STANFORD, Calif. – Get knocked down – find a way to get back up.
That was Stanford softball's mantra as the Cardinal rallied from back-to-back home runs to open the game from No. 10 Arizona State, and turned the deficit into a 4-2 victory for the home team, Sunday at Boyd & Jill Smith Family Stadium. It marks the first series victory over the Sun Devils (32-7, 13-2 Pac-12) since 2009 – when the conference split series over separate weekends – and the second series victory over a top 10 team this season.
Down 2-0 after back-to-back home runs from Alynah Torres and Yannira Acuna, Stanford (31-13, 8-7 Pac-12) was shutout until it got on the scoreboard in the fourth inning. Emily Young doubled to left field to lead off the bottom half of the frame, and the Cardinal was set up with runners on the corners following a single from Kaitlyn Lim.
Young scored on a RBI single to left field from Aly Kaneshiro to cut the deficit in half, and chase starting pitcher Marissa Schuld out of the game. Three straight outs would end the inning, but the three-straight hits to open the inning put Arizona State on its heels.
The Sun Devils responded in the top of the fifth with to back-to-back hits from Torres and Acuna to put runners on the corners with one out in the inning, and the number three hitter in the order due up. Cydney Sanders hit a fly ball to right field which would have turned into a sacrifice fly, but Lim was able to throw Torres out at the plate to end the inning without any further damage.
The momentum from Stanford's defensive effort carried into the bottom half of the inning, as a three-run inning turned the tide of the game. Back-to-back doubles from Sydney Steele and Taylor Gindlesperger put two runners in scoring position, and Sydnee Huff loaded the bases after evading the tag on a dropped third strike.
With no outs in the inning, Young pushed two runs across on a single to right center for her second hit of the afternoon, and a RBI single from Lim made it a 4-2 lead for the Cardinal.
Young ended the afternoon 2-for-3 with a pair of runs batted in, while Gindlesperger and Lim also managed two hits.
After allowing back-to-back home runs to open the game, Alana Vawter pitched masterfully for the Cardinal to pick up her 20th victory of the season. Over the final six innings, Vawter limited the Sun Devils to five hits, with only one coming with a runner on base. On the day, Arizona State went 1-for-11 with runners on, and 1-for-6 with runners in scoring position.
Stanford has won three conference series this season and returns to action with four games this weekend. The Cardinal will play Pacific in a midweek game on Wednesday night, before heading to Seattle, Wash., for a series against Washington.