Stanford Bests Ohio State for 15th Straight Win

Feb. 23, 2008

Cathedral City, Calif. - The Cardinal softball team stayed perfect today, besting its third ranked opponent in 24 hours. The Cardinal took care of No. 18/21 Ohio State, 3-1, and improved to 15-0 on the year. The start is the best in program history.

Seniors Michelle Smith and Erin Howe each had three hits in the game to lead the Cardinal offense. Missy Penna struck out eight batters and earned her 11th win of the season. The Cardinal outhit the Buckeyes, 12-4.

Alissa Haber started the Cardinal off with an infield single in the top of the first inning, and Maddy Coon walked to put a second runner on for Stanford. Michelle Smith pounded a ball to the fence in left field, but with the runners holding up for the catch, the blast merely loaded the bases and went in the books as a long single. Freshman Melisa Koutz came through on the next at bat, sending a single through the right side to score Haber. Two fielder's choice plays ended the inning, stranding three Cardinal runners on the base paths.

The Cardinal added another run in the third inning. Smith doubled to lead things off, and moved to third on a ground out by Koutz. Shannon Koplitz then pounded a sacrifice fly to deep left field, scoring Smith to give Stanford a 2-0 lead.

Three hits in the sixth inning helped the Cardinal push another notch ahead. Erin Howe doubled to lead off the inning, and an infield single by Anna Beardman put runners at the corners. On a double steal play, Howe was thrown out at the plate, but Beardman cruised into second. Haber stepped up with her second hit of the day, driving a ball to right field and sending home.

Ohio State answered with a run of its own in the bottom of the sixth, as a series of three infield singles loaded the bases to start the inning. With the bases loaded and the Buckeyes top hitter at the plate, Penna and the Stanford defense stepped up. One run scored on a ground out to shortstop, but Smith held a runner at third base on a ensuing ground out. A grounder to second base finished the inning, leaving the Cardinal's lead in tact.

Penna retired three of the four batters in the bottom of the seventh, and the Cardinal finished with its 15th consecutive win.

Stanford will finish out the tournament tomorrow morning, facing No. 25 Texas in its sixth game of the weekend.

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