John P. Lozano/Stanford Athletic

Hot Start Continues

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STANFORD, Calif. – A lights-out performance in relief by Jacob Palisch punctuated a four-game sweep of Rice on Sunday with a 2-0 win over the Owls at Sunken Diamond.

"Jacob showed tremendous poise today, coming into the game and getting us out of a really tough situation," said Clarke and Elizabeth Nelson Director of Baseball David Esquer. "Sometimes you're going to have to absorb some punches and battle through close games, and today was another good challenge for us."

With the bases loaded and no outs, Palisch replaced starter Brendan Beck in the top of the fourth inning, retiring all three batters in the frame to keep the Owls (3-5) off the board. Palisch earned the win, going 3.2 innings in relief with seven strikeouts, no walks and one hit. Zach Grech earned his first save of the season, throwing a perfect final two innings with just 13 pitches.

"You love to see Zach doing such a great job on the back end of our bullpen," said Esquer. "He has looked better and better every time we give him the ball and today was the best he has looked yet."

The Cardinal's 8-0 start ties the 2012 team for best start since 1998 when Stanford went unbeaten in its first 17 contests. Stanford got the winning run in the bottom of the first inning when Daniel Bakst drove one off the right-field wall to score Maverick Handley. Bakst and Brandon Wulff each finished 2-for-4 and were responsible for all but two of Stanford's six hits.

The Cardinal tacked on an insurance run in the seventh inning when Nico Hoerner's sacrifice fly scored Beau Branton. Between Palisch, Grech, Bakst and John Henry Styles, Stanford's bullpen pitched six shutout innings, allowing just four total base runners.  

"I thought our pitchers and our defense were excellent again, and these are the games we'll need to win down the stretch when we get into the conference season," added Esquer.

Stanford returns to action next week when it hosts Michigan for a four-game series at Sunken Diamond, starting on Friday at 6 p.m. PT. Saturday will be a double header with start times at 1 p.m. and 5 p.m., with Sunday's finale set for 2 p.m.  The first three games will stream at, and Sunday's game will air on Pac-12 Networks.

Cardinal Notes

  • Stanford pitchers struck out 10 batters on Sunday – the Cardinal had nine or more strikeouts in all four games, including a season-high 14 in Game 1.
  • Starter Brendan Beck lasted 3.0+ innings, finishing with three strikeouts, three walks and five hits.
  • Brandon Wulff upped his average to .462 with an OPS of 1.240.
  • Three Cardinal own on-base averages of above .400 – Wulff (.548), Nico Hoerner (.424) and Andrew Daschbach (.452).