Barrera's Blast Lifts Cardinal in Ten
LOS ANGELES – Pinch hitting with two aboard and one out in the 10th inning of a 2-2 game, sophomore Brett Barrera connected on the first pitch he saw and launched a three-run homer out to left-center field to hand Stanford (23-8, 9-4 Pac-12) a 5-2 victory in game one of a three-game series with USC (18-18, 6-10 Pac-12) on Friday night from Dedeaux Field.
The home run was Barrera's fourth of the season and was the first pinch-hit homer for the Cardinal since Christian Molfetta connected for one in the pinch at California on May 11, 2019.
Friday's series opener proved to be a pitchers' duel, as each squad used three hurlers to span the 10 frames. Senior Brendan Beck got the start for Stanford pitching opposite USC's Isaac Esqueda. Beck dealt six innings, allowing two runs on five hits and two walks while striking out six, while Esqueda twirled 5 2/3 frames and surrendered two runs on five hits with a career-high tying eight strikeouts.
Senior Jacob Palisch was fantastic in relief for the Cardinal, logging three scoreless innings and striking out three to give Stanford a chance to win it in extras. The native of Richardson, Texas was credited with the victory and moved to 1-0 on the season. Fifth-year senior Zach Grech retired the side in the 10th to seal the victory and lock up his national-best 12th save of the season.
USC's Quentin Longrie worked 1 2/3 scoreless innings out of the bullpen before handing the ball to Garrett Clarke. Clarke tossed the final 2 2/3 innings, ultimately allowing a pair of singles to start the 10th in front of Barrera's go-ahead blast. The right-hander, who surrendered his first homer of the year, fell to 3-1 on the season.
Stanford got on the board first in the fourth inning as Christian Robinson stole third and scampered home with two outs as the ball skipped away from USC's Ben Ramirez at third base.
The Trojans took a 2-1 lead after five innings as Rhylan Thomas connected for a two-RBI double to center field.
The USC advantage didn't last long, as Drew Bowser doubled with one out and came around to score on an RBI-single from Vincent Martinez.
Bowser would finish the game 2 for 5 with two runs scored, while Martinez finished 3 for 5 with a run scored and one driven in.
The two teams will continue the three-game series on Saturday with a 2 p.m. first pitch.