By Sally Egan
Stanford softball (31-13, 7-8 Pac-12) suffered a disappointing weekend at home against Pac-12 rival Arizona State (28-17, 8-10 Pac-12). Favored to sweep the weekend, the Cardinal instead dropped all three games to the Sun Devils, losing 4-10, 4-7 and 5-10 on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, respectively.
In all three games, a failure to close out doomed Stanford’s chances at victory.
On Friday, the score was tied at one heading into the top of the sixth inning. Stanford started the game with the lead when freshman Emily Klingaman struck out as fellow freshman Emily Schultz stole second. An overthrow by the Arizona State’s catcher allowed freshman Emily Young to steal home and score an unearned run. However, a home run in the top of the fourth by the Sun Devils brought them back into the game.
Defense played a big part in the early innings as there were only five combined hits by both teams. However, the Sun Devils’ bats came alive in the top of the sixth. Three ASU hits, including a grand slam, put them up 6-1 going into the bottom of the sixth. The Cardinal responded well, scoring three runs on two hits and an error. Two defensive errors and two hits by the Sun Devils in the top of the seventh allowed for them to go up 10-4 for the decisive win.
On Saturday, the Cardinal hoped for better results but couldn’t put together a good enough showing. Stanford started out strong, refusing to let an ASU run in the top of the first destroy their morale. Schultz doubled, redshirt senior Whitney Burks and Klingaman were both walked with the bases loaded and freshman Taylor Gindlesperger singled to bring in four runs in the first inning.
Arizona State started chipping away at Stanford’s lead in the second, bringing in two runs off a double. In the fourth, a homer and another double by the Sun Devils gave them the 6-4 lead before another homer in the top of the seventh created the 7-4 final score.
A beautiful afternoon and home crowd accompanied Sunday’s last shot at redemption for the Cardinal. While Stanford had some nice hits in the first two innings, including a beauty by Hannah Howell that landed just in front of the ASU outfielder’s diving attempt, the Cardinal couldn’t produce runs. In the top of the third, the Sun Devils’ offense starting rolling.
After an Arizona State single brought in one run, a grand slam by Morgan Howe created a devastating 5-0 hole for the Cardinal. However, Stanford was clearly determined to keep fighting as junior Kristina Inouye brought in two runners on a double and then later scored after a wild pitch allowed her to steal home. The next inning, Stanford’s defense held strong before junior Teaghan Cowles’ bat did the rest, as her two-run homer brought the score to a 5-5 tie.
A scoreless fifth inning unfortunately led to a horrific sixth for Stanford. While there were technically no errors in the inning, four hits allowed the Sun Devils five runs. Luck seemed to refuse to help the Cardinal, with wild pitches and unfortunate slips on defense leading to their downfall.
While it was a tough weekend for Stanford, the Cardinal have a chance to put themselves back on the board as a contender in the Pac-12 as they take on No. 2 UCLA (43-2, 17-1 Pac-12) at home in a three-game series starting Friday, May 3.
Contact Sally Egan at egansj18 ‘at’ stanford.edu.