Sports

Stanford baseball turns to postseason with high expectations

His final regular season baseball game ended the same way as his first and like many others in-between.

With a win.


Brandon Wulff
In the final year under head coach Mark Marquess, No. 9 Stanford capped a 40-win season with its seventh consecutive victory, 15-1, over Washington State at Bailey-Brayton Field on Saturday in Pac-12 action.

The decisive victory put an exclamation point on an impressive resume for the NCAA selection committee, as Stanford (40-14, 21-9 Pac-12) hopes to land a top eight national seed.

The Cardinal enter the postseason with wins in 21 of its last 23 games, including four Pac-12 sweeps and six consecutive series wins.

Site hosts for the NCAA Regionals will be unveiled on Sunday at 5:30 p.m., and the postseason seeds and field will be announced on Monday at 9 a.m. on ESPN2.

Stanford's 40 regular season wins are the most since 2004, and the most overall since 2012 (41). It is the 21st 40-win season in the 41-year tenure of Coach Marquess, who is retiring at season's end.

Sophomore Brandon Wulff hit a three-run home run in a four-run first inning, and senior starter Chris Castellanos kept the Cougars at bay with just one earned run in seven innings of work.

The first two batters of the game were retired, but Stanford rallied for four two-out runs. Quinn Brodey and Daniel Bakst hit back-to-back opposite-field doubles. Duke Kinamon was hit by a pitch, and then Wulff crushed a three-run blast over the 18-foot high wall in centerfield.

The Cardinal added two more in the fourth. Freshman Maverick Handley found the gap in right centerfield and scampered around the paths for his first career triple. That scored Jack Klein from first. Handley then came in on a sacrifice fly for a 6-0 lead.

Washington State (24-29, 10-20 Pac-12) got one back in the fourth with a two-out double. It was the only blemish for Castellanos (8-3), who scattered eight hits, struck out three and allowed just one run in eight innings.

Stanford blew the game open in the eighth. The Cardinal sent 10 men to the plate and scored six runs on four hits. Freshman Daniel Bakst walked with the bases loaded, but one batter later, the inning appeared over with a two-out strikeout. However, the ball squirted way away from the Cougars catcher, who attempted to throw to first to complete the out. It was off target, sailed past first, and two runs scored. That was followed by RBI doubles from sophomore Alec Wilson and senior Jack Klein to give Stanford a 12-1 lead.

In the ninth, freshman Kyle Stowers added a sacrifice fly, and sophomore Christian Molfetta recorded his first career hit and RBI. Kinamon knocked in another run and the lead was 14.

Freshman Will Matthiessen pitched a scoreless ninth to finish out the regular season.

NUMBERS…

Eleven different Cardinal accounted for Stanford's season-high 18 hits. Junior Jesse Kuet scored twice and went 3-for-4 with a RBI, while Matt Winaker and Nico Hoerner each went 3-for-6. Wulff finished 2-for-4 with a run and three runs batted in. Wilson, who entered in the seventh, finished 1-for-2 with a run, double and two RBI. Bakst was 1-for-3 with two runs, two walks and two RBI.

AND NOTABLES

Stanford's 21 conference wins are the most since the Cardinal won the 1998 Pac-8 Southern Division with a 22-8 mark ... Stanford swept Washington State for the first time since 2012, and the first time in the Palouse since 2005 … The Cardinal last won 40 regular season games with 44 in 2004 (46 overall wins that season) … Stanford went 8-2 in Pac-12 series and 10-3-1 in 14 series this season … A left-handed pitcher started the last 45 games for the Cardinal (since Feb. 28).

Kuet and Wulff extended their hit streaks to a career-best 10 games (second longest this season for the Cardinal behind Bakst's 11) … Winaker has reached base in 25 consecutive games—a career best and the longest streak for a Cardinal since Alex Blandino reached in 31 straight in 2014 … Wulff has reached base in a career-high 14 straight games (second longest this season for the Cardinal behind Winaker) … Castellanos equaled his win total from last season and currently leads the team in that category for the second straight year (16-5 in last two years).

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