Danny Diekroeger came up in a familiar position Thursday night against Arizona State at Klein Field at Sunken Diamond. With two outs and a runner on second base in a tie game, Diekroeger delivered his second walk-off single in as many games to give the Cardinal a 4-3 win over the Sun Devils.
Diekroeger knocked a 2-0 pitch into right field to plate Austin Slater, as the Cardinal came from behind to produce its first three-game winning streak of the season.
The Menlo School grad was granted the opportunity thanks to three runs in the eighth inning.
"I was lucky enough to get up there in a situation when you can't lose," said Diekroeger.
Dominic Jose doubled home the first two runs and Tommy Edman singled him home to tie the score, 3-3. Both players entered in the eighth as pinch hitters.
"Dominic Jose probably had the biggest hit of the game with that two-run double and Tommy Edman came up right behind him the huge hit," Diekroeger said.
Diekroeger stepped to the plate in nearly an identical situation just two days ago against visiting Saint Mary's. His two-out, ninth inning single scored Hoffpauir to give Stanford a 7-6 comeback win Tuesday on a similar swing with the same outcome.
Brant Whiting joined Diekroeger in the box score with two hits, while the Cardinal put together half of its eight hits in the eighth and ninth innings.
Arizona State (20-15, 9-7 Pