No. 2 Softball Wins First Two Games At NFCA Leadoff Classic

Feb. 22, 2002

COLUMBUS, Ga. - No. 2 Stanford wrapped up its opening night of action at the NFCA Leadoff Classic Friday night in Columbus, Ga. with two victories: a 6-1 triumph over No. 14 Cal State Fullerton and a 4-1 verdict over Missouri.

Junior Tori Nyberg (Belmont, Calif.) was just as impressive on Friday evening against No. 14 Cal State Fullerton as she was exactly one week ago against the Titans in San Diego. The Stanford hurler ran her record to 6-0 on the year as the Cardinal (11-0) upended CSU Fullerton (6-6) for the second time this season in a 6-1 victory in its opening contest at the NFCA Leadoff Classic in Columbus, Ga.

Nyberg, who has been Stanford's best starter in the early going, pitched her third complete game of the year and scattered four hits while striking out nine.

Stanford jumped out in front early, as senior Jessica Mendoza (Camarillo, Calif.) hit a two-run home run over the right field fence on the first pitch she saw from CSUF's Christy Robitaille to score fellow senior Robin Walker (La Palma, Calif.), who led off the game with a single. The Cardinal would strike again in the top of the fifth as senior Sarah Beeson (Tucson, Ariz.) singled up the middle to plate Walker for a 3-0 lead. Two hitters later, sophomore Jessica Allister (Nacagodches, Tex.) singled to left field to drive in Beeson to make it 4-0.

Junior Kira Ching's (San Lorenzo, Calif.) RBI single in the top of the seventh gave the Cardinal a 5-0 edge. Freshman Leah Nelson (Oakland, Calif.) was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded to round out the Cardinal scoring.

The Titans loaded the bases in the bottom of the fifth with two outs, but Nyberg induced CSUF pinch-hitter Jenny Topping to ground out to third base, ultimately ending the threat. CSUF's Jocelyn Evans' solo home run in the bottom of the seventh accounted for only Titan score.

The second game of the night offered more of a scare, as Missouri starter Ingrid Werner retired the first 10 Cardinal hitters before Mendoza reached base with a single in the fourth. Stanford would come out on the top when play was complete, handing the upstart Tigers a 4-1 defeat for a sweep of its two Friday games.

Mizzou's Rachael McGinnis went deep to lead off the top of the second, giving the Tigers a 1-0 lead. Missouri (4-6) would cling to that margin until the bottom of the fourth when Maureen LeCocq (Woodland Hills, Calif.) drew a bases loaded walk with two outs to score pinch runner Heather Shook (Whittier, Calif.) and tie the game at 1-1.

One inning later, the Cardinal padded its lead with three insurance runs to complete the scoring. Beeson singled home pinch runner Jessica Draemel (Omaha, Neb.) for the go-ahead run to start the rally. Stanford would then tally its final two scores via the fielder's choice, as Walker and Mendoza came around to score the third and fourth runs, resepectively.

LeCocq (4-0) was impressive on the mound, working all seven innings and allowing just four Tiger hits while recording two strikeouts.

The Cardinal is scheduled to face Massachusetts on Saturday at 12:30 p.m. EST/9:30 a.m. PST, before breaking off into bracket play later in the evening.

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