SportsBaseball

Baseball loses first Pac-12 series since March

May 2, 2022, 12:22 a.m.

No. 6 Stanford baseball (25-14, 12-9 Pac-12) lost its series against the Washington Huskies (17-23, 8-16 Pac-12) over the weekend, ending the Cardinal’s Pac-12 series winning streak. The team had previously won four straight conference series.

The first game in the series on Friday was uneventful until the final two innings. Washington got on the board after third baseman Michael Synder hit an RBI single in the second inning, but neither team scored for the next five innings and the game remained 1-0 through the seventh. At the top of the eighth inning, junior catcher Kody Huff doubled to left field to score sophomore first baseman Carter Graham from second base, knotting the game up at 1-1.

Washington, however, had an answer for the Cardinal. In the bottom of the eighth, Huskies center fielder McKay Barney singled to right field to score second baseman Josh Urps and left fielder Preston Viltz. Soon after, Barney would reach home on a wild pitch to extend the Huskies’ lead to 4-1.

The Cardinal didn’t go down without a fight and attempted to mount a scoring run of their own in the top of the ninth inning. With two outs, junior outfielder Brock Jones hit a solo home run to close the Huskies’ lead to 4-2. After Graham singled, and junior DH Brett Barrera drew a walk, do-it-all freshman outfielder Braden Montgomery hit a single through the left side to send Carter to home plate. Husky relief pitcher Stefan Raeth ended the game and the Cardinal’s comeback by forcing Huff to pop out and give Washington a 4-3 win.

The second game of the series featured a spectacular performance from Stanford’s pitchers. Sophomore starting pitcher Drew Dowd went five innings, giving up only one run, while three other relief pitchers combined to go four innings with one run given up. The Cardinal got on top early, leading 5-0 after 5.5 innings. Rather than using extra-base hits as they’ve done in the past, the Cardinal drew walks, hit singles and took advantage of a variety of Washington miscues to build their lead. While the Huskies attempted to make a comeback, scoring two runs in the bottom of the sixth inning, it was not enough as sophomore relief pitcher Brandt Pacer shut down Washington’s offense and helped Stanford close the game with a 6-2 win.

In the series-deciding final game, the Cardinal got off to a quick offensive start thanks to some power hitting. In the top of the third, Jones hit a two-run home run to give Stanford a 3-1 lead. Graham followed Jones with a solo home run and Huff hit a double to send Barrera to home plate. After 3.5 innings, the score was 7-1 in Stanford’s favor.

But Washington would not lie down, even after the Cardinal held a seemingly insurmountable lead. The Huskies scored two runs in the bottom of the fourth inning to cut the lead to 7-3. After two consecutive scoreless innings from both teams, Urps hit a two-run home run in the bottom of the seventh inning to cut the lead down even further. Then, the Huskies hit three straight RBI singles to take an 8-7 lead. Stanford responded at the top of the eighth, scoring three runs off the bats of junior left fielder Eddie Park, sophomore infielder Tommy Troy and Carter to retake a 10-8 lead.

With the game on the line in the bottom of the ninth, the Cardinal sent out junior relief pitcher Nathan Flieschi to get the remaining three outs. Flieschi, however, soon got into a jam, as Washington loaded the bases with only one out. After pulling Fleischli from the game, the Cardinal sent out sophomore relief pitcher Tommy O’Rourke to close it out.

Washington pinch hitter Colby Wallace hit a single through the right side to cut the lead to 10-9. Once again the bases were loaded when O’Rourke hit infielder Urps on a pitch, which plated another run to knot the game up at 10-10. Finally, O’Rourke threw a wild pitch, to score pinch runner Ben Smith and win the game for Washington 11-10.

Looking ahead, the Cardinal will play a mid-week game against UC Davis at Sunken Diamond on Tuesday before hosting their rival, the California Golden Bears, at home for a weekend series. While Cal has not been a good team this season, the Cardinal have a tendency to play down to their competition. To jump further up the rankings, Stanford must play with more consistency going forward. First pitch against Cal will occur at 7 p.m PT on Friday, May 6.

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