Cardinal corner: Softball returns to the winning circle vs. Utah

Hannah Howell slides into third base. Photo by Karen Ambrose Hickey.

No. 25 Stanford put two runs on the board in the first, fourth and sixth innings in earning a 6-3 win over Utah on Saturday afternoon to even the three-game Pac-12 Conference series with the Utes at one apiece.

The Cardinal (29-7, 6-2) started strong as Kristina Inouye and Montana Dixon connected for back-to-back homers in the first. The round-trippers were the third of the season for each player, and they were the first back-to-back homers for the Card since Bessie Noll and Kayla Bonstrom launched a pair against Portland State on February 12, 2016.

Taylor Gindlesperger /Stanford Athletics
Freshman Emily Schultz tacked on run number three for the Card in the fourth, lacing an RBI triple into the gap in left-center field. The triple highlighted a 2-for-2 afternoon for Schultz, who owns 12 extra-base hits in 21 total hits this year.

Taylor Gindlesperger followed with an RBI of her own, shooting a single back up the box to extend the Cardinal lead to 4-0.

The sixth through nine batters in the Stanford order combined to go 6-for-10 on the day, with Schultz and Hannah Howell each contributing a pair of hits.

While the offense was looking strong early, sophomore starter Maddy Dwyer was also impressing, staying perfect through the first four innings.

Alyssa Barerra broke up the perfect game with a single to start the fifth, and Hailey Hilburn erased the shutout one play later, launching her sixth homer of the season out to left field to cut the Stanford lead in half.

The Cardinal got the two runs back in the sixth as Molly Fowkes contributed a pinch-hit RBI, and an error allowed a second run to come home on the play.

Junior Kiana Pancino, who took over for Dwyer following the homer from Hilburn in the fifth, surrendered Hilburn's second homer of the game in the seventh, but ultimately closed the door to record her seventh save of the season.

Pancino logged the final three innings of work, allowing just the homer while striking out four. Dwyer, who also whiffed four, was credited with the win and moved to 11-4.

Stanford will look to win its fourth consecutive Pac-12 series of the year when the two teams meet at noon Sunday.


No. 5 Stanford's pitching staff combined for 14 strikeouts in a 3-2, series-clinching win over Washington on Saturday night at Sunken Diamond.

"We need to do a better job of being relentless on offense but credit Coach Eager and our pitchers for coming prepared and executing tonight," said Stanford coach David Esquer. "Our pitchers made pitches all night, and defensively we were very well-prepared against a very good team."

The Cardinal (23-5-0, 9-2-0 Pac-12) played error-free defense behind 14 strikeouts, Maverick Handley finished 3-for-4 with a run and Kyle Stowers reached base twice, scoring both times.

Jack Little's six-out save sealed the deal, striking out the side in the ninth inning to slam the door shut for his seventh save of the season.

Men's volleyball

Career-high performances by seniors Jordan Ewert and Kyle Dagostino weren’t enough as No. 8 Stanford dropped an 18-25, 25-16, 26-24, 19-25, 16-14 decision to No. 12 BYU, Saturday, in the quarterfinals of the MPSF Tournament at Maples Pavilion.

Ewert posted a career-best 28 kills on .412 hitting and notched 10 digs for his team-best fifth double-double of the season. Dagostino racked up a career-high 16 digs to go with seven assists in his last match in a Cardinal uniform.

Stanford (15-11) lost for the first time this season when out hitting its opponent (.345 to .307). The Cardinal also held a 10.0 to 8.0 advantage in blocks and a 51-48 edge in digs. BYU (13-11) recorded seven aces to 11 errors, while Stanford had three aces and 16 errors from the line.

Setter Paul Bischoff dished out 56 assists and collected seven digs and three blocks. The junior also tallied a career-high with six kills on eight errorless swings to hit .750. Jaylen Jasper finished with his third double-double of the year, totaling 16 kills and a career-high 13 digs.

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