Cardinal Wins Nail-Biter to Secure Series
LOS ANGELES – Playing another close game at USC on Saturday afternoon, No. 18 Stanford (24-8, 10-4 Pac-12) scored singles runs in the third, fourth and seventh innings to back a strong effort on the mound in a 3-2 win over the Trojans (18-19, 6-11 Pac-12) from Dedeaux Field.
With the win, Stanford secured the series victory in Pac-12 play and improved to 9-0 in weekend series this year.
Sophomore Quinn Mathews got the start and earned the victory for the Cardinal, tossing 6 1/3 innings and allowing two runs on seven hits and a walk with three strikeouts. The left-hander allowed single runs in the first and second, but settled in nicely to eventually improve to 4-0 on the season.
Freshmen Tommy O'Rourke and Brandt Pancer bridged the gap to closer Zach Grech, with O'Rourke getting the final two outs in the seventh. Pancer walked two in the eighth, but managed to record a pair of outs before handing the ball over to Grech to finish that frame. The national-leader in saves converted his 13th of the season, retiring all four batters he faced over the final 1 1/3 innings.
Junior Vincent Martinez guided the way offensively for the Cardinal, lacing a two-out double off the top of the wall in left field to tie the game at 2-2 in the fourth before connecting for a go-ahead homer in the seventh to hand Stanford the 3-2 lead it would not relinquish. Martinez, who homered for the seventh time this year, finished the game 2 for 3 with a run scored and two RBIs.
Senior Nick Brueser made the most of his lone hit on Saturday afternoon, connecting for his sixth home run of the season to put Stanford on the board in the third inning. The round-tripper was the first hit allowed by USC starter Chandler Champlain.
Champlain pitched well in the loss, allowing just three runs and six hits over 6 2/3 innings while striking out nine batters. The setback dropped the right-hander to 2-4 on the year.
USC had offensive chances in nearly every inning down the stretch, as the Cardinal threw out baserunners trying to stretch singles into doubles in the fifth and sixth innings. Trailing 3-2 in the seventh, the Trojans attempted to tie the game on a wild pitch that got to the backstop, but the runner coming home was cut down as Kody Huff retrieved the ball and delivered an underhand toss to O'Rourke covering. Finally, Tyresse Turner was caught stealing for a crucial second out in the eighth inning as Huff delivered a perfect throw to second that allowed Adam Crampton to apply the tag just before Turner could sneak in safely. Turner is the top basestealing threat for the Trojans, sitting at 15 for 18 in stolen base attempts this year.
Stanford will look to secure a series sweep over the Trojans on Sunday when the two teams finish the three-game set at 1 p.m.