No. 2 Stanford (34-8, 17-4 Pac-12) picked up a series win at USC (20-24-1, 9-11-1 Pac-12) this past weekend. The Cardinal are now tied atop the conference standings with No. 3 Oregon State (31-14-1 17-4 Pac-12) and retain a single game lead over No. 1 UCLA (37-8, 16-5 Pac-12).
The Cardinal scored the last seven innings in an 8-3 victory on Friday.
“This was a tough Friday-night game with the runs not exactly coming easy for us,” Stanford head coach David Esquer said. “Our guys do a great job of picking themselves up and moving forward.”
Despite allowing three first inning runs, Stanford’s starter, sophomore RHP Brendan Beck (4-3) lasted 5.0 innings to earn to win.
“Credit Brandon Beck for battling through some adversity to give us a great chance to win,” Esquer said.
Sophomore LHP Jacob Palisch and junior RHP Zach Grech shut out the Trojans over the final four innings
The leadoff batter reached base in eight of the nine innings. The offense stayed active throughout the night, adding a single run in each of the final three innings.
“Those tack-on runs late in the game were a difference-maker,” Esquer said.
Junior first baseman Andrew Daschbach was 2-2 and reached base five times, with two runs and his tenth home run of the season. Junior catcher Maverick Handley went 3-3 and scored twice as well.
On Saturday, junior RHP Will Matthiessen (5-1) tossed a career-high 7.0 innings and drove in two runs in a 7-4 win. Matthiessen allowed just one run on two hits, striking out five.
“I don’t think I’ve ever had a player perform on both sides of the ball like Will Matthiessen has,” Esquer said.
The Cardinal led 4-1 entering the ninth, when junior center fielder Kyle Stowers sent a towering three run home run over the scoreboard. “That swing by Kyle Stowers in the ninth was as big as they come,” Esquer said.
In the bottom half, however, Stanford found itself with the tying run threatening at the plate before sophomore LHP Austin Weiermiller recorded two strikeouts to strand two runners.
“Winning on the road in the Pac-12 is never easy and USC proved that tonight by really testing us in the ninth,” Esquer said.
Stanford waited until the fifth inning to tally a hit, but immediately took advantage to plate four runs. Junior third baseman Nick Bellafronto, who reached base three times and scored twice, singled to open the gates.
Junior RHP Jack Little relieved Matthiessen in the eighth, retiring the side around the walk, but he could record only one out in the ninth as the three-run home run chased the All-American. Weiermiller, however, was able to secure his second save of the season.
While recording just four hits, Stanford dropped Sunday’s finale 4-2.
“It’s just one of those games where things didn’t go our way with the crazy play in the first and some bad luck throughout,” said Esquer, who was ejected during the top of the seventh inning.
Junior LHP Erik Miller allowed just two earned runs in 6.0 innings, striking out six.
“Miller was great for us, he battled through some adversity and kept us in it,” Esquer said.
Matthiessen plated both runs for the Cardinal with a two-run home run, but Stanford again waited to start the offense, with the first base runner reaching in the sixth inning. During that time, the Cardinal defense committed two errors as USC built a 4-0 cushion.
After losing its first away game in conference play, Stanford returns to Sunken Diamond to complete a home-and-home series with Santa Clara on Tuesday at 6:05 p.m.
Contact Daniel Martinez-Krams at danielmk ‘at’ stanford.edu.