When the going gets tough, All-Americans show up. On Tuesday, the Stanford baseball team got a massive 11th-inning home run from junior third baseman Stephen Piscotty to nab a 9-7 win over the Pacific Tigers.
The No. 2 Cardinal (4-0) offense scored more than eight runs for the fourth consecutive game, but the Stanford pitching wasn’t sharp enough to notch its fourth straight blowout win of the year over the feisty Tigers (0-4).
The Cardinal got off to a poor start when senior starter Elliot Byers gave up four runs in the bottom of the second inning. The righthander gave up a walk, a wild pitch, a single, two doubles and a hit batter in a disastrous start and was quickly replaced by junior Dean McArdle.
McArdle then held the Tigers silent for 3 2/3 innings while the Cardinal rallied to take the lead.
After junior leftfielder Tyler Gaffney singled home catcher Eric Smith for the Cardinal’s first run of the day in the third inning, Stanford exploded for four runs in the top of the fifth to take the lead for the first time.
First, Gaffney tallied his second RBI of the day by singling home right fielder Austin Wilson, only to be followed by another RBI single from Piscotty. After a balk brought home Gaffney for the Cardinal’s fourth run of the day, Piscotty came home on a Brian Ragira groundout to make it 5-4.
Stanford extended its lead by adding two more runs in the next two innings, first getting a sacrifice fly from Wilson that brought home designated hitter Christian Griffiths in the sixth inning, then a Ragira single that brought home Gaffney to make it 7-4.
The Tigers didn’t fade away once the Cardinal got ahead, though, as they rallied with two runs of their own in the next two innings. Right fielder Allen Riley cut the Stanford lead to 7-5 with a solo home run to right field off junior reliever Sahil Bloom, and the Tigers added another run in the bottom of the eighth.
The Cardinal went into the ninth inning nursing just a one-run lead; a particularly unexpected event after Stanford blew away Vanderbilt in all three games last weekend.
Freshman reliever David Schmidt was tasked with bringing home the win for the Cardinal, but he couldn’t slam the door shut on the Tigers and cap off a Cardinal win in regulation. Schmidt allowed a leadoff single to Riley, who advanced to second on a wild pitch, then charged home when sophomore designated hitter John Haberman singled to center field. After two strikeouts and a failed stolen base attempt ended the inning, the Cardinal and Tigers headed to extra innings tied 7-7.
After a scoreless tenth inning, Piscotty played the role of hero in the 11th, clobbering his third home run of the season over the left field fence to make it 9-7. Sophomore righty Sam Lindquist came in and closed out the Cardinal win with two strikeouts in the final frame to earn his first save of the season. With his bomb, Piscotty tied his home run total from all of last season, as the junior already has three in the first four games of the campaign. Altogether, Piscotty ended up 2-for-6 with three RBI, and Gaffney went 3-for-4 with two RBI after his 25-game hit streak was snapped on Sunday against Vanderbilt. Despite giving up the tying run in the ninth, Schmidt earned his first college win to go to 1-0 on the season.
The Cardinal now returns to the Farm for the weekend, where it will take on No. 12 Texas in a three-game series. The Cardinal and Longhorns will take the field at 5:30 p.m. Friday at Sunken Diamond.