Stanford sweeps Utah; hopes to hear name called on Monday

Stanford reached 30 wins Sunday and the Cardinal will find out Monday if it was good enough to qualify for the NCAA baseball tournament.

Stanford beat host Utah, 9-7 and 3-2, to complete its first Pac-12 Conference sweep and it could not have come at a better time. The selection show will air on ESPNU beginning at 9 a.m. Monday.

The Cardinal (16-14 Pac-12, 30-23 overall) entered the week ranked 47th in the RPI. Stanford finishes tied for fifth in the conference with USC, which started the week rated 80th before winning two of three from Pac-12 champion Oregon State.

The Trojans took two of three from Stanford in their conference series, March 21-23, although both teams scored 12 runs. USC won 4-3, lost, 6-2, and won, 6-3, in 10 innings.

The Cardinal went 22-13 the rest of the way, while the Trojans finished 17-14. Stanford won 11 of its final 15 regular-season games to reach its best winning percentage of the year.

"It was huge," Cardinal coach Mark Marquess said. "We put ourselves in position to hopefully go to the postseason. You can't do any more than sweep."

The RPI rating is a key component to the NCAA tournament selection committee, as is how a team fares during the final stretch. Stanford, which has won four consecutive conference series, compiled a 19-8 record since its last losing streak, April 11-12, to Washington.

Zach Hoffpauir, who collected five hits in Friday's game, hit go-ahead home runs in each end of Sunday's doubleheader.

He legged out a three-run, inside-the-park shot to break a 5-5 tie in the seventh inning of game one. Hoffpauir drilled a 3-0 pitch off the top of the wall in left field and it trickled along the warning track.

In the second game, he sent a 1-2 offering over the left field wall in the third to snap a 1-1 score.

"He has really been swinging it," Marquess said. "He got the big hits today and really won the game for us. He has played phenomenal over the last five or six weeks."

John Hochstatter (10-1) became the third Stanford pitcher to win 10 games in a season by completing six innings in the first game while allowing five runs on seven hits.

Hochstatter joins Mark Appel, who reached the 10-win plateau in 2012 and 2013, and Jeff Gilmore, who won 10 games in 2005. The junior lefty finishes the regular season with an 8-0 mark in Pac-12 games and a .188 batting average against by conference opponents.

Logan James (3-3) put together the longest outing of his career in the afternoon session. James pitched 7 2/3 innings to extend his streak pitching into the eighth inning to three straight. He allowed two runs on seven hits.

Marcus Brakeman, who recorded the final four outs to earn his first save, pitched with the potential tying run in scoring position in each the eighth and ninth.

A.J. Vanegas earned his team-leading seventh save in the first game with three innings of work. He allowed two runs, one earned, on three hits.

Palo Alto resident Alex Blandino and Menlo School grad Danny Diekroeger each recorded three hits on the day, as did Hoffpauir.

Blandino, who has reached base in 23 straight games, hit his 11th home run in game one, before collecting a pair of hits in the nightcap. All three of Diekroeger's hits came in the morning contest.

Austin Slater had hits in each game to extend his hitting streak to 17 games, the ninth-best in Stanford history since 1988.

Slater surpassed Kenny Diekroeger (16, 2011) and John Mayberry Jr. (16, 2003) to move into a tie with Sam Fuld (17, 2003).

Stanford's postseason resume is highlighted by 24 games against the RPI top 50, nearly half its schedule, including series victories over Oregon, Arizona State and Kansas.

— Palo Alto Online Sports/Stanford Athletics


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