Karen Ambrose Hickey/isiphotos

Eight Home Runs Not Enough

STANFORD, Calif. – No. 2 Stanford (45-16) connected for eight home runs, including four in the bottom of the ninth, but came up one run short in a 13-12 loss to Connecticut (50-14) on Saturday night in the opening game of a best-of-three super regional being played at Sunken Diamond.

The eight home runs are the most for the Cardinal in a game since hitting eight vs. Washington State on May 2, 2004.

Junior Brock Jones hit three of the eight home runs – launching a two-run shot in the second, a solo homer in the seventh, and a two-run blast in the ninth. The three-homer game was the second of Jones' career after hitting three at No. 8 Texas Tech on June 12, 2021 in the super regional round. The multi-homer game is the sixth of Jones' career – including his fourth of the season.

Jones finished the game 3 for 5 with five RBIs and has now connected for 20 homers this season.

Sophomore Drew Bowser also turned in a multi-homer game, belting a pair to record his second career multi-homer game. Bowser, who went 2 for 5 with three RBIs, hit a two-run homer in the second and a solo shot to open back-to-back homers with Tommy Troy in the ninth to cut the deficit to one run.

In addition to the long balls from Jones, Bowser and Troy, freshman Braden Montgomery connected for a two-run shot in the ninth – his 17th of the season. Junior Brett Barrera provided the other round-tripper for the Cardinal, hitting a solo shot with two outs in the seventh.

The Cardinal managed to put the tying run aboard with two outs in the ninth as Eddie Park walked following the homers from Bowser and Troy, but Adam Crampton struck out to end the game.

UConn built what seemed to be a comfortable lead early, taking advantage of an error to plate a run in the first before scoring eight times in the second. The Huskies chased 2022 Pac-12 Pitcher of the Year Alex Williams after just 1 1/3 inning, tagging him for seven runs (six earned) on seven hits. Williams dropped to 8-3 with the loss.

Freshman right-hander Pat Gallagher worked the first 6 1/3 innings for UConn, allowing five runs on nine hits and a walk with eight strikeouts. Gallagher improved to 11-3 with the win.

The Huskies managed 13 runs on 17 hits, including scoring the eight runs on nine hits in the second. Two-run homers from Korey Morton and Matt Donlan highlighted the eight-run frame, as both players finished with two hits.

The Cardinal made a handful of uncharacteristic mistakes on Saturday, beginning with a dropped fly ball from Park that led to a run in the first. A pair of aggressive base running decisions also resulted in outs as Bowser tried to score on an unsuccessful double play turn in the fourth and was thrown out at the plate with Jones waiting in the on-deck circle. Trailing 13-4 in the seventh, Crampton tried to stretch a double into a triple and was thrown out for the first out of the inning. Jones hit the very next pitch over the wall in left-center field for a solo home run.

With the victory, UConn is now one win away from a berth in the College World Series. The Cardinal will attempt to stave off elimination and force a decisive game on Monday when the two teams clash at 4 p.m. on Sunday.