Stanford baseball (21-18, 8-10 Pac-12) held off a furious late rally from San Francisco (17-29, 11-10 WCC) to take just its second win in the last nine games in a 7-6 victory at Sunken Diamond on Tuesday night.
Although Stanford knocked 11 hits as a team and took an early lead thanks to a big third inning, the bullpen again failed to hold a late lead, forcing the offense to once again take matters into its own hands. It has been a rough stretch as of late for the normally stout Stanford bullpen, which has now given up 11 runs in the last four games.
Luckily for the Cardinal, the bats were able to mount one last rally in the bottom of the eighth to pull ahead with the winning run after USF put up five in the top of the frame. Freshman Nico Hoerner singled to lead off the inning and Stanford small-balled him around the diamond with a bunt and two ground balls to get the job done.
It was freshman Duke Kinamon barely beating out a weak grounder to first on a pure hustle play that brought Hoerner home with the go-ahead run. The effort capped off a career night for the freshman, who went 3-for-4 at the plate, homered, drove in two and scored two runs to pace the team.
Kinamon’s homer, his second of the year, was part of a two-run rally in the seventh inning that helped stretch Stanford’s late lead to 6-1 after junior Tommy Edman singled in junior Jack Klein a few batters later. Stanford’s new-look lineup had already struck for four runs in the third to pull ahead early with four straight hits to start the inning, capped by an RBI single from Klein and a two-run triple ripped down the right-field line by sophomore Matt Winaker.
But again, the bullpen threatened to undo all of the action on the basepaths for the Cardinal in another concerning outing.
This time, it was junior Chris Viall who struggled in late action, as the junior failed to get any of his four batters out in the eighth while also dealing a passed ball and a wild pitch. A single and a wild pitch moved leadoff hitter Matt Sinatro to second, and an RBI single from Nico Giarratano (son of USF head coach Nino) brought the first run home.
A walk and a two-run double knocked Viall out of the game, and sophomore Colton Hock allowed back-to-back singles to start his outing to get USF within one run before a wild pitch later in the frame brought the tying run home.
It wasn’t all gloom, though — as mentioned earlier, the bats were timely when they needed to be. Stanford hit .429 with runners on and .571 with runners in scoring position to pull the game out in the end.
Stanford will next stay home to host a three-game set from Thursday to Saturday against Bay Area rival Cal.
Contact Do-Hyoung Park at dhpark ‘at’ stanford.edu.