No. 5 Stanford baseball (9-5, 1-2 Pac-12) dropped its first series against the unranked Oregon Ducks (10-5, 2-1 Pac-12) over the weekend, losing two out of three games.
The first game of the series was a nail-biter until the ninth inning. The Cardinal jumped out to an early 2-0 lead after the first inning, thanks to an error by the Oregon first baseman which scored sophomore left fielder Eddie Park. A fielder’s choice also scored sophomore second baseman Tommy Troy.
In the top of the fifth inning, a triple from Oregon center fielder Colby Shade scored right fielder Anthony Hall. Later, a single from third baseman Sam Novitske scored Shade to knot the score at two.
After both teams scored a run in the eighth inning, the game was tied at three heading into the ninth. With no outs and a 3-1 count, Oregon left fielder Tanner Smith hit a solo home run to put the Ducks on top, 4-3. After giving up a walk, Oregon relief pitcher Kolby Somers retired three straight batters to earn the win for the Ducks.
The second game of the series was even more action-packed than the first. Striking quickly in the first three innings, the Cardinal held a 9-3 lead going into the fourth inning. However, this lead would quickly shrink, as the Ducks scored a combined five runs over the next two innings to pull the game to 9-8.
The eighth inning saw the Ducks score six more runs to take a 14-9 lead. Oregon added two insurance runs at the top of the ninth inning to pad their lead, 16-9.
The Cardinal initiated a comeback attempt in the bottom of the ninth, as sophomore third baseman Drew Bowser hit a three-run home run to make the score 16-12. Then, senior pinch hitter Vincent Martinez hit a solo home run to make it 16-13 and stoke some anxiety within the Oregon dugout.
However, even after giving up four earned runs in the inning, Oregon relief pitcher Dylan Sabia was able to retire three straight batters to pull out the win for the Ducks.
In the third game of the series, sophomore pitcher Drew Dowd started and only gave up three earned runs in six innings of work. In the bottom of the second inning, junior designated hitter Brett Barrera hit a grand slam to give Stanford a 5-1 lead.
From the fourth through the eighth inning, the Cardinal put up five more runs, including an RBI double and home run from Graham Carter. These runs were enough for the Cardinal to escape the game and win 10-6.
After some early season success, which included beating the then-No. 2 Arkansas Razorbacks (11-3, 0-0 SEC), the Cardinal have struggled recently, losing games to unranked teams such as Oregon and UTSA (10-5, 0-0 Conference USA). Next week, Stanford will head to Tucson to take on the No. 16 Arizona Wildcats (12-4, 2-1 Pac-12) in a three-game weekend series.