In the final game of the Easton Crimson Classic, Stanford softball (12-8) was walked off by Drake (14-8) — a heartbreaking closing to a weekend of highs and lows in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. The Cardinal finished the tournament with a 2-3 record, dropping a game to No. 11 Alabama (19-2) while splitting two games with Drake and two games with Jacksonville (11-9).
The Cardinal opened play on Friday with a decisive 9-0 run-rule victory over Drake before dropping the second game of the day to Jacksonville in extra innings. Sophomore ace Carolyn Lee contributed yet another hot start in the circle, allowing just one hit in the 5.0-inning game to earn the first Stanford one-hitter since 2013. Lee had a no-hitter through 4.2 innings before a single slipped past senior shortstop Kylie Sorenson to break it up. She also tallied six strikeouts and walked just two batters on the way to her fifth win of the season.
While the Stanford bats were hot in the morning, they cooled when the sun was high in the sky. The Cardinal stranded 10 runners on base in the second game of the day, against Jacksonville, including two runners in each of the first three innings. With the score evened at four apiece after seven innings, the Cardinal and the Dolphins played two rounds of bonus ball before Jacksonville was able to plate two runners in the top of the ninth to secure the 6-4 extra-inning win.
Freshman pitcher Nikki Bauer threw well but poor defensive play held her back. Of the four runs that scored while she was in the circle, just two were earned. After 5.0 innings, freshman Kiana Pancino took over, leading the Cardinal into extras while allowing just one hit in 4.0 innings pitched. Errors again plagued Stanford, and one of the two runs attributed to Pancino was unearned. Overall, the Cardinal committed four errors, two of which resulted in runs.
Jacksonville and Stanford met again the next morning, with vastly different results. Although it seemed the Cardinal would go down quietly at first, a five-run seventh inning said otherwise. Stanford once again struggled with runners in scoring position, stranding 12 on the base paths over the course of the game. When the runs finally came, however, they came in bunches, as the Cardinal were able to tally three runs in the top of the fifth inning on the back of a two-run homer from junior Haley Snyder.
Hours later, the Stanford offense stagnated when faced with a ranked squad and the Alabama batters hit Lee hard from the start. With two outs in the bottom of the first inning, Lee walked three batters to load the bases before allowing a triple off the left field wall which plated all three runners. Pancino took over to stop the bleeding, and allowed just one more earned run over the next 5.1 innings.
Alabama’s pitcher Alexis Osorio was near-unhittable, as she allowed just one hit and three walks while striking out 18 batters in her complete-game win. Freshman Alyssa Horeczko recorded the only hit of the game while also making defensive highlight reels with her third-inning warning track catch that led her straight into a chain link fence. She remained in the game before being replaced an inning later.
Stanford’s weekend ended on a sour note after Drake succeeded in walking off the Cardinal in a 5-4 loss on Sunday. While Stanford had jumped out to the early lead and was up 4-3 in the top of the sixth inning, Drake tied it up with a run in the bottom of the inning. In the bottom of the seventh, Drake’s leadoff batter singled, and a double from Kailee Smith sent the runner home, securing the win for the Bulldogs.
Now Stanford will head home to host UC Davis on Wednesday at 5 p.m. in the Boyd & Jill Smith Family Stadium. The Cardinal claimed a win the last time they saw the Aggies, rallying for four runs in the sixth inning to secure the victory. Live statistics will be available on GoStanford.com.
Contact Olivia Hummer at ohummer ‘at’ stanford.edu.