By Jeremy Rubin
Sophomore Alex Williams (1-1) had some of his best pitching as a Cardinal on the mound in Sunday’s start against Tennessee (7-0, 0-0 SEC). The right hander struck out a career-high 10 Vols batters, but errors behind him did him and the team in. Three runs came around to score in his 5.2 innings of work, all of which were unearned. Stanford (1-6, 0-0 Pac-12) dropped the contest to Tennessee 7-2.
Just three of the Vols’ seven runs in the game were earned. Five errors, a common theme thus far in Stanford’s season, ended any chance of a Cardinal comeback late in the game.
Following two unearned Tennessee runs in the top of the second, a single by junior Tim Tawa cut the deficit to one in the bottom half of the frame. Back-to-back doubles by freshman Cole Hinkelman and redshirt senior Christian Molfetta tied the score at two in the fifth inning.
This proved to be all the offense the Cardinal could muster in the game. Tennessee, meanwhile, added five runs of insurance, scoring in each of the sixth, seventh and eighth innings.
Stanford outhit Tennessee 8-5 and struck out just eight times compared to the Vols’ 17, but timely hits eluded the Cardinal. The team stranded nine runners on base in the game. Sophomore Austin Kretzschmar led the way for Stanford with three hits at the plate.
Vols’ pitchers Drew Gilbert and Redmond Walsh finished with a win and a save, respectively, giving up just five hits in the last 7.1 innings, while throwing an efficient 88 combined pitches between the two.
Saturday’s game against was much of the same for the Cardinal against No. 6 Texas Tech (6-1, 0-0 Big-12). The team also dropped the contest by the same score of 7-2.
Freshman Quinn Mathews (0-1) took the bump for his second career start as a Cardinal and battled hard against one of the top teams in the nation in Texas Tech. He departed in the fifth inning, having allowed earned runs in the first and the second and an unearned run in the fourth.
The Red Raiders’ two early runs neutralized Stanford’s brief lead, which came courtesy of a Tawa two-run home run in the top of the first. The Cardinal barely found any traction after the blast, as a double and stolen base from freshman Brock Jones in the third inning proved to be the only other time Stanford came within 90 feet of scoring.
Senior Zach Grech relieved Mathews following a leadoff double in the fifth and managed to escape from that inning and the next unscathed, but the wheels began to fall off the bus in the seventh. Grech, in for his third inning of work, allowed three straight hits and departed with his team down 5-2. Texas Tech tacked on one more hit off of freshman Nathan Fleischli in the inning, who entered in relief of Grech.
These two games finished off a three-game series at the Round Rock Classic. The first contest came on Friday against Houston. Twenty-five runs allowed, nine errors and three losses later, the team will look to regroup and reset back on the West Coast. Following a quick day trip to face Cal on Tuesday, Stanford’s next 11 games will be at Sunken Diamond.
After scoring just one more run than the number of errors committed thus far this season, 14 runs scored versus 13 errors in seven games, Stanford hopes to righten the ship under head coach David Esquer ’87 back on the Farm before it’s too late.
First pitch of the Bay Area clash is set for 6 p.m. PT on Tuesday at Berkeley. Stanford will then welcome GCU to the Farm for a three-game series next weekend.
Contact Jeremy Rubin at jjmrubin ‘at’ stanford.edu.