Ninth Inning Explosion Lifts Cardinal Over Florida Atlantic
Feb. 21, 2008
Cathedral City, Calif. - It took nine innings, but the Stanford softball team posted another decisive win tonight, besting the Florida Atlantic Owls, 9-3, in the opening game of the Palm Springs Classic in Cathedral City, Calif. Junior shortstop Maddy Coon hit her first career grand slam to cap a six-run Stanford ninth inning and sealed the Cardinal's 11th consecutive victory. The Cardinal improves to 11-0 with the win, and will look to match its best start in program history tomorrow morning against Fordham.
Coon's four RBI led Stanford offensively, but sophomore Rosey Neill also had an impressive night for the Cardinal. The Stanford catcher went 2-for-2, reached on all four plate appearances and hit her fourth homerun of the year in the fifth inning. Junior pitcher Missy Penna matched a season-high with 14 strikeouts, and allowed the Owls just four hits. Penna improves to 9-0 on the year. Sophomore Amber Barton took the loss for FAU, and falls to 3-3.
The pitchers maintained a scoreless battle until the fifth inning, when Neill drilled her fourth homerun of the season over the right field fence. With the solo blast, Neill climbed onto the program's all-time top-10 list with 11 career homeruns.
The Stanford lead didn't last long, however, beginning a trend of back-and-forth chances that lasted until the Cardinal's final surge. In the Owls' half of the fifth, they matched Stanford's run and knotted the game at one. Blair Bodenmiller earned a leadoff walk, and advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt by Becky Brandies. A ground out moved the Owl shortstop around to third, and she scored on a hard shot down the left field line by Lauren Crandall.
In the sixth inning, both teams loaded the bases, but strong defensive efforts by both squads kept the game tied. Stanford put three on with no outs, but Barton helped the Owls turn a double play to squelch the threat. Florida Atlantic also loaded the bases, but Penna struck out the side to keep the Owls from scoring.
Stanford tacked two runs onto its total in the top of the seventh inning, but, once again, the Owls matched the Cardinal offense perfectly. Neill earned a leadoff walk, and was replaced at first by pinch runner Autumn Albers. Erin Howe laid down a bunt, and the ball was overthrown to put two runners in scoring position for Stanford. Anna Beardman's sacrifice fly scored Albers for the first Stanford run, and an infield single by Alissa Haber scored the second one.
Brandies walked to start FAU's part of the inning, and with one out, Caitlyn Bliss doubled down the left field line. The Cardinal allowed one run to score on a ground out, and the second scored on a two-out single by Melissa Moore.
With the international tiebreaker rule in effect, Coon was placed on second for the Cardinal to start the eighth, but the Owls managed to hold keep the team scoreless. Stanford did the same in the bottom of the inning, with Penna striking out two batters with the game-winning run on third.
The Stanford offense finally roared to life in the ninth inning, and, this time, Florida Atlantic couldn't keep up. Sophomore Shannon Koplitz was placed on second base, and a single by Neill put runners at the corners. Howe chipped a ball up the middle to score Koplitz, and Beardman put down a bunt single to load the bases. Haber then followed with Stanford's fourth consecutive hit. Neill scored on the play to give Stanford an insurance run, but Howe was thrown out at the plate for the Cardinal's first out. Senior Tricia Aggabao walked to load the bases, and Coon belted her first career grand slam over the right field fence. The bomb, the 14th of Coon's career, put an exclamation point on the Stanford scoring, and gave the Cardinal a 9-3 lead.
Penna and the Stanford defense held tight in the bottom half of the inning, retiring the Owls in order to clinch the program's first extra-inning win since May 2, 2006.
Stanford returns to action at the Palm Springs Classic tomorrow, taking on Fordham and Oklahoma in a doubleheader beginning at 10 a.m.