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Baseball looks to rebound from sweep, hosts UC-Davis

In the midst of a four-game losing streak, Stanford baseball returns home to face the UC-Davis Aggies (14-14, 1-5 Big West) on Tuesday as it looks to bounce back after suffering a sweep at the hands of the Oregon State Beavers.

Stanford (10-14, 3-6 Pac-12) dropped three games in Corvallis, Ore., including two one-run games, this past weekend. Meanwhile, UC-Davis stands at 14-14 after having faced several top-ranked teams so far this season. The Aggies went 1-8 against No. 6 Cal Poly, No. 16 Cal State-Fullerton and No. 24 Washington, with the only win coming against Cal State-Fullerton last weekend. The Aggies’ schedule still doesn’t measure up with the Cardinal’s challenging schedule, though, as Stanford has played 15 games against teams ranked in the top 14.

Junior third baseman Alex Blandino (above) continues to lead the Cardinal in batting average, on-base percentage and home runs. (SAM GIRVIN/The Stanford Daily)

Junior third baseman Alex Blandino (above) continues to lead the Cardinal in batting average (.321), on-base percentage (.426) and home runs (2). (SAM GIRVIN/The Stanford Daily)

The Cardinal’s sporadic offense sputtered against the Beavers, continuing a trend that has seen the team average 1.86 runs in losses versus 6.90 runs in wins. The team has not scored more than two runs in its past five contests and only managed two runs total over the three games against Oregon State.

However, Stanford should fare better at the plate against the Aggies, who enter today’s game with a 4.36 team ERA. No Aggie that has started a game on the mound this season has an ERA better than 3.55.

For Stanford, junior third baseman Alex Blandino continues to thrive at the plate despite the team’s overall struggles, leading the team with a .321 average and a .426 on-base percentage. He made his first career start as the leadoff hitter on Sunday, moving from the three-hole in the lineup, after drawing three walks in the previous game. Sophomore outfielder Zach Hoffpauir also posted back-to-back two-hit games to finish the series against Oregon State.

Stanford has also continued to leave runners on base, particularly this past Saturday against Oregon State when they left 13 runners on base through the first eight innings, including six innings in which a runner was left in scoring position. The Cardinal have also hit only one home run since Feb. 23.

The Aggies boast a senior-heavy lineup, with five of their six leading hitters coming from that class. Seniors Adam Young and Steven Patterson and junior Kevin Barker lead a lineup that has not scored more than four runs in its last seven games and currently places fifth in the Big West conference in batting average. Young tops the team with a .388 average while Barker leads the team with 37 hits and Patterson leads the team with 18 RBIs.

After facing two talented offensive teams in the Oregon Ducks and the Oregon State Beavers, Stanford should be more than ready for the Aggies’ lineup, especially considering the recent dominance exhibited by the Cardinal’s pitching staff. Stanford held the Beavers to only seven runs over the series, including only one unearned run surrendered by the bullpen in 13.1 innings pitched. The team’s 3.09 ERA is good for fourth in the Pac-12.

The Cardinal will likely use a combination of several pitchers who will throw just a few innings each in Tuesday’s game. Freshman Tyler Thorne may start on the mound, as he has twice on Tuesdays this season, for the third start of his career. Thorne is 2-0 with a 2.50 ERA in 18.0 innings pitched and has become a reliable spot starter and reliever for the Card, even earning two saves. Stanford has not played a weekday game since March 4, when Thorne took the hill and earned his second win, as both of its two previous weekday games have been rained out.

First pitch on Tuesday is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. between Stanford and UC-Davis at Sunken Diamond.

Contact Michael Peterson at mrpeters ‘at’ stanford.edu.

About Michael Peterson

Michael Peterson is the football editor at The Stanford Daily. He has served as a beat reporter for football, baseball and men’s soccer and also does play-by-play broadcasting of baseball and men’s soccer for KZSU. Michael is a sophomore from Rancho Santa Margarita, Calif. majoring in computer science. To contact him, please email him at mrpeters ‘at’ stanford.edu.