No. 2 Stanford baseball (2-2, 0-0 Pac-12) lost to its cross-Bay rival, Cal (3-1, 0-0 Pac-12), by a score of 8-4 in its home opener on Tuesday. The Golden Bears were able to limit Stanford’s damage at the plate during key situations throughout the game and gained an early advantage that would later pay dividends.
Freshman pitcher Toran O’Harran received the first start of his collegiate career and the first-game jitters appeared early. After striking out the lead-off batter, O’Harran gave up two straight hits to put runners at the corners. After walking the next batter, Cal shortstop Carson Crawford came up to bat with the bases loaded and just one out. On the first pitch of the at-bat, O’Harran threw a fastball over the plate. Crawford was able to get under O’Harran’s fastball and drove it to the outfield. The ball soared over the pine trees in left field, and the Golden Bears got out to an early 4-0 lead.
The Cardinal got their chance to respond in the third inning, as a walk and back-to-back singles loaded the bases for junior second baseman Tommy Troy. Troy was able to draw a base-on-balls which brought junior catcher Alberto Rios to home plate. After Troy, junior first baseman Carter Graham hit a ball to center field to tally another run. Stanford was unable to plate more runs, however, with sophomore outfielder Braden Montgomery getting out in the infield to end the inning. At the conclusion of the third, the score stood at 4-2 in favor of Cal.
Offensively, the Golden Bears were able to respond to Stanford’s threat with back-to-back two-run innings in the fifth and sixth. Catcher Caleb Lomavita knocked in two runs off a slam to left field in the fifth inning. Meanwhile, a succession of errors and walks by Stanford pitchers and infielders helped load the bases in the sixth inning. After a wild pitch brought in one run, Lomavita tallied another RBI after slapping a single to center field.
The Cardinal looked to have signs of life in the bottom of the seventh thanks to an Owen Cobb homer. But unfortunately, Stanford was unable to piece together more runs as the Cal bullpen allowed just one hit in the remaining two innings. With their pitching performance down the stretch, the Golden Bears were able to get a win over one of the top teams in the conference and in the country, although this game will not count in the Pac-12 standings.
Up next, the Cardinal will host Rice (1-2, 0-0 Conference USA) for a weekend series starting Friday. The Owls lost their first series of the season to Louisiana (2-1, 0-0 SBC), but were able to rally in the third game to prevent being swept. First pitch is scheduled for 4 p.m. on Friday at Sunken Diamond.