Stunned in Tucson
TUCSON, Ariz. – No. 12 Stanford (9-6, 1-3 Pac-12) led 2-0 after six innings, but made a handful of costly mistakes over the final two frames to eventually drop a 3-2 decision to No. 16 Arizona (14-4, 3-1 Pac-12) on Saturday night.
Senior Alex Williams was magnificent in a start for the Cardinal, matching a career high with 10 strikeouts for the second consecutive outing. Williams allowed just three hits over seven innings and was charged with an unearned run when second baseman Tommy Troy hurried a two-out throw to first that sailed high and allowed Mac Bingham to score in the seventh.
Still leading 2-1 headed to the bottom of the eighth, the Cardinal made two more errors in the inning, resulting in two runs. With Joey Dixon now pitching for the Cardinal, Garen Caulfield doubled to start the frame. A pop up followed for the first out, but Drew Bowser made an errant throw to first on the ensuing play following a pitching change that sent Tommy O'Rourke to the mound. The mistake put runners at first and second with one out. Tanner O'Tremba tied the game with a base hit to right field just a few pitches later when Braden Montgomery's strong throw was cut off and relayed past Kody Huff behind the plate.
Tied at two apiece with two out, Tommy Splaine dribbled a grounder to third where Bowser cut it off and spun to check the runner from second back to the bag as he headed into third. His throw behind the runner got away and allowed the eventual winning run to scamper home.
Refusing to surrender, Stanford put the first two aboard in the ninth by way of singles from Brett Barrera and Carter Graham. Junior Owen Cobb pinch ran for Barrera following the leadoff single, and a wild pitch pushed both runners up with nobody out.
Arizona seemingly was conceding the tying run for an out, playing the infield back, but a dribbler toward the hole at shortstop was fielded and played to first for the out – with Cobb holding his ground at the bag.
Pinch hitter Austin Kretzschmar followed by lofting a fly ball to center field where Bingham hauled it in and fired a perfect throw to the plate to cut down Cobb and the game-tying run.
With Williams pitching like an ace, Stanford got on the board first in the fourth inning as Bowser doubled and scored on an RBI-single from Graham.
Graham finished the game 3 for 4 with the RBI, while Bowser went 2 for 4 with the double.
Junior Brock Jones, who led the Pac-12 in home runs a year ago, launched his first of the season in the sixth – lacing a pitch off the batter's eye in center to make it 2-0 Stanford to that point.
Arizona starter TJ Nichols lasted long enough for his offense to put him in the win column, dealing eight-plus innings and surrendering the two runs on eight hits and no walks with eight strikeouts. The victory moved Nichols to 3-0 on the season. Trevor Long, who managed to work out of the jam in the ninth, was credited with his first save of the year.
O'Rourke was saddled with the loss and dropped to 0-3 after allowing the unearned run on two hits while recording the final two outs.
Stanford will look to even the series on Sunday when the two teams meet at noon.