By Jose Saldana
With the series loss against UCLA in the rear view, No. 2 Stanford baseball (24-5) got back to their winning ways by defeating UC Davis (9-18) 7-2 on Tuesday night on the Sunken Diamond.
“That is a strong trait for a team if you are able to bounce back and not lose two in a row,” sophomore left fielder Kyle Stowers said. “Especially on Tuesday games where we are tired from the weekend and are able to put together a good game.”
Freshman right-handed pitcher Brendan Beck started for the Cardinal and had his fifth quality start of the season. Beck’s ERA is now first among all the pitchers on the roster who have at least one start. He matched a career-high with six innings pitched and also had a career-high six strikeouts in the victory.
Beck’s very first start and victory came against UC Davis and he returned to the mound on Tuesday to continue his dominance of the Aggies. The UC Davis batters could only muster three total hits against the younger Beck.
“I didn’t feel great to start the game,” Beck said modestly. “After the 1st inning, I was in the dugout just kind of sitting there and my arm was shaking, so I felt kind of weird. But it felt good on the mound, so I was confident in making my pitches.”
The Cardinal have caught the home run fever, with Stowers blasting a two-run home run over right field for his sixth of the year. Stanford now has 25 home runs, which ranks third in the Pac-12, and they have 10 home runs in their past seven games.
The offense also had several loud outs near the warning track, which probably would have been knocked out of the park during warmer-weather day games.
Stowers’ home run capped off a four-run 5th inning for the Cardinal, which put the game out of the Aggies’ reach.
Stowers ended his day 2-4 with two runs scored and two RBIs to go along with his home run.
“A couple of guys have improved throughout the season. [Stowers] and Daschbach have gotten better as the season goes on,” Stanford head coach David Esquer. “We need that.”
Beck got the action started in the top of the 1st by striking out the first two batters and then getting the third out with one on via a groundout.
The Cardinal offense in the bottom of the 1st got a leadoff single by senior second baseman Beau Branton, but the threat was squashed and he was left on base.
The Aggies would hit two more singles off Beck, but a serious rally never materialized. The Cardinal offense, in the meantime, was busy putting up runs.
In the bottom of the 2nd, sophomore third baseman Maverick Handley hit an RBI single to score Stowers from second base. An inning later, junior designated hitter Christian Molfetta grounded out to the Aggies shortstop, but freshman right fielder Christian Robinson would score from third on the sacrifice to double the Cardinal lead to 2-0.
During that same inning, junior shortstop Nico Hoerner hit a sac fly to left field which sent Branton home for a third run.
The Cardinal offense would drop four more runs on the Aggies in the bottom of the 5th. Hoerner had his second RBI of the game with a double down the left field line. Sophomore first baseman Andrew Daschbach hit a sac fly to score another run before Stowers hit his two-run shot to give the Cardinal a 7-0 lead.
Freshman pitcher Austin Weiermiller replaced Beck at the start of the 7th inning and had a walk, but struck out one batter for a scoreless inning.
Sophomore submariner Zach Grech helped the bullpen stay perfect in the game with a clean inning.
However, things didn’t go as cleanly in the 9th inning when Stowers took over on the mound. He struck out the first batter but allowed runners on third and second with one out, before allowing the Aggies first run to score on a groundout. One wild pitch later and UC Davis added another run. This was cut short when sophomore Dan Bakst relieved Stowers and struck out the only batter he faced.
The Cardinal return to action this weekend, hosting a home series against Arizona State.
Contact Jose Saldana at jsaldana ‘at’ stanford.edu.