Coming off a disappointing series against the Washington Huskies that knocked the team out of the playoffs, the Stanford baseball team (31-23, 15-15 Pac-12) bounced back and ended its regular season with a sweep of the Oregon Ducks (29-26, 14-16 Pac-12) over the weekend.
The Cardinal pitching held the Ducks to only 4 runs over the three-game set, with strong performances from all starters and relievers. In addition, Sunday’s game was Senior Day at the Sunken Diamond, which provided the team and fans the opportunity to honor the seniors graduating in just a few weeks.
“It was a great weekend,” senior Austin Barr said. “It’s been awesome to be out here with [fellow seniors] Jonny [Locher], [Daniel Starwalt] and Bobby [Zarubin]. What a way to cap off a memorable four years.”
While the two teams came in evenly matched record-wise, the Cardinal have been playing especially well down the stretch, winning nine of the last 13 games. They end the season ranked sixth in the tightly packed Pac-12 rankings, just narrowly missing the playoffs by two conference games.
On Thursday, after Barr and Locher cracked back to back singles in the seventh inning, freshman second baseman Nico Hoerner broke the 1-1 tie and gave the Cardinal the lead with an opposite field single.
Junior pitcher Brett Hanewich went six strong innings, only allowing three hits, one walk and one unearned run. His success stemmed from his ability to consistently throw strikes and keep the Oregon batters on edge. Sophomore reliever Andrew Summerville notched the win while sophomore Colton Hock notched his fifth save of the season.
Oregon struck first in the top of the fifth with an unusual play that had one runner score on a wild throw home before another was caught in a rundown to end the inning. Junior Tommy Edman tied the game at 1-1 with an RBI double down the left field line. Edman also flashed some leather with an impressive sliding catch in foul territory.
While they only scored two runs, the Cardinal offense was hot on Thursday as they tallied 10 hits over the course of the game. They struggled to bring the runners home, however, as they left nine men on base.
The next day, fans packed the Sunken Diamond for the annual Fireworks Night, which lit up the sky after Stanford took home a 4-2 victory. It was another exceptional pitching performance from the Card, as freshman Tristan Beck went 6.2 innings and only allowed a single hit. Hock closed out the game for his sixth save.
Sophomore Mikey Diekroeger added three runs to the tally for the team with a bases-clearing, two-out double in the bottom of the sixth that flew past the dive of the Ducks left-fielder. Locher also had a big night, adding three hits, two of which were doubles.
While the team’s pitching excelled, at times the defense was a bit sloppy. In the first game, a wild throw allowed the only run for the Ducks. In the second, Stanford defenders committed two errors, one of which allowed Oregon to score one of its two runs.
Saturday’s game was the seniors’ last, and it was a repeat of the excellent pitching the Cardinal put forth in the other games of the series. Junior southpaw Chris Castellanos put up 7.2 innings of one-run, six-hit baseball. He was credited with his eighth win of the season. Summerville followed suit and closed out the game for his first save on the year.
While Stanford was making good contact and hitting the ball well, the Oregon defense was just too good early on in the game. Sliding catches in the outfield and quick hands behind the plate robbed the Cardinal of several run-scoring opportunities. In the top of the sixth, the Ducks struck first and took a 1-0 lead.
In the bottom of the seventh, junior Alex Dunlap cranked a hanging curveball over the left-field wall to drive home Tommy Edman and give the team a 2-1 lead. On the very next at-bat, senior Austin Barr then finished off his collegiate baseball career in style with a solo home run to left-center that barely escaped the reach of the leaping Ducks center fielder. His teammates celebrated accordingly by drenching him in an ice bath during his postgame interview.
While the season is over for Stanford as they didn’t make the 64 team cutoff for the postseason tournament, some juniors and seniors will eagerly be awaiting the MLB Draft, which begins June 9.
Contact Yousef Hindy at yhindy ‘at’ stanford.edu.