Softball Loses 15-Inning Heartbreaker To No. 1 Arizona
May 6, 2001
STANFORD, Calif. - Top-ranked Arizona scored two runs in the top of the 15th inning to give the No. 3 Stanford softball team a heartbreaking 5-3 loss on Sunday afternoon at Boyd & Jill Smith Family Stadium. The Wildcats improve to 54-4 overall and 16-2 in the Pacific-10 Conference while the Cardinal falls to 46-12-1 and 9-9 in conference play.
After both teams had several opportunities to score in extra innings, Arizona finally broke through in the 15th. Toni Mascarenas drew a leadoff walk, then Leneah Manuma's bunt to the pitcher was thrown wild by Jaime Forman-Lau to put runners on second and third with no outs. Then Jennie Finch's sacrifice fly to center scored Mascarenas for the go-ahead run. The Wildcats added an insurance run with Kim Balkan's RBI single.
With the game tied in the sixth, both teams brought in their aces to pitch. Stanford's Dana Sorensen (21-2), who had been out with a sore back before this series, pitched six innings, while Finch (26-0) went the final 10 innings to earn the win.
Stanford's best opportunity to score came in the bottom of the eighth. Jessica Allister hit a one-out double to the right centerfield gap. Michelle Thiry moved her to third with a line drive up the middle. But Finch got two strikeouts to strand the winning run at third.
Arizona also had a chance to take the lead with the bases loaded and one out in the top of the ninth. Allison Andrade was hit by a pitch and Lisha Ribellia's slap hit to the left side went off of the third baseman's glove and squirted over to the fence in foul territory. With Andrade on third and Ribellia on second, Lauren Bauer was intentionally walked to load the bases with one out. Sorensen got the Cardinal out of the jam with a strikeout and a pop up from Mascarenas.
Forman-Lau became Stanford's fourth pitcher of the game when she relieved Sorensen to start the 12th inning. Forman-Lau went the final four innings to take the loss. She gave up just two hits while striking out four in falling to 4-1 on the year.
The Cardinal opened the scoring in the game in the bottom of the second. Allister and Thiry were both hit by pitches. Jenni Shideler's sacrifice bunt advanced both runners. Then Ramona Shelburne's base hit up the middle scored Allister for a 1-0 Stanford lead. Both Shideler and Shelburne were playing in their final regular season home game and were honored before the game for Senior Day.
Arizona answered in the third with three runs. Ribellia drew a leadoff walk and moved to second on a sac bunt. Then Nicole Giordano and Mascarenas had consecutive singles to chase Stanford starting pitcher Maureen LeCocq.
Tori Nyberg came in with one out and runners on first and second. She retired the first batter she faced, but Finch had a base hit up the middle, scoring two for a 3-1 Wildcat lead.
In the fifth, the Cardinal rallied for two runs. Robin Walker started things with a base hit to right and Jessica Mendoza followed with a single up the middle. Then Arizona pitcher Becky Lemke threw two wild pitches to score Walker and move Mendoza to third. Kira Ching's line drive to center scored Mendoza to tie the game at 3-3.
All four of Stanford's pitchers were used in the game. LeCocq, the starter, went 2 1/3, giving up three runs on two hits, while Nyberg pitched 2 2/3 scoreless innings, allowing three hits. Sorensen went six innings and didn't give up a run. She scattered four hits while striking out six.
For the Wildcats, Lemke pitched five innings. She gave up three runs on five hits while striking out four. Finch, who picked up her third win of weekend, struck out 13 and gave up just two hits.
The 15-inning game was the longest in Stanford softball history. The previous record was a 13 innings.
The Cardinal is on the road next weekend for its final Pac-10 games. On Friday, Stanford takes on No. 16 Oregon State, then plays a doubleheader at Oregon on Saturday.
Arizona 5, Stanford 3 (15)Score by Innings 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 15 R H E#1 Arizona 0 0 3 0 0 0 0 2 5 11 1#3 Stanford 0 1 0 0 2 0 0 0 3 7 2
WP - Jennie Finch (26-0) to Lindsey Collins. LP - Jaime Forman-Lau (4-1) to Jessica Allister. Save - None. 2B - Lisha Ribellia (UA), Jessica Allister (STAN). 3B - None. HR - None. E - Toni Mascarenas (UA), Sarah Beeson (STAN), Jaime Forman-Lau (STAN). LOB - Arizona 12, Stanford 11. Records: Arizona 54-4 (16-2), Stanford 46-12-1 (9-9).