No. 8 Softball Falls 1-0 To No. 5 California At NCAA Regionals
May 17, 2002
FRESNO, Calif. - No. 8 Stanford (44-19) dropped a hard-fought 1-0 decision to No. 5 California (50-19) on Friday evening at the 2002 NCAA Regional Tournament in Fresno, Calif. The Golden Bears, who mustered just three hits in the contest, scored the game-winning run on a two-out double in the bottom of the sixth to advance in the winner's bracket.
All three of California's victories over the Cardinal this season have been decided by one run.
'Today was just a classic Cal-Stanford matchup,' said Stanford head coach John Rittman. 'We had three opportunities to score with runners on base. We had two line drive hits that were caught and Cal had a line drive hit that fell in. That's just the way it goes.'
Despite making their second starts of the postseason, both starting pitchers dominated the first six innings. Stanford's Tori Nyberg (Belmont, Calif.) shut down the Golden Bear offense through the first five frames, pitching her way out of scoring threats and keeping the middle of the lineup at bay. California's Jocelyn Forest countered with an equally strong effort, limiting the Cardinal to just four hits on the evening along with seven strikeouts.
The Golden Bears would push across a run in the bottom of the sixth to take a 1-0 lead. With two out in the inning, Candace Harper singled to keep the Golden Bears alive. Nyberg then walked Veronica Nelson, moving Harper to second. Courtney Scott responded by smashing a line drive to center field that sailed just over the head of outfielder Jessica Mendoza (Camarillo, Calif.), allowing Harper to score from second for the game-winning run.
Entering the seventh, Stanford found itself down 1-0 and looking to answer back. Cassi Brangham (Clovis, Calif.) led off the inning with a fly out. Jessica Allister (Nacogdoches, Texas) followed by scorching a double down the left field line to put a runner in scoring position. Meghan Sickler (Houston, Texas) would then come in to pinch run for Allister. However, Forest settled down and induced Maureen LeCocq (Woodland Hills, Calif.) into a line out and concluded the game by fanning Leah Nelson (Oakland, Calif.)
Stanford will now wait to find out its opponent for Saturday. If Cal State Fullerton defeats Fresno State on Friday night, the Cardinal receives a bye and will play at 5 p.m. If Fresno State defeats the Titans, Stanford will play the host Bulldogs at 12 p.m.