By David Cohn
Stanford softball (17-37, 2-22 Pac-12) ended its 2015 campaign by getting swept in Berkeley, California at the hands of archrival No. 19 California (38-16, 10-14 Pac-12).
In the first two games of the series, Stanford received heroic performances in the circle from position players sophomore Kylie Sorenson and senior Erin Ashby, who stifled and repeatedly flummoxed the California offense. However, Stanford’s offense could not support Sorenson and Ashby, combining to score only 4 runs in the first two games.
As a result, the Cardinal squandered opportunities to steal the first two games, falling by 4-1 and 4-3 margins on Thursday and Friday.
On Thursday, Sorenson and Cal starter Katie Sutherland-Finch engaged in a pitchers’ duel through the first five innings, as Sorenson allowed only 3 hits and 2 walks without yielding a run. Sorenson also continued to rely on ground balls to get outs, recording 8 ground-ball outs.
On the other hand, her counterpart Sutherland-Finch pitched a complete game, scattering 6 hits and a Stanford walk, while only allowing a run on a home run by junior Kayla Bonstrom.
As a result, Stanford took a 1-0 lead into the bottom of the seventh inning and was one out away from stunning the Golden Bears. However, a mistake by Ashby in the circle led to a walk-off Golden Bear grand slam off the bat of Kobie Pettis.
On Friday, Sorenson again got off to a sensational start , as Stanford and Cal once again played out a scoreless draw through the first five innings. However, in the sixth, Bonstrom led off with her second home run of the series with a blast to right field, giving the Cardinal a 1-0 lead.
The Cardinal ultimately failed to pad that lead, stranding two base runners in the sixth, giving the Golden Bears an opportunity to take the lead in the bottom half of the frame. They did so through a 2-run Taurie Pogue home run, which put Stanford behind just minutes after the team had established its lead.
Stanford would once again respond in the top of the seventh off the bat of Bonstrom, with the Tucson, Arizona native plating two on a double to center field, scoring senior Tylyn Wells and Sorenson.
The 3-2 lead in the bottom of the seventh could not last either, however, as the Bears would walk off for the second straight day on a Cheyenne Cordes single to left field, spoiling another tremendous outing for Sorenson.
Finally, in the season finale on Saturday, the Cardinal were overwhelmed in first inning by Cal, and could never recover, falling quickly behind 5-0. Kobie Pettis once again caused problems for the Cardinal, driving home 3 runs. Pettis blasted another home run for the Bears in the bottom of the second for her sixth of the season.
Cal second baseman Mary Lee also notched 2 RBIs, with both runs driven in on singles in the first and the fourth. In the end, Cal raced past Stanford 11-2 with a five-inning run-rule decision.
On Saturday, Sorenson had the team’s lone RBI on a single to right field. Wells also notched 2 hits for Stanford, bringing her series total to 6.
Stanford finishes its season at 17-37, with only two wins in conference play. The Cardinal will miss the postseason for the second consecutive year, and will finish with their worst mark in conference since a 1-27 record back in 1995, the second year of the softball program.
Contact David Cohn at dmcohn ‘at’ stanford.edu.