Aggies Oust Cardinal From NCAA Super Regional
May 25, 2008
College Station, Texas - The 12th-seeded Stanford softball team battled to the finish, but, in the end, couldn't overcome the big bats of the fifth-seeded Texas A&M Aggies. Playing in front of a packed house at the Aggie Softball Stadium in College Station, Texas A&M recorded 13 hits, and earned a 9-4 win to advance to the 2008 Women's College World Series.
Freshman pitcher Ashley Chinn pitched the final five innings, striking out seven batters and allowing four earned runs. Cardinal starter Missy Penna took the loss and finishes her junior season with a 37-13 record. Megan Gibson struck out just one for Texas A&M, but earned the win and improves to 38-1 on the year.
The Aggies outhit the Cardinal, 13-8 and registered more hits than the Cardinal has allowed all season. Stanford shortstop Maddy Coon went 2-for-4 with a homerun, while senior Michelle Smith went 1-for-2 with a homerun and two RBI. Senior Erin Howe and freshman Melisa Koutz also had two hits for Stanford.
Rhiannon Kliesing, Natalie Villarreal and Erin Glasco led the Aggies with three hits apiece, with Glasco driving in a team-high two runs.
Penna shut down the Aggies in the first inning, but by the top of the second, they were on the board. Right fielder Holly Ridley led off with a single, and with two outs, shortstop Macie Morrow drilled the Aggies' fourth homerun of the weekend over the wall in right center field.
Entering the third with a 2-0 lead, Texas A&M kept the pressure on. Kliesing, the leadoff batter, pounded another homerun to left field to push the score to 3-0, and Villarreal singled up the middle on the next at bat. Head Coach John Rittman then made a pitching change, giving the ball to Chinn with no outs in the third inning. Chinn walked Gibson, then struck out back-to-back Aggie batters, before allowing Glasco a single that scored Villarreal.
Chinn struck out two more Aggies to start the fourth inning, but a sharp drive by Kliesing off the gloves of the Cardinal infielders kept Texas A&M alive. Villarreal and Gibson followed with back-to-back doubles, each driving in another run. After a wild pitch, a Stanford throwing error allowed pinch runner Mandy Gegen to score from third and gave Texas A&M a 7-0 lead.
Stanford finally found a way to answer in the bottom of the fourth, scoring two runs to reduce the deficit to 7-2. Coon crushed her tenth homerun of the year off the video board in left field to start things off, a solo shot that marked the 23rd of the junior's career. Stanford kept the rally going, stringing together a walk and two hits to bring another run around. Smith was issued a two-out walk, moved to second on a passed ball and scored after back-to-back singles by Howe and Koutz.
In the sixth inning, Texas A&M added two more runs on four hits to push the score to 9-2. Kliesing led off with a double, and Villarreal followed with a bunt single. A walk issued to Gibson loaded the bases, and, with one out, consecutive singles by Ridley and Glasco scored two runs.
Stanford continued to fight in the sixth, however. Catcher Rosey Neill drew a walk to lead off the inning, and Michelle Smith put an exclamation point on her Stanford career with her 40th homerun in her final at bat in a Stanford uniform. Smith is just the second player in Stanford history to hit 40 career homeruns, joining Olympic gold medalist Jessica Mendoza with the landmark feat.
The Aggies advance to the Women's College World Series in Oklahoma City with a 54-7 record. Stanford ends its season with a 49-15 record, matching the second-highest win total in school history.