Stanford’s midweek game against Santa Clara might have been effectively over by the top of the sixth, but that didn’t stop some sparks from flying between opposing teams — and some familiar faces.
An exchange of words and some shoving between the Stanford and Santa Clara catchers at the end of the fifth set off a chain of events that ultimately led home plate umpire Tommy Vessey to eject Santa Clara reliever Luke Martin-Resnick and head coach Rusty Filter, who just took over the Santa Clara program after eight years as an associate coach with the Cardinal.
Though noteworthy, the ejections were simply one chapter of No. 2 Stanford’s (38-6 overall, 17-4 Pac-12) dominant 9-0 win over the Broncos (22-24, 8-13 WCC), which featured sophomore first baseman Andrew Daschbach finishing a triple shy of a cycle; defending Perfect Game/Rawlings National Player of the Week sophomore Will Matthiessen’s fifth home run in as many games after striking out the side during the top of the inning; and a wild hare running onto the field and temporarily halting the game.
The victory was Stanford’s fifth shutout of the season and extended the Cardinal’s win streak to seven games. They have now won 15 of their last 16.
Stanford was up 6-0 in the bottom of the fifth when some shoving between both teams’ catchers, Stanford’s Maverick Handley and Santa Clara’s Jake MacNichols, brought Filter out of the dugout to argue with the umpire. After the exchange had subsided and the sixth commenced, Broncos reliever Martin-Resnick hit Handley — the leadoff hitter — on his second pitch, leading to the pitcher’s and Filter’s ejections.
“It was emotional and that’s fine, that happens,” Stanford head coach David Esquer said. “In the old days that would’ve been bigger than it was… but the rules keep that under control.”
Though some aggressive baserunning in the first few innings didn’t pay off, the Cardinal ultimately registered 13 hits and had three players with multi-hit games.
Daschbach went 3-for-4, including a home run, and brought in 3 runs, while senior second baseman Beau Branton went 2-for-4 with 2 RBIs and sophomore outfielder Kyle Stowers had a single and double.
Matthiessen’s three-run homer in the bottom of the eighth put a Broncos comeback well out of reach.
“We didn’t play very well for the first three innings,” Esquer said. “I didn’t like the rhythm of the game, how it looked early on and I thought Santa Clara came out ready to play…. [but] we’re playing well enough where the whole parts of the game add up for us.”
Freshman starter Brendan Beck, who lowered his ERA to 1.29 — best among Pac-12 starters — improved to 6-0 with five scoreless innings, allowing six hits and a walk, despite giving up two hits in each of the first two innings.
With Stanford holding an early 1-0 lead, the Broncos threatened to tie things up in the top of the second with runners on the corners and 1 out. But Beck and the Cardinal got out of a jam on a double play: Beck struck out Bronco outfielder Grant Meylan, and Handley threw out Austin Reyes trying to steal second.
“That’s actually a good sign, when somebody can not be at his best and still give you a quality outing,” Esquer said. “That tells you you have some margin of error there.”
Relievers Jacob Palisch and Matthiessen shut down Santa Clara’s hitters: Palisch earned five of his six outs on strikeouts, while Matthiessen struck out the side in the eighth before his homer. In his first career appearance, redshirt freshman Luke Sleeper earned the final out of the game.
Coming off this midweek win, the Cardinal enter arguably the most important series of the season when they travel to Corvallis to take on the No. 3 Oregon State Beavers this weekend.
“When it comes to Oregon State, with our arms and our offense, and if we can put together an all-around game, I think we can beat anybody in the country,” Daschbach said.
Contact Alexa Philippou at aphil723 ‘at’ stanford.edu