March 3, 2000
COLUMBUS, Ga. -- No. 9 Stanford fell to Mississippi State 2-1 in nine innings, then took a 7-0 lead on UMass before rain and lighting arrived Friday evening at the South Commons to open play at the NFCA Leadoff Classic. Stanford is now 16-2 on the season while the Bulldogs improve to 9-4 and the Minutewomen remain 0-6.
In the first game of the day, against Mississippi State, Stanford freshmen Dana Sorensen (San Diego, CA/Scripps Ranch HS) retired the side in the top of the first, then the Cardinal came to the plate. Sophomore Robin Walker (La Palma, CA/Mater Dei HS) hit a one-out single. The next batter, sophomore Jessica Mendoza (Camarillo, CA/Camarillo HS), hit a high fly ball to right-center. Bulldog center fielder Kellie Wilkerson caught the ball as she ran through the portable fence. The umpires ruled the play an out, not a home run, but Wilkerson had to be taken off the field o a cart with a leg injury.
Sorensen kept Mississippi State at bay through the first seven innings. She hit a batter in the second, and the runner reached third with only one out, but Sorensen started a streak of four consecutive strikeouts to end the threat. Sorensen allowed a lead-off single in the fourth but then retired the next three batters. The Bulldogs used a pair of one-out singles and a two-out walk to load the bases in the fifth, but Sorensen got a weak comebacker to end the threat. Meanwhile, Mississippi State freshman Jennifer Pursell kept the Cardinal at bay as well. Walker had singles in the first and third, sophomore Sarah Beeson (Tucson, AZ/Canyon del Oro HS) singled in the fourth, and the Cardinal added singles in the sixth and seventh, but that was it for Stanford in regulation.
The game went to extra innings at 0-0, invoking the international tiebreaker rule. Keri McCallum was placed on second base to start the top of the eighth. Jenny Hehnke popped out on a bunt attempt and Chris Bushby, who had replaced Wilkerson, struck out. Michelle Gates was walked intentionally, then Karrie Rider laced a hit down the right-field line, just glancing off Beeson's glove at first base for a two-out RBI. Stanford responded in the bottom of the eighth. Senior Kellie Wiginton (Fresno, CA/Bullard HS) was placed on second to start the inning, and Walker's groundout moved her to second. Mendoza hit an RBI sacrifice fly to center to score Wiginton and tie the game.
Kasey Whitehead was placed on second to start the ninth for the Bulldogs. Nichole Henry sacrificed her to third, then Pursell and Kendell Kimbrough drew walks. Freshman Jaime Forman-Lau (San Jose, CA/Archbishop Mitty HS) relieved Sorensen at that point. McCallum then hit a high blooper that just fell in behind Walker at short and Mendoza and center, scoring Whitehead. Forman-Lau retired the next two batters to end the inning. Beeson began at second to start the bottom of the ninth and freshman Maureen LeCocq (Woodland Hills, CA/Chaminade Prep) moved her to third on a sacrifice, but Pursell induced two groundouts to get the win. Sorensen struck out 10, allowing only four hits and no charged runs, but fell to 8-2. Her other loss, to then-No 6 Michigan, was also in extra innings under the tiebreaker. Sorensen has allowed 16 hits and two earned runs over her last 41.2 innings. Pursell improved to 5-3, allowing only five hits.
In the second game, Stanford jumped on UMass early for the second time in a month. The Cardinal scored six in the first in a 9-7 win over the Minutewomen in Phoenix back on Feb. 11, and got four in the first this time. Wiginton led off with a walk, and Walker advanced her to second on a groundout. Mendoza then doubled to shallow left-center, but Wiginton only advanced to third as it appeared the ball might be caught. Beeson hit an RBI single up the middle, taking second on the throw to the plate. Junior Jenni Shideler (San Jose, CA/Leland HS) then hit a two-run double that kicked up chalk down the first-base line. Freshman Kira Ching (San Lorenzo, CA/Arroyo HS) singled through the left side to make it 4-0.
Junior Ramona Shelburne (West Hills, CA/El Camino Real HS) bunted for a single with one down in the second. Wiginton singled to center and Walker singled to right to make the score 5-0 through two. Stanford added two more in the fourth. Shelburne reached when the first baseman dropped a throw on a what would have been a groundout. Wiginton the hit a ball hard to third to reach on an error. Shelburne was thrown out at third on Walker's fielder's choice, then Mendoza was hit by a pitch to load the bases. Beeson grounded into a fielder's choice, with Wiginton being thrown out at the plate, but Shideler hit a two-out, two-run single to right to make it 7-0 through four complete innings. At that point all six games at the tournament were halted due to rain and lightning. The game will be continued Saturday.
Stanford returns to action at the NFCA Leadoff Classic Saturday, meeting No. 5 Oklahoma at 10:00 a.m. EST and resuming the halted game with UMass at 2:30 p.m. EST. The Cardinal will then play a bracket-play game later Saturday, and conclude the playoff round Sunday.