Bob Drebin/isiphotos.com

Cardinal Holds Off Arizona, Advances to Championship

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. – Leading 5-2 headed to the ninth inning, No. 3 Stanford (40-14) bent but did not break, allowing two runs and stranding the tying run in scoring position to post a 5-4 victory over Arizona (37-23) and advance to Sunday's Pac-12 Tournament championship game.

With the win, Stanford has won 15 consecutive games – the longest unbeaten streak since opening the 1998 season 16-0-1. The current win streak is the longest since posting 18 straight from April 16 – May 24, 1996.

The victory was also the 700th of Clarke and Elizabeth Nelson Director of Baseball David Esquer's career.

Sophomore Joey Dixon got the start and pitched effectively, allowing two runs on five hits and two walks with five strikeouts over six innings to pick up the win and move to 6-3.

With Stanford leading 3-2 in the fourth inning, Dixon escaped a bases-loaded jam by striking out Arizona's All-America catcher Daniel Susac. The right-hander faced the minimum over his next two innings before turning the ball over to Quinn Mathews.

Mathews cruised through his first two innings of work, but ran into trouble in the ninth while protecting the three-run cushion. A leadoff single and a triple plated the first run of the frame before Mac Bingham contributed a sacrifice fly to cut the lead to one at 5-4. Mathews got the next hitter to ground out to shortstop, but Susac singled on a two-strike pitch to extend the game. A balk moved pinch-runner Cameron LaLiberte to second and Stanford elected to walk Tanner O'Tremba. The move paid off as Tyler Casagrande fouled out to Drew Bowser at third base to end the game.

Hurling the final three innings in relief, Mathews was credited with his seventh save of the year.

In addition to squeezing the final pop up of the game, Bowser made an impact on the offensive side as well – leading off the eighth inning with a double and coming around to score what proved to be the game-winning run on a Tommy Troy single.

The Cardinal got on the board first on Saturday without the benefit of a hit. Brock Jones and Carter Graham led off the first inning with walks before a productive ground ball and a Braden Montgomery sacrifice fly plated a run.

After Arizona scored twice in the third inning to take a 2-1 lead, Stanford responded for two in the home half of the frame to reclaim the advantage it would not relinquish the rest of the way. Graham provided the offense, launching his Pac-12-best 20th home run of the year – a two-run shot to left-center field to chase Arizona starter Anthony Susac.

Susac was ultimately charged with three runs on the one hit and four walks over two-plus innings pitched. The right-hander dropped to 4-3 with the setback.

Jones, who finished 1 for 2 with three runs scored and a pair of walks, scored Stanford's fourth run of the game in the fifth after scampering home on an RBI-single from Montgomery.

With the win, Stanford advances to the Pac-12 Tournament championship game where it will face either Oregon State or UCLA at 7 p.m. PT on Sunday.