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Softball falls flat against No. 1 Ducks

The No. 1 team in the nation lived up to its billing this weekend on the Farm, as the Oregon Ducks (44-5, 17-1 Pac-12) thrashed the Stanford softball team (27-21, 3-15 Pac-12) in three straight games to notch a series sweep at Smith Family Stadium. The Cardinal struggled to keep up with Oregon as the Ducks took flight both at the plate and in the circle. Quite simply, Oregon dominated the Card in all aspects of the game.

(ZETONG LI/The Stanford Daily)

Kayla Bonstrom (above) led the under-performing Cardinal offense with .500 hitting and three doubles over the weekend against No. 1 Oregon. (ZETONG LI/The Stanford Daily)

Stanford’s offense, which is on pace to break several team records this season, did not materialize against a formidable 1-2 combination in Duck pitchers Cheridan Hawkins and Karissa Hovinga. The Card only scored three runs and notched 13 total hits in the three game set, as Hawkins and Hovinga completely stifled any offensive production.

In turn, Oregon had a field day at the plate, hitting .322 and scoring 21 runs against the Cardinal rotation. While Madi Schreyer had a better weekend against the Ducks, particularly in four innings of relief on Sunday afternoon, the freshman from Woodinville, Washington, was unable to handle an experienced Duck squad without any run support.

In Friday night’s opener on ESPNU, the Ducks jumped on Schreyer in the top of the third inning, scoring four runs on five hits, including two RBI triples by Oregon center fielder Koral Kosta. In turn, the Card turned in an anemic offensive performance, stranding five runners in a 7-0 shutout loss to the U of O.

Saturday’s afternoon contest played out in a similar fashion to Friday night’s defeat; the Ducks relied on three extra-base hits to break open the game against the Cardinal, as a Janelle Lindvall double, a Janie Takeda triple and a Kailee Cuico blast to left-center field all drove home two runs for Oregon. Those three hits were all the offense that the Ducks would need, as Hovinga gave up only one earned run and three hits in a 7-1 win.

Finally, the Ducks finished off the sweep on Sunday with a strong third inning, scoring five runs on five hits en route to a 7-2 victory over the Card. Stanford was unable to drive home enough runs when it had its opportunities in the sixth and seventh innings, as the Cardinal stranded two runners apiece in both innings to close out the game.

One bright spot for the Cardinal was the play of sophomore Kayla Bonstrom, as the Tucson, Arizona, native hit .500 with three doubles and 2 RBIs. The 2013 Pac-12 Freshman of the Year led her team in just about every offensive category this weekend, with an .800 slugging percentage, a .500 on-base percentage and eight total bases in the three game series.

In describing her approach against the Ducks, Bonstrom highlighted her patience as a key to her success.

“In the past few series, I have been trying to do a little too much, so I was working to not over swing on [Hawkins’s] pitches,” Bonstrom said. “Hawkins pitched me the same way on almost every at-bat, so it was easier for me to do my job.”

Head coach John Rittman praised the top-ranked Ducks for their performance against the Cardinal this weekend.

“They are a very good team and ranked No. 1 for a reason,” he said.

“We pitched better this weekend,” Rittman added. “I thought Madi really came out and pitched much better than she has been doing. Offensively, we had a tough time against their pitchers this weekend, and when we don’t score runs, it makes it tough to beat a team like Oregon.”

The Cardinal will return to action on Wednesday afternoon against Saint Mary’s in Moraga, California, with a first pitch scheduled for 3 p.m. After that mid-week non-conference game, Stanford will travel to Los Angeles to square off against No. 2 UCLA (44-4, 15-3 Pac-12) for a weekend series against the Bruins. Friday night’s opener will begin at 7 p.m., while Saturday’s and Sunday’s contests will start at 3 p.m. and noon, respectively.

All three games next weekend against UCLA will be televised; Friday’s game will be covered by the Pac-12 Networks while Saturday’s contest will be aired on ESPNU and the Sunday finale will air on ESPN.

Contact David Cohn at dmcohn ‘at’ stanford.edu. 

About David Cohn

David Cohn '15 is currently the Summer Managing Editor of Sports. He began his tenure at the Daily by serving as a senior staff writer for Stanford football and softball, and then rose to the position of assistant editor of staff development. David is a Biology major from Poway, California. In addition to his duties at the Daily, he serves as the lead play-by-play football and softball announcer for KZSU Live Stanford Radio 90.1 FM.