STANFORD, Calif. – Whitney Burks hit a three-run home run in the bottom of the seventh inning to send the game to extra innings but Stanford could not finish the comeback against No. 23 Arizona State, falling 7-4 in nine innings on Saturday afternoon.
Burks’ homer erased a 4-1 deficit for the Cardinal (16-22, 0-12 Pac-12) but the Sun Devils’ (26-12, 5-7 Pac-12) Chelsea Gonzales responded with a three-run home run in the top of the ninth to secure the decision for Arizona State.
The defeat spoiled an outstanding effort by Stanford starting pitcher, Kiana Pancino, who held the Sun Devils to four runs – three earned – in a career-high 6.0 innings. Pancino was replaced by Carolyn Lee (7-14) in the top of the seventh inning.
With the Cardinal down 3-1 and a runner on first with no outs in the seventh, Lee registered two quick outs. She was nearly out of the inning but a throwing error on a routine ground ball by third baseman, Teaghan Cowles, allowed a run to score to give Arizona State a 4-1 advantage.
The extra run would prove costly as it only allowed Stanford to tie the game when Burks hit a three-run home run in the bottom half of the inning. Burks had a big day offensively, having already produced an RBI-double in the fifth inning.
The Cardinal’s defense was terrific, highlighted by plays made by catcher Arden Pettit and left fielder Hannah Howell.
Pettit threw out three baserunners attempting to steal bases – one at third and two at second. It’s the first time in Pettit’s career she has thrown out multiple baserunners in the same game.
Howell ended the seventh inning by throwing an Arizona State runner out at home plate. Marisa Stankiewicz singled to left field with Gonzales on second base. Howell fielded the ball and fired home immediately to Pettit who gathered the throw on one hop and tagged Gonzales out.
It was an important moment for the Cardinal because it kept the deficit at 4-1, allowing Burks’ homer to tie the game.
Clutch home run » ?
Runners caught stealing » ?
Plays at the plate » ?
Lots of highlights from today’s finale. ??https://t.co/298yzev8mJ
— Stanford Softball (@StanfordSball) April 15, 2017
Highlights from Stanford’s finale against No. 24 Arizona State.
The Cardinal had trouble figuring out Arizona State starting pitcher, Dale Ryndak, who had a perfect game through four innings.
Stanford broke up the perfect game in the fifth inning when Bessie Noll walked. Burks followed by breaking up the no-hitter with an RBI-double over the right fielder’s head.
The Cardinal had its opportunities in extra innings but left runners on in both frames.
Arizona State took an early 3-0 lead in the third inning on an unfortunate play for Stanford. After walking in a run with the bases loaded, Pancino fell victim to an Ulufa Leilua infield double.
Leilua hit a low pop up between the circle and home plate near the first base line. Pancino dove after the ball in an attempt to make the catch but the ball glanced off the tip of her glove and rolled into foul territory. Leilua raced to second and two runs scored on the play.
Stanford will look to rebound Tuesday when it plays host to Santa Clara at 6 p.m. (PT).