Season Ends in Semifinals for Second-Straight Season

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OKLAHOMA CITY — Stanford softball earned the right to a rematch with top-seeded Texas in the semifinals of the 2024 Women's College World Series. Offense was hard to come by for both sides, not a surprise given the strength of both team's pitching staffs. An incredible run of success in elimination games came to an end on Monday night for the Cardinal, as Stanford dropped a thrilling 1-0 game to Texas, ending its season in the national semifinals for the second-straight season.
With NiJaree Canady and Teagan Kavan returning to the circle for the rematch, no one was surprised it would wind up a pitcher's duel. For Canady, it came in a different fashion than she normally sets down opposing lineups. Early on, she was pitching to contact, striking out just one hitter through the first 3.1 innings, with seven flyouts.
As was the case against UCLA on Sunday night, she seemed to get stronger as the game went on. With one out in the fourth, Canady got on a roll where the next five outs all came via the strikeout. The USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year rose to the occasion and kept the Cardinal one swing away from a lead.
On the other hand, Kavan was nearly as sharp as she was in the opener of the world series, but she was aided by her defense early in the game. Three Texas outfielders made diving catches in the first five innings, including Kayden Henry in the third, and Kavan helped turn an inning-ending double play in the second. She faced the minimum through the first three innings and just one over the minimum through five innings.
Stanford's offense was limited to freshmen production once again. Jade Berry recorded the first hit for the Cardinal, with a one out single in the second inning. It was the tenth hit of the NCAA postseason for Berry, who continues to be one of the best hitters in the lineup with Ava Gall, who was the only other runner to reach base during the first five innings. Gall did so with a two-out walk in the fourth.
It came down to the seventh, and Texas put the pressure on right out of the gates after a fielding error by Taryn Kern put Alyssa Washington on first. Joley Mitchell followed with a double to left center to put two in scoring position with nobody out. Texas then played small ball, with Ashton Maloney laying down a bunt that initially forced Washington into a run down between third and home, but she beat the throw to the plate to score the game's first run.
Significantly, Canady was able to get the next three outs without allowing an additional run to score, inducing three pop ups on the infield to keep two Texas runners stranded in scoring position.
Stanford went quietly in the bottom of the seventh to close out the game and put Texas as the first team to advance to the championship finals.
The lone run scored on Canady's ledger was unearned as she held the second-best scoring offense in the country to just five hits without a walk and seven strikeouts.
An historic season for the Cardinal ends with 50 wins, just the second time in program history that Stanford has reached the 50-win mark. For the first time, Stanford reached the national semifinals for the second year in a row. In all four trips to the Women's College World Series dating back to 2001, Stanford has won two games.