Koutz' Clutch Double Leads Stanford To First Pac-10 Win
April 6, 2008
Seattle, Wash. - Melisa Koutz cracked a key double over the head of Washington right fielder Bailey Stenson, lifting the Stanford softball team to its first Pac-10 win today at Husky Softball Stadium in Seattle. The Cardinal overcame an early deficit, and battled back to beat Washington, 3-1.
Stanford improves to 34-7 overall and 1-5 in the Pac-10, while Washington drops to 24-12-1 and 3-3 in the conference.
Stanford tallied eight hits off the bat of six different players, its best offensive performance since the conference season began. The Cardinal also outhit its first Pac-10 opponent, 8-6. Sophomore Alissa Haber and senior Tricia Aggabao both went 2-for-4 to lead the team, while Koutz went 1-for-3 with the two game-winning RBI.
Washington shortstop Morgan Stuart led the Huskies with a 2-for-3 afternoon and the team's only RBI.
In her third start of the weekend, Stanford ace Missy Penna struck out 11 batters, walked one and allowed just one earned run. The win was the 70th of Penna's career, moving her into second place behind three-time All-American Dana Sorensen on Stanford's all-time win chart. She is now 23-6 on the season.
Starter Caitlin Noble (11-7) took the loss for Washington after allowing three runs in 4.2 innings of work.
Washington was on the board first, using two hits to push a run across. The Cardinal recorded two quick outs, but the Huskies' top hitter, Jace Williams, dropped a well-placed double into left field to extend the inning. Williams took third on a passed ball, and scored when Morgan Stuart was called safe at first on a chopper to Cardinal shortstop Maddy Coon.
Stanford answered in the fourth inning when Koutz stepped up with a clutch two-RBI double. Coon led off the inning with her second walk of the game, and cruised into third on a double to the gap in right center by Rosey Neill. With no outs, the Cardinal needed just a sacrifice fly to tie the game, but the team's first attempt was too shallow.
In a critical at bat, Koutz fell behind 0-2, but fought off pitch after pitch to eventually win an 11-pitch battle with Husky hurler Caitlin Noble. The freshman finally connected on her fifth 2-2 offering, ripping it out of the reach of Stenson. Koutz came into second with a stand-up double, and Coon and pinch runner Autumn Albers scored easily on the play.
In the fifth, the Cardinal added two more hits and squeezed another run across. With one out, Alissa Haber single up the middle, and was replaced by Tricia Aggabao at first base on a fielder's choice. Aggabao stole second, moving herself into scoring position and sixth place on the Cardinal single-season steal chart (13). Coon followed with a single to move her to third, and Aggabao raced home on a wild pitch by Noble.
Stanford returns to the Farm for a home series against the Oregon schools next weekend. The team will begin the stretch against Oregon State on Friday night at 7 p.m. at Smith Family Stadium.