Beck Shines, Bats Explode in Game One
LUBBOCK, Texas – Senior Brendan Beck was dominant once again on Friday afternoon in the first game of a Super Regional against Texas Tech, logging 7 1/3 innings and allowing just two runs on six hits and a walk while striking out a career-best 13 batters as Stanford (37-15) earned a 15-3 victory over the Red Raiders (39-16) from Rip Griffin Park.
With the win, Stanford is one win away from punching a ticket to Omaha and the College World Series for the 17th time in program history – including the first since 2008.
The Cardinal bats came out hot on a day that saw temperatures reach 107 degrees away from the turf. Senior Tim Tawa, the Most Outstanding Player of the Stanford Regional, picked up where he left off, connecting for a one-out solo home run to put the Cardinal on the board in the first. The home run was Tawa's 11th of the season and his fourth in the last five games.
Stanford would go on to score three more times with two outs in the first, highlighted by RBI-singles from Nick Brueser, Drew Bowser and Tommy Troy.
Pitching with the lead out of the gate, Beck attacked the Red Raiders early, retiring the side in order in the first – including picking up the first of his 13 strikeouts.
The 4-0 lead would hold until the bottom of the fourth when Cole Stilwell connected for his eighth home run of the season with two outs to put Texas Tech on the board.
Beck would log another 1-2-3 inning in the fifth, facing just three over the minimum with eight strikeouts through five frames.
Stanford's offense got back to work in the sixth, plating two runs on a Brueser home run and a sacrifice fly from Troy. For Brueser, the round-tripper was his 11th of the season and came as part of a 3 for 5 day that included three RBIs.
Texas Tech got one back in the sixth to run the tally to 6-2, but Stanford immediately responded with five runs on three hits while taking advantage of a pair of Red Raider errors in the seventh to blow the game open at 11-2. After Stanford loaded the bases with nobody out, Kody Huff, who finished with two hits, got the scoring started with a two-RBI double – his second of the game. Christian Robinson followed with a single that snuck under the glove of the left fielder to bring home two more Cardinal runs before Brueser capped the inning with a single through the right side to bring home Robinson.
Robinson finished the game 2 for 4 with two runs scored and four RBIs – picking up the third and fourth runs batted in with a double in the three-run eighth to extend the Cardinal lead to 14-2. Sophomore Brock Jones also doubled home a run earlier in that inning, plating Adam Crampton. With the hit, Jones has reached in 48 of Stanford's 52 games this season.
Bowser put the finishing touches on the blowout in the top of the ninth, launching his seventh home run out to right-center field to bring home Stanford's 15th run of the game. The home run capped a 3 for 5 day for the freshman third baseman.
Beck, who improved to 9-1 and lowered his ERA to 2.96, posted a pair of strikeouts in the sixth, two in the seventh and punched out the first hitter in the eighth to surpass his career high of 12 set at California on May 14 of this year. The right-hander exited to a standing ovation from the traveling Cardinal faithful, a segment of the 4,732 in attendance, after issuing a walk to Jace Jung in the eighth. The 13 strikeouts are the most for a Cardinal pitcher since Mark Appel struck out 13 at No. 8 Arizona State on May 3, 2013.
Senior left-hander Austin Weiermiller entered from the bullpen and carried the torch the rest of the way, allowing a solo home run in the ninth but striking out a pair over the final 1 2/3 innings.
Stanford and Texas Tech will meet at noon PT for game two on Saturday. A victory for the Cardinal would send them to Omaha, while a win for Texas Tech would force a winner-take-all game on Sunday at noon PT.