No. 22 Stanford baseball (20-11, 11-7 Pac-12) won its weekend series against the No. 12 UCLA Bruins (24-11, 9-6 Pac-12) in Los Angeles, Calif. over the weekend, marking the Cardinal’s fourth consecutive Pac-12 series win.
In the first game of the series, UCLA got off to a quick 1-0 lead after third baseman Kyle Karros hit a sacrifice fly to score first baseman Jake Palmer from third. However, that was the only run the Bruins would score all night, and the Cardinal began their offensive torrent as sophomore infielder Carter Graham hit a three-run home run in the third inning to put the Cardinal up 3-1.
In the fourth inning, Graham hit into a fielder’s choice, which scored junior shortstop Adam Crampton from third base. In the sixth inning, sophomore outfielder Eddie Park doubled to left field, scoring third baseman Drew Bowser from first base. In the seventh inning, do-it-all freshman outfielder Braden Montgomery hit a three-run home run to extend Stanford’s lead to 8-1. After an extra insurance run at the top of the ninth inning from the Cardinal, redshirt junior relief pitcher Cody Jensen closed the game and the Cardinal won 9-1.
The pitching performance from senior starting pitcher Alex Williams and sophomore relief pitcher Joey Dixon was stellar, as both combined to give up one run and three hits over eight innings.
The second game of the series was a nail-biter to the end. Once again, UCLA struck first in the second inning as left fielder Michael Curialle hit a two-run home run to left field to put the Bruins on top 2-0. In the fourth inning, the Bruins received another two-run home run off the bat of Palmer to extend the Bruins’ lead to 4-0.
Stanford did not throw in the towel yet, though. In the fifth inning, Bowser hit a solo home run to close the lead to 4-1. In the sixth inning, Montgomery hit a two-run home run as the Cardinal inched closer, 4-3. At the top of the eighth inning, junior catcher Kody Huff hit a single to score Graham and tie the game up at 4-4.
After surrendering its lead, UCLA responded in the bottom of the eighth inning, as catcher Darius Perry singled up the middle to score Curriale. After giving up a single and a walk at the top of the ninth inning with one out, the Bruins were able to retire two more batters to secure the 5-4 victory.
The series-deciding third game featured a shutout performance from the Cardinal’s pitchers. Junior pitcher Quinn Matthews went seven innings, giving up only four hits and zero runs. Sophomore Brandt Pancer pitched the remaining two innings, giving up zero runs while allowing only one hit. In addition to lights-out pitching, the Cardinal’s bats also came to play as the team turned in a solid game in all areas. Junior outfielder Brock Jones had two two-run home runs and Bowser, who hit 6-for-14 over the series, had three hits, including a home run and a double, as well as four runs batted in. The Cardinal took the last game in blowout fashion, 11-0, to win the series.
With this series win, the Cardinal remain in the top four of the Pac-12 standings, with a chance to move into a tie for first if both Oregon State (27-7, 10-5 Pac-12) and Oregon(24-11, 10-5 Pac-12) lose their next series.
Looking ahead, the Cardinal have a five game non-conference slate against Cal Poly (22-13, 9-3 Big West), Grand Canyon (25-12, 15-3 WAC) and San Diego State (10-25, 4-14 Mountain West) before resuming conference play against the Washington Huskies (16-18, 6-12 Pac-12) in Seattle, Wash. First pitch for the team’s next game, against Cal Poly, will occur at 6 p.m. PT in San Luis Obispo, Calif. on Tuesday.