Cardinal Clinches Conference

SEATTLE – No. 3 Stanford clinched its first Pac-12 Conference Championship since 2004 on Saturday with a dramatic 6-5 comeback against Washington on Saturday at Husky Ballpark.

Trailing 5-3 in the top of the ninth, Will Matthiessen's two-run home run tied the game at five before Nico Hoerner beat out an infield single to score Alec Wilson with two out. The championship is the Cardinal's (44-10 overall, 21-9 Pac-12) first since 2004 in the first season under Clarke and Elizabeth Nelson Director of Baseball David Esquer.

"I can't tell you how proud I am of this team and every single one of these players," said Esquer. "This team is never out of it. I love coaching these guys, I love watching them play and our coaching staff has done just a great job of preparing them for moments like this."

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The comeback was a microcosm of Stanford's season full of ninth-inning comebacks, reminiscent of Game 3 at Oregon State on May 13 when Matthiessen's three-run double in extra innings sealed a much-needed win for Stanford. Hoerner finished with three hits, including the game-winning RBI, Matthiessen finished 2-for-3 and Jack Little earned the win in 2.0 relief innings while striking out four.

The Huskies (30-23, 20-10) took the early lead with a two-run double in the opening frame, but Brandon Wulff's two-run blast in the second tied it at two apiece. It was Wulff's first home run since March 25 after missing seven weeks through injury.

Washington plated runs in the fifth and sixth innings before Kyle Stowers' solo shot to right cut the deficit in half. Washington scored again in the eighth, setting up Stanford's three-run ninth, punctuated by Matthiessen's seventh home run of the season and Hoerner's hustle to beat out the infield single and put Stanford ahead.

Starter Kris Bubic exited after 5.0+, striking out five while allowing three earned runs on five hits. Bubic finished with 97 pitches and was replaced by Jacob Palisch, who was charged with one run on one hit in 2.0+ innings. Little replaced Palisch with 1 out in the eighth, surrendering two hits to earn the win and strike out the side in the bottom of the ninth.  

"This league proved how much quality it has top to bottom," said Esquer. "Heading into the postseason, the key is getting comfortable being uncomfortable, and I have full confidence in this team."

Sixteen regional hosts for the NCAA Tournament will be announced on Sunday at 5:30 p.m. PT, followed by the release of the entire postseason field at 9 a.m. on Monday. Stanford is expected to host a regional site for the 17th time in program history.