Forest comes out on top of aces’ duel
Freshman Chelsea Spencer hit a one out double to bring in three runs in the bottom of the sixth inning to give No. 8 Cal (34-10, 1-0 Pac-10) a 3-2 win over No. 3 Stanford (27-4, 0-1 Pac-10) in the teams’ conference opener Friday afternoon at Levine-Fricke Field.
The Cardinal, who have scored at least one run in the first inning 13 of the last 14 games, wasted no time getting on the scoreboard once again as senior Jessica Mendoza hit a solo homer deep over the center field fence. Neither team made any noise for the next four innings as senior pitcher Jocelyn Forest and Stanford ace Tori Nyberg dueled in a much-hyped matchup.
In Cal’s half of the sixth inning, junior Kristen Morley led off with a walk and senior Candace Harper singled to right field. Junior Veronica Nelson, the NCAA career walk leader with 244, was intentionally walked to load the bases. After Courtney Scott struck out swinging, Spencer’s double went under the glove of Cardinal shortstop Robin Walker and past center fielder Mendoza, all the way to the fence at left center, for RBIs No. 21, 22 and 23 for the native of San Leandro.
Stanford threatened in the top of the seventh as Jessica Allister led off the inning with a double to right center. Junior Cassi Brangham followed with a double of her own, bringing in pinch runner Heather Shook to narrow the Bears’ lead to just one.
From there, it was all Jocelyn Forest. The preseason All-American struck out the next three batters in order to quell the threat and end the game. She finished the contest with 12 strikeouts, five hits and just one walk as she completed her 18th game of the year.
Nyberg, who’s only other loss of the season was to Nebraska Feb. 23, 2-0, also went the distance, striking out six batters on five hits and three base on balls.
Morley went 2-for-2 on the afternoon, while Spencer went 1-for-2 with three RBI. The two teams square off again Saturday as Stanford hosts a doubleheader starting at 2 p.m. at the Smith Family Stadium.