Stanford Downs Fordham To Match Best Start In History
Feb. 22, 2008
Cathedral City, Calif. - Senior third baseman Michelle Smith crushed two of Stanford's four homeruns, and the Cardinal softball team run-ruled its sixth opponent of the year today at Big League Dreams Sports Park in Cathedral City, Calif. The Cardinal topped Fordham, 10-2, in five innings, to claim its second victory at the 2008 Palm Springs Classic. The team improved to 12-0 with the win, matching its best start in program history.
Freshman pitcher Ashley Chinn claimed the win in the circle, improving to 3-0 on the year. Chinn struck out a career-best eight batters and allowed just four hits in five innings. Offensively, Smith and catcher Rosey Neill each went 2-for-3 with three-RBI to lead Stanford.
Stanford was out of the gates quickly, taking a 1-0 lead before sending its second batter to the plate. Sophomore Alissa Haber, the Cardinal's leadoff hitter, cracked a ball over the left field fence and got the Cardinal offense rolling. Stanford's next two batters drew walks, and freshman Melisa Koutz pushed across her 12th RBI of the year with a single up the middle.
Within minutes, however, Fordham was chipping away at the lead. Jocelyn Dearborn, the Rams' first batter of the second inning, got a hold of a Chinn pitch and blasted it over the left center field fence, trimming the Stanford lead to 2-1.
In the third inning, the Rams got the second one, capitalizing on a Stanford error to push an unearned run across. Melissa Andrews reached on a bunt single and advanced to second on a single by Mary Beth Puccio. A Cardinal throwing error following a bunt single by Dearborn scored the run, and the Cardinal went to the bottom of the third facing a tie game.
The Cardinal would have nothing of another close one, however, as the team batted through the order and put up five runs in the bottom of the third to take a 7-2 lead. With one out, Tricia Aggabao walked to put the first Cardinal runner on, and a double to left center by Maddy Coon pushed her across. Smith then blasted her first of the two homeruns, drilling a two-run bomb to left field. A walk put a runner on for Shannon Koplitz, and the Stanford second baseman tagged the first Cardinal triple of the year to right center field to make it 6-2. Rosey Neill then tapped an RBI single through the right side to give Stanford the 7-2 advantage.
In the fourth inning, Smith single-handedly built on the Cardinal lead. The senior ripped her second homerun in as many at bats to deep center, and extended Stanford's lead to 8-2. The long ball was the 34th of Smith's career, tying her with Catalina Morris for the No. 2 spot on the program's all-time career chart. She is now second only to Olympic gold medalist Jessica Mendoza on the list. Her multiple homerun game was the fourth of her career, with the last coming against UC Davis last May.
In the bottom of the fifth inning, the Cardinal wrapped up the win with its fourth homerun of the day. After Koplitz earned a free trip to first base, Neill drilled her fifth homerun of the year to left center and the Cardinal walked off the field with a 10-2 win.
Stanford will play its second game of today's double-header starting at approximately 12:30 p.m. The Cardinal will battle its first ranked opponent of the year in the game, taking on the No. 6/8 Oklahoma Sooners in the squad's third game of the Palm Springs Classic.
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