Fayetteville, Ark. – It took every ounce of determination to scratch, crawl and scrape its way to victory.
In the end, it was worth it.
Eleni Spirakis batted Sydney Steele across the plate on a 10th-inning single for the game-winning RBI, and the defense held on in the bottom of the inning to avenge Friday night's loss to South Dakota State, 2-1, at Bogle Park.
The win advances Stanford (33-21) to a regional final for the first time since 2013.
Steele came on to pinch-run after Kristina Inouye drew a leadoff walk in the top of the 10th. She swiped second to put herself in scoring position and rounded third on a grounder up the middle from Spirakis for the game-winning run. In the bottom half of the inning, Alana Vawter struck out the second batter and induced a groundout to Sydnee Huff at second to strand the tying run at second.
South Dakota State scored in the bottom of the third, courtesy of a RBI single to left field by Jocelyn Carrillo to give the Jackrabbits a 1-0 lead.
Their lead would be short-lived, as the Cardinal responded in the top of the fourth. Taylor Gindlesperger laced a leadoff single to center field for Stanford's first hit of the night. The junior used her speed to advance to second on a passed ball, with Spirakis pushing her to third on a sacrifice bunt.
With one out the pitch from Tori Kniesche went high for a wild pitch, and Gindlesperger had all the time she needed to slide across the plate for the tying run.
Stanford will continue its postseason journey with tomorrow's regional final against host-Arkansas. The Cardinal will need to defeat the sixth-seeded Razorbacks twice to punch its tickets to a Super Regional.
The first game will start at 1 p.m. PT.