The Stanford baseball team needed to win Friday night's game against visiting UCLA more than Mark Appel needed to set a career strikeout record.
Fortunately it worked out well for both Appel and the Cardinal.
Appel struck out nine and allowed three hits in eight strong innings, helping Stanford edge the visiting Bruins, 2-1, in a critical Pac-12 showdown.
Garrett Hughes earned his fourth save behind a pair of ninth-inning strikeouts to preserve Stanford's ninth win over a top-25 opponent this season.
"Mark pitched a great game and to be able to finish the game for him was nice," Hughes said. "It was a momentous occasion with his strikeout record."
A botched bunt and a sacrifice fly turned into Stanford's saviors in the game as the Cardinal scored twice in the bottom of the sixth to overcome an early UCLA run.
Stanford (15-13, 31-21) and the Bruins continue their series with a 7 p.m. game Saturday, to be televised on Pac-12 Networks.
Appel (10-4) struck out the side in the first inning, enough to move past Kyle Peterson and Justin Wayne and onto the top of the career list. He has 372 total strikeouts in 377 1/3 innings.
The Cardinal got all the runs it would need in the sixth. Justin Ringo opened the inning with a double. Austin Slater missed two bunt attempts, but then saved his at bat by hitting a triple off the left-center field wall to tie the game. Brian Ragira followed with a sacrifice fly.