John P. Lozano/

Williams Goes the Distance, Stanford Tied for First

STANFORD, Calif. – Senior Alex Williams continued to make his case as one of the best pitchers in the nation on Thursday night, tossing a complete game and allowing just four hits and one walk with four strikeouts as No. 4 Stanford (35-14, 19-9 Pac-12) defeated USC (25-26, 8-20 Pac-12) 7-1 from Sunken Diamond.

Making the final regular-season start of his career, the right-hander threw 98 pitches to navigate the nine innings, striking out two of the final three he faced in the ninth. Williams allowed one-out singles in the first and third innings, and surrendered a run on two hits in the sixth, but retired the final 12 batters he faced.

The complete game was the fourth of Williams' career, including his second of the season after going the distance in an 8-0 shutout over Arizona State on April 8.

With the stellar outing, Williams lowered his Pac-12-best ERA to 1.67 while moving to 8-1 on the year. The native of Castro Valley, Calif. went 5-0 with a 1.36 ERA over 10 starts in Pac-12 play this season, tossing a pair of complete games and recording 64 strikeouts over 66 1/3 innings while limiting Pac-12 hitters to a .172 average against.

Even more impressive, Williams has gone 6-0 with a 0.45 ERA and two complete games over his last eight turns in the rotation. He has struck out 46 hitters over the 59 2/3 innings pitched and has limited opponents to a .164 average against.

Though it was Williams' show on Thursday night, Stanford's offense plated seven runs on 12 hits in the victory. Junior Brock Jones went 3 for 5 with a run scored, two RBIs and his 14th homer of the year – a two-run shot in the sixth that capped Stanford's scoring on the night.

Jones has now hit safely in 17 of his last 19 games while launching 11 homers over the span.

Freshman Braden Montgomery also connected for his 14th homer of the season, getting the scoring started with a two-run blast of his own in the bottom of the first. The native of Madison, Miss. would add an RBI-double in the third to stretch Stanford's lead to 4-0. Montgomery would finish the game 2 for 4 with three RBIs and a run scored.

Junior Brett Barrera, who entered as the team-leader in batting average, raised his mark to .372 with a 3 for 4 night that included a double, two RBIs and a run scored.

USC's Jaden Agassi was saddled with the loss and fell to 3-2 after allowing seven runs (six earned) on 11 hits and one walk over his 5 1/3 innings of work as the Trojan starter.

With the win, teamed with a UCLA victory over Oregon State, Stanford moved into a tie with the Beavers for first place in the Pac-12 standings.

The Cardinal has now won 10 straight, 13 of the last 15, 16 of 19, 21 of 25, and 26 of 32.

Stanford will look to win the series over USC on Saturday when the two teams clash at 7 p.m. in a game that will air live on Pac-12 Network.