Bob Drebin /

Offensive Outburst in Oklahoma

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OKLAHOMA CITY — Needing a bounce-back performance in the biggest way, Stanford softball delivered on Friday night. In an elimination game against Oklahoma State, the Cardinal jumped on the board in the second inning and never looked back, beating the Cowgirls 8-0 in six innings to advance to Sunday afternoon at the 2024 Women's College World Series.

"Just really proud of the team today. Really, really proud of the way we came back. Not surprised. We've been resilient all year," said Paul A. Violich Director of Softball Jessica Allister. "We've been really resilient in the post-season. We've played really well in elimination games. We've pushed back. Proud of the way we came out today."
After the offense was stuck in neutral on Thursday, Stanford turned to a freshman bat to ignite things on Friday. Ava Gall delivered the only hit for the Cardinal in game one, and she got the first hit in a big way one day later. Gall swung at the second pitch of her at bat in the second inning and deposited it over the right field wall, giving Stanford its first run of the Women's College World Series. For Gall, it is her second of the NCAA tournament, and it ties her for the team lead with 11.
Another freshman came through in the clutch one inning later to open things up. With two on and one out, Jade Berry continued to stay hot by sending a ball towards third that glanced off the glove of Tallen Edwards and plated a pair of runs. Berry scampered to second for a two-run double, giving her eight runs batted in during the NCAA tournament, the most in the Stanford lineup.
Someone else who has been producing for the Cardinal offense lately is Kaitlyn Lim. The Irvine native hit the walk-off home run to send Stanford to the College World Series, and she left the park again on Friday night. She launched a ball just over the wall in right field for her fifth home run of the season. She has three hits in elimination games this postseason, with two of them being round trippers.
As if four runs were not enough for Stanford, the offense put up four more over the last two innings. Gall delivered again with an RBI single to left in the fifth, making it 5-0 Stanford on her second RBI of the evening. Emily Jones followed with an RBI single through the left side of her own, pushing the lead to 6-0.
In the sixth, Stanford put themselves in position to run rule Oklahoma State after loading the bases with nobody out. Berry drew a bases loaded walk and then a sacrifice fly from Jones made it 8-0 Cardinal.
While Stanford has had success in the Women's College World Series, including two wins last year, the Cardinal offense put up the most runs it has ever scored in a world series game. In 2023, Stanford scored in just four of 29 innings in the world series. On Friday, the team scored in five innings against the Cowgirls.
Following up a one-hit performance as a unit, Stanford racked up 11 hits on Friday night. Kaneshiro, Koch, and Gall had two apiece, while Berry and Gall each drove in a pair.
There was not much doubt that NiJaree Canady would bounce back after allowing four runs in the loss to Texas. She came out of the gate striking out three of the first five batters she faced, piling up seven over the course of her complete game. Her final line included just three hits and three walks sprinkled over six innings.
She faced a threat in the bottom of the third inning after a leadoff double and a sacrifice bunt put a runner at third base with just one out. As she so often has done throughout her Stanford career, Canady dug in and followed it up with a strikeout and a lineout to end the threat and keep the Cowgirls off the board. Oklahoma State never came closer again.
Stanford has excelled in elimination games during the month of May. The Cardinal is now 4-0 in elimination games, having played in such games during every stage of the postseason. With Canady having thrown every elimination inning to date, Stanford has outscored its opponents 23-2.

"I told the team at the end of the game, I pick that team every time," said Allister. "I love the team we were in the dugout, on the field. Just really couldn't be more proud of the way we came out today. Happy to get to stay in Oklahoma City for a couple more days."
With the Cardinal's win on Friday, it advances to Sunday's elimination game against the loser of UCLA and Oklahoma on Saturday afternoon. In the event that it is Oklahoma, the two teams met twice in the Women's College World Series last year, with the Sooners winning both games. Should it be UCLA, the Cardinal would look to snap a seven-game losing streak to the Bruins dating back to last season. The game will be televised on ESPN2 at 6:00 pm CT/4:00 pm PT.