A Grand Game for Huff
STANFORD, Calif. – Sophomore Kody Huff launched a pair of grand slams, the first in a seven-run second and the second in the eighth inning, as No. 7 Stanford (35-14) defeated No. 17 UC Irvine (41-17) 12-4 to advance to the Regional Final from Sunken Diamond on Saturday night.
Huff finished the game 3 for 4 with the two grand slams, two runs scored and a career-best eight RBIs. The eight RBIs are the most for the Cardinal since at least 1996, while he becomes the first Stanford player to hit two grand slams in a game since Tim Griffin in 1990. The home runs were the fourth and fifth of the season for Huff, while the two grand slams were the fifth and sixth of the year for Stanford.
The NCAA record for grand slams in a game is three, set by Louisville's Jim LaFountain vs. Western Kentucky on March 24, 1976.
Seniors Tim Tawa and Christian Robinson also finished with three hits, as Robinson contributed his 10th homer of the season – a solo shot to get the seven-run second started.
While Huff and the Cardinal offense were busy plating runs, senior Brendan Beck was busy grinding through another quality start. The Pac-12 Pitcher of the Year tossed seven innings, allowing two runs on seven hits and two walks while striking out nine to improve to 8-1 on the season. Beck got himself into a handful of jams, but worked out of virtually every tight spot.
UC Irvine plated a run on a solo homer from Mike Peabody in the fifth before Nathan Church delivered a two-out single in the seventh to cut the Cardinal lead to 8-2, but that would be all the damage the Anteaters could muster against Beck.
While Robinson got the Cardinal on the board with a line drive homer in the second, Stanford took advantage of three consecutive Anteater errors with two out in the inning to blow the game open early. The three errors pushed the second run of the game across, but more importantly extended the inning for a bases-loaded walk and Huff's first grand slam that eventually capped the frame.
Tawa, who paced the offense in Friday's victory over North Dakota State, extended the Cardinal lead to 8-0 in the third when he punched a single into left field to chase home Adam Crampton.
After UC Irvine pushed its two runs across to make it 8-2 headed to the bottom of the eighth, Huff came to the plate with the bags loaded once again, connecting on the first pitch of the at bat for his second grand slam to finish his historic night.
The Cardinal will now await the winner of UC Irvine and North Dakota State in the Regional Final at 6 p.m. on Sunday. UCI and NDSU will meet at 1 p.m. to determine who advances to that game.