Stanford Secures 40th Win With 5-1 Victory Over Cal
April 19, 2008
Stanford, Calif. - With its 40th win of the year on the line, the No. 7/8 Stanford softball team posted another come-from-behind victory this afternoon, defeating Cal, 5-1, for its sixth consecutive Pac-10 win. Junior pitcher Missy Penna, who has gone the distance in the circle in all six of those wins, struck out ten more Golden Bear batters to help Stanford clinch the series with the Bay Area rivals for the second time in the last three years.
Stanford improves to 40-7 overall and 6-5 in the Pac-10 with the win, while Cal falls to 35-18 and 3-8 in conference. Stanford secured its 10th 40-win season, and reached the landmark in April for just the second time in school history. The last time the Cardinal did so (2001), it went on to win a school record 54 games and finish third nationally.
Penna's ten strikeouts marked the 14th time this season that the junior ace has been in double-figures. The win was her 28th of the season, the second-best single-season tally in school history. Penna is just six wins short of Dana Sorensen's school record (34) set in 2004. She needs seven K's tomorrow to secure her second consecutive 300+ strikeout season.
Sophomore catcher Rosey Neill led the Cardinal offensively, going 2-for-3 with two RBI. Classmate Alissa Haber went 2-for-4 and scored twice. Senior Tricia Aggabao rounded out the Cardinal hits with a bunt double in the third inning. With nine doubles on the year, Aggabao has now doubled her previous career double total this season alone. Cal got two of its four hits in the seventh inning, and the Cardinal outhit the Golden Bears, 5-4.
Cal got its first scoring chance in the second inning, putting runners at the corners after an error and its first base hit. With two outs, Heather Camara hit a ball up the middle, but Stanford shortstop Maddy Coon made a diving catch over second base to end the inning.
In the third inning, however, Cal capitalized on a wild pitch from Penna to get on the board. Taylor Kelly walked and was replaced at first on a fielder's choice by Valerie Arioto. Erika Racklin was hit by a pitch and Gina Leomiti singled to load the bases, but Shannon Koplitz caught a line drive to put the Cardinal in position to get out of the inning unscathed. Penna struck out Katie Vickers, but a wild pitch to the Cal third baseman allowed Arioto to come across before the inning ended.
Stanford was quick to answer, however. The team took over the lead in the bottom half of the third and never looked back. Haber tagged a double off the wall in left center, her team-best 13th of the year. Aggabao followed with a well-placed bunt, and with the Bears distracted by Haber, the senior raced around to second to turn the intended sacrifice into a bunt double. After an infield pop-up, Neill ripped a single into the left center field gap that plated both runners.
In the fifth inning, Stanford added on another run. Coon drew a 13-pitch walk, the first of three walks issued by LaRosa in the inning. Neill followed with her second single of the game, and two more walks, including a bases-loaded four-pitch walk issued to Michelle Smith, pushed the Stanford lead to 3-1.
In the sixth, Stanford put the game away, scoring two more runs off of one hit and two walks. Beardman drew the first to lead off the inning, and reached second safely on an infield single by Haber. A wild pitch put both runners in scoring position, and, on a hit-and-run play, Aggabao laid down a sacrifice that scored Beardman. After Neill walked with two outs, Melisa Koutz grounded to the shortstop and a throwing error in an attempt to get Neill allowed Haber to score easily.
The Cardinal will meet the Golden Bears again for the final game of the series tomorrow in Berkeley. Stanford will be looking to secure back-to-back Pac-10 weekend sweeps for the first time in school history. Action is set to begin at 1 p.m. at Levine-Fricke Field.