Stanford baseball (14-10, 6-6 Pac-12) lost 8-1 to Saint Mary’s (18-11, 2-7 WCC) on Tuesday at Sunken Diamond. While the loss will not have any impact on Stanford’s ranking in the Pac-12 standings, it is indicative of the inconsistency that the team has shown thus far this season, especially coming off an upset series victory against No. 3 Oregon State (21-7, 7-5).
Early in the first inning, Saint Mary’s left fielder Gavin Napier reached base on a single. After three consecutive wild pitches, Napier scored to put the Gaels up 1-0. Saint Mary’s would score again in the fourth inning with third baseman Chris Santiago hitting a solo home run, extending its lead to 2-0 .
After two more scoreless innings, the runs began pouring in for the Gaels, starting with a three-run seventh inning. Napier, who hit 2-for-4 on the night, hit a double in the seventh inning to score second baseman Javy Espinosa. Napier then found home plate for the second time on Tuesday after shortstop Christopher Campos hit a single and Cardinal junior pitcher Cody Jensen committed a throwing error. Santiago, not to be outdone, hit a double to score Campos for the Gaels’ third run of the inning.
In the bottom of the eighth, Stanford was finally able to change the “0” on the scoreboard to a “1” as junior designated hitter Brett Barrera hit a single to score freshman outfielder Braden Montgomery from third base. This run never materialized into a larger rally for the Cardinal, as Gaels relief pitcher Conner Linchley limited the damage to just that one run. The Gaels added three extra insurance runs in the ninth inning to put the game out of reach for the Cardinal.
Tuesday’s game marked Montgomery’s first start on the mound. After a sizzling start to the season coming out of the bullpen, Montgomery has struggled as of late, posting an ERA above 9.00 in his past four outings. The Cardinal recruited Montgomery because of his talents as a multi-faceted player on the mound, as a hitter and as a defender in the outfield, but his playing time this season indicates that he could use some more experience to mature at the collegiate level.
Saint Mary’s was able to shut down both junior centerfielder Brock Jones and sophomore first baseman Graham Carter. Combined, both players went 1-for-7 at the plate with 0 walks. Carter has had a hot start to the season, hitting for an average of .359, leading the team in home runs with six and achieving an OPS above 1.000. Jones is projected as a first-round pick by many MLB draft pundits this year, possibly even in the Top-10 due to his power hitting. Both players’ lack of hitting on Tuesday prevented the Cardinal from sparking a comeback from the deficit.
Looking forward, the Cardinal will host the Arizona State Sun Devils (14-16, 5-4 Pac-12) at Sunken Diamond for a weekend series from April 8 to 10. While the Sun Devils have struggled this year overall, they do hold a winning record in conference play and could present a tough challenge for a Stanford team looking to win its third conference series in a row. First pitch for Friday’s game is 6:05 p.m. PT.