By David Cohn
Stanford softball (9-8) had a rough weekend at the Mary Nutter Collegiate Classic, going 1-4 against their competition over the four day tournament in Cathedral City, California. While the Cardinal certainly played a tough schedule as part of one of the premier non-conference tournaments in college softball, the performance in all facets of the game was nevertheless disappointing for a squad that had started the season with a solid 8-4 record.
What is perhaps most alarming about Stanford’s showing this weekend is that the Card’s woes cannot be pegged simply on one aspect of the game; in a couple of games, the Cardinal racked up errors in the field, while in others, the Card either struggled to hit or struggled to pitch.
Stanford’s difficulties at the plate this weekend were certainly a noticeable departure from the first two weekends, with the Cardinal pretty consistently leaving runs off the board. In the Cardinal’s 6-2 loss to South Carolina (11-4) on Friday afternoon, Stanford left six runners on base, while going 2-for-10 at the plate with runners on base and 1-for-5 with runners in scoring position.
The struggle to piece together hits continued for Stanford on Sunday morning against No. 22 Texas A&M (12-4). In the Cardinal’s 4-0 loss to the Aggies, the Card stranded eight baserunners while going 2-for-11 with runners on base and 3-for-12 on base runner advancement opportunities.
However, unfortunately for the Cardinal, the troubles continued in the later innings of the tournament finale on Sunday afternoon against San Diego State (8-6). Stanford chased Aztecs starter Erica Romero from the circle after only 2.2 innings, jumping out to a quick 4-0 lead on a 3 RBI double from sophomore Kaitlin Schaberg. But Stanford was unable to keep the effort going against Aztec reliever Sydnee Cable. After Cable entered the game, the Cardinal would manage only one additional run on three hits over the rest of the contest.
The cold streak against the Aztecs coincided with a disastrous third and fourth innings in the circle for the Card, as SDSU teed off on freshman pitcher Haley Snyder. After senior outfielder Tylyn Wells walked two out of three batters she faced to start the fourth, Snyder gave up 3 runs on two separate singles before Jenaveve Peres blasted a grand-slam to cap the seven-run fourth. In all, Wells, Snyder and sophomore infielder/starting pitcher Kylie Sorenson were charged with a combined 10 runs in the third and fourth innings. Stanford would be unable to recover from the offensive outburst, falling to the Aztecs by a 11-5 margin.
Finally, defensive miscues hampered the Cardinal’s efforts in its contests against South Carolina and Fresno State (11-4). In the two contests, Stanford committed a combined seven errors, which ultimately led to five unearned runs. On the season, the Cardinal has committed 22 errors, yielding 21 unearned runs.
One bright spot for the Cardinal this weekend was sophomore pitcher Madi Schreyer; the 2014 Pac-12 Honorable Mention selection was excellent in the circle this weekend for Stanford, as she only gave up two earned runs in three starts at the tournament. In particular, in Stanford’s 4-0 win over Oklahoma State (3-9) on Saturday morning, Schreyer completely stifled the Cowgirl offense, scattering five hits while only allowing a single walk. The Woodinville, Washington native also struck out seven batters in the outstanding performance.
On the season, Schreyer has been off to a fantastic start, posting a 1.50 ERA in 37.1 innings of work. True to her form from last season, Schreyer has been relying upon ground balls to record outs, recording 53 groundouts to only 23 flyouts this year.
Stanford returns to action this coming weekend in Los Angeles, as the Cardinal will be participating in a tournament hosted by Long Beach State and Cal State Fullerton. The Card will face Utah Valley, Wichita State, Long Beach State, Northwestern and Weber State as part of the three-day event.
Contact David Cohn at dmcohn ‘at’ stanford.edu.