Freshman Mariah Stackhouse shot a 5-under-par 67 in a bogey-free second round, tying for first at the women's golf Pac-12 Championships at the Valencia Country Club on Tuesday.
Stanford, led by Stackhouse, moved into seventh after notching an 18-over-par 594 (298-296).
No. 1 (Golfweek) USC continued to lead the tournament at 571 (280-291), followed by No. 8 UCLA who checked in second at 582 (290-292). No. 14 Washington (293-291) remained in third with 584.
The No. 11 Cardinal, which opened 18 strokes back, now trails USC by 23 strokes heading into the final round.
In her first collegiate bogey-free round, Stackhouse fired birdies on the fourth, seventh, ninth, 13th and 18th holes while parring the rest.
"Hole number nine is a great opportunity for birdie since it's possible to reach in two solid shots," said Stackhouse who vies for her third collegiate title. "I hit a decent second shot and left myself with an easy up and down for birdie. I like the back nine, and I knew that making the turn at three under would put me in a good position for a low round today."
Stackhouse, who has a 71.7 stroke average in 24 rounds of competition, has finished in the top 10 in seven of the eight tournament events on the season.
"Mariah plays her best when she is relaxed and having fun, and she is in that place now," said Anne Walker, Stanford's Margot and Mitch Milias Director of Women's Golf. "Today she hit the ball a lot better. Yesterday she was favoring her right side at address, but today she centered herself and that instantly improved her ball flight and contact."
After an opening-round 76, Mariko Tumangan shot a 74 to come in second for the Cardinal. The sophomore is in 29th at 150.
Sally Watson, the first-round leader, followed her 72 with an 80 for 150. The senior is tied for 32nd.
"As a senior, Sally has a lot more to offer and I know she will play better tomorrow," Walker said. "Unfortunately, we had three players have a rough day and that put us in seventh. We are determined to move up the leaderboard tomorrow and I am confident we will."
With a pair of 77s, Cardinal junior Danielle Frasier is tied for 41st at 154. One stroke behind was teammate Lauren Kim (77-78), who tied for 43rd at 155.
"It is definitely a big goal of mine to be in contention heading into the final day," Stackhouse said. "I'm going to focus my attention on being under par on each nine, which is something I work toward during each tournament. I'm not thinking too hard about winning. I just want to put up another solid number and do my part for the team."
Justin Ringo hit two home runs, including a grand slam, and drove in five runs to help No. 21 Stanford down visiting San Jose State, 17-2, in a nonconference game Tuesday.
Austin Wilson also hit two home runs and Brian Ragira, the reigning Pac-12 Player of the Week, hit a solo shot as the Cardinal (23-12) won its fifth in six games.
The 17 runs were a season high. The Cardinal has outscored its opponents, 59-27, in its past six games.
Wilson and Ragira each had four hits while Austin Taylor doubled three times. Menlo School grad Danny Diekroeger added two hits and drove in two runs.
Dave Nakama made his Sunken Diamond debut Tuesday as head coach at San Jose State (13-27). Nakama, who is in his first season with the Spartans, was familiar with the surroundings having served two stints as an assistant coach at Stanford (1997-98, 2002-09).
In Nakama's 10 seasons at Stanford, the Cardinal won four Pac-10 championships, five NCAA Regional crowns and appeared in the College World Series four times (1997, 2002, 2003, and 2008).
Nakama's club got out to a short-lived 1-0 lead before the Cardinal went to work.
San Jose State starter Daniel Chavez, a transfer from College of San Mateo, did not record an out in the first inning as Stanford sent 14 men to the plate.
Chavez gave up three singles, a walk and hit a batter before before replaced. Diekroeger singled in two runs to finish Chavez's day.
Brian Guymon greeted the next Spartans' pitcher with a sacrifice fly. Taylor walked and both Alex Blandino and Drew Jackson were hit by pitches to load the bases for Ringo, who homered over the right-field fence.
Bobby Zarubin went the first five innings, allowing a run on five hits. He struck out seven and did not walk a batter. He won for the third time in four decisions.
Stanford travels to Oregon for a Pac-12 series beginning Friday at 7 p.m.
Stanford defeated visiting Santa Clara, 3-2, Tuesday, at the ACSR Sand Volleyball Courts, finishing the season with a 7-1 record.
It's the third time in as many meetings the Cardinal has downed the Broncos.
Stanford fell behind early as Santa Clara's Alyssa Anderson and Haley Cameron defeated Brittney Howard and Carly Wopat, 21-16, 21-15, at the No. 2 spot.
