Stanford won its first round of the Tuscaloosa Super Regional softball tournament, but the Cardinal couldn't deliver the knockout punch over three rounds as host Alabama won a pair of games on Friday and ended Stanford's season.
The No. 15 Cardinal needed to win only one of two games Friday, but suffered a 10-0 loss in five innings in the opener before dropping a 1-0 decision to No. 2 Alabama in the elimination game later in the day at Rhoads Stadium.
Stanford finished 42-17 overall while the Crimson Tide rolls into the Women's College World Series with a 51-9 record.
Stanford sophomore pitcher Teagan Gerhart, who threw a no-hitter through the first 4 1/3 innings, ended the season with a 26-13 record. She finished with six strikeouts, while allowing just one run on four hits. Alabama's Jackie Traina entered the game in the fourth and earned the win, moving to 18-5 on the year.
Stanford senior Melisa Koutz led the team with two hits in the game. Juniors Sarah Hassman and Maya Burns each tallied hits for the Cardinal.
Stanford loaded the bases in the second with one out, taking advantage of an error by Alabama second baseman Kaila Hunt. However, Dunne got out of the jam by striking out Gerhart and getting the out at the plate as junior Sarah Hassman reached on a fielder's choice.
The Cardinal had two runners in scoring position in the top of the fourth, but was unable to capitalize. Gerhart struck out the side in the bottom half of the inning to keep the game scoreless.
Alabama broke the scoreless tie in the bottom of the sixth on an RBI triple down the right line by first baseman Cassie Reilly-Boccia, which scored Traina.
Stanford had one last chance in the top of the seventh, but Traina retired the Cardinal in order to punch Alabama's ticket to the Women's College World Series.
Junior shortstop Ashley Hansen, one of three finalists for National Player of the Year, ends the year with the highest single-season batting average (.495) in Stanford history. She also set a new single-season record for hits with 95.
In the second game of the series earlier on Friday, 11th-ranked Stanford was shut out to force the final game. Juniors Sarah Hassman and Ashley Hansen were the lone Cardinal players to register hits in the game, both coming in the fourth inning.
Mark Appel pitched into the eighth and Chris Reed shut the door on the final five outs as No. 24-ranked Stanford (31-20, 13-12 Pac-10) won the series opener with No. 23-ranked Cal (31-19, 13-12 Pac-10) 3-2 on Friday afternoon.
Tyler Gaffney had two of the five hits, extending his hit streak to 16 games, going 2-for-4 with an RBI single, in what proved to be the difference, the two-run sixth.
Reed picked up his seventh save by stranding the tying run on first following Appel's 7 1/3 innings. Appel (5-6) gave up two runs on eight hits with three strikeouts. Reed finished off the opener by giving up a bloops two-out single before getting a game-ending fly out.
Erik Johnson (6-3) from Los Altos went the first seven innings, tying his career high with 11 strikeouts, but allowing two of his four walks to score, leaving with a 3-2 deficit.
Stanford pushed across two runs in the sixth to lead 3-1. Gaffney's two-out single to right field gave Stanford its second lead, after Johnson retired 13 in a row until a lead off walk to Jake Stewart. Stewart then stole second, before Gaffney drove him in to break the 1-1 tie. It was the second lead off walk to score against the Cal righthander. Brian Ragira, the Cardinal's leading RBI man, then made it 3-1 with his 41st RBI to score Gaffney.
Gaffney's single in the first, extended his hit streak to 16 games, putting runners on first and third, before Stephen Piscotty's fielder's choice gave Stanford an early 1-0 lead, to score Zach Jones from third. An unearned run in the bottom of the first tied it at 1-1.
Devon Rodriguez' solo shot in the sixth cut the Stanford lead to 3-2.