Bad news, Bears.
The No. 6 Stanford baseball team walloped Cal 19-6 in a nonconference showdown at Berkeley on Monday afternoon, pulling out the big bats to reach double digits for the sixth time this year and set a new season-high in runs. The Cardinal’s three best hitters — junior third baseman Stephen Piscotty, junior second baseman Kenny Diekroeger and sophomore first baseman Brian Ragira — came together for 11 hits, two homers and an absurd 16 RBI to overcome the struggling Bears (17-13, 2-7 Pac-12).
Having averaged fewer than five runs per game since March 31, the offensive explosion couldn’t come at a better time for Stanford (20-7), which has conclusively pulled out of its early-conference season slump by winning four of five since last Monday. Cal, on the other hand, is still mired in difficulties of its own, now having lost three in a row after promising series wins against No. 21 Arizona State and No. 23 Texas.
Junior righthander Sahil Bloom pitched five stellar innings in relief for Stanford, allowing just three hits and retiring 11 straight batters to get his first decision of the season, a decisive win.
The Cardinal swept the season series against its Bay Area rival in 2011, winning all four games before the fifth was rained out with Stanford in the lead. But three of those four victories were low-scoring nail-biters, as Stanford escaped with 3-2, 3-2 and 4-2 decisions.
That wasn’t the case yesterday, with the Cardinal jumping on freshman righthander Keaton Siomkin for four first-inning runs. Sophomore rightfielder Austin Wilson had a one-out double and came home on a Ragira single. Junior catcher Eric Smith added a single of his own before a two-RBI double from Diekroeger, who scored on a single by freshman designated hitter Alex Blandino.
Piscotty quickly made it 7-0 in the second with a three-run homer, his fourth big fly of the year, and then brought home two more runs with a bases-loaded single in the third. Groundouts by Ragira and Smith brought home two more runs to cap Stanford’s 11-hit, 11-run onslaught over the first three innings.
Cal whittled away at the lead with three runs of its own in the third to oust Cardinal freshman John Hochstatter — making his first start since a 6-2 loss to Arizona on April 1 — and made it 11-4 with a pair of sacrifices in the bottom of the fourth. But Bloom kept things under control and blanked the Bears in the fifth, sixth and seventh frames.
Singles by junior leftfielder Tyler Gaffney and Wilson led off the top of the fifth for Stanford, and they each came around to score on a Piscotty flyout and a Ragira single.
The squad put up another two-spot to make it 15-4 in the seventh inning. Ragira got his third home run of the year, a solo shot, and Smith followed with his ninth double, both good for third on the squad in their respective categories.
The Cardinal added its final four runs with a two-out rally in the eighth, consisting of a Wilson single, a Piscotty RBI double, a Ragira RBI single, a Smith walk and a two-RBI single from Diekroeger. Freshman Garrett Hughes and redshirt sophomore Spenser Linney gave up a run in each of their late innings, though, as each lefty needed to face six batters to get out of his respective frame.
When the dust settled, Stanford had totaled 23 hits, with every Cardinal starter getting a base knock and the two-through-six hitters each tallying at least three.
Another midweek contest awaits the Cardinal, which hosts Pacific tonight at 5:30 p.m. at Sunken Diamond before it returns to Pac-12 play. This weekend the squad will host Arizona State, picked by Stanford head coach Mark Marquess as the preseason conference favorite in the coaches poll; unable to vote for his own squad, Marquess was the only skipper that did not choose the Cardinal.
The Friday opener against the Sun Devils is set for 5:30 p.m. as well, with a pair of 1 p.m. starts scheduled for the weekend.