Stanford softball (24-31, 3-21 Pac-12) finished a tumultous season Saturday with a close 2-1 victory over No. 9 Arizona (40-14, 13-11) at Smith Family Stadium, vindicating Thursday (0-1) and Friday (0-4) losses and ending a five game losing streak. The comeback marked the Cardinal’s first win against Arizona since 2013, while the three-game series loss marked the ninth in as many years.
The Saturday nail-biter came down to senior Lauren Wegner, who delivered a dramatic and tie-breaking walk-off sacrifice fly in the eighth inning to win the last game of her collegiate career and break the Wildcats’ 11 game winning streak.
Recovering from a series sweep by Arizona State in Tempe the weekend prior, Stanford hosted Arizona with the goal of ending their season on a high note, since the Cardinal lacked qualifications for postseason play.
Following Thursday’s 0-1 defeat, this goal still seemed attainable, as junior pitcher Carolyn Lee (4-11) prevented the Wildcats from amassing any runs over the first 6 innings, striking out four of five hits in the complete game. Two outs into the sixth, however, Wildcat Hillary Edior’s double gave Ivy Davis, posted on first, time to bring home the sole run of the day. While the Cardinal had hits in the seventh and eighth, the offense largely failed to make it past first.
Friday’s resounding 0-4 loss seemed more difficult to overcome, as Arizona scored runs in the first, third and fourth innings to seize the series win. Sophomore pitcher Nikki Bauer (2-7) failed to live up to Lee’s Thursday performance, instead allowing four runs on nine hits, and four walks. Bauer closed out the game, however, with four straight strikeouts. Stanford, held to 3 hits, with 6 stranded basemen over the course of the game, failed to make offensive headway.
The team came back from these losses, however, to claim a 2-1 win in the final game of the weekend and season. Stanford started off the game on their own terms, scoring a 1-0 lead with sophomore Teaghan Cowles’ first inning home run, thanks to her walk and senior Arden Pettit’s single hit.
Lee, pitching the entire game, was able to hold off the Wildcats from scoring until the fifth inning, when Arizona scored a solo home run, hit to right centerfield. Tied up entering the eighth, senior Wegner hit a sacrifice fly to bring home the second run and win the game.
Although the Cardinal is ranked second to last in the Pac-12 conference, the team made great strides to improve the program this season, claiming the most wins and longest (6 game) winning streak since 2014, and three times as many steals (54) as in most past seasons. A handful of athletes are nearing program records as well, including sophomore Teaghan Cowles’ with 6 triples and 18 steals this season alone. In her first season as Cardinal Head Coach and eighth season coaching overall, Jessica Allister has surpassed 300 career wins.
This weekend marked the last series for seniors and repeat Pac-12 All-Academics Victoria Molina, Pettit and Wegner. All three athletes were honored in a ceremony preceding the Saturday game.
Contact Sylvie Ashford at sylviash ‘at’ stanford.edu