After dropping its season opener in a close 0-1 game against No. 8 Cal State Fullerton (2-1), No. 23 Stanford men’s baseball (1-2) split the final two games of the weekend series against the Titans in its first road trip of the season. Coming off a 1-8 loss in the second match, the Cardinal earned their first victory of the young season on Sunday after staging a dramatic extra-inning comeback on Sunday to record a 7-6 win.
The Cardinal faced 6-0 deficits in both games, starting slow offensively against a powerful Fullerton pitching staff. Stanford was unable to spark much offense on Saturday — no Stanford batter had more than one hit. Yet, ultimately, the Cardinal rallied to an amazing 11-inning comeback to take the series finale.
On Saturday, Fullerton jumped out to an early lead, going up 6-0 after five innings while holding Stanford hitless until the sixth inning. The Cardinal started out strong on defense, with senior starter Brett Hanewich throwing a perfect first inning. That lead would soon slip, however, as the right-hander walked three in the second and was eventually relieved by freshman Erik Miller. The lefty could not keep the Titans off the board, however, and Fullerton took a 3-0 after two.
Miller recovered after the second, throwing two scoreless innings before giving up a two-out, three-run home run in the fifth.
Stanford did not provide run support offensively, recording its first baserunner of the game with a walk in the fifth and only breaking up the no-hitter in the sixth off a hit by sophomore second baseman Duke Kinamon. Kinamon would come around to score on a single by junior outfielder Quinn Brodey, Stanford’s only run of the night.
Fullerton would add two to its run total in the fifth inning off of freshman Zach Grech. Freshman Jack Little pitched a scoreless seventh in his debut, and senior Jack Klein, normally a centerfielder, wrapped up the game with a scoreless eighth frame, his first pitching appearance as a Cardinal.
Stanford faced a similar six-run deficit on Sunday but fought back, cutting the score to 6-4 entering the ninth inning. The Cardinal bullpen produced seven scoreless innings, holding Fullerton to just two hits and one walk and continuing its success from last season.
The Cardinal starting chipping away the lead in the fifth inning with hits from sophomore Brandon Wulff and freshman Kyle Stowers and an RBI sacrifice fly by Kinamon to make it 6-1. Back-to-back singles from Brodey and senior Alex Dunlap cut the deficit to four followed in the sixth.
With two outs and one on in the eighth inning, Dunlap and freshman pinch-hitter Andrew Daschbach hit back-to-back doubles to make it a two-run game.
The Cardinal had their backs against the wall in the ninth. The team was one strike away from being swept in their opening season series until a clutch opposite-field double by Brodey scored two to tie the game and force extra innings.
After a scoreless tenth inning, Kinamon led off the 11th with a single through the left side. Junior Matt Winaker would hit home the eventual winning run with a double down the left field line. Sophomore Colton Hock (1-0) secured the win, going 1-2-3 in the bottom of the 11th to wrap up the win.
After an exciting comeback win, Stanford looks to carry its momentum into next weekend’s series against Kansas. While Cardinal defense has remained strong this season, the offense must deliver earlier in games to give its pitchers run support. That said, several freshmen showed promise in their collegiate debuts, a good sign for the continuation of the season.
Over the introductory series, three freshman pitchers and four freshman position players made their collegiate debuts over the three-game series, gaining critical playing experience early in the season. The large amount of underclassman contribution surely shows promise in their for the continuation of the season, last under esteemed head coach Mark Marquess.
Stanford will play its first home games of 2017 when it takes on Kansas in a three-game series. The two teams will match up on Friday (6 p.m.), Saturday (2 p.m.) and Sunday (11 a.m.) at the Sunken Diamond.
Contact Laura Anderson at lauraand ‘at’ stanford.edu.