A two-out rally in the ninth inning on Sunday afternoon helped the Cardinal salvage the final game of a three-game set against Oregon and avoid a sweep at the hands of the Ducks.
Stanford (20-25, 6-15 Pac-12) faced a three-run deficit entering the eighth inning on Sunday, as Oregon (27-20, 9-12) had scored four times in the fifth inning off junior reliever Logan James. But a two-run double from junior Zach Hoffpauir in the top of the eighth got the Cardinal within one, setting the stage for the ninth-inning heroics.
“We really fought well after having a tough weekend up to that point,” said sophomore Tommy Edman. “Our pitchers did a good job of keeping us in the game throughout and we were finally able to put together some good at-bats there at the end.”
It looked as if the Cardinal were just playing for one to tie in the top-half of the final frame, as sophomore Jack Klein sacrificed pinch runner Jonny Locher over to second after a leadoff single from freshman Jesse Kuet. But they ended up getting more than they bargained for.
After junior Drew Jackson struck out for the second out of the inning, freshman Beau Branton, hitting in the two-hole, lined the first pitch he saw into left field. The three-hop throw from Oregon left fielder J.B. Bryant beat Locher to the plate, but the catcher could not hang on, as Stanford tied the score at 5.
Sophomore Tommy Edman was the next hitter for the Cardinal, and he hammered an 0-2 pitch back up the middle to score Branton from second, giving Stanford a 6-5 lead. Edman went 5-for-10 over the three-game series against Oregon, and now has 13 RBI in 15 games since moving into the three-hole of the Stanford lineup.
“I knew he’d been throwing a ton of fastballs up on 0-2 and any two-strike count,” Edman said. “So I was just looking for a high fastball, and I was able to get one and put a good swing on it.”
Sophomore reliever Tyler Thorne closed out the game with three straight outs in the bottom of the ninth, securing the Cardinal’s 6-5 victory.
It was the only win of the weekend for Stanford, as Oregon jumped on the Cardinal pitching at the start of the first two games to take early leads that they did not surrender. The Ducks won Friday’s matchup by a 7-3 score, and Saturday’s matchup by a 4-3 score.
Sophomore Brett Hanewich got the nod for Stanford on Friday, but had his shortest outing of his 24 career starts. He lasted just 1.2 innings after allowing 5 runs on 2 hits, 4 walks and 1 hit batsman.
Oregon went up 5-0 after 2 innings and never looked back en route to its 7-3 win. Though it was the Cardinal pitching staff — not the Ducks offense — that was most responsible for the 7 runs that Oregon put up. Six Stanford pitchers combined to allow 11 walks and 2 hit batsmen over the 9 frames, and none of the six went more than freshman Colton Hock’s 2 innings.
Making his third start since returning from an arm injury on Saturday, junior Marc Brakeman also was hit hard early. While he had allowed just 1 earned run — 5 total — over 8.2 innings in his first two starts back, Brakeman allowed 4 runs in the second inning in Game Two. They came on 4 straight hits followed by 2 sacrifice flies, as the Ducks took a 4-0 lead.
Brakeman recovered to retire the last 12 batters he faced in his 6-inning outing, and a 3-run homer from sophomore Alex Dunlap in the seventh inning cut the Oregon lead down to 1. Yet the Cardinal could only get one more baserunner on over the last 2 innings, and ultimately fell, 4-3.
Stanford hosts Santa Clara on Tuesday night, before heading to USC for a three-game set next weekend.
Contact Jordan Wallach at jwallach ‘at’ stanford.edu.