The Stanford baseball offense continued to build on its recent success and the pitching staff hurled another stellar performance as the No. 14 Cardinal (6-2) extended its winning streak to five games with a convincing defeat of Saint Mary’s by a score of 7-2.
En route to its fifth straight victory, the Cardinal scored seven runs for a third game in a row and smacked a season-high fifteen hits. The offense, which started the year off slowly, now appears to be firing on all cylinders.
In fact, eight of the nine starters in Stanford’s lineup on Tuesday afternoon collected at least one hit each. Sophomore right fielder Austin Slater, who had collected multiple hits in each of his last four games, was the only holdout but got on base by walking twice and also drove in a run.
The offensive star of the afternoon was junior catcher Brant Whiting, who started on sophomore catcher Wayne Taylor’s day off. Making his first career start after missing most of his sophomore season due to injury, Whiting made a huge impact.
The Fullerton, Calif., native had hits in three of his four at-bats, including a triple in the eighth inning, and knocked in two runs.
“I was just really trying to get a fastball and hit it,” said Whiting. “Luckily, I got a fastball in all four at-bats on the first pitch, so I put a good swing on it.”
The pitching ensured that the offensive firepower was more than enough to secure the victory for the Cardinal. Senior Dean McArdle, sophomore David Schmidt, junior Sam Lindquist and redshirt junior Garrett Hughes combined for a gem, allowing only six hits by the Gaels’ offense and giving up two runs.
McArdle’s only mistake of the afternoon was a first-inning at-bat by Gaels sophomore Collin Ferguson, who worked the count to 2-2 before unleashing a home run to the opposite field to give Saint Mary’s an early 1-0 lead. McArdle kept his composure and retired the next six hitters before giving up a single with two outs in the third inning, the only other hit he gave up in his three innings of work.
Junior second baseman Danny Diekroeger got the Cardinal on the board in the third inning when his opposite-field single into left plated Locher from second. Junior Brian Ragira would advance Diekroeger to second with a single as the potential go-ahead run but Diekroeger was left stranded there when senior designated hitter Justin Ringo flew out to right field.
Stanford quickly took the lead in its half of the fourth inning when it capitalized on having runners on second and third with nobody out. Freshman third baseman Drew Jackson’s groundout to the right side scored Slater from third and Whiting’s first hit of the afternoon plated sophomore Dominic Jose on the next play, giving the Cardinal a 3-1 lead that it would not relinquish.
Schmidt, the winning pitcher, hurled three innings in which he gave up one run on four hits. Schmidt’s outing started shakily when he allowed four singles in the fourth inning. With a run already in, Saint Mary’s senior designated hitter Shawn O’Brien attempted to score from second on sophomore second baseman Darian Ramage’s single to right. Slater, normally an infielder, scooped up the ball and fired a bullet to the plate to gun down O’Brien and get Schmidt out of the jam.
After the eventful fourth inning, Schmidt was able to bear down and pitched perfect fifth and sixth innings, easily retiring the side in order each time.
The Card added a few late insurance runs in the late innings to seal the victory. In the seventh, Ringo creamed a ball to right field that easily left the yard and extended the lead to two.
Whiting also tacked on another run in the eighth with a long fly ball to center field that eluded the diving attempt of St. Mary’s center fielder and rolled around long enough for the junior to clock into third with a triple and allow Jackson to score from first.
“It felt really good off the bat and I saw him dive and I thought he was going to make the play,” said Whiting. “He’s a pretty good center fielder out there. When it hit the ground I just kept running and luckily I think Jackson was on base and Jackson was able to score.”
Slater added a sacrifice fly in the ninth, and junior shortstop Lonnie Kauppila contributed an RBI single to take advantage of another late rally.
Stanford looks to extend its winning streak even further this weekend when No. 25 Texas comes to Sunken Diamond for a three-game series. The Card hopes to claw its way back up the standings with victories over ranked teams, starting with the Longhorns.
Contact Do-Hyoung Park at dpark027 ‘at’ stanford.edu.