Stanford’s bats started quiet once again, but a middle-inning run, capped with a decisive four-run seventh inning, gave the Cardinal a series-clinching 7-2 victory against Texas.
Sophomore catcher Wayne Taylor continued his emergence when he singled to right field to give Stanford (8-2) a 1-0 lead in the fourth inning. Taylor built off his performance at last Sunday’s 7-4 win over Fresno State, when he went 2-4 with two RBI and a run scored.
Sophomore starting pitcher John Hochstatter didn’t have his command from the very beginning. Hochstatter walked the first two batters of the game and then allowed a single to load the bases with nobody out. Defense – and base running mistakes – bailed him out.
Texas cleanup hitter Gary Payton lined out to junior second baseman Danny Diekroeger. Diekroeger threw to junior shortstop Lonnie Kauppila who tagged second and fired to first to record a triple play.
The triple play was “huge,” Diekroeger told The Bootleg’s David Lombardi. “Especially in the first inning, it’s a huge – not only momentum thing – but being able to get out of bases loaded no outs and get out of that with no runs – you don’t ever really do that, so that was huge.“
Though Stanford regained momentum on the play, Hochstatter couldn’t use the triple play as a boost to his day. He lasted only three innings before giving way to freshman Daniel Starwalt, but was able to keep the Longhorns scoreless.
On the other hand, Diekroeger most certainly was able to use the momentum from the triple play to get his day going. With Stanford leading 1-0 in the bottom of the fifth, Diekroeger hit a towering home run to right field to double the Cardinal lead.
“I was just trying to get ready early, see the ball,” Diekroeger told Lombardi. “He left me one up in the zone, so I put a good swing on it I guess. The ball carries a little better during the day, so I got under it enough to get it out.”
Stanford sealed the victory in the seventh inning with a two-out, four-run explosion. Five consecutive Cardinal hitters reached safely with two outs to increase Stanford’s lead to 7-0.
Texas added two runs with two outs in the top of the ninth – the Longhorns’ first runs of the series – but Payton grounded out to first base to end the game and give Starwalt and the Cardinal the victory.
The series finale is set for Sunday afternoon at Sunken Diamond. Freshman Bobby Zarubin will take the mound looking for a sweep. First pitch is scheduled for 1 p.m.
Contact Sam Fisher at safisher “at” stanford.edu