By Jeremy Rubin
Behind 9.1 scoreless innings in relief from senior LHP Jacob Palisch and freshman RHP Joey Dixon, No. 15 baseball (31-13, 15-9 Pac-12) won the rubber match of a three-game series against No. 13 Oregon (35-13, 18-9 Pac-12) on Sunday in Eugene.
Sophomore LHP Quinn Mathews got the start on the bump for the Cardinal, but only recorded one out before loading the bases and being replaced by freshman RHP Tommy O’Rourke. The first-year got out of the first inning jam, but not before allowing a run to score to give Oregon an early 1-0 lead.
O’Rourke got the first two outs of the second, but also loaded the bases on three free passes, prompting head coach David Esquer ’87 to make his second pitching change in as many innings, this time turning to senior LHP Austin Weiermiller. He finished the inning, but not before allowing a two-run single to extend the Ducks’ lead to three.
Oregon tacked on an additional two runs in the third to put the Cardinal in a five-run hole. From there, Palisch — who entered the game in the bottom of the third — took over on the mound. Following the conclusion of the third, he threw another three innings of scoreless baseball to give Stanford’s bats a chance to wake up.
The Cardinal struck twice in the top of the fourth and three times in the sixth to tie up the game at five, while Palisch held the Ducks at bay.
A one-out Oregon single off Palisch in the bottom of the seventh chased him from the game and brought in Dixon. After giving up a single to the first batter Dixon faced, he induced a double play to escape the inning unscathed.
Dixon again faced trouble in the bottom of the ninth in a bases-loaded situation with just one out and the score still knotted at five — any Oregon run would be a walk-off. One fly out and ground out later, though, and he had his team back in the dugout getting ready for extra innings.
The Ducks, meanwhile, kept Stanford’s potent offense subdued for five-straight innings — from the sixth until the twelfth. Sophomore pinch runner Owen Cobb stood on third following a leadoff single from second baseman Tim Tawa and fielder’s choice from sophomore pinch hitter Brett Barrera.
Sophomore catcher Kody Huff broke the tie with a single up the middle to score Cobb, and senior right fielder Christian Robinson followed it up with an opposite-field home-run to extend Stanford’s lead to three.
Dixon then threw a 1-2-3 bottom of the inning to nail down the 8-5 win and move his record to 2-0.
The duo of Huff and Robinson, hitting fourth and fifth in the lineup, each had three hits on the day. Senior first baseman Nick Brueser, sophomore shortstop Adam Crampton and sophomore outfielder Brock Jones each added two hits for the Cardinal.
Stanford won the day prior 6-5 after dropping the series opener 2-1. The team has won all three of its best-of-three matchups against ranked opponents this year, also securing series wins against No. 9 Arizona and No. 17 UCLA.
The Cardinal will now welcome Oregon State to Sunken Diamond for the final series of their regular season. First pitch of game one is set for Thursday at 6 p.m. PT.