When San Jose State and Stanford last met on a baseball field two weeks ago, the boys from the Farm jumped out to an early lead but were unable to hold on to it, sweating out a late scare by a resurgent Spartan offense to scrape out a victory.
In the early goings of last night’s game at Sunken Diamond, it was déjà vu as the Cardinal leaped out to a huge lead early. However, the counterattack from the Spartan offense never came this time.
Things got ugly very quickly as the relentless Stanford team (23-12, 9-6 Pac-12) never stopped piling runs on the board in its most lopsided victory of the season, claiming an easy win over San Jose State (13-27, 9-13 WAC) by a score of 17-2.
In the top of the first inning, the Spartans rolled out of the gate and plated a run without recording an out as senior leadoff hitter Michael Gerlach doubled down the left field line before being promptly plated by sophomore center fielder Andre Mercurio’s soft single into right. Freshman righty Bobby Zarubin, Stanford’s starter, quickly bore down by striking out the side to end the threat.
Spartan junior starter Daniel Chavez, Zarubin’s counterpart, came into the game with an unsightly 10.04 ERA. Unfortunately for the junior, his miserable season only got worse as the Cardinal hitters roared back in the bottom of the first.
Chavez allowed all five runners he faced to reach base and allowed three runs before exiting with runners on the corners without having recorded an out. He was ultimately charged with five earned runs as the Cardinal exploded for nine runs in the first inning, highlighted by a mammoth grand slam to right field off the bat of senior first baseman Justin Ringo.
The Cardinal offense chugged on relentlessly as the sun went down over Sunken Diamond, with contributions coming from every spot of the lineup. Sophomore right fielder Austin Slater and sophomore third baseman Alex Blandino were the only members of Stanford’s starting lineup who failed to drive in runs on this record-setting night.
Junior first baseman Brian Ragira, whose bat has been on fire as of late, continued his torrid hitting with a 4-for-6 night in which he homered to left and also drove in three runs.
“We’ve been swinging it well, man,” said Ragira after the game. “We’ve been putting up runs. We put up 10 against Arizona on Saturday, 12 the next day, and putting up 17 today, we’re just feeding off of each other in the lineup and swinging the bat well, so we’ll be keeping it going.”
Ringo also had a career night, as the senior went 2-for-5 at the plate with two tremendous home runs into right field, finishing with five RBI and three runs scored. Junior center fielder Austin Wilson also finished with a loaded stat line, going 4-for-4 while scoring four runs and driving in three, all of which came via two towering moonshots over the left field fence.
Although easily overlooked in a lopsided game such as this one, Zarubin’s five uneventful innings on the mound were incredibly significant for a Stanford pitching staff that had been depleted in last weekend’s series against Arizona. The freshman infielder-turned-pitcher settled down after the first inning and struck out seven Spartans while only allowing one earned run and walking none.
“For the most part, Bobby’s been throwing really well this year,” said Ragira. “He has great stuff. Whenever he’s in the zone, he’s really tough to hit. It was good seeing Bobby throw well and to see some other guys who haven’t gotten so many innings come in and throw well also.”
After the game got out of hand in a hurry, several Cardinal players that had not been seeing regular playing time came in to seal the victory. Sophomore lefty Spenser Linney made his first appearance after returning from an extended injury and recorded a 1-2-3 inning. Tall sophomore righty Jordan Kutzer made his Stanford debut in the ninth inning, shutting down both hitters he faced before being lifted in favor of sophomore David Schmidt. Finally, outfielder and two-sport athlete Zach Hoffpauir, a freshman out of Glendale, Ariz., recorded his first hit in Cardinal and White in the eighth, a double into left-center.
The Cardinal will face one of its toughest Pac-12 opponents when the team travels to Oregon for a three-game series this weekend. Stanford will hope to maintain its recent offensive success through those contests.
Contact Do-Hyoung Park at dpark027 ‘at’ stanford.edu.