Sweet Road Alabama for Cardinal softball


Ashley Hansen had two hits and drove in two runs to help the Stanford softball team beat Nebraska, 4-1, Sunday in the championship game of its own NCAA regional.

The 15th-seeded Cardinal (41-15) earned a trip to Tuscaloosa to meet host and No. 2 Alabama in next weekend's Super Regional, with a berth in the Women's College World Series at stake.

Teagan Gerhart (25-11) pitched her third complete game in as many days for the victory. She gave up a run on five hits, walking one and striking out four. She's allowed 11 hits in 21 innings over the weekend.

"The Nebraska pitcher did a great job of keeping me off balance in my first couple of at bats," Hansen said. "I was just trying to shorten up and stay through the ball after that. We needed to get Teagan some runs because she was pitching her butt off."

Stanford reached its fifth Super Regional since the extra weekend was added seven years ago. It was the seventh regional title for the Cardinal, which seeks to reach its third WCWS.

Hansen ended a scoreless tie in the top of the fifth, scoring Gerhart with an RBI single just inside the foul line to right field. She added an RBI double in the seventh to put the Cardinal ahead to stay.

"It was a big deal when Ashley decided to come here because she could have gone to any school in the country. I just told myself that I would enjoy every game that I get to watch her play. She is just a phenomenal player."

Jenna Rich and Caitlyn Pura also drove in runs for Stanford. Gerhart had two hits.


Austin Wilson drove in the go-ahead run as Stanford evened its Pac-10 conference record with a 2-1 victory over visiting Arizona on Sunday.

The Cardinal (12-12, 30-19) heads into the final week of the season tied for fifth, with the Wildcats, in the Pac-10, a game behind California. Stanford travels to Berkeley for a 2:30 p.m. contest Friday and a noon doubleheader on Saturday.

The Cardinal can finish no higher than fourth in the conference and needs to win two of three from Cal to tie for fourth.

Oregon State, Arizona State and UCLA have clinched the top three spots, though the order could change dramatically.

Tyler Gaffney, who also drove in a run, had two more hits to extend his hitting streak to 14 games. He's hitting .433 (26-for-60) in that span with 18 runs scored and 11 RBI.

Brian Ragira, who also had two hits, extended his hitting streak to 10 games and is hitting .443 over his last 14 games with 14 RBI.

Closer Chris Reed (6-2) retired the final five batters to gain the win, his second of the series. Starter Jordan Pries deserved a better fate. He went seven innings, allowing a run on seven hits with six strikeouts.

Jake Stewart, who had an appendectomy, played in his first game in three weeks. He was 1-for-3 after getting one hit in his prior 11 at bats.

— PA Weekly Online Sports

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