No. 8 Stanford baseball (30-14, 15-9 Pac-12) defeated the USF Dons (24-27, 11-13 WCC) 9-7 in San Francisco on Tuesday.
Late-game comebacks have become a common occurrence this year for Stanford, and this game featured yet another one for the Cardinal. After getting down early in the contest, the Cardinal offense produced a huge fifth-inning rally to lead the team to victory.
Sophomore starting pitcher Drew Dowd got the start for Stanford. After getting out of a jam in the first inning to keep the Dons scoreless, Dowd gave up a walk and hit two batters, which loaded the bases with nobody out.
After securing two quick outs, Dowd allowed a single to USF right fielder Harris Williams III, which plated two runs. After this play, Dowd was removed from the game and replaced by sophomore Tommy O’Rourke, who forced a pop out that ended the inning.
But this would be the only out O’Rourke got in the game, as he walked three straight batters in the third inning and was promptly replaced by junior Cody Jensen. During the inning, Jensen would hit two batters with the bases loaded, which gave the Dons two more runs. In addition to these unforced errors, Jensen would give up a sacrifice fly and another RBI single. This left the Dons with a 6-0 lead.
The Cardinal cut into the lead in the top of the fourth inning after sophomore third baseman Drew Bowser hit an RBI single. But it was the fifth inning where Stanford drew real blood.
After Brock Jones led off with a triple, an error by the Dons’ shortstop plated Jones and allowed sophomore first baseman Graham Carter to reach first base. Then, junior DH Brett Barrera hit a two-run home run to cut the lead to 6-4. Later in the inning, Bowser and junior shortstop Adam Crampton hit two-run home runs to give Stanford the lead, 8-6.
But the game was far from over. Dons third baseman Mario DeMera hit an RBI single in the bottom of the sixth to cut Stanford’s lead to 8-7. And in the top of the eighth inning, do-it-all freshman pitcher/outfielder Braden Montgomery hit an RBI single to score Jones and extend Stanford’s lead back to two runs.
In addition to his hitting, Montgomery was arguably Stanford’s best pitcher on Tuesday, going 2.1 innings with no earned runs allowed.
In the bottom of the ninth inning, with Stanford sitting in the lead 9-7, the Cardinal brought out junior Quinn Mathews to close the game. Mathews found himself in a jam after giving up two walks and a single, as the bases were loaded with two outs. But Mathews was able to force Dons pinch hitter Brandon Greim into a pop out to save the game for Stanford.
Looking ahead, Stanford will face the Utah Utes (25-20-1, 10-14 Pac-12) in Salt Lake City this weekend. Winning the series against Utah could put the Cardinal in a more favorable position to host a super-regional in the NCAA tournament. First pitch for Friday’s game against Utah is scheduled for 5 p.m. PT.