By David Cohn
Faced with the possibility of a third consecutive loss after a 13-0 start to the regular season, the No. 13 Stanford softball team (14-3) dug deep in the top of the seventh inning against Syracuse (4-6) on Sunday morning of the Mary Nutter Collegiate Classic, scoring three runs to tie the game before dropping six runs on the Orange in the 8th inning to win 11-5. While the Card’s schedule may say that Stanford went 2-3 in Cathedral City, Calif. this past weekend, the win-loss record does not tell the complete story of a weekend in which the Cardinal overcame its short-staffed pitching rotation with strong resilience and effort.
With key players missing for the Cardinal, freshman Madi Schreyer rose to the occasion to deliver one heroic start after another for Stanford throughout this weekend’s tournament. In particular, Schreyer, a freshman from Woodinville, Wash., started and pitched complete games in four out of the five contests, including back-to-back complete games on Sunday against Syracuse and No. 2 Tennessee. In total, Schreyer (11-2) threw 485 pitches in 28 innings of work at Mary Nutter, while notching both victories against Maryland and Syracuse for Stanford.
Schreyer began the tournament by pitching a masterpiece against the Terrapins (1-14), as the 2012 Washington State Gatorade Player of the Year allowed only four hits and one unearned run in the Card’s 2-1 victory. After Kayla Bonstrom made her first collegiate start in the rotation against No. 15 Baylor (12-3) on Friday evening, Schreyer returned to the circle against No. 23 LSU (12-5) on Saturday afternoon, throwing 135 pitches in a 5-3 loss to the Tigers.
Despite the high number of innings that she had already logged at Mary Nutter, Schreyer turned in a brilliant performance against the Lady Volunteers (13-0) in her matchup with Vols star pitcher Ellen Renfroe. Schreyer kept Tennessee off-balance for most of the contest, striking out three Volunteers batters while only allowing three runs in a 3-1 loss.
Schreyer’s efforts have certainly been noticed by her teammates, as junior Erin Ashby was effusive in her praise of Schreyer after last weekend’s Stanford Nike Invitational, when the freshman also logged a majority of the innings in the circle for the Cardinal.
“I have never been so impressed with Madi,” Ashby said. “She came in and pitched any time she was needed…she definitely held her own this weekend and gave the team the wins.”
On offense, the Cardinal struggled to consistently put runs on the board against the elite competition at Mary Nutter. As a team, the Card only hit .231 while scoring 18 runs in five games. However, Stanford did receive some timely performances at the plate, particularly from Leah White. White, a junior from Phoenix, batted .429 over the course of the weekend with a double, two RBIs and four runs scored.
White’s best showing came against the Syracuse Orange, when the 2013 NFCA All-West Region second-team selection went 3-for-4 with an RBI and three runs scored. After drawing a leadoff walk to start the top of the third inning, White had a bunt single in the fifth and another single up the middle in the top of the seventh inning to help key the Cardinal’s furious rally against the Orange. Finally, White’s single in the top of the eighth inning plated Tylyn Wells from second, giving Stanford a 7-5 lead.
In addition to Leah White, Hanna Winter continued her recent surge at the plate by hitting .353 in 17 at-bats, with an RBI, two doubles and five runs scored. The junior from Camarillo, Calif., also had a 3-for-4 day at the plate against Syracuse, as Winter was able to drive home the winning run in the top of 8th inning to give the Cardinal a lead that it would not relinquish. With her success at the plate this weekend, Winter was able to raise her batting average to .356 on the season.
Finally, freshman Kylie Sorenson continued to deliver for the Card, batting .357 with three doubles and a team-leading three RBIs in five games. In particular, Sorenson’s single in the top of the fifth inning against Baylor scored the Card’s only run of the game, as the Bears would hand the Cardinal its first loss of the season by a 7-1 margin. Sorenson also notched two doubles in Stanford’s victory over Syracuse.
Stanford returns to action this weekend, when the Cardinal travels to Florida to participate in the Under Armour Invitational. The Card will play Central Arkansas and South Florida on Friday in Tampa before traveling to Clearwater, Fla. on Saturday and Sunday to take on Georgia State, Central Connecticut State and Kennesaw State.
Contact David Cohn at dmcohn ‘at’ stanford.edu.