Starting Friday, No. 24 Stanford softball (26-6, 4-1 Pac-12) will play three games in Corvallis, OR against Oregon State (19-13, 1-8 Pac-12), another conference matchup that will prove vital as Stanford continues to jostle with Arizona, UCLA and Washington at the top of Pac-12.
Oregon State sits second to last in the Pac-12 and has only won a single game in conference play, failing to inspire much hope in Beavers fans. Perhaps the positive spin that the basement dwellers might consider, however, is that Stanford has dropped two recent games against weak opponents.
Considering the Beavers’ conference record, a Cardinal sweep is well within reason, but Stanford will have to get back to strong performances on the mound from its starting pitchers if it hopes to secure three matchups in which it will be favored. After all, last-place Oregon did take a game off of Stanford just last week. Stanford was most recently a heavy favorite against Big Sky opponent Sacramento State and split a doubleheader, eking out a comeback walk-off victory in the first of the pair.
Too often in the past few games has the Card allowed its opponent to score early and often. Because of its high-octane offense, Stanford is always in the game and still managed to take three out of the last five games, but this type of play is not conducive to consistent winning.
In order to match the oddsmakers and keep pace with conference rivals by sweeping the Beavers, Stanford will need senior Carolyn Lee and sophomore Maddy Dwyer to step up and shut down the opposing offense, a task they were not quite up to against Sacramento State. Though the Cardinal bats have been consistent in producing runs all season, they would do well to give their pitchers confidence by providing them with an early lead.
First pitch for Friday’s game is schedule for 5 p.m., Saturday at 6 p.m. and Sunday at 1 p.m.
Contact Andrew Tan at tandrew ‘at’ stanford.edu