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Baseball bounces back in Game 2 against Sun Devils

No. 4 Stanford avenges their Thursday night loss to unranked ASU

Junior RHP Will Matthiessen (above) allowed only two hits and one run in 5.2 innings as the Cardinal improved to 21-7 in conference play on Friday night. (JOHN P. LOZANO/isiphotos.com)

Friday night belonged to junior Will Matthiessen, who executed on the mound and in the box to lead No. 4 Stanford (40-11, 21-7 Pac-12) to a 6-4 victory over Arizona State (37-16, 16-12 Pac-12) in the desert. Matthiessen broke up the Sun Devils’ perfect game in the fifth inning, while maintaining his own perfect game through the fifth inning.

After being held hitless Thursday, Matthiessen (.319/.401/.541) went 2-3 Friday with a solo home run, a double, three RBI, two runs and a walk. On the mound, Matthiessen (6-2, 3.91 ERA) allowed just two hits and one run across 5.2 innings with six strikeouts.

“Will continues to deliver for this team when we need it most,” said Stanford head coach David Esquer.

At the top of the lineup, junior left fielder Kyle Stowers (.306/.376/.519) recorded a pair of RBIs and a run on 3-5, while sophomore shortstop Tim Tawa (.241/.275/.401) hit 2-4 and added two runs.

Tawa leads a Stanford defense that completed its fourth-consecutive contest without an error. The sophomore was joined in the infield by a pair of redshirt juniors, second baseman Duke Kinamon and third baseman Nick Bellafronto.

“The trio of Tim Tawa, Nick Bellafronto and Duke Kinamon have been playing fantastic defense at an important time of the season,” Esquer said. “Our defense was spectacular tonight as it’s been for a while now, and this was a great character win for our team in all aspects of the game.”

The staunch defense was crucial for a Stanford team that was held without a base runner until the fifth inning by Brady Corrigan (3-4, 5.22 ERA), a sophomore making just his second start of the year. The hitting drought was ended by none other than Matthiessen who sent a leadoff homer out to right field to put the Cardinal on the board.

After senior right fielder Brandon Wulff (.264/.385/.590) hit a two-out single to chase Corrigan and put two runners on, Matthiessen stepped in to face RJ Dabovich (6-0, 4.30 ERA). The jack-of-all-trades doubled to center field to score two, then passed the torch to junior first baseman Andrew Daschbach (.317/.399/.656), whose automatic double put the Cardinal up by four heading into the bottom half.

Like Corrigan, Matthiessen surrendered his first hit of the game on a home run, as he was taken off the wall by Carter Aldrete, which was later ruled a home run by the umpires. Matthiessen induced a flyout, allowed a single and then exited the game after a strikeout to polish off an excellent outing.

Sophomore LHP Austin Weiermiller (6-0, 1.71 ERA) escaped the inning with a foul out before the two sides traded runs in the seventh inning. Stowers touched the Sun Devils’ reliever Erik Tolman (3-1, 2.83 ERA) for an RBI double to plate Tawa, and Weiermiller allowed a home run to Lyle Lin (.307/.339/.478) ahead of passing the ball off to junior RHP Zach Grech (2-0, 3.32 ERA). Grech was assisted by a pick off from junior catcher Maverick Handley in limiting Arizona State to a single run.

In the ninth, the Cardinal added a run on another combination of Tawa and Stowers to head to the home half with a 6-2 lead. The night before, the Sun Devils came back from down four runs in the ninth inning to walk off against Stanford and appeared poised to repeat when Gage Workman (.328/.418/.537) took Grech deep for two runs in the bottom of the ninth inning. But the junior submariner closed the game with a flyout.

With the win, the Cardinal completed its third consecutive 40-win season and 24th in program history.

Contact Daniel Martinez-Krams at danielmk ‘at’ stanford.edu.

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