Hansen Pounds Game-Winning Double To Lift Stanford Over Cal

April 9, 2009

Box Score

Stanford, Calif. - Freshman shortstop Ashley Hansen pounded a three-run double to the gap in left center field in the fifth inning, leading the second-ranked Cardinal softball team (35-2, 6-1 Pac-10) to a 4-1 victory over California (26-12, 3-4 Pac-10) tonight in Pac-10 softball action.

Playing the first game of a three-game series, the Cardinal made the only game in front of its home fans count, maintaining its spot atop the Pac-10 standings with its sixth consecutive conference win. When the team takes on Cal again tomorrow in Berkeley, it will be looking to tie the school record for consecutive Pac-10 wins (7 in 2005).

Hansen (2-for-4) paced the team with her fourth multi-hit game since Pac-10 play began two weeks ago. With one run and three RBI, the rookie contributed to every element of the Cardinal offense. Stanford's junior class accounted for the three remaining Cardinal hits, with Alissa Haber, Rosey Neill and Shannon Koplitz each putting one in the hit column. Haber drew a walk in the sixth inning that moved her into the school's career top 10. Just a junior, she has now already etched her name on seen of Stanford's career top-10 charts (walks, hits, doubles, triples, home runs, runs scored and stolen bases).

Stanford outhit Cal, 5-3. The Bear hits came from senior utility Gina Leomiti, sophomore catcher Sanoe Kekahuna and junior third baseman Shannon Houston.

Senior ace Missy Penna came up with another outstanding performance in the circle, improving to 25-2 on the year with a three-hitter. She fanned 12 batters in her 25th complete game and held the Bears without an earned run. With her 109th career win, Penna became one of the 25 winningest pitchers in NCAA history and cracked the top five on Stanford's single-season win chart (25).

Junior Marissa Drewrey (16-9) went four innings, struck out seven and gave up all four runs to take the loss for Cal.

Neill came up with a clutch hit to open the scoring in the bottom of the fourth. Hansen singled to lead off the inning, but was still stuck at first with two outs. Neill stepped up and drilled her seventh double of the season into the right center field gap, bringing the freshman shortstop all the way around to score.

Stanford's lead didn't last, however, as Cal scratched out an unearned run to tie the game in the top of the fifth. The Bears didn't even record a hit in the inning, but two errors allowed freshman Jamia Reid to come across. Reid reached on a dropped ball at first base and was bunted to second on the next play. With one out, Stanford caught a pop-up deep in foul territory, and when Reid attempted to tag up at second, the ball was overthrown to send her home.

Stanford came back right away however, this time with more force. Freshman Jenna Becerra reached as the leadoff on a mishandled chopper to shortstop and Sarah Hassman drew a full-count walk to put a second runner on. Haber chipped a forceful bunt into a gap on the right side of the infield to load the bases, setting the table for Hansen's game-winning hit. The rookie quickly fell behind 0-2 to Drewrey, but calmly read her third pitch and drove it into left center field. The well-placed double scored all three runners and gave the Cardinal a 4-1 lead that would prove to hold.

With the win just six outs away, Penna stepped up and struck out Cal batters for five of the next six outs. The Bears loaded the bases with one out in the top of the sixth, but the senior ace held tight and struck out back-to-back batters to preserve the Cardinal lead.

Stanford and Cal return to the field for the second game of the series tomorrow, with first pitch set for 4 p.m. at Levine-Fricke Field in Berkeley.

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