By Jose Saldana
Offense, more offense, much more offense and solid starting pitching was No. 2 Stanford baseball’s (22-3) mantra in its 16-8 victory over Santa Clara (15-11) on a Tuesday evening affair on the road.
The Cardinal had the bats going from the very start. Stanford put seven runs in the top of the first but suffered an offensive lull before waking back up in the seventh and eighth innings and adding nine more scores.
The 16 runs were the most scored since the Cardinal defeated USC 18-0 on March 25.
Sophomores right fielder Kyle Stowers and left fielder Andrew Daschbach combined for two home runs, seven RBI, four runs and five hits.
Stowers hit an opposite field two-run home run in the 7th for his fourth of the season. An inning later, Daschbach one-upped his teammate with a thunderous three-run shot, which cleared over everything in left-center field and probably could be heard back on the Farm.
The home run was Daschbach’s fifth of the season, which leads the team and he set career highs in hits (three) and RBI (four).
“Going on the road and scoring early … really the key of the game was proving that you can score again,” Stanford head coach David Esquer said. “That’s what makes Stowers’ at-bat maybe the biggest at-bat, because if you don’t prove you are going to score again, then it allows [the other team] to piece together one run or there, and now they have the momentum.”
Freshman right-handed pitcher Brendan Beck got the start on the mound, and he delivered another quality outing. He pitched six innings and gave up four hits and two runs. Beck’s ERA is now at 1.39, which ranks second behind junior Kris Bubic (0.96) among pitchers who have started at least one game.
He remains undefeated with a 4-0 record.
“[Brendan Beck’s] been solid,” Coach Esquer said of the freshman. “When you can get someone to make pitches like he can, pitching midweek for you, it gives you a real chance to win. He’s able to throw pitches in any count, which makes him tough. He doesn’t get back into a corner often … He’s a pitch maker.”
The bullpen, which has been depleted from the weekend and yesterday’s game against Gonzaga, ran through the seventh and eighth innings quickly with Stowers and sophomore Will Matthiessen, but the Broncos managed to drive in eight runs in the ninth to make the final score a bit more respectable. Only two of the runs were earned due to a couple of errors by senior shortstop Jesse Kuet.
Freshman center fielder Tim Tawa did his job in the leadoff spot by getting to third base on a couple of errors by the Broncos fielders. Two hit-by-pitches later, Daschbach singled to center field to give the Cardinal a 1-0 lead. Two fielder’s choices by Stowers and freshman first baseman Nick Brueser added a couple more runs.
A walk and a double by Tawa and sophomore catcher Maverick Handley scored the final three runs in the inning for the Cardinal.
The Cardinal offense cooled down as neither team could score in the next few innings. The Broncos finally got to Beck in the fifth as Santa Clara’s Cory Moore hit a two-run RBI to right field to pick up a run. An inning later, the Broncos doubled their tally with a groundout RBI, but that was all Santa Clara would get from Beck.
Up 7-2 in the top of the seventh and not having scored since the first, the Cardinal offense was woken up by Stowers’ two-run home run over the left field wall. It marked his second opposite field home run of the season.
Then, senior second baseman Beau Branton continued his strong play with by beating out the force out for an RBI single to increase the Cardinal’s lead to 10-2.
Matthiessen took over for Beck in the bottom of the inning and despite giving up a leadoff walk, he managed a clean inning.
The eighth inning featured more nighttime fireworks with Daschbach’s three-run home run as the opening salvo. The shot gave Stanford a 13-2 lead, but it would add more on an RBI groundout by Branton and a two RBI double by freshman center fielder Christian Robinson.
Robinson came on as a pinch hitter for Tawa and recorded his second hit of his career and the first RBI of his career.
Stowers would make his third relief appearance in the eighth and kept his ERA at 0.0 with a strong inning.
The ninth featured senior John Henry Styles and freshman Carson Rudd coming in as relief. Two errors by Kuet helped let the Broncos score six runs to decrease the Cardinal’s lead to 16-8, but that’s all Santa Clara would get to end the game.
The Cardinal now face a pivotal road series against No. 21 UCLA, which is fourth in the country in ERA (2.43) and is third in the Pac-12. The three-game series begins Friday at 6 p.m. in Jackie Robinson Stadium.
Contact Jose Saldana at jsaldana ‘at’ stanford.edu.