Cardinal Storms Past Portland State To Begin NCAA Championship
May 15, 2009
Stanford, Calif. - On a mission to make its first Women's College World Series in five years, the Stanford softball team started its journey on the right note tonight. The Cardinal offense unleashed 10 runs on Portland State and walked away with a 10-3 decision.
Stanford advances to play in tomorrow's first game, which begins at noon at Smith Family Stadium. The Cardinal will meet Nevada, which defeated Cal Poly 4-1 earlier today.
The Cardinal was led by rookie Ashley Hansen, who ripped three doubles in three at bats in her first career postseason contest. The rookie drove in three runs, and matched teammate Alissa Haber with 22 doubles on the year. She is the fourth player in school history to hit three doubles in a game, and the first to do so in postseason play.
Haber was 3-for-4 in the game, reached on four of her five plate appearances, drove in three runs and scored four times. She also doubled in the game, and along with Hansen, is now just one double short of the previous school single-seaosn record (23 by Sarah Beeson in 2001). Haber also reached 80 hits on the year in the game, joining Jackie Rinehart (2004) and Jessica Mendoza (1999, 2000, 2001) as the only Stanford players to accomplish the feat. Hansen is now just two hits short of 80.
Missy Penna struck out 11 in six innings of work and picked up her 32nd win of the year. Nichole Latham took the loss for Portland State after allowing five runs in 4.1 innings.
Stanford scored its first run in the first inning, as Haber capitalized on a leadoff walk and worked her way around to score. After Hansen sacrificed her to second, Maddy Coon stepped up with a single up the middle to put Stanford on the board first.
Stanford went back to work in the second, sending eight batters to the plate and scoring three more runs. With one out, Maya Burns singled and Jenna Becerra drew a walk. After Sarah Hassman bunted her two classmates into scoring position, Haber popped a single up the middle that scored both. Haber later scored on Hansen's first double of the day.
In the fourth inning, Stanford increased its lead to 5-0. Haber reached on an infield single and Hansen stepped up with her second double to drive her around.
In the top of the fifth, Portland State, which had gotten only two hits off of Penna in the first four frames, finally began to threaten. A double by sophomore Arielle Wiser and an ensuing single by senior Jamee Rauch put the Vikings on the board.
In the sixth, Portland State was back again, finding ways to put runners on base. Penna hit the leadoff batter, then Jenna Wilson put Vikings' fifth hit up the middle. Another single by De'Chauna Skinner loaded the bases with one out. Another hit batter forced one run in, and on an ensuing ground ball to the shortstop, Becca Diede was called safe at second and Wilson was able to score.
With the Vikings back in the game at 5-3, Stanford came out and exploded offensively in the sixth. Hassman walked to leadoff the inning, and Haber doubled to send her around. Hansen double for the third time in as many at bats to score Haber, and the rookie scored when a single by Shannon Koplitz was mishandled in the outfield. Coon and Melisa Koutz followed with consecutive singles up the middle, with the Koutz hit scoring Koplitz to make it 9-3. A walk loaded the bases and Becerra came through with a single to put Stanford in double figures, 10-3.
The Cardinal and the Wolfpack are scheduled to meet in the first game of the Stanford Regional at noon tomorrow. Cal Poly and Portland State will play an elimination game at 3 p.m.