The offense finally flashed some signs of life and the pitching staff was dominant for the third day in row as first-seeded Stanford baseball (46-11) defeated second-seeded Baylor (37-21) 4-2 in the early-afternoon elimination game in Sunken Diamond.
Freshman outfielder Christian Robinson’s walkoff RBI double in the bottom of the 13th inning sealed first-seeded Stanford baseball’s (45-10) 4-3 victory over fourth-seeded Wright State (39-16) on Friday night in Sunken Diamond.
The Cardinal will next face third-seeded Cal State Fullerton, which defeated second-seeded Baylor 6-2 earlier on Friday.
Coming off their first conference title since 2004, the Stanford Cardinal (44-10, 22-8 Pac-12) will host their 17th NCAA regional this weekend. With their dominant pitching and high-scoring offense, the Cardinal have had, in Year 1 of head coach David Esquer’s tenure, one of the program’s best seasons in recent years, ultimately earning them the No. 2 national seed in the tournament. Yet the road only gets more difficult from here: The Stanford Regional is arguably one of the most competitive in the entire tournament, as it includes red-hot Big 12 champ Baylor, powerhouse and rival Cal State Fullerton and one of the best four-seeds in the tournament, Wright State.
We asked Daily managing editor of sports Jose Saldana, Stanford insiders R.J. Abeytia (The Bootleg) and Jacob Rayburn (Cardinal Sports Report) to reflect on the Cardinal’s trajectory going into the postseason, what’s different from last year and the team’s prospects for advancing to Omaha.
Beau Branton’s breakout season wasn’t supposed to happen.
First-team All-Pac-12 second baseman Duke Kinamon was slotted in to play second this year — until he went down with a groin injury in warmups minutes before the first pitch of the season. Even then, Jesse Kuet got the first crack at taking Kinamon’s place.
But not the last.
Stanford baseball has earned a national seed for the second year in a row after a historic 2018 season under first-year head coach David Esquer. The No. 2 overall seed in the NCAA Tournament and the 22-8 conference record speak for themselves, but some of the other numbers that emerged from Stanford’s season tell the story of just how particularly special Stanford’s 2018 regular season was.
It has been 14 years since No. 3 Stanford baseball (43-8, 21-6 Pac-12) were crowned Pac-12 Championships. Back then, would-be MLB players Jed Lowrie and Sam Fuld roamed sunkissed lawn of Sunken Diamond.
14 years of coming up short in the regular season. All those ghosts on the diamond who tried their damndest to win a conference title can be appeased when the Cardinal travel to the Evergreen State to play Washington (28-22, 18-9) in their final series of the season.
Through the first two games of the series, No. 2 Stanford baseball (39-8, 18-6 Pac-12) was utterly dominated by No. 3 Oregon State (38-8-1, 16-7-1) as the Cardinal were outscored 16-2 in front of an intimidating venue in Corvallis.
After the second game, Stanford head coach David Esquer had to focus his young team before the final game of the series.
No. 2 Stanford baseball (34-6, 14-4 Pac-12) heads to the salt lakes of Utah’s campus to play a three-game series against the last-place-in-the-Pac-12 Utes (12-29, 6-12) beginning on Friday at a brisk 10:30 a.m. PT.