Cardinal Claws Cougars

STANFORD, Calif. – No. 3 Stanford tightened its grip on the Pac-12 standings with a 10-1 win against Washington State on Friday night at Sunken Diamond.

"Tonight is always a special night and the crowd really got behind us once we got going," said Clarke and Elizabeth Nelson Director of Baseball David Esquer. "Fireworks night is a staple at Stanford, and it was a treat for us to play in front of such an energetic crowd and get the win."

Beau Branton led the Cardinal (41-8 overall, 19-6 Pac-12) by going 4-for-4 with one double, three RBI and two runs, reaching base five times for the second time in three games. Christian Molfetta tied his career high with three hits, scoring all three times he reached base, and Christian Robinson finished 2-for-4 with one double, one RBI and two runs.

Stanford currently sits 1.5 games ahead of No. 2 Oregon State for first place in the Pac-12 conference. The Cardinal would clinch the conference championship with four more conference wins.

Starter Tristan Beck (8-3) earned the win, allowing one run on five hits and three walks with four strikeouts. Zach Grech relieved him to toss a scoreless seventh, and Austin Weiermiller struck out two over 1.1 while allowing two hits. Carson Rudd got the final two outs, inducing a six-four-three double play on his first pitch.

Stanford took the lead in the third inning after Tim Tawa's two-out triple to score Branton from first, but the Cougars (15-29-1, 7-17-1) responded with a run of its own in the top of the fourth. Stanford then put up three-spots in each of the next three frames, started by Nico Hoerner's two-run double in the fifth. Andrew Daschbach's sacrifice fly made it 4-1, and Molfetta's RBI single to score Robinson made it 5-1 in the sixth.

No glove, no problem.

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"Beau continues to do what he has done all year, Robinson looks like he's hitting it well again, but you have to tip your cap to the job of Christian Molfetta," said Esquer. "He's been receiving the ball very well in place of Handley, and to pitch in three hits tonight was tremendous from him."

Branton then doubled into the left-field corner, scoring Alec Wilson and Molfetta. Stanford tacked on three more in the seventh – Robinson singled home Daschbach, Molfetta doubled to score Robinson and Branton's two-out single brought in Molfetta.

No. 2 Stanford returns to action tomorrow at 1:30 p.m. PT for Game 2 against Washington State. The game will air on Pac-12 networks with live statistics available at Sunday's contest will start at Noon – senior day ceremonies will begin at approximately 11:50 a.m.

Cardinal Notes

  • Beck's season ERA dips to 2.79 after the win.
  • Washington State starter Hayden Rosenkrantz (0-2) took the loss.
  • Molfetta's three runs were a career high.
  • Branton Wulff finished 0-1 with a walk, replacing Will Matthiessen as the designated hitter in the sixth inning.
  • Branton had five hits in Stanford's comeback, 9-6 win at No. 3 Oregon State on Sunday.
  • Matthew Decker had a pinch-hit single in the eighth inning.
  • Bryce Carter played the final frame in left field.
  • Wilson reached base twice with a walk and a single, scoring one run.