After the streaking Cardinal baseball squad was abruptly stopped in its tracks over the weekend by a heartbreaking sweep at the hands of a scrappy Oregon Ducks team, No. 25 Stanford (23-15, 9-9 Pac-12) will try to regroup tonight as it meets Saint Mary (17-26, 8-7 WCC) at Sunken Diamond.
This will be the second meeting of the season between the Cardinal and the Gaels, as the two teams met back in February before conference play started. The Gaels had the misfortune of running into the Cardinal in the middle of Stanford’s early nine-game winning streak.
In that game, the Cardinal cruised to a 7-2 victory as it grabbed an early 3-1 lead and took advantage of a weak Saint Mary’s bullpen to add late insurance runs to seal the win.
This time around, Stanford will have to take a similar approach against the Gaels pitching staff to muscle its way to victory. Saint Mary’s starting pitchers have held down the fort for the most part but its bullpen has been a glaring weakness.
The Gaels’ regular weekday starting pitcher, senior righty Kelsey Outram, owns a 5.08 ERA and has been mediocre at best; in his last outing against Sacramento State, he only allowed one earned run in three innings but allowed four runs in five innings in a previous relief outing.
Cardinal hitters could also take advantage of the weak Saint Mary’s bullpen. Only two pitchers in the bullpen have an ERA lower than 5.08.
After getting its recently hot bats quieted in Eugene over the weekend, the Cardinal offense will need a good game to get back on track, regardless of whether it comes against the starters or the relievers.
The Cardinal hitters could only combine for six RBI over the weekend, four of which came off the bats of senior designated hitter Justin Ringo and junior first baseman Brian Ragira.
Ringo has proven to be both a table-setter and run producer from his leadoff spot in the lineup. His .333 average and .408 on-base-percentage indicate that he gets on base consistently to give the team opportunities to score. In addition, he has blasted six home runs this year — good for second on the team — and driven in 28 runs, tied for first on the squad with Ragira.
Ragira, after a torrid stretch in which he homered four times in seven games, continued his solid hitting at Oregon, tallying four hits in the series and driving in two runs. The first baseman has come up huge as of late for the Cardinal and has provided a welcome dose of power in the heart of the lineup.
The stage is set for the rematch. Once again, Saint Mary’s is playing the Cardinal fresh off of a weekend sweep over Santa Clara. Stanford will hope to put a halt to that momentum and regain some of its own. First pitch at Sunken Diamond is scheduled for 5:30 p.m.
Contact Do-Hyoung Park at dpark027 ‘at’ stanford.edu.