (36-16, 9-12 Pac-12) swept the No. 14 Huskies (36-17, 7-16) in three consecutive shutouts with scores of 4-0, 1-0 and 10-0. The stellar performance marks the second time this season that Stanford has managed to sweep a Pac-12 opponent.
Junior pitcher Teagan Gerhart was the star player of the series, making an appearance in all three games. In the opener, Gerhart’s relentless effort on the mound rewarded her with her seventh shutout of the season. Although she gave up six walks, she also gave up just six hits over seven innings. On the next day, Gerhart came into a tight 1-0 game in the top of the seventh to close out the Cardinal’s victory. It gave Gerhart her first save of the season and also ensured a win for freshman pitcher Nyree White, whose admirable outing included three strikeouts, one walk and no runs allowed in six innings.
It was only fitting that Gerhart saved her most dominant pitching for the series finale. As the last home game of the regular season, the Sunday game was the all-important Senior Day for the Cardinal. Gerhart certainly didn’t let her senior teammates down, pitching lights out in all five innings at the Smith Family Stadium. She gave up just four hits and two walks in a win that improved her regular season record to 30-10.
But quality pitching wasn’t the only factor in Stanford’s dominance over Washington. The Cardinal bats came alive in the series, especially in game three.
In the first game, freshman centerfielder Cassandra Roulund came up big for the team, going 2-for-3 at the plate, driving in a run and scoring another. Senior shortstop Ashley Hansen also hit well, going 2-for-4 and scoring a run.
After a quiet performance in game two’s pitching duel, the Cardinal offense erupted in game three. The team collectively hit 8-for-21, outperforming Washington’s 4-for-19 showing. Roulund was clutch once again, contributing to the offensive attack with two RBI along with two runs scored. It seemed as if all the players in the Stanford lineup got a piece of the action on Senior Day. Roulund, Hansen and junior second baseman Jenna Rich each scored two runs. In fact, all but two players scored at least one run in the 10-0 victory.
Roulund’s outstanding offensive display at the plate and Gerhart’s dominant pitching on the mound earned each player well-deserved Pac-12 accolades. Just yesterday, Roulund was named the Pac-12 Player of the Week, while Gerhart was given the Pac-12 Pitcher of the Week honors.
Counting last Tuesday’s game against Santa Clara along with the Washington series, Roulund has put up some gaudy statistics in the past week. The freshman went 6-for-10, drove in eight runs, crossed the plate six times and tallied an outstanding 1.100 slugging percentage. Meanwhile, Gerhart added to her already impressive junior campaign. She allowed just one run over the span of 18 innings, giving her a 0.39 ERA for last week.
A sweep over Washington was exactly what Stanford needed after being swept by a tough No. 4 Arizona State team just two weekends ago. The players hope to maintain this late season momentum and carry it into the postseason.
The Cardinal will conclude its regular season with a three-game series at Utah beginning this Thursday.