A resurgent opening-day starter and two three-run innings at the plate lifted Stanford (4-4) to a 6-4 victory over the University of San Francisco Dons (3-5) on Tuesday night at Sunken Diamond.
Perhaps in an attempt to build the freshman’s confidence, head coach Mark Marquess started freshman pitcher Cal Quantrill in the game, despite his having thrown 64 pitches on Friday at Texas. The move paid off, as Quantrill looked much more like the Friday-night ace Stanford expected him to be. Quantrill allowed just one hit over three scoreless innings and was credited with the first win of his collegiate career.
“I wanted to give him some more work,” Marquess said. “He only threw 60 pitches on Friday. We’re going to move him back and start him Sunday. I just wanted to get him back out there again.”
The Cardinal jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the first inning thanks to a two-run double down the left-field line from junior third baseman Alex Blandino. He later came around to score on freshman Alex Dunlap’s two-out single. Blandino, who extended his hitting streak to eight games and is now hitting .429 on the season, went 2-for-4 with two doubles and two RBIs.
Quantrill proceeded to work quickly through the first three innings, throwing only 40 pitches and allowing only two base runners. Both teams went down quickly in the fourth, with senior pitcher A.J. Vanegas making his first appearance of the year in an inning of scoreless relief for the Cardinal.
“I thought we played well,” Marquess said. “We threw a lot more strikes. We had walked a lot of people in the Texas series, but I thought we threw a lot more strikes and played good defense. And we had some timely hitting — a couple of two-out hits to score some runs.”
In the fifth, the Card capitalized on that timely hitting by picking up three consecutive RBI hits with two outs on the inning to push the lead to 6-0. Senior Brett Michael Doran, who went 3-for-3 in the game and is now hitting a team-high .522 on the season, started things with an RBI double, scoring junior Austin Slater, who had reached with a single. Following Doran, junior Wayne Taylor doubled to bring Doran home and freshman Alex Dunlap singled to score Taylor.
Although the Dons responded with three runs off sophomore Logan James in the top of the sixth, the rest of the game proceeded rather quietly, with sophomore reliever Marcus Brakeman again contributing another solid performance. Brakeman entered in relief with two outs in the sixth inning and did not allow a base runner over 2.1 innings. Brakeman continues to be one of the bright spots in the early season for the Cardinal, having allowed only one run over 7.1 innings on the season.
Freshman pitcher Tyler Thorne, who started last Tuesday’s game but was not given the starting nod this time around, entered to close the game out in the ninth. Thorne recorded two quick outs before allowing a walk and two hits that pushed one more run across for the Dons, making the score 6-4. Thorne then forced a ground out to end the game and pick up the win for Stanford.
The win moved the Cardinal back to .500 in an important early-season contest sandwiched between two difficult series. Stanford will now head to Nashville, Tenn., to face the No. 4 Vanderbilt Commodores this weekend.
“It will be another really good test for us to see how we match up against one of the better teams in the country,” Marquess said.
Contact Michael Peterson at mrpeters ‘at’ stanford.edu.