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Stanford softball upsets No. 6 Alabama to reach Super Regionals for first time since 2011

May 22, 2022

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – Stanford softball is super.

For the first time since 2011, Stanford softball advanced to the NCAA Super Regionals by winning the elimination game against sixth-seeded Alabama (42-13). It's the first time the Crimson Tide have not qualified for Super Regionals since the NCAA moved to the format in 2005.

This also marks the first time since 2008 Stanford (39-20) has advanced out of the NCAA Regional as a visiting team.

Alana Vawter was dominant in her second complete game shutout of the weekend — the only times Alabama has been shutout in a regional since 2007. The junior held the Crimson Tide to four hits while striking out four in an efficient 92 pitches to respond after taking the loss in the first game of the regional final.

For the second game of the day, both teams were locked in a scoreless tie through the first five innings. The Cardinal broke the drought with a two-run sixth inning — all thanks to the bat of Aly Kaneshiro.

With Taylor Gindlesperger and Sydnee Huff in scoring position, Kaneshiro sent the first pitch she saw into deep right center that the diving Dallas Goodnight couldn't maintain control of. Gindlesperger tagged up expecting to score in the sacrifice fly, but both her and Huff had the speed to score on Kaneshiro's go-ahead double.

Not satisfied with the comfort of a two-run lead, Stanford batted through the order in the top of the seventh to add four more runs for a 6-0 lead. The Cardinal put two runners in scoring with Gindlesperger due up and one out after Dani Hayes pushed Johnna Schroeder and Emily Schultz into scoring position on a sacrifice bunt. With first base open, Alabama elected to intentionally walk Gindlesperger at the top of the order.

Huff would make them pay with a single up the middle to push two runs across. When the throw from center field went above the catcher, another run came across the plate to clear the bases.

With a 5-0 lead, Stanford pushed another run across the plate on a RBI single from Kaneshiro — her third RBI of the day. The catcher was 3-for-4 in the afternoon. Huff was 2-for-3 with two runs, while Gindlesperger also scored twice.

Stanford was forced to play the if necessary game after the Crimson Tide scored four runs in the top of the sixth. Both programs were scoreless entering that frame. Regan Krause pitched effectively in that game, allowing zero runs in five innings as the starter.

The Cardinal will host Oregon State in Super Regionals next weekend, Stanford's first time hosting Supers since 2009.