No. 25 Stanford baseball headed to the desert needing a series victory over No. 16 Arizona State to keep its postseason hopes alive. A strong outing from senior starting pitcher Mark Appel on Friday and some late-game heroics from junior first baseman Brian Ragira gave Stanford just enough to win the series before falling short of the sweep Sunday afternoon.
Junior shortstop Lonnie Kauppila kicked off a strong weekend with a bang Friday night, picking up three hits and scoring two runs to lead the Cardinal charge.
Kauppila started things off with a leadoff single in the third. After two walks and a sacrifice bunt, Stanford had the bases loaded and only one out for junior Austin Wilson. Wilson delivered again, knocking in two runs with a single to put Stanford up 2-0.
Junior second baseman Danny Diekroeger knocked in another run before Arizona State starting pitcher Trevor Williams got junior catcher Brant Whiting to ground into an inning-ending double play.
Kauppila also helped build Stanford’s only other run-scoring inning, the two-run fourth, when he singled and scored the Cardinal’s fifth and final run of the evening.
And that’s when the Sun Devils mounted their comeback against Appel. Appel struck out 13 while allowing only five hits and a walk in 7.2 innings, but he gave up three runs—two earned—starting in the bottom of the fourth.
With one out and a runner on first, Appel allowed back-to-back doubles to ASU’s RJ Ybarra and Trevor Allen to cut the lead to 5-2. But Appel settled down, getting a strikeout and a fly out to strand Allen and keep momentum on Stanford’s side. The Sun Devils’ only other run came from a seventh-inning error.
When Appel exited, Stanford turned to senior relief pitcher Garrett Hughes, who got the job done in dramatic fashion. The big lefty allowed two runners to reach base in the eighth and one in the ninth, but he kept the Sun Devils off the board to get the save for Stanford’s 5-3 victory.
Saturday’s game was a wild one from the start. Stanford scored two runs without recording an out in the top of the first on a two-run homer by sophomore right fielder Austin Slater. But freshman starting pitcher Daniel Starwalt couldn’t hold the lead, lasting just 3.1 innings while allowing four runs on five hits.
Freshman relief pitcher Logan James’ fate wasn’t much better, as he allowed three more runs on six hits and four walks in another 3.1 innings of work. The Stanford bats bailed out their freshman pitchers though, tying the game at seven in the seventh inning with a three-run home run from Wilson.
And that’s when junior relief pitcher Sam Lindquist came in to stop the bleeding. The junior was at his best, keeping the game tied through his first 3.1 innings as Stanford and ASU headed to the 11th inning still tied 7-7.
Three consecutive one-out walks in the top of the 11th gave Stanford its best opportunity to take the ballgame, and Ragira delivered with a two-RBI single, his only hit in six plate appearances, to give the Cardinal a 9-7 lead.
Lindquist made it interesting in the bottom of the inning. With one out, Lindquist allowed a double, a single and a hit batter to cut the lead to 9-8 and put runners on first and second.
After Lindquist recorded the second out, a wild pitch and a four-pitch walk loaded the bases for ASU leadoff hitter Kasey Coffman. On the first pitch, the 371st pitch of the game, Lindquist got Coffman to ground out to Diekroeger to end the ballgame.
On Sunday, Stanford again struggled on the mound but couldn’t mount another offensive attack to keep pace with the Sun Devils as the Cardinal fell 11-8.
Sophomore starting pitcher John Hochstatter began struggling in the second inning with a 2-0 lead. The lefty allowed three runs to score with two more on base and two outs before giving way to senior reliever Dean McArdle, a move that backfired immediately.
On his first pitch, McArdle allowed a three-run homer to ASU catcher Max Rossiter. On McArdle’s next pitch, Ybarra homered to almost the exact same spot. Three pitches later, Allen made it back-to-back-to-back home runs, giving the Sun Devils an 8-2 lead on an eight-run second inning.
The Cardinal made a late charge back behind some unlikely sources. Freshman catcher Austin Barr cut the lead to 10-7 with a three-run homer in the seventh, his first career home run.
The rally came up short when Slater, as the tying run in the ninth, grounded into a double play and Ragira struck out looking in the next at bat to end the game.
Stanford returns to the Farm for a critical five-game home stand, beginning with a Tuesday contest against the University of San Francisco. After the midweek game against the Dons, the Cardinal welcomes No. 5 Oregon State, the current leader of the Pac-12, to Sunken Diamond for perhaps its toughest series of the season.
First pitch Tuesday is scheduled for 5:30 p.m.
Contact Sam Fisher at safisher ‘at’ stanford.edu.