NCAA Football

Batting propels baseball over Santa Clara

May 11, 2016

Stanford baseball exploded for seven runs in the first three innings on Tuesday night as the offense pounded out a season-high 15 hits to key a 10-3 victory for the Cardinal (24-19, 10-11 Pac-12) over visiting Santa Clara (20-26, 7-14 WCC).

Right fielder Quinn Brodey and catcher Bryce Carter led the way with three hits apiece while three other Stanford hitters knocked two hits in the rout. Center fielder Jack Klein also continued his surprising power tear with another home run — his fourth of the season — as one of four Stanford hitters that drove in multiple runs.

In doing so, Stanford hit double digits in runs for the first time since a 10-0 victory on April 12 over visiting San Jose State and avenged a brutal 4-2 defeat at Santa Clara two weeks ago that fell in the middle of the team’s extended mid-season slump.

This time around, the Cardinal came out with guns blazing to make sure that the Broncos wouldn’t get the best of them for a second straight time.

Freshman Nico Hoerner — the second batter of the game — smacked a 1-2 pitch into left-center for a double to get things going for the Cardinal and was quickly followed by a Tommy Edman infield hit. Brodey and red-hot junior Alex Dunlap brought both home on a sacrifice fly and an RBI single to push Stanford ahead 2-0 in a real hurry and shake the demons of the last outing against Santa Clara.

The Cardinal didn’t stop there — in the second inning, Stanford picked up four straight two-out hits from the top of its order to tack on four more runs to stretch the lead to 6-1 before another two-out RBI in the third — this time off the bat of Carter — gave Stanford an early 7-1 advantage.

Stanford’s suddenly hot bats chased Santa Clara righty Travis Howard after just two innings of work in which he allowed six runs, and his successors didn’t fare much better: Relievers Peter Hendron and Jacob Steffens also allowed two runs apiece.

The Cardinal tacked on their final three runs on another two-out RBI double in the fifth from Carter and Klein’s two-run shot in the seventh. Stanford’s situational hitting was terrific all night, with the team combining to go 8-for-16 and driving in seven of its 10 runs with two outs. Stanford didn’t waste many opportunities either, with the Cardinal 5-for-10 with runners in scoring position.

That’s the kind of hitting that will need to continue, even against stronger pitching, for Stanford to continue this late-season push.

The offensive explosion backed a second straight strong start from sophomore lefty Andrew Summerville, who improved to 4-2 on the year with a six-inning outing in which he yielded only two runs on seven hits, striking out two while walking just one.

Stanford next takes the road for a three-game swing at conference leader Utah over the weekend in another must-win series for the Cardinal’s postseason aspirations. The Utes, which remain tied with Washington atop the Pac-12 standings, are currently three games ahead of the Cardinal, making this weekend a pivotal opportunity for Stanford to make up ground.

Contact Do-Hyoung Park at dhpark ‘at’ stanford.edu.

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