Another Short One: Cardinal Run-Rules Fifth Consecutive Opponent
Feb. 16, 2008
Stanford, Calif. - The Cardinal waited until the last possible moment, but posted a seven-run sixth inning to keep its run-rule streak alive this afternoon at Smith Family Stadium. The undefeated Cardinal (9-0), which has won all five of its home games by more than eight runs, heads into tomorrow's Stanford Invitational championship game having outscored tournament opponents 47-4.
After recording a combined 40 hits in the previous three games, they were surprisingly hard for the Cardinal to come by to start the team's third game of the tournament. The squad went hitless through three innings, but senior Michelle Smith took matters into her own hands and ended the brief Stanford drought. Smith drilled her first homerun of the year over the left center field wall in the bottom of the fourth, a solo shot that finally put Stanford on the board. The blast was the 32nd of the third baseman's career, tying her with Jessica Allister for third place on the Cardinal career chart.
Erin Howe added one more hit for the Cardinal in the fifth, but Stanford couldn't capitalize and remained with just the 1-0 edge, heading into the sixth inning.
Stanford refused to let its four-game run-rule streak end, however. In the bottom of the sixth inning, Stanford took advantage of its last chance to end the game early. Alissa Haber and Tricia Aggabao hit back-to-back singles to lead off the inning, and jumpstarted the Stanford offense. Maddy Coon and Smith belted balls over the fence just wide of the left field foul pole, but both ended up drawing walks. Smith's free base drove in the first run, and Melisa Koutz drew a walk to force in another. Shannon Koplitz followed with a two-RBI single to the left side, putting Stanford up, 5-0, with no outs. The Broncos recorded back-to-back outs, but Anna Beardman beat out a shot to the second baseman to keep the Stanford rally alive. With the bases loaded, Haber singled to right field and drove in two more runs. A Bronco overthrow scored Beardman on the same play, and the Cardinal walked off the field with its fifth consecutive run-rule win.
In the final box, Haber led the Cardinal with a 2-for-4 performance, while Smith and Koplitz notched two RBI apiece. Junior Missy Penna pitched the final 3.1 hitless innings for Stanford, struck out seven batters and earned her seventh win of the year. The win was the 54th of her Stanford career, moving her into fourth on the Stanford career win chart.
The Cardinal will meet the winner of tonight's Pacific-Wichita State game at noon tomorrow. Santa Clara will play tonight's loser at 10 a.m. for third place.