STANFORD, Calif. – Two weekends ago the Stanford Cardinal was in fabulous shape heading into a Saturday match-up with the No. 9 Texas Longhorns, having taken the first two games of a four-game set in a pair of hard-fought and dramatic wins (5-4, 5-3) and looking to grab the series win. Stanford was 9-6 and clamoring for a sniff of the Top 25.
Then the leaves fell off as the Cardinal dropped the next two to the Longhorns 3-1 and 12-4. After taking the midweek off the Arizona Wildcats came to town looking to prove themselves and did exactly that, sweeping them out of Sunken Diamond (6-5, 6-4, 6-0) with a complete-game shutout in the getaway game.
Stanford had lost five straight games and needed something to get back on track. On Monday night the Cardinal hosted the scorching hot San Diego Toreros who had just ended an eight-game winning streak and have proven themselves a tough challenge having beaten Texas and Mississippi State twice each on the road as well as knocking off Cal State Fullerton at their place.
San Diego exacerbated matters by jumping to a 2-0 first inning lead on a pair of RBI singles by a pair of freshman, Bryson Brigman (2B) and Hunter Mercado-Hood (LF), to put early pressure on the Cardinal. However, Stanford would respond with its own freshman, shortstop Beau Branton, tying the game with a two-run single in the second.
The Cardinal would stack ‘em up in the fifth, scoring four runs, with three of them coming on junior Austin Barr’s second homer of the year, a shot lined into the thick trees in left, to take a 6-2 lead and they wouldn’t look back. Sophomore Tommy Edman led-off the inning with a single, advanced to second on a sacrifice, third on a balk and then scored on a wild pitch to put Stanford up 3-2.
Lead-off man Edman did his job, pacing the Stanford offense with a 3-for-4 day at the dish that included a first-inning double as the Cardinal loaded the bases with no outs only to see the threat stopped with a foul out and a 6-4-3 double-play ball off the bat of junior third baseman Mikey Diekroeger. The 5’10” 180-pound second baseman stole a base in the sixth and then scored after a pair of wild pitches as he wreaked havoc on the Toreros.
Stanford relief hurler Logan James (2-1, 2.55, .185) tossed four scoreless frames, striking out seven, to improve to 2-1 on the year. The junior southpaw entered the game in the third inning and spread out two hits and two walks on a 60 pitch effort.
Stanford is unbeaten in 2015 when leading after five innings (6-0) or hitting a long ball (4-0) and this win may be just the salve it needs having lost ace Cal Quantrill (2-0, 1.93, .227) to an arm injury that will require Tommy John surgery and with a road trip to desert to face the No. 8 Arizona State Sun Devils this weekend.