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Baseball stumbles in opener against Kansas State

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It is a new era for Stanford baseball (4-9, 0-0 Pac-12), one that includes using the opener strategy, where a pitcher starts the game to get the first few outs before making way for a more long-term pitcher to take their place. Freshman RHP Nathan Fleischli started the game on Friday, pitched an inning and two thirds, then handed the ball off to junior RHP Brendan Beck. 

Although Beck took over in a leverage situation, it did not work out as planned; Kansas State (7-5, 0-0 Big 12) plated its first of six runs. Stanford scored its lone run of the game and briefly tied it when junior shortstop Tim Tawa walked, stole second, advanced on an error and scored on a wild pitch in the fourth inning.

“We tried something a little bit different with the opener,” said Stanford head coach David Esquer ’87. “We have had some injuries on our pitching staff.”

Stanford committed four errors and surrendered five unearned runs, losing 6-1. The Cardinal came into the game tied for 242nd in the nation with a .954 fielding percentage. 

“We didn’t play nearly good enough to play Friday night baseball in any league,” Esquer said. “As good as Brendan Beck is, five outs an inning is too much to give any team.”

The lone earned run scored under Beck’s watch came on back-to-back doubles in the sixth inning. He matched a career high with 11 strikeouts, giving up just six hits and two walks in six innings of work.

“We just didn’t play good defense,” Esquer said. 

Stanford totaled three hits, and Kansas State had as many double plays. The Wildcats’ starter Carson Seymour lasted six innings, giving up two hits and one unearned run. He struck out nine and issued two walks. 

Out of the bullpen, Brett Lockwood came in for the three-inning save. 

Senior RHP Jonathan Worley made his second career appearance on the mound for the Cardinal, and sophomore RHP Justin Moore made his first.

Stanford returns to action Saturday at 1 p.m. PT for a doubleheader. 

Contact Daniel Martinez-Krams at danielmk ‘at’ stanford.edu.

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Daniel Martinez-Krams '22 is a staff writer in the sports section covering football, women's soccer, women's basketball and baseball. He is originally from Berkeley, California. Contact him at danielmk ‘at’ stanford.edu.