With its quota of late-inning heroics filled for the week, the Stanford baseball team won in traditional fashion on Monday. The No. 25 Cardinal scored early and often and held Pacific to one run over the final seven innings in an 11-5 victory.
Playing a rare midweek game away from home, Stanford (26-16, 9-9 Pac-10) sustained its momentum following a weekend sweep over visiting Washington and improved its winning streak to five games.
On Saturday, Stanford had a walk-off win against Washington on a misplayed ground ball to second base with two outs and the bases loaded. On Sunday, the Cardinal, trailing 2-1 in the eighth inning, rallied for six runs to raise the brooms in Sunken Diamond.
Monday’s game versus Pacific (15-28), postponed from March 23 due to rain, featured 16 runs, 26 hits, five errors and three Cardinal home runs, but seemed oddly tame compared to the weekend festivities.
Freshman first baseman Brian Ragira—named the Pac-10 Player of the Week after hitting .571 with six RBIs last week—once again jump-started the Cardinal offense. After senior catcher Zach Jones led off the game with a single and sophomore outfielder Tyler Gaffney reached via error, Ragira stepped to the plate and did exactly what the reigning Player of the Week is supposed to do: launch a three-run blast over the fence in right center.
“Obviously I’m feeling pretty good at the plate, but more than anything, I’m not thinking too much,” Ragira said. “Just trying to get the foot down a little earlier and trusting the hands and letting them work.”
The lead would not last for long, though. Starter A.J. Vanegas worked out of a jam unscathed in the first after allowing back-to-back singles, but could not escape another tough spot in the second. The freshman got two quick outs but then ran into trouble. A double, two singles, two walks and two passed balls later, Pacific led 4-3.
That would be the one opportunity Pacific would get.
Gaffney tied the game with a solo shot to start the fourth, and the brothers Diekroeger, Kenny and Danny, each added an RBI to give Stanford a 6-4 lead.
From there, the Cardinal bullpen took over. Head coach Mark Marquess handed the ball to junior Elliott Byers, who held the Tigers to one run over two innings. After that, it was all sophomore Sahil Bloom.
Having played limited innings this season, Bloom had his best outing of the season. The righthander made sure Stanford would not need any more last-minute magic. Bloom tossed five shutout innings, scattering three hits and one walk while striking out five.
The Cardinal offense supported Bloom, scoring five more runs over the final six innings. In the fourth, Jones doubled and came around to score on a Gaffney single. Following a stolen base, sophomore third baseman Stephen Piscotty scored Gaffney on a single to center.
“It definitely feels different [playing with a lead], but I don’t think as a team we play any differently,” Ragira said. “In the beginning of the season, we were able to score early in the game and hold on to win, but now even when we get the lead, we seem able to keep tacking on.”
Stanford tacked on two more in the sixth with the third home run of the night— this one by freshman outfielder Austin Wilson—and a sacrifice fly by Ragira. Piscotty capped the scoring in the eighth with an RBI double that brought home Gaffney.
The Cardinal will put its winning streak on the line tonight when it plays host to UC-Davis. The last time the Aggies visited Sunken Diamond, Stanford barely escaped with a 3-2 victory.
First pitch is scheduled for 5:30 p.m.