It was an unwanted flashback for Stanford baseball (34-25), as Vanderbilt (48-18) jumped on top of the Card from the start, scoring 10 runs in the first three innings on its way to beating Stanford 11-6. The bad start to the Super Regional for the Card was reminiscent of two years ago, when they were beaten by Florida State 17-1 and 18-7 in the 2012 Super Regional, games that saw a combined 13 runs scored in the first four innings for the Seminoles.
Despite the poor start to the Super Regional, Stanford actually rebounded to play great baseball for the final six innings of the game. Freshman Brett Hanewich pitched 5.2 innings in relief, only allowing a single run and keeping Stanford in relative striking distance throughout the game. Additionally, after failing to pick up a hit in the first three innings, the Cardinal recorded seven in the last six frames. Although the overall result was not what Stanford desired, it can take confidence from its stirring comeback that, at one point, saw the tying runner standing on deck. The rally nearly came completely to fruition but was undone by the 11 total runners Stanford left on base throughout the course of the game.
Stanford still has an opportunity to advance to the College World Series but will need to win each of its next two games against Vanderbilt in order to do so. The Card will send freshman ace Cal Quantrill to the mound tomorrow and likely sophomore Logan James on Sunday, if necessary, to try and engineer a series victory.
Junior starting pitcher John Hochstatter struggled from the start, issuing four walks in the first five batters he faced to let Vanderbilt take the lead 1-0 on a bases-loaded walk. A wild pitch and a two-run single followed to put the Commodores ahead 4-0 at the end of the first inning.
Hochstatter was pulled from the game after issuing a leadoff walk to start the second inning. Freshman Chris Viall entered in relief, but a few well-placed hits, a walk, a fielder’s choice and a sacrifice fly brought home three more runs for Vanderbilt.
In the bottom of the third inning, Vanderbilt scored three more runs off of Viall and freshman Brett Hanewich. Totaled over the first three innings, the Commodores scored 10 runs thanks to eight hits, six walks and an error to take a 10-0 lead.
In spite of the 10-run deficit, the Cardinal refused to give up. In the top half of the fourth inning, juniors Alex Blandino and Austin Slater had back-to-back singles, and Stanford had runners at the corners with one out after a fielder’s choice. Junior Wayne Taylor then crushed a ball off the wall deep in center field for a triple, scoring the first two Cardinal runs of the game. Stanford would strand runners at second and third, though, to end the inning.
Then, in the fifth inning, Stanford loaded the bases with a pair of walks and a hit by pitch. An infield single from sophomore Zach Hoffpauir brought the first run of the inning home before senior Brant Whiting hit a sacrifice fly to make it 10-4. With two outs, junior Dominic Jose delivered another piece of two-out magic with a two-run single to cut the deficit to only four runs. In the regional, Stanford hit .353 with two outs in the inning. However, there would be no more two-out hitting as Stanford left the bases loaded.
Unfortunately for the Card, the run scoring ended there as Vanderbilt’s pitching staff settled down and cruised to the victory. The Commodores would add one more run on an error in the seventh inning to clinch the 11-6 win.
Diekroeger finished with a pair of hits for the Card while both Taylor and Jose recorded two RBIs apiece. Hanewich also struck out six in his 5.2 innings pitched and likely saved momentum for Stanford heading into tomorrow.
Tomorrow’s game will be a must-win for Stanford, as a loss would officially eliminate the Card from the postseason. Quantrill, who is 7-5 with a 2.69 ERA, will face Vanderbilt’s Carson Fulmer, who enters at 6-1 with a 1.42 ERA.
First pitch between Stanford and Vanderbilt in game two of the Super Regional is scheduled for noon tomorrow.
Contact Michael Peterson at mrpeters ‘at’ stanford.edu.