Stanford Pulls Seventh-Inning Comeback To Push Streak To 16

Feb. 28, 2009

Box Score

Fullerton, Calif. - With one of the longest winning streaks in school history on the line, the No. 5/7 Stanford softball team (17-1) pulled out an improbable seventh-inning comeback today, edging Cal Poly 3-2 at the DeMarini Invitational.

Down 2-0 in the bottom of the seventh with just one hit on the board, the Cardinal strung together three hits and captitalized on three Cal Poly errors to squeeze out the come-from-behind win. Junior Shannon Koplitz put the game-winning ball in play, and the Mustangs made their third error to give Stanford the walk-off win.

With the win, Stanford tied the longest winning streak in school history at 16 consecutive games. The 2002 Cardinal also won 16 straight games, with the record streak coming between Feb. 24 and Mar. 23.

Senior pitcher Missy Penna (11-1) struck out three batters in seven innings and picked up her 95th career victory. Sophomore Anna Cahn took the loss for Cal Poly after giving up four hits and one earned run in 6.2 innings.

Stanford struggled offensively for six innings, with Sarah Hassman's bunt single in the third standing as the lone Cardinal hit heading into the final inning. Cal Poly had five hits in the game and outhit the Cardinal, 5-4.

The Mustangs struck early, making Stanford pay for each of its two errors in the third inning. Right fielder Nora Sobczak reached on a Cardinal error to start the inning and on the very next play, Penna overthrew first base to put herself in a one-out jam. Third baseman Cristen Lee came up with a clutch double down the left line on the next at-bat, which plated two unearned runs and gave Cal Poly a 2-0 lead.

That lead held until the dynamic seventh, when Stanford began the game-winning rally. With one out and still just one Stanford hit on the board, sophomore first baseman Melisa Koutz gave Stanford some momentum with a sharp single up the middle. Sophomore Brittany Minder came in to pinch hit, and followed Koutz' hit with a clutch poke up the middle of her own.

With Autumn Albers running for Koutz and Jenna Becerra back in to run for Minder, Hassman hit a ball to third base that was thrown in the dirt. The play loaded the bases for leadoff hitter Alissa Haber. The two-time All-American came through, slicing a hit through the left side to score Albers.

With bases loaded again, freshman Ashley Hansen smoked a line drive to the left side that was snagged by Lee, the Cal Poly third baseman. Lee quickly tried to flip the ball to catch Becerra off the bag, but the ball sailed off line and allowed Becerra to race home and tie the game.

With Hassman at third and two outs, Koplitz sent a chopper to shortstop that was thrown off target. The Cardinal junior was called safe at first and Hassman cruised in the home to win the game.

Stanford will finish the DeMarini Invitational tomorrow, taking on host Cal State Fullerton at 1:30 p.m. at Anderson Family Field.

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