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Softball earns season’s first sweep

The Stanford softball team notched its 30th win of the year Sunday, earning its first sweep of the season by taking three straight from Oregon State.

Senior pitcher Ashley Chinn earned her 14th win of the season as the Cardinal dominated Oregon State in its first three-game sweep of the year. (IAN GARCIA-DOTY/The Stanford Daily)

The No. 11 Cardinal looked dominant in dismantling the bottom-dwelling Beavers (18-16, 1-8 Pac-10), continuing its strong Pac-10 play after taking two of three from UCLA the weekend before. Stanford outscored Oregon State 18-2, riding roughshod over its only nationally unranked conference foe. With the sweep, Stanford established a winning conference record for the first time this year, moving to 5-4 in the Pac-10 and 30-8 overall.

The Stanford bats were alive top to bottom, continuing strong team play and showcasing some heads-up baserunning, especially from junior outfielder Sarah Hassman, who had a phenomenal series leading off for the Cardinal. She finished 4-for-6 with six runs scored, five stolen bases, five walks and an RBI, getting on base 10 times in 12 plate appearances. She leads the team in runs (48), walks (25) and stolen bases (27) while ranking second in average (.426) and on-base percentage (.541).

Cardinal pitching was just as good, if not better, giving up just one earned run over the weekend. For the second straight week, sophomore Teagan Gerhart pitched in all three games, earning two complete game wins and a save. Gerhart was outstanding, allowing no earned runs and just eight hits in 15.2 innings of work while striking out 15.

The Cardinal started red hot on Friday, scoring in each of the first four frames en route to a 7-0 victory. Gerhart allowed just two hits and one walk. It was her second shutout of the year.

Stanford broke open the game in the third, scoring three runs to make it 5-0. Junior infielder Ashley Hansen led off the inning with a blast to center, her sixth home run of the year. Stanford scored again as freshman Danielle Miller singled and then scored on sophomore infielder Jenna Rich’s double. Rich, in turn, scored two batters later when senior infielder Melisa Koutz singled to left. Stanford tacked on another run in the fourth as Hassman scored on an error by OSU shortstop Nikki Chandler. The final run came in the sixth when Koutz plated Rich for her second RBI. Oregon State’s Tina Andreana took the loss, moving to 5-6 overall.

Saturday’s action saw more of the same, except with senior Ashley Chinn starting on the mound. She was sharp while getting plenty of run support in an 8-1 win, moving her to 14-2 on the year. Chinn struck out four while allowing just one run in 5.1 innings of work. Gerhart pitched the final five outs for her second save.

Stanford once again struck early and often, helped by aggressive baserunning. The team managed a season-high seven steals, led by three from Hassman, who also finished 3-for-3 from the plate with three runs scored. Freshman Corey Hanewich and Rich would also both finish with three hits, an RBI and a run scored.

The Cardinal wasted no time, posting three runs on four singles and four stolen bases in the first inning. Hansen singled in Hassman to open the scoring. Rich followed with an RBI single of her own for the second run and then proceeded to steal two bases, including home, for the third run. Stanford scored again in the second. With two outs, Hassman walked, stole second and then scored on a Hanewich single to center.

The Beavers finally got on the board for the first time all weekend when Oregon State pitcher Paige Hall took Chinn deep to left field in the fourth. Despite her offensive effort, Hall earned the loss, falling to 6-4.

Stanford’s offense never relented, scoring four more in the sixth to double the lead. After loading the bases, sophomore pinch hitter Alix Van Zandt was hit by Hall, bringing in the first run. Oregon State continued to hurt itself when an error by second baseman Maggie Doremus allowed two more runners to score. Junior Maya Burns then singled in the eighth and final run of the game.

Sunday’s game was a rematch of Friday’s starters, and while closer, the result was similar. Oregon State continued to be stymied by Gerhart, once again not allowing an earned run in a complete game win. She once again fanned seven in seven innings, running her record to 16-6 and lowering her ERA to 1.77.

For the third straight game, Stanford scored in the first. Miller and Rich each picked up RBI on a single and a sac fly, scoring Hassman and Hansen. Oregon State managed their first run against Gerhart on a sac fly in the fourth, cutting the lead to one. Stanford responded in the bottom of the inning as Miller singled in Hanewich to make it a 3-1 final score.

The Cardinal will hit the road for its next five games, playing tonight at Pacific, followed by a three-game series at rival Cal, currently No. 3 in the nation.

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