Cardinal Drops One Late
PHOENIX – No. 20 Stanford (20-7, 6-4 Pac-12) led 5-3 headed into the bottom of the seventh, but surrendered a run in the seventh and five in the eighth as Arizona State (19-9, 8-5 Pac-12) stole game one of a three-game Pac-12 series by a score of 9-5 on Friday night.
Stanford starter Brendan Beck pitched well while receiving a no decision, allowing four runs on seven hits and two walks while striking out eight over 6 2/3 innings.
Fifth-year senior Zach Grech was saddled with the loss after being charged with four runs on three hits over a third of an inning. Grech, who entered the weekend with a national-best 10 saves, was unable to protect a 5-4 lead upon entering the eighth inning. The right-hander dropped to 4-3 with the loss.
Stanford managed to get on the board first with three runs in the third inning. Freshman Tommy Troy connected for a solo homer before Christian Robinson launched a two-run shot two batters later.
Arizona State responded immediately in the bottom of the inning, plating three runs on four hits – highlighted by a two-RBI double from Hunter Jump.
Robinson collected his third RBI of the game in the fifth to reclaim the Cardinal lead at 4-3. The Melbourne, Fla. native finished the game 2 for 5 with a run scored and the three driven in.
Making his second consecutive start at first base, Brett Barrera notched his third home run of the season in the sixth inning – a solo shot that extended Stanford's lead to 5-3.
Arizona State's comeback began in the seventh when freshman Tommy O'Rourke was charged with a balk that forced in a two-out run.
Clinging to a one-run lead in the eighth, Stanford handed the ball to Grech. Grech immediately ran into trouble, hitting the first batter he faced and allowing a one-out single to put two aboard. Ethan Long's two-RBI double handed Arizona State the lead before Hunter Haas, Joe Lampe and Drew Swift each contributed RBIs to hand the Sun Devils a 9-5 lead headed to the ninth.
Will Levine pitched the final frame for Arizona State, sealing the victory and ensuring the win for Cam Dennie. Dennie, who improved to 2-1 with the decision, pitched a scoreless eighth inning and struck out two.
Stanford will look to even the series tomorrow when the two teams meet at 6:30 p.m. PT.