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Scott Gould/isiphotos.com
Baseball

Cardinal Falls at Santa Clara

SANTA CLARA, Calif. – Playing on the road at Santa Clara on Tuesday night, Stanford (17-21) dropped a 4-2 decision to Santa Clara (19-18) in the first of two games between the two programs within a span of a week.

After loading the bases on a walk and two singles, Stanford got on the board first in the second inning as Temo Becerra lofted a deep fly ball to center field to chase home Brandon Larson on a sacrifice fly.

The Cardinal nearly extended the lead to 2-0 in the third as Malcolm Moore broke from first on a double down the right field line from Larson, racing around the bags to cross the plate. Unfortunately for Stanford, the ball rolled into the Bronco bullpen for a ground-rule double that forced Moore back to third. The Cardinal stranded the two runners one play later.

Still without a hit in the fourth, Santa Clara loaded the bases on a pair of walks and a hit-by-pitch issued by Stanford starter Ryan Speshyock. Ben Reimers entered from the Cardinal bullpen and inherited the jam, striking out the first hitter he faced, but allowing a single to right field – the first of the night for Santa Clara - that skipped by Cort MacDonald, rolled to the wall and cleared the bases to give Santa Clara a 3-1 lead.

After both teams failed to score in the fifth, sixth and seventh innings, the Cardinal benefitted from a pair of balks in the top of the eighth to cut the deficit to one as Jimmy Nati singled and advanced all the way to third on two balks charged to Blake Hammond. Trevor Haskins clutched up with a two-out single to right field later in the inning, running the tally to 3-2.

Refusing to surrender momentum, Santa Clara answered with an insurance run in the bottom of the eighth. Coleman Brigman won a foot race to first base for an infield single before scampering to third on a double. A chopper up the first base line resulted in an RBI-single on the ensuing play, reclaiming a two-run cushion for the Broncos.

Stanford used three freshman pitchers in the loss, with Ryan Speshyock working the first 3 1/3 innings. The right-hander did not allow a hit, but walked four while allowing three runs (one earned) with three strikeouts to fall to 0-2 on the year. Ben Reimers recorded two outs out of the bullpen before Joey Volchko worked the final four innings. Volchko was charged with one run on four hits and five walks while striking out three.

Santa Clara used five pitchers over the course of the game, with Josh Johnson earning the victory and improving to 3-1 after throwing two scoreless innings with four strikeouts. Max Bayles earned his third save of the year, contributing a scoreless ninth inning.

The Cardinal will return home this weekend, hosting California in a three-game Pac-12 series beginning Friday at 6 p.m. All three games against the Golden Bears will be broadcast live on Pac-12 Networks.

GAME NOTES:

  • Stanford has lost 15 of the last 24 overall after winning seven of its previous eight.
  • The Cardinal allowed the first run in seven of its first eight games of the season, but has scored first in 20 of the last 30 ... dropped to 12-9 when scoring first in a game this season.
  • Charlie Saum (1-for-4) has hit safely in six straight games and is batting .385 (10-for-26) with nine runs scored, two doubles, three homers and seven RBIs over the streak.
  • The Cardinal struck out 13 times offensively and issued nine walks.
  • Stanford head coach David Esquer was ejected at the end of the eighth inning by home plate umpire Alex Nash.
  • Owen Cobb (1-for-3) has hit safely in 12 of his last 16 games, managing multiple hits in nine of those contests.
  • Cort MacDonald (1-for-3) has hit safely in six straight, 14 of his last 15 games, and 20 of his last 22, while reaching in all but three of his games played this year.
  • Haskins (2-for-4, RBI) has hit safely in seven straight, 16 of his last 17, and 20 of his last 24 games overall.