For the first time in 26 midweek games, No. 4 Stanford (24-6, 10-2) was handed a defeat. The streak, which dated back to April 26, 2016, was snapped by UC Davis (11-18, 3-6 Pac-12) after Tuesday’s 8-6 home loss.
RHP Blake Hannah (3-3, 8.37 ERA) started for the Aggies, who used seven pitchers, with no one surpassing 2.0 innings of work. The Cardinal touched Hannah for one run when the first hit of the day left the yard off the bat of junior DH Will Matthiessen, who took the first pitch of the second inning 395 feet to left field.
Freshman RHP Alex Williams (3-1, 2.48 ERA) started for the Cardinal, tossing to freshman catcher Vincent Martinez in his first career start. The all-freshman battery accounted for two balks and a passed ball. Without junior catcher Maverick Handley in the squat, the Aggies were able to run on Stanford, tallying three steals to bring the season total to 12. The balk total for the Cardinal is now four, and two of the season’s three passed balls have occurred with Martinez behind the dish.
In the fourth inning, the Aggies benefitted from a streak of poor defense. Alejandro Lara singled on a full count and Kinamon allowed Joseph Myers to reach safely attempting to throw out the lead runner. Conner Longrie singled up the middle off the glove of a diving Tawa to plate a run and Garret Kelly was on board next after a sacrifice bunt that was thrown home but dropped by Martinez. Jackson O’Boy laid down a sacrifice bunt for the first Cardinal out, and Cameron Briggs hit a sacrifice fly for the second. Tanner Murray singled in the fourth run with a chopper and stole second, but Williams was able to escape the inning with a strikeout.
Stanford could not catch any breaks in the bottom half, when senior first baseman Andrew Daschbach was caught trying to stretch a double, and Martinez’s redemption was cut short when sophomore right fielder Nick Brueser was thrown out at home to rob him of an RBI single.
The next inning started similarly when sophomore shortstop Tim Tawa bobbled a grounder to allow Caleb Van Blake to reach base. That would be the end of the day for the freshmen battery as sophomore RHP Carson Rudd (0-0, 1.26 ERA) came in to pitch and Handley returned behind the plate. Williams threw 4.0 plus innings, striking out three but surrendering six hits, and was charged for two of the four runs.
Rudd induced a flyout, then watched as Handley threw out a runner at second and escaped the inning with a lineout to third the next pitch. After recording two strikeouts in a clean sixth inning, Rudd was relieved by junior RHP Zach Grech (2-0, 5.19 ERA) in the top of the seventh inning.
Grech struck out his first batter faced, but after two singles, a home run from Lara extended Davis’ lead to five. Grech allowed another home run in the eighth, a solo shot off the bat of Kelly, for the final Aggies’ run.
Stanford staged a comeback in the bottom half, headlined by a Tawa three-run homer off of Wyatt Tucker. Tawa came to the plate with the bases loaded, but senior left fielder Brandon Wulff scored prematurely on a wild pitch. Steve Oulette shut the door on Stanford with 1.2 perfect innings for his second save.
Sophomore LHP Jacob Palisch (2-1, 5.09 ERA) pitched the ninth inning, recording two quick outs, but ran into some trouble with a single and a walk. The runners advanced on a muffed throw, a season-high tying third Stanford error. A ground out brought the Cardinal to the plate, but for the fourth time Stanford went down in order.
UC Davis, which was riding a five-game losing streak and had beaten Stanford just 14 times in 68 previous attempts, rushed the field following the final out.
Stanford will head up north to face Oregon (22-13, 7-5 Pac-12). The three-game series begins Thursday at 7 p.m. PST.
Contact Daniel Martinez-Krams at danielmk ‘at’ stanford.edu.