No. 3 Softball Completes Two-Game Sweep At Red Desert Classic

March 1, 2002

ST. GEORGE, Utah - No. 3 Stanford notched back-to-back victories in its first two games at the Red Desert Classic Friday afternoon in St. George, Utah. The Cardinal extended its winning streak to four games by blanking UNLV 8-0 earlier in the day, before defeating Eastern Kentucky 5-3 in the nightcap amidst howling, brisk winds.

Stanford (15-2) began its first day of competition with an 8-0 shutout of UNLV. The shutout was the fifth of the year for the Cardinal, and third straight including its final two contests at last weekend's NFCA Leadoff Classic. Junior Kira Ching (San Lorenzo, Calif.) led the way for Stanford, hitting two home runs, while junior Tori Nyberg (Belmont, Calif.) cruised to her ninth win of the year on the mound.

With the bases loaded and one out in the bottom of the second, senior Robin Walker's (La Palma, Calif.) single to shallow right field plated junior Maureen LeCocq (Woodland Hills) for the first Cardinal run of the game.

Stanford continued its scoring onslaught in the bottom of the third, scoring four runs on just two hits along with two UNLV errors. With one out and the bases loaded, Jessica Allister (Nacogdoches, Texas) came around to score on Elizabeth Bendig's (Santa Ana, Calif.) fielder's choice to make it 2-0. Following a dropped ball by UNLV catcher Melissa Inouye on the same play, LeCocq scored from second to give Stanford a 3-0 lead. Pinch-hitter Meghan Sickler (Houston, Texas) then drove in Cassi Brangham (Clovis, Calif.) with a sacrifice fly for the fourth Cardinal run. Walker would later cap the inning's scoring with her second RBI single of the game- a line drive up the middle to score Bendig.

Ching hit the first of her two home runs one inning later, a solo shot to deep center with one out to give the Cardinal a 6-0 advantage. She went deep again in the sixth inning, uncorking a two-run shot to right center to round out the scoring.

Nyberg struck out 10 hitters in a complete game effort- her seventh of the year. She allowed just four hits as the Lady Rebels failed to advance a runner past second base.

Despite committing a season-high four errors, the Cardinal received just enough timely hitting and clutch pitching to preserve its 15th win of the year against Eastern Kentucky (4-3).

The Cardinal jumped out to an early 3-0 lead when senior Sarah Beeson (Tucson, Ariz.) rocketed a three-run home run to deep right field to score Sickler and Jessica Mendoza (Camarillo, Calif.), who reached base with singles.

With two outs in the bottom of the fourth, the pesky Colonels answered back with three runs to knot the game at 3-3. After Kelli Bromley reached base on an error and Jen Christiansen singled, leadoff hitter Deana Barreras doubled down the left field line to plate both runners and cut the lead to 3-2. Elise Burch followed with an RBI single scoring Barreras for the tying run.

Stanford regained the lead for good in the fifth, with Beeson once again putting the Cardinal ahead. After Mendoza reached base on an error, Beeson singled to left to drive in Mendoza for her fourth RBI of the game and give the Cardinal a 4-3 edge.

One inning later, Bendig roped a single to left field to score Allister to make it 5-3.

Beeson, who went 2-4 with 4 RBI in the contest, now leads the club with 24 hits and 17 RBI.

LeCocq chalked up her fifth win of the year on the mound, scattering eight hits over seven innings and fanning three Colonel hitters.

Tomorrow's pool-play schedule features two more games for the Cardinal- a 12 p.m. meeting with Southern Utah, followed by a 2 p.m. contest against UC Santa Barbara.

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