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Freshmen lead Card to big win in regional opener

In Stanford baseball’s first postseason game since 2012, freshman Cal Quantrill dominated the Indiana State (35-17) lineup in a complete-game effort and freshman Jack Klein knocked a three-run homer — the first of his career — to lead the Cardinal (31-23) to an 8-1 victory. It was Stanford’s seventh consecutive win in an NCAA Regional, dating back to 2011.

Quantrill scattered four hits and two walks over nine innings and struck out six in his second complete game of the season, effectively working in his changeup early and getting ahead in counts.

(BOB DREBIN/stanfordphoto.com)

Freshman righty Cal Quantrill (above) pitched the second complete game of his young career, allowing just one run to the Indiana State Sycamores while striking out six in his first career postseason appearance as he earned his sixth win of the season. (BOB DREBIN/stanfordphoto.com)

“Fastball was good, a little bit wild early on, so I backed it up with a changeup a lot,” Quantrill said. “I got them looking for the change early so that was good, and obviously it’s a lot easier to pitch when you have that kind of run support behind you.”

The Ontario, Canada native is now 3-0 with a 0.83 ERA and an 8.5 K/9 rate over his last four starts, and he extended a scoreless inning streak to 17 innings while holding the Sycamores without a run through the first 5.1 innings.

“His record is only 6‑5 now, but I would say with the exception of two starts — two of the 15 starts — he gave us a chance to win,” said head coach Mark Marquess. “That’s unusual for a freshman. I haven’t had many freshmen — Mark Appel didn’t do that.”

The Cardinal offense handed Quantrill an early lead, jumping out 1-0 in the first on sophomore Zach Hoffpauir’s RBI single — his 14th RBI over the last 14 games and his 21st two-out RBI out of 29 total. It was the 27th time in 54 games that Stanford had scored first this season, which was sure to build the team’s confidence, as it owned a 21-5 record in those situations entering the postseason.

Although Indiana State starter Ryan Keaffaber retired the next 10 Stanford hitters and 13 of 14 overall, the game was blown open in the sixth. The Cardinal loaded the bases on back-to-back singles by junior Danny Diekroeger and senior Alex Blandino to lead off the inning, followed by a Hoffpauir walk after a sacrifice bunt by junior Austin Slater. After a sacrifice fly from senior Brant Whiting, Klein stepped up and hammered a 2-1 delivery over the left field fence. With that one swing, the freshman doubled his RBI total on the season to six and gave Stanford a 5-0 lead.

“It was probably the last thing on my mind at that point since there was a guy on second. I was just trying to go the opposite way with the way he’d been pitching,” Klein said. “Yeah, it was probably one of the best feelings of my entire life.”

The Cardinal would go on to add some insurance runs in the ninth on RBI singles by senior Brett Michael Doran and freshman Tommy Edman.

Slater extended his career-long hitting streak to 18 games with his first-inning single, now the ninth-longest Stanford streak since 1988.

With the win, Stanford will take on Indiana, which handily beat Youngstown State on Friday, tomorrow in front of a sure-to-be raucous crowd at Bart Kaufman Field.

“I know they have at home crowd, we’re used to that.  You play at Texas, you play at Rice, you play at Vanderbilt.  You’ve got to play in a hostile environment,” Marquess said. “It’s not bad, it’s just you’re on the road and you’re playing a great team.  If we play Indiana or whoever we play tomorrow, we won’t be — we may get beat, but we won’t be nervous because of the setting.”

Because Indiana started sophomore reliever Scott Effross in its tournament opener against Youngstown State — the pitcher’s first start of the season despite appearing in 30 games out of the bullpen — it is free to start its ace against the Cardinal. The pitching matchup will likely be senior Joey DeNato (12-1, 1.77 ERA) versus junior John Hochstatter (10-1, 2.62 ERA).

While DeNato is one of the best pitchers in Indiana history, as he set school career records in wins (36), strikeouts (293) and innings pitched (362) in his 2014 campaign, Hochstatter has just recently emerged as one of Stanford’s most reliable options. He has earned a win over 10 consecutive decisions and after taking over as a starter on April 13, the junior has gone 7-0 with a 2.63 ERA in seven starts.

Tomorrow’s contest is set for 3 p.m. and will be televised on ESPN3.

Contact Jordan Wallach at jwallach ‘at’ stanford.edu.

About Jordan Wallach

Jordan Wallach is a sports desk editor at The Stanford Daily. He has served as a beat writer for Stanford's baseball and women's volleyball teams. Jordan is a sophomore from New York City and is a prospective chemical engineering major. To contact him, please send him an email at jwallach 'at' stanford.edu.