Riding the momentum of five wins in its last seven games, the Stanford baseball team (26-21, 11-13 Pac-12) will look to keep its season alive this weekend as it makes its final Pac-12 road trip of the season to face Washington (29-18, 14-10).
While the Cardinal are currently ninth in the Pac-12, the conference standings are packed tightly together: With a series sweep in Seattle, Stanford would overtake the Huskies, who currently sit in second place, giving the team a postseason-worthy resume before its final series of the year against Oregon.
Achieving such a feat will be far from easy against a Washington team that has been solid across the board this season. While the team lacks a marquee non-conference win, it has collected series wins over Arizona, Oregon, ASU and USC, all of whom are currently ranked in the top half of the conference.
The Huskies have shown signs of weakness as of late, however, dropping two of three to bottom-ranked Washington State. Pitching consistency has been a slight issue for the Washington recently: Friday night starter Noah Bremer has faltered in his last two starts, giving up 11 runs (9 earned) on 16 hits across the two games. Fellow starter Joe DeMers has also struggled mightily this season, hobbling his way to a 6.46 ERA, the worst mark in the conference (among pitchers with over 45 innings worked).
Stanford should have a considerable chance to steal the Friday night game with the help of right-hander Tristan Beck, who has delivered for the Cardinal throughout the season. The freshman ranks fifth in the Pac-12 among starters with a 2.65 ERA and has helped Stanford top the conference in most pitching metrics.
Run support has been an area of weakness all season, with the team batting a mediocre .256. However, sophomores Quinn Brodey and Matt Winaker have been bright spots offensively as of late and are currently riding 11-game and six-game hitting streaks, respectively. Meanwhile, junior Alex Dunlap will look to extend his streak of 18 straight games reaching base this weekend.
The Stanford bats will have to connect early and often for the team to keep up with Washington, as the Huskies hit a solid .279. Equally problematic in this regard is Huskies reliever Troy Rallings, who has been absolutely phenomenal this season. Rallings leads the nation in ERA (0.65) and is second in saves (15). When the senior is on, he is virtually un-hittable, and he threw over 22 innings straight of scoreless ball at one point in the season.
The series opens in Seattle on Friday at 5 p.m., and will be continued on Saturday at 2 p.m. and Sunday at 12 p.m.
Contact Neel Ramachandran at neelr ‘at’ stanford.edu.