Wayne Taylor came off the bench and, with one swing of his bat, made sure Stanford would play at least one more baseball game this season.
The catcher-outfielder, in his role as a pinch-hitter, drove a ball over the center-field fence in the top of the eighth inning to give the Cardinal the lead of an anxiety-filled game. Stanford went on to beat host Indiana, 10-7, Sunday night in the NCAA Bloomington Regional.
"It was a great college baseball game," Stanford coach Mark Marquess said. "Both teams I thought played extremely well. I thought A.J. Vanegas did a great job. That's probably the longest he's gone all year, and then Wayne Taylor, the three-run home run obviously was the one that really put us over."
Stanford and Indiana meet one last time Monday, with first pitch slated for 2:30 p.m. (PT), in a winner-take-all contest that will decide which club advances to a super regional next weekend.
Taylor has filled several different roles over the course of the season for the Cardinal, each one well. Sunday became the highlight.
"I thought that was a pretty good pitch," said Taylor. "I ended up getting the barrel on it and driving it pretty well."
Until then, the Hoosiers had Stanford stymied. Even when the Cardinal tried to make a move, Indiana spoiled the plans. That is, until Taylor selected a bat out of the rack and started preparing for his one at bat.
Indiana lost for the first time in 40 games when leading after the seventh inning.
"It was a tough loss," Hoosiers coach Tracy Smith said. "We left a couple of balls up, they did what they were supposed to do and made us pay. Stanford did a good job coming in here and beating us. Other than that, I thought it was a good ballgame."
Vanegas (3-3) entered the game a little earlier than Marquess would have liked, but he performed well enough over a season-best 5 1/3 innings to keep Stanford close until the moment of truth arrived.
"I was just trying to give my team an energy boost," Vanegas added. "We had fallen back, fallen behind, and just pitched with a lot of energy and just tried to get the momentum on our side."
Stanford tacked on three runs in the ninth, which proved helpful. Indiana had the bases loaded with nobody out to start, courtesy of three walks issued by reliever Marcus Brakeman, who shut down the Hoosiers in the eighth.
Chris Castellanos took over and needed to face just two batters to record three outs. He got an infield grounder that plated one run and then gave up a line drive that senior Brett Michael Doran joyfully speared and raced to first base to complete a game-ending, unassisted double play.
Stanford beat Youngstown State, 12-4, earlier in the day just for the chance to meet Indiana. With 10 runs in the nightcap, the Cardinal scored double-digit runs in back-to-back games for the first time this season.
Austin Slater and Zach Hoffpauir led the offense, each with three hits. Hoffpauir was a double shy of the cycle. He crushed a homer in the second and laced a triple to right center in the ninth. Slater moved his hitting streak to 21 games, passing current assistant coach Ryan Garko for sixth on Stanford's list since 1988.
Brant Whiting also went deep as part of Stanford's second back-to-back home run performance of the day. Earlier, Danny Diekroeger and Alex Blandino went back-to-back in the game against Youngstown State.
Stanford's hot hitting continued with a 7-for-18 (.389) outing with runners on base against Indiana. The Cardinal also went 5-13 (.385) with two outs and out-hit the Hoosiers, 14-9.
Logan James started the night on the hill for Stanford, but could not get out of the second. Indiana knocked him around for four runs on five hits, which led Marquess to dip into the bullpen early.
Against the Penguins, freshman Brett Hanewich pitched seven strong innings to help Stanford advance.
Hanewich (4-4) won his third consecutive decision, allowing two runs, one earned, on three hits. He walked three and struck out nine.
Diekroeger had three hits in the game, but did his damage with one swing of the bat in the second inning, slamming a three-run shot as part of a six-run rally. Blandino followed Diekroeger with his 12th home run of the year.
Hanewich struggled to throw strikes in the first inning, walking two and hitting a batter as Youngstown State scored twice without getting a hit. The Penguins scored twice on a Diekroeger error.
Doran and Tommy Edman lined back-to-back two-out singles to drive in runs ahead of Diekroeger's blast.
Hanewich settled down and retired 10 straight batters between the first and fourth innings and the Cardinal gave him three more runs on a double, three walks, a sac fly and a Youngstown State error in the fourth.
Stanford's Tyler Thorne and Sam Lindquist pitched the eighth and ninth, respectively. Thorne put up a zero, before Lindquist allowed two runs on three hits.
Drew Jackson and Taylor hit back-to-back triples in the bottom of the eighth to plate the 12th run. The lineup tied its season-high of 12 runs, established Feb. 16 against Rice.