No. 2 Softball Falls Twice At NFCA Leadoff Classic

Feb. 23, 2002

COLUMBUS, Ga. - After notching 11 straight victories to begin the season, the Cardinal got a taste of the other side on Saturday during the second day of play at the NFCA Leadoff Classic in Columbus, Ga. The No. 2 Stanford softball team was upset by No. 25 Massachusetts 3-1 in pool play, before being blanked by No. 9 Nebraska 2-0 in the Gold Bracket quarterfinals.

No. 25 Massachusetts (4-4) rallied for two runs in the top of the seventh and held Stanford to just four hits, as the Minutewomen handed the Cardinal its first loss of the 2002 season in a 3-1 upset victory. The loss translated into a No. 4 seed in the Gold Bracket for the Cardinal, who finished pool play with a 2-1 overall record.

The Cardinal (11-2) managed to push just one across in the bottom of the first inning despite loading the bases with one out. Senior Jessica Mendoza's (Camarillo, Calif.) double to left field drove in senior Robin Walker (La Palma, Calif.) for the game's first run and a 1-0 Cardinal lead.

Massachusetts, which had been shutout in its first two tournament contests, answered back in the top of the second, tying the game at 1-1 following a solo home run by catcher Jamie Cahalan. The Minutewomen would later threaten in the top of the fifth, but Cardinal starter Maureen LeCocq (Woodland Hills, Calif.) escaped out of a bases-loaded jam to retire the side.

With one out and the bases loaded in the top of the seventh, Scooter Wheeler of UMass was hit by a pitch, forcing in the go-ahead run and giving the Minutewomen a 2-1 lead. Kaila Holtz then singled home the third run to round out the scoring for Massachusetts.

LeCocq drops to 4-1 overall on the year, while Holtz evened her overall mark at 2-2.

In the nightcap, the Cardinal could muster only one hit in a 2-0 loss against No. 9 Nebraska (9-5) in a Gold Bracket quarterfinal round matchup that took just 1:33 to play. The Huskers scored two runs early on and used a solid pitching effort from Peaches James to preserve the win.

The Huskers' Kim Ogee got things going in the bottom of the third, hitting a two-run home run off Cardinal starter Tori Nyberg (Belmont, Calif.) to give Nebraska a 2-0 advantage. That would be all the Huskers would need as James did the rest on the mound, allowing just one hit and striking out three in seven innings.

Stanford freshman Heather Shook (Whittier, Calif.), making her first collegiate start in right field, recorded the only Cardinal hit with a single in the third inning.

Nyberg (6-1) allowed four hits and fanned five hitters in six innings.

The Cardinal will face No. 14 Cal State Fullerton again on Sunday in a Gold Bracket consolation contest at 8 a.m. EST/5 a.m. PST. Stanford defeated the Titans 6-1 on Friday night and 2-1 last week at the Campbell/Cartier Classic in San Diego.

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