Despite climbing out of an early 5-2 deficit, No. 6 Stanford baseball (6-2, 0-0 Pac-12) was unable to complete the comeback in extra innings against the University of Texas at San Antonio (7-1, 0-0 Conference USA) Monday night. The Cardinal fell 6-5 in 10 innings at Roadrunner Field in San Antonio, Texas.
The normally sure-handed Cardinal committed four errors which led to three unearned runs over the course of the game, including the game-winner in the 10th inning.
Prior to Monday, Stanford committed just two errors in its first seven games of baseball. Its stellar defense and pitching had been a major reason for the team’s red-hot start, which included a three-game sweep of the Karbach Round Rock Classic and a 5-0 shutout win over No. 2 Arkansas. With momentum on the team’s side, Stanford was set to play one final contest in the Lone Star State before returning to the Farm.
To open up the bottom of the 10th inning with the score tied at five, junior shortstop Adam Crampton mishandled a routine ground ball and rushed the subsequent throw to first. The ball sailed into the stands, which allowed the runner to advance an extra base and turned a would-be out into a UTSA scoring threat. Following a sacrifice bunt to move the runner to third, UTSA second baseman Leyton Barry drove a pitch off the wall in center field for the walk-off upset win.
Sophomore pitcher Tommy O’Rourke (0-1) took the hard-luck loss in the contest. He threw a clean ninth inning before coming back out in the 10th for his second inning of work.
By the time O’Rourke entered the game, Stanford had worked its way back from an early hole largely due to the efforts of sophomore first baseman Carter Graham. Graham hit the first two home runs of his collegiate career, the first of which tied the game 2-2 in the fourth and the second of which knotted the game at five apiece in the eighth.
Graham, senior third baseman Austin Kretzschmar and junior second baseman Owen Cobb drove in all five runs for the Cardinal on a day where strikeouts plagued the team. Stanford struck out 14 times in its 34 at bats, more than doubling its six total hits.
On the mound, freshman pitcher Ty Uber got the start for the Cardinal. He dealt with traffic on the base paths for the duration of his time in the game and finished his start with three innings pitched, five hits and four runs allowed. Despite the seven total baserunners (an additional two reached via walk and hit by pitch), just two of his four runs were earned, as miscues in the field by Kretzschmar and Uber came back to haunt the team.
Following Uber’s start, five Stanford pitchers — redshirt juniors Justin Moore and Cody Jensen, junior Max Meier, sophomore Ryan Bruno and O’Rourke — combined to keep the team in the game, throwing five innings of one-run ball until the tenth.
Despite the extra-inning loss on Monday, Stanford has shown it can be a title contender with its play thus far this season. Through its first eight games, Stanford has allowed one run or fewer in six of them and scored at least five runs in six games as well.
The Cardinal will now return home to face Cal State Northridge (5-2, 0-0 Big West) on Friday at 2 p.m. PT for a three-game set at Sunken Diamond. It’s the last non-conference series for Stanford before Pac-12 play kicks off on March 11.