Freshman Tommy Edman gave the Stanford baseball team its first lead in the NCAA Bloomington Regional championship game. He did it with the final swing in a game that needed over six hours, thanks to rain delays, to complete.
Edman hit his third home run of the season, a two-run shot, with one out in the bottom of the ninth to give the Cardinal a shocking 5-4 victory over host Indiana in the championship game of the regional.
"I expected the first pitch to be a good pitch to hit because I knew he didn't want to get behind with a runner on second base," Edman said. "Luckily I got a good fastball to hit and was able to put a good swing on it."
Freshman Cal Quantrill (6-5), who started and earned the win in Friday's regional opener, pitched the final 2 1/3 innings Monday to gain credit for the victory over top-seeded Indiana, the No. 4 overall seed in the NCAA Tournament.
"Coach and I have a good working relationship. We talked about it," Quantrill said. "We knew what I had left. I was begging to start, but they probably did the right thing waiting on that. That was perfect."
The win gives Stanford (34-24) an improbable berth in the NCAA Super Regional and a return trip to Vanderbil (44-18), where the Commodores swept the Cardinal by an aggregate score of 13-4 Feb. 28-March 2.
The series begins Friday at 10 a.m. (PT) and continues Saturday (noon) and Sunday (noon), if necessary. The games will be televisted on ESPN2.
"I am proud of everybody, because it's been a difficult year for us," Stanford coach Mark Marquess said. "We've had to really work and bounce back, and to get to the regional and to come here and win it is something special."
Stanford is the only Pac-12 team, out of five, that advanced to a super regional. Oregon State, Oregon and Washington each lost in their respective regional championship games.
Five freshmen pitchers combined to go 3-0 with a 0.82 ERA in the regional. They gave up four runs, two earned, on 12 hits on 22 innings. They walked nine and struck out 20.
Edman, who has an on-base percentage of .446 as a leadoff hitter, was 3 for 5 with two runs scored. Stanford is 22-10 when he bats leadoff.
"I was just trying to get on base to be honest," Edman said. "Home run was the last thing I expected. Just a pitch I could drive, and luckily I got a good fastball to hit and able to put a good swing on it."
Palo Alto resident Alex Blandino added two hits, extending his team-best streak of reaching base safely to 28 games.
Austin Slater doubled to stretch his hitting streak to 22 games, sixth best since 1988 and one behind Kenny Diekroeger, who hit in 23 straight during the 2010 season.
Stanford has a four-game losing streak in super regional action, last winning in 2008. The Cardinal lost twice to Florida State by a combined 35-8 score in 2012.
Indiana held a 3-0 lead after the top of the third when inclement weather halted the game for nearly three hours.
Edman singled on 1-2 pitch when play resumed and Danny Diekroeger was hit by a pitch. Blandino singled to drive in one run and Zach Hoffpauir singled to bring the Cardinal within 3-2.
Dominic Jose hit a pinch-hit home run leading off the sixth to tie the game, but a two-out throwing error in the eighth opened the door for the Hoosiers to regain the lead at 4-3.
Quantrill battled to get through the eighth and ninth, stranding four runners, while Indiana pitchers set down nine consecutive Stanford hitters following Jose's homer.
Wayne Taylor singled to open the ninth. Brett Michael Doran bunted pinch runner Drew Jackson to second. Edman hit the first pitch he saw over the right-field fence to send Stanford home with the regional title.