Stanford baseball staved off elimination in dominating fashion, as the offense exploded for 12 runs on 11 hits and freshman starter Brett Hanewich held Youngstown State (17-38) to two runs — one earned — over seven innings, to give the Cardinal (32-24) a 12-4 victory.
The Penguins got off to an early two-run lead in the first after an error by junior first baseman Danny Diekroeger plated two runners who had been walked by Hanewich earlier in the frame. But that was all the offense Youngstown State would get until the game was well out of hand in the ninth.
“I don’t know what Coach Filter told him but it worked. He settled down and pitched well for us,” said head coach Mark Marquess. “Again, first time out there, freshman, did a good job, and again they scored two runs without getting a hit and then we gave them a lot.”
Stanford answered back with six runs in the bottom of the second, all with two outs. After walks to sophomore Zach Hoffpauir and freshman Jack Klein, back-to-back RBI singles from senior Brett Michael Doran and freshman Tommy Edman tied the game at two. The Cardinal entered the game with a 19-10 record with Edman at the leadoff spot, and his .357 batting average (5-for-14) and two RBIs in the regional is one reason why.
The game was not tied for very long, as Diekroeger — who went 3-for-4 with three RBIs in the game — and senior Alex Blandino hammered back-to-back homers to give the Cardinal a 6-2 lead that they would not surrender. It was Blandino’s team-leading 12th home run of the year, as he continued his strong regional in which he has hit .369 (4-for-11).
The two-out rally continued a trend for Stanford, as in the team’s last 12 games — including Sunday morning’s contest against Youngstown State — 45.8 percent (33 of 72) of its runs have come with two outs.
The Cardinal would later score three runs in the fourth, two in the sixth and a final insurance run in the eighth to put the game away.
Junior Austin Slater extended his hitting streak to 20 games with his single in the sixth inning, matching assistant coach Ryan Garko’s 2001 run for the seventh-longest Stanford hit streak since 1988. Slater is hitting .436 (34-for-78) over the 20-game span, and has gone 4-for-12 with three RBIs in the regional thus far.
Hanewich, making his first start since a complete game effort against Pacific on May 19, controlled the Penguin offense throughout his seven innings. Despite small lapses in control, leading to three walks and three hit batsmen, the freshman only allowed one earned run over seven innings and threw 113 pitches.
Asked what he had to do to settle down after a rocky first inning, Hanewich said, “Just really focus on throwing strikes and throwing it up. I knew our offense would turn it on and they did, and just throwing it up, get me to settle down a little bit and feel for my pitches, all my off-speed stuff and my fastball.”
Stanford moves on to face Indiana for the second time in as many days. Sophomore southpaw Logan James (3-3, 4.13 ERA) will face Hoosiers right-handed sophomore Christian Morris (6-3, 1.82 ERA) in another elimination game. The Cardinal will have to defeat Indiana on Sunday and again on Monday in order to move on to the super-regional.
Sunday’s elimination game against Indiana is set for 3 p.m. Pacific and will be televised on ESPN3.
Contact Jordan Wallach at jwallach ‘at’ stanford.edu.