After a while, winning becomes a habit. It inspires belief.
Stanford was down Saturday, trailing 4-2 against Arizona State heading into the bottom of the eighth.
Alec Wilson/Stanford Athletics
“This team is so special,’’ said right fielder Alec Wilson. “Thirty-five guys who can make a difference.’’
By the end of the inning Stanford had turned a 4-2 deficit into an 11-4 lead with a nine-run rally. The Cardinal went on to an 11-6 victory in front of a crowd of 1,326 on a sun-splashed afternoon at Sunken Diamond.
The big hit in that eighth-inning explosion was supplied by cleanup hitter Andrew Daschbach, the sophomore from Sacred Heart Prep who’s been doing a lot of cleaning off the bases all season.
The Cardinal had tied it 4-4 after an RBI single by Beau Branton and a hot grounder hit to third by Tim Tawa that went for an error. Runners were on second and third and ASU coach Tracy Smith ordered Nico Hoerner to be walked intentionally to load the bases and set up the double play with Daschbach, who was 0-for-3 with two strikeouts to that point, at bat.
The count went to 3-and-0 and Daschbach took a called strike to make it 3-and-1. But that was the end of taking pitches in that at-bat. Daschbach swung at the next offering and drove it over the wall just to the left of straightaway center for a grand slam.
“The first strike I swung at all game was the one I hit,’’ Daschbach said.
The Cardinal added three more runs that inning which helped make the two runs ASU came up with in the ninth inconsequential.
Stanford is now 26-5 on the season, 8-3 in the Pac-12.
“That was a great test for us,’’ Daschbach said. “Rallying back from three or four runs down. We haven’t had to do that too often.’’
This season, the first with David Esquer having taken over from Mark Marquess as head coach, has resulted in an astonishing display of dominance. Stanford has scored 198 runs this season and only allowed 102, nearly doubling up the opposition.
Daschbach, a tremendous three-sport athlete in high school who played sparingly at Stanford as a freshman, has nine home runs and 37 RBIs in 106 at-bats this season.
Success breeds belief.
“Historically, when I’ve been up to hit, 0 for 3 with a couple of strikeouts, I’d be looking to run and hide,’’ he said. “This time, my positive mindset made me want to be in that situation.’’
Wilson, who went into the game with a .172 batting average, had a triple and a single and three RBIs out of the No. 9 spot in the batting order.
Kris Bubic, the junior left-hander from Archbishop Mitty, went seven innings, allowing eight hits and four runs, walking one and striking out seven.
He departed with the Cardinal headed to an apparent loss. But when the team rallied and got him off the hook it made it 16 consecutive starts by Bubic ending up with a Stanford win.