No. 12 Stanford Picks Up Two More Wins, Advances To Semifinals

March 8, 2003

Plant City, Fla. - Freshman Catalina Morris (Sonoita, AZ) delivered the game-winning double in the seventh inning as the 12th-ranked Stanford softball team finished 5-0 in pool play at the Speedline Invitational with a 7-6 win over Illinois on Saturday afternoon at the ISF Stadium in Plant City, Fla. The Cardinal (20-6) also recorded a win over Pacific (4-0) in the quarterfinals later in the evening to send them to the semifinals for the third consecutive year.

Stanford exploded for four runs on five hits in the third inning against Illinois. Katherine Hoffman (Kansas City, MO) led off with a single and advanced to third on Morris' double to center field. Both later scored on Kira Ching's (San Lorenzo, CA) double to left for a 2-0 lead. Jessica Allister (Nocogdoches, TX) then knocked her fifth home run of the season over the left field fence, putting the Cardinal ahead 4-0.

The Cardinal added two more runs in the fourth, highlighted by Cassi Brangham's (Clovis, CA) base hit that plated Ching. Allister later scored on an Illinois throwing error, resulting in a 6-0 advantage.

The Illini came back and scored two runs on Sarah Baumgartner's single to center, scoring Janna Sartini and Katie O'Connell. Stanford starter Tori Nyberg (Belmont, CA) then came back and caught pinch-hitter Jami Bradley looking on the third strike.

Illinois tied the game with four runs in the sixth inning. Pinch-runner Laura Zobrist scored on a wild pitch and Erin Montgomery hit a three-run home run to tie the game at 6-6.

In the top of the seventh, Morris smashed her second double of the game to right center scoring Hoffman to regain the 7-6 lead. Maureen LeCocq (Woodland Hills, CA) came in to relieve Nyberg in the seventh. With one out Illinois' Lindsey Hamma hit a single, but LeCocq then got Jenna Hall to pop out to Allister and fanned Sartini to end the game and preserve the Stanford win.

Elizabeth Bendig (Santa Ana, CA), Ching and Morris each had two hits and the Cardinal's 11-hit attack. Morris also had two doubles, while Allister and Ching each contributed two RBI. Nyberg got her ninth win of the season, striking out three and scattering six hits.

In the quarterfinals Stanford jumped on Pacific in the fourth inning, scoring three runs with two outs. Brangham led the inning off with a single to center and Michelle Thiry (Renton, WA) drew a walk to put runners on first and second. Following a LeCocq fly out, Bendig loaded the bases with a base hit to right. Pacific starter Jennifer Dacre struck out Leah Nelson (Oakland, CA) for the second out. Meghan Sickler (Houston, TX) came through with a pinch-hit single to score Brangham for the first run of the game. Stanford added two more when Morris was hit by a pitch that scored Thiry, and Ching's hit was mishandled by the Tiger third baseman that plated Bendig for the 3-0 lead.

Bendig led off the sixth inning with a single and advanced to second when Laura Seversen's (Frankfort, IL) hit was misplayed by Pacific's first baseman. Sickler then delivered another key hit to plate Bendig and extend the Stanford lead to 4-0.

The Tigers threatened in the top of the seventh, but following a base hit starter Dana Sorensen (San Diego, CA) retired the next three hitters to send the Cardinal into the semifinals.

Sorensen pitched the complete game shutout striking out 13 and scattered three hits en route to her eighth win of the season. Bending went a perfect 3-for-3 at the plate, while Sickler was 2-for-2 with a double and two RBI.

Stanford, now 20-6 on the year, will face Pac-10 rival and fourth-ranked Washington tomorrow at 10:30 p.m. The winner will advance to the championship game, which is set to begin at 1 p.m.

Game OneNo. 12 Stanford	        004  200  1	7-11-2Illinois		000  204  0	6-7-2WP: Tori Nyberg (9-3)LP: Amanda Fortune (5-2)Save: Maureen LeCocq (1)2B: Catalina Morris (2), Kira Ching (STAN) and Janna Sartini (UI)HR: Jessica Allister (STAN)Records: Stanford (19-6), Illinois (10-4)

Game TwoPacific 000 000 0 0-3-2No. 12 Stanford 000 301 x 4-7-1WP: Dana Sorensen (8-1)LP: Jennifer Dacre (4-6)2B: Meghan Sickler, STANRecords: Pacific (12-11), Stanford (20-6)

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