Stanford softball (23-29, 2-19 Pac-12) continues to struggle in Pac-12 divisional play and were swept over the weekend by the No. 8 ranked Arizona State Sun Devils (42-9, 15-6). These three losses all but cement the Cardinal’s last place position in the Pac-12.
Arizona State has now won the last nine series against Stanford softball, showing absolute dominance over the program during the past few years.
Stanford led the Sun Devils for six innings of the first game on Friday. But after blowing a 2-0 lead in two innings, the team never truly had another advantage over Arizona State, playing from behind and relying far too heavily on errors rather than producing their own offense.
The 2-0 lead was generated in the first inning of Friday’s game, with sophomore infielder Kristina Inouye knocking in two runs with her single and an error by Arizona State’s catcher. They held this lead until the Sun Devils’ DeNae Chatman knocked a two run blast off of Stanford’s junior pitcher Carolyn Lee.
Going into the seventh, Stanford trailed 2-3, but loaded the bases with no outs with relative ease. A fielding error by Arizona State let freshman pinch runner Carmina Nicolas score, but Stanford stalled and failed to record another run, even with no outs.
Still, the Cardinal were now tied 3-3 and led going into the seventh inning. Freshman pitcher Maddy Dwyer came in and gave up two consecutive doubles to give Arizona State the walk-off victory. Dwyer was credited with the loss, her 9th on the season.
This was about as close as the team would come to a win all weekend, as the next day (Saturday) they were obliterated by Arizona, 8-0. Stanford’s pitching was abused, with Dwyer starting the game (and picking up her 10th loss) and Lee coming in in relief during the second, after Dwyer had already allowed six runs.
While Arizona State’s bats exploded, Stanford struggled to produce any offense at all, with the team’s only two hits coming from junior infielder Whitney Burks and junior outfielder Molly Fowkes. Neither of these hits registered anything for the Cardinal, and the team retired after 4.5 innings, the mercy rule ending the game.
Sunday’s contest saw slightly more life for Stanford, but an equally disappointing result. Stanford jumped out to an early 2-0 lead once more with an RBI single by senior catcher Arden Pettit in the first and a home run by junior outfielder Lauren Frost. It was Frost’s first home run of the season and the fifth of her career.
The lead was all for naught, however, as sophomore pitcher Nikki Bauer let up two Arizona State home runs, with Chatman coming up big and knocking in two runs to give the Sun Devils the lead and the eventual victory. Bauer finished the day by pitching the complete game, registering three strikeouts and letting up seven total hits.
Stanford will play its final series this weekend at home, when it hosts Arizona over the weekend.
Contact Bobby Pragada at bpragada ‘at’ stanford.edu