If Cal baseball won’t be returning to action next year, Stanford baseball set the tone in the rivalry’s final year of competition last night with a 3-2 win in its home opener. Junior pitcher Jordan Pries got the win for the No. 8 Cardinal (3-1), striking out four batters over four scoreless innings in his 2011 debut. Sophomore shortstop Kenny Diekroeger went 2-for-4 at the plate and knocked in two runs as Stanford edged the No. 17 Golden Bears (2-1).
Stanford found itself in a pitching duel early, as Cal starter Dixon Anderson turned to a filthy breaking ball and cruised through the Cardinal lineup in the first inning. His lone mistake early on turned into a second inning solo home run by Diekroeger, who launched an inside fastball far over the left-center fence. Anderson responded by striking out the side, but got into trouble again in the third as freshman second baseman Lonnie Kauppila kick-started a rally with a stand-up double. The Cardinal scored two runs in the inning, but the outburst was stifled when sophomore center fielder Jake Stewart grounded into a bases-loaded, 4-6-3 double play.
Pries went just four innings to keep his arm fresh for this weekend’s trip to No. 3 Vanderbilt. He was pulled in favor of freshman A.J. Vanegas, who was making his collegiate debut. The right-hander got into trouble early, getting behind in counts and allowing two runs on a bases-loaded walk and a sacrifice fly. He settled down afterwards, tossing two scoreless frames.
Junior pitcher Scott Snodgress got the call in the eighth, getting out of trouble twice en route to his first save of the season. The lefty walked three and allowed one hit, making the most of close calls and recording three strikeouts.
Stanford will continue its tough non-conference season at Vanderbilt this weekend. The first game is set for Friday at 4 p.m. in Nashville.