Over the weekend, No. 6 Stanford baseball (8-3, 0-0 Pac-12) took two out of three games against the Cal State Northridge Matadors (6-4, 0-0 Big West) at Sunken Diamond to win the series.
In the first matchup, Cal State Northridge played a solid all-around game against the Cardinal, with both teams pitching and hitting well. Matador designated hitter Gabe Gonzalez recorded five RBIs, three of which came on a home run to left field in the top of the third inning. Northridge starting pitcher Blaine Traxel went 7 1/3 innings, giving up three earned runs, all on solo home runs.
On the Stanford side, sophomore third baseman Drew Bowser, junior catcher Kody Huff and sophomore first baseman Carter Graham all hit home runs to provide offense for the Cardinal. However, Stanford’s pitching struggled, as starter Alex Williams went four innings and gave up four earned runs. At the end of the ninth inning, the Cardinal fell to the Matadors 9-3.
In the second game of the series, Bowser continued to produce, tallying three hits and two RBIs. In the bottom of the first inning, he doubled to left field, scoring junior outfielder Brock Jones. In the bottom of the fourth inning, he hit a solo home run to center field, which extended the Cardinal lead to 2-0.
In the sixth, first baseman Carter Graham hit a single to center field, scoring freshman pitcher/outfielder Braden Montgomery and junior designated hitter Brett Barrera. Later, a throwing error from the center fielder allowed sophomore left fielder Eddie Park to score from second base. The Cardinal would not relinquish their lead, and they ultimately won 6-2.
The series-deciding finale was a low-scoring thriller. After a scoreless first three innings, the Matadors got on the board in the fourth after a single from first baseman Joey Kramer scored shortstop Ali Camarillo.
The Cardinal responded in the bottom of the fifth, when junior shortstop Adam Crampton hit a single to center field to score sophomore second baseman Tommy Troy and advance Braden Montgomery to second base.
After a throwing error by the Matadors’ shortstop, Montgomery scored to give the Cardinal a 2-1 lead. Montgomery added insurance to Stanford’s lead in the bottom of the seventh inning, hitting a solo home run.
“It felt great,” Montgomery said of his home run. “I knew I wanted to come up and plate a run for the team … I just went up, ready to attack any pitch in the strike zone. And it happened to come in there, and I got the bat cleared.”
In the top of the ninth, Montgomery was given the ball with a chance to earn the save. Montgomery struggled to close the game at first, giving up three walks and a wild pitch, which scored a runner. But eventually, Montgomery retired the Matadors to give Stanford a 3-2 victory and the series win.
The Cardinal will start Pac-12 play next week and face the Oregon Ducks (7-5, 0-0 Pac-12) in a series beginning Friday. First pitch against the Ducks is scheduled for 6:05 p.m. PT at Sunken Diamond.