For the second year in a row, No. 3 Stanford (40-8) completed its midweek-game slate undefeated, sealing a 9-0 record in such contests with a 5-1 victory Tuesday afternoon at home against BYU (21-26).
With the win, which Stanford secured in a speedy two hours and 10 minutes, Stanford hit the 40-win mark in 48 games, the fastest the program has reached 40 wins since the 1990 team did so in 47.
“That’s a big statement (being undefeated in midweek games), it really is,” Stanford head coach David Esquer said. “Sometimes these Tuesdays can bite you a little bit. It really shows a little bit about their character. They got good leadership, they come out there and check in with each other, make sure that no one’s going to take a day off of, take a Tuesday lightly or not be ready to play.”
The Cardinal were highly opportunistic in their scoring, scoring all five of their runs following infield errors by BYU and with two outs. Sophomore outfielder Kyle Stowers (3-for-4) took full advantage, leading the Cardinal offense with three hits, including a two-run home run in the bottom of the eighth to cushion the Cardinal’s lead. He drove in three of Stanford’s five runs, also bringing home junior shortstop Nico Hoerner on a third-inning RBI single.
Stowers has had a strong end to the regular season, raising his batting average by 20 points in the last month. But the improvement still leaves him dissatisfied.
“I’m happy with how things have gone as a team. Individually I feel like I can be better,” Stowers said of his performance this season. “I felt like against Oregon State, I didn’t pick up the team and had a bunch of spots where I could’ve helped us get some leads and I didn’t come through… I feel like I have so much more room to improve.”
After helping spur Sunday’s comeback against Oregon State, Hoerner had another two-hit game, his sixth multi-hit game of the month. His single to left field in the bottom of the third brought in senior second baseman Beau Branton and gave the Cardinal a 1-0 lead.
In a spot start out of the bullpen, sophomore sidearmer Zach Grech (3-0) got the first start of his career and, though he only pitched 3.0 innings, he gave up only one hit to the 11 batters he faced, not striking out or walking anyone but inducing a lot of weak contact.
The bullpen mostly picked up where Grech left off, with freshman southpaw Austin Weiermiller pitching two perfect innings. He was replaced by sophomore reliever Will Matthiessen, who also had a one-two-three inning in the sixth before loading the bases with one out in the seventh.
Freshman Jacob Palisch replaced Matthiessen, and though the Cougars scored their only run of the game on a RBI groundout, Palisch, who ultimately earned the save, escaped trouble by striking out BYU’s Noah Hill with runners on second and third.
After playing four games in five days, the Cardinal will have a short repose before facing Washington State in their final home series of the regular season. First pitch will take place Friday, May 18 at 6 p.m. at Sunken Diamond.
Although the Cougars are second-to-last in the conference standings, the
series will be key for Stanford, which leads the Pac-12 and seeks its first conference title since 2004. Stanford is currently 1.5 games ahead of second-place Oregon State and three ahead of UCLA.
Contact Alexa Philippou at aphil723 ‘at’ stanford.edu.