Stanford softball (16-10) saw mixed success in the Stanford Easton Classic this weekend, as it played host to the teams from Grand Canyon (23-4), Connecticut (6-10), Lehigh (5-10) and Cal Poly (16-7). The Cardinal won three of five games on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, including two against Lehigh.
Stanford got off to a slow start against Grand Canyon on Friday, dropping an 11-1 run-rule decision. Although the Cardinal struck first with a run in the second inning, the Antelopes were hot in the third. They racked up seven runs (including a grand slam) and forced the Cardinal to fight for a comeback. Unfortunately for Stanford, the bats went cold, and while another four Grand Canyon runners would cross the plate in the sixth, the Cardinal were never able to recover momentum.
On Sunday, the Cardinal bounced back, staving off Connecticut for a 4-3 win in the morning before shutting out Lehigh 2-0 in the afternoon. Sophomore ace Carolyn Lee got the start in the circle against the Huskies, pitching 6.0 innings of one-run ball before being relieved by freshman Kiana Pancino for the final out. Freshman Alyssa Horeczko was an offensive spark for the Cardinal, going 3-for-3 with three singles and a run.
Stanford took an early lead against the Huskies, tallying two runs in each of the first two innings. However, from then on the Cardinal struggled, recording just two hits for the remainder of the game. For the most part, Lee’s strong pitching kept Connecticut off the basepaths, but a pinch-hit solo home run from Carissa Brizzi in the fifth inning put the Huskies on the board. The next batter walked, and a hit-by-pitch and single loaded the bases. A fielder’s choice saved a run but kept the bases loaded with two outs, but Lee settled down to get her third strikeout of the game to retire the side.
Lee allowed another hit in the top of the sixth, and a pair of groundouts advanced the runner to third, but the Huskies could not capitalize as Brizzi grounded out to end the charge. Another jam materialized with two outs in the seventh. After a leadoff single, the next two Connecticut batters flied out, but three consecutive singles sent two runners home. The Huskies were down one with the tying run on third base when Stanford sent Pancino to the circle to get the final out and secure the 4-3 victory.
Freshman Nikki Bauer got the start in the second game of the day and recovered quickly from Friday’s loss, combining with junior Haley Snyder for the shutout. Together, the pitchers allowed just five hits and two walks.
Lehigh loaded the bases in the fourth inning, but Bauer induced a ground ball to get out of the jam. In the bottom of the inning, the Cardinal drew first blood. Lauren Bertroy walked, a double from Kristina Inouye advanced her to third and a fielder’s choice sent Bertroy home to give Stanford its first run of the game.
The top of the fifth inning started inauspiciously for Stanford, as Bauer allowed two singles before being relieved by Snyder. Snyder got three consecutive outs in a tight spot to escape the inning. The Cardinal tacked on another run in the bottom of the sixth for insurance, but they wouldn’t need it. Snyder closed out the game, allowing just two hits and walking one batter to hand Stanford the win.
Sunday started with a heartbreaker for Stanford, as the Cardinal fell to Cal Poly 1-0. The only run of the game came on a wild pitch with one out in the top of the seventh inning. Lee once again came one out away from a complete game in the circle, and was on the receiving end of yet another hard-luck loss, having allowed just three hits in just over 6 innings.
The Cardinal struggled offensively against the Mustangs, with their first hit coming off Bessie Noll’s bat in the fourth inning. Freshman Teaghan Cowles followed Noll with another single, but the charge was short-lived, as a fielder’s choice and a strikeout stranded two baserunners and ended the inning. Stanford stranded two more runners in the bottom of the fifth and one in the sixth before going down quietly in the seventh inning to end the game.
Stanford stood strong against a familiar opponent as it fought off a sixth-inning rally by Lehigh to end the weekend with a 6-4 win. The Cardinal opened scoring with three runs in the bottom of the fourth and another two in the fifth, forcing the Mountain Hawks to play catch-up throughout the game.
Lehigh tallied one run in the fifth and mounted a more successful comeback in the sixth, scoring three runs with two outs before finally being silenced. A leadoff single in the top of the seventh gave the Mountain Hawks one last hope, but Lee came in in relief to close out the game, registering her first save of the season.
Up next, Stanford will open Pac-12 play with a three-game series at California on March 25-27. First pitch on Saturday and Sunday is at noon, and Monday’s game starts at 3 p.m. The series will be broadcast on Pac-12 Networks.
Contact Olivia Hummer at ohummer ‘at’ stanford.edu.