In two very different ballgames, a nail-biter Friday night and a blowout Saturday, the UNLV Rebels beat Stanford in the first two games of a three-game set to clinch the upset series victory at Sunken Diamond.
Stanford’s bats started quiet once again, but a middle-inning run, capped with a decisive four-run seventh inning, gave the Cardinal a series-clinching 7-2 victory against Texas.
Five-game winning streaks don’t happen on their own in baseball, even against inferior opposition. So as the No. 16 Cardinal takes that momentum into a measuring-stick home series with No. 23 Texas this weekend, Stanford will look to remain potent at the plate against a Longhorn team making its first road trip of the season.
Stanford’s freshman pitchers impressed, but the bats never awoke as No. 7 Stanford fell in its season-opening series to No. 17 Rice, two games to one in Houston.
I have a confession to make. I’m not ready to accept that Stanford’s football season is over. I didn’t realize I had a problem until I sat down to write this column. Every idea that popped into my head was about football. Two weeks ago I wrote about the 2013 schedule. Last week I wrote about Manti Te’o. This week I hit a dead end.
Thud. That’s perhaps the only way to describe how the Stanford baseball team ended its season. The Cardinal got beat by a No. 3 Florida State team that flat-out deserved its national seed. But 17-1? 18-7? What a way to go, especially when a Mark Marquess-coached team hadn’t lost by 10 or more runs once—much less twice—since April 2009.
There are no easy weekends in Pac-12 baseball, but you would be hard-pressed to schedule a home stretch with more chances to make up ground than No. 12 Stanford’s final three weeks. With Stanford (29-14, 11-10 Pac-12) staring up at conference leader No. 10 Oregon (34-14, 16-8), the Cardinal’s upcoming series against the eighth-, 11th- and ninth-place teams in the Pac-12 are an opportunity that the squad can’t afford to let slip away. Stanford’s quest to improve its playoff positioning begins tonight at Sunken Diamond against a Washington State (23-20, 9-11) team that has lost its last two Pac-12 series.