Cardinal Drops Pair of Close Contests at Kajikawa Classic

Feb. 10, 2007

Phoenix, Ariz. - The Cardinal softball team (2-2, 0-0 Pac-10) was edged by two of the top teams in the nation today, falling to No. 4 Northwestern, 3-1, and No. 17/18 Texas, 7-6. Freshman Alissa Haber led the Cardinal with five hits and two RBI for the day, and sophomore pitcher Missy Penna tied a school record with 16 strikeouts against the Wildcats.

In the first game, Northwestern struck early, taking a quick 2-0 lead in the top of the first on a home run by Garland Cooper. With one out, Tammy Williams singled and Cooper quickly drove her home with the long ball over the center field fence.

The teams battled through four scoreless innings, before Haber put the Cardinal on the board in the bottom on the sixth. The outfielder cracked a lead-off home run over the right center field fence, pulling the Cardinal within one. The blast was Haber's second extra-base hit of the weekend, and the first home run of her collegiate career.

The Wildcats wasted no time answering, however. Freshman Nicole Pauly sent a lead-off shot of her own over the left field fence in the top of the seventh and Northwestern regained the two-run lead.

Penna's 16 K's were the most since Dana Sorenson posted 16 against New Mexico in 2001. Haber led the Cardinal with two of the team's three hits. Michelle Smith recorded the only remaining hit for the Cardinal in the bottom of the fourth.

Stanford started off the contest with Texas with three straight singles in the first inning, but was unable to take advantage of the early opportunity. In their half of the inning, the Longhorns used four hits to score four runs and put Stanford at an early deficit.

Shannon Thomas tripled down the right field line and scored on a single by Loryn Johnson. After Megan Willis reached on a hit through the left side, Kacie Gaskin crushed a ball over the left field fence and increased the Longhorn lead to 4-0.

Stanford picked up its first run in the top of the second inning, capitalizing on a two-out double by right fielder Anna Beardman. With Beardman on second, Haber singled through the right side and picked up her second RBI of the day.

The Longhorns added another pair of runs in the bottom of the second, however, to jump out to a 6-1 lead. Jacqueline Williams pounded a home run over the center field fence, before Johnson singled to bring home Desiree Williams. Designated player Tallie Thrasher drove home Johnson on a two-out double to cap the Texas scoring run.

Stanford pulled within three in the top of the fourth. Erin Howe walked, and Haber's two-out single put two on for Jackie Rinehart. The Cardinal senior reached on an error by the Longhorn second baseman, and Maddy Coon picked up two RBIs on an error by the right fielder.

The Cardinal continued to chip away at the lead in the fifth inning, with a series of singles by Smith, Penna and Tricia Aggabao. With two on, Aggabao drove her first hit of 2007 into center field, scoring pinch runner Shannon Koplitz.

In the sixth inning, the Stanford comeback continued and the squad pulled within one. Coon walked and catcher Rosey Neill was hit by a pitch. Smith singled to left center to load the bases, and a sacrifice fly by Penna drove in a run.

The Longhorns scored what proved to be the game-winning run in the bottom of the sixth. Jacqueline Williams singled up the middle and Kori Cook earned a walk on the following at bat. After a double steal, Desiree Williams walked. A wild pitch brought pinch runner MicKayla Padilla in, and the Cardinal went into the top of the seventh down two.

With two outs, Haber reached on an infield error, and Rinehart kept the Cardinal alive with a walk. Coon singled to bring in Haber, but Longhorn pitcher Meagan Denny registered her sixth strikeout of the game to end the Cardinal comeback.

Haber led the team with three hits against the Longhorns, while Coon collected three RBI. Stanford notched 11 hits to the Longhorns nine and left 13 runners on base.

The Cardinal closes out action at the Kajikawa Classic tomorrow, with an 11 a.m. match-up with Northwestern State.

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