John Lozano/

Williams Dominant in Shutout

SALT LAKE CITY – Senior Alex Williams continued his string of stellar starts on Friday night, dealing eight shutout frames while allowing three hits and striking out six to guide No. 8 Stanford (31-14, 16-9 Pac-12) to a 5-0 victory over Utah (25-22-1, 10-15 Pac-12) from Smith's Ballpark.

The shutout was Stanford's eighth of the season – the most in the Pac-12 and second-most in the nation this year (Vanderbilt, 9). Stanford's eight shutouts are tied for sixth-most in program history and the most since posting eight in 2001.

Williams, who improved to 7-1 with the victory, needed only 88 pitches to navigate the eight frames, retiring 13 straight from the end of the second through the sixth.

With Friday's effort, Williams lowered his season ERA to a Pac-12-best 1.75. He is 4-0 in Pac-12 play, sporting a 1.41 ERA over nine starts and 57 1/3 innings. Particularly impressive over his last seven turns, the right-hander is 5-0 with a 0.36 ERA (2 ER in 50 2/3 innings) over that string.

The Cardinal, which entered the weekend as the Pac-12 leader in home runs with 62, launched three more on Friday night – including two from junior Brock Jones. The multi-homer game was the third of the year for Jones, and the fifth of his career. The native of Fresno, Calif. has now connected for 11 round-trippers this season.

Junior Kody Huff got the Cardinal on the board with a solo homer in the second. The home run was Huff's seventh of the season and came as part of a 3 for 4 day that included his team-best 17th double of the year.

Jones' first of the game extended the Cardinal lead to 2-0 in the third before Stanford plated an unearned run in the fifth after taking advantage of a throwing error charged to the Utah shortstop.

Jones, who finished 2 for 5 out of the leadoff spot, launched his second homer of the game – an opposite-field shot – in the seventh.

Sophomore Eddie Park scored the final run of the game in the eighth, singling and moving to second on a sacrifice bunt. Adam Crampton lofted a fly ball to right-center field on the ensuing play and Park tagged up and scored from second as the throw came in looping toward second.

Carter Graham joined Huff with a three-hit night, finishing 3 for 5 to raise his average to .342.

Utah starter Matthew Sox was saddled with the loss and dropped to 4-4 after allowing four runs (three earned) on eight hits – including the three solo homers. Sox struck out a career-best 11 hitters – falling one short of the Utah program record.

The Utes managed to make things interesting in the bottom of the ninth, loading the bases with one out, but Quinn Mathews induced a 1-2-3 game-ending double play to seal the shutout victory.

Stanford will look to earn the series win on Saturday when the two teams meet at 1 p.m. PT.