Wopat recorded 18 kills, 10 digs and an ace, while Howard added nine digs and two blocks.
Playing at No. 1 together for the first time, Stanford's Jordan Burgess and Rachel Williams tied the match up with a 21-17, 17-21, 15-8 win over Taylor Milton and Dani Rottman.
Williams finished with 15 kills, 18 digs and five aces, while Burgess added 11 kills, 20 digs and two aces.
Santa Clara regained the match lead, 2-1, as Lacey Maas and Kim Meyers defeated the Cardinal's No. 5 pair of Lydia Bai and Morgan Boukather (21-19, 16-21, 17-15).
Bai posted 16 kills and 18 digs for Stanford, while Boukather chipped in with 12 kills, 11 digs and four aces.
Stanford's No. 4 pair of Madi Bugg and Mary Ellen Luck tied the match up at 2-2 with a 19-21, 21-18, 15-4 win over Katy Schatzman and Chloe Sliger.
Luck registered 20 kills and 25 digs, while Bugg totaled 10 kills, 22 digs and six aces.
Clinching the match for Stanford was the No. 3 team of Inky Ajanaku and Kyle Gilbert. The Cardinal topped Kat Douglas and Sarah Vacarro, 21-19, 21-13.
Ajanaku tallied 11 kills, eight digs and nine blocks, while Gilbert finished 14 kills, eight digs and three aces.
Track and field
Stanford sophomore Brianna Bain was named Pac-12 Women's Field Athlete of the Week for her record-setting performance at the Big Meet on Saturday.
Competing in her second meet of the season, Bain, of Beaverton, Ore., had a throw of 183-10 to break her own school record of 180-2, which placed her second in the NCAA Championships last season. The throw was the farthest among collegians this season and the second-longest among Americans this year.
This is Bain's second Pac-12 weekly honor, both after her performances in the annual dual meet against Cal. On Saturday, her throw helped the Cardinal beat Cal, 102-61, at Cobb Track and Angell Field. It was Stanford's 15th victory in the series in 17 years.
Last year, Bain threw 171-2 against Cal and went on to win the Pac-12 title. She unleashed her top throw in her final toss of the NCAA competition, improving by 12 feet. She would go on to compete at the U.S. Olympic trials, placing 13th, and was second in the U.S. junior national championships.
Bain, who entered Saturday's Big Meet with a season-best of 158-10, next competes at the Triton Invitational in La Jolla, Calif., on Saturday.
Stanford is the No. 4 seed for the Pac-12 team championships. The Cardinal (11-10, 3-4 Pac-12) will sit out the first round and will meet either Washington or Arizona on Thursday at 11 a.m.
Stanford defeated Washington 4-3 in Seattle on April 5 and cruised past Arizona 6-1 at home one week later.
Should Stanford win its quarterfinal match, the Cardinal would then face top-seeded and top-ranked UCLA on Friday at noon. The championship match is slated for Saturday at 4 p.m.
The Cardinal is coming off a 4-3 loss to No. 18 California over the weekend. Stanford lost for the first time in two weeks, snapping a three-match winning streak that helped build a case for an NCAA Tournament berth.
A .500 record or better is a requirement for postseason play, so the Cardinal would feel much safer with at least one more victory.
Stanford's overall improvement from the start of the season is well-documented. What makes this year even more impressive is that Stanford has done it with a relatively inexperienced lineup that regularly features five underclassmen at six spots in the singles lineup.
Stanford's last three losses have come by 4-3 margins against top-50 opponents.
Stanford will be represented with at least three players in singles and one doubles team at this weekend's Pac-12 tournament, which features a 32-player singles draw and 16-team doubles field.
If they're competing in singles, keep an eye on the following: No. 29 Kristie Ahn (23-4 overall, 18-2 duals, team-best six-match winning streak) and No. 19 Krista Hardebeck (team-high 28 overall wins, 14-6 duals, 14-3 in tournament play, ITA Northwest Regional singles champion).
No. 12 Stanford (16-4, 8-2 Pac-12) dropped a 4-3 decision at No. 9 California last Friday in what was expected to be a back-and-forth battle between two of the conference's top teams.
The Golden Bears pulled out their first win in the series in eight attempts, a streak that dated back to 2009 and included a 6-1 home victory for the Cardinal back on March 2.
Both teams are expected to serve as likely host sites for NCAA Tournament first and second round competition, although the Golden Bears finished the year as the Pac-12's second-place team. The Cardinal tied UCLA for third, but owned the head-to-head tiebreaker over the Bruins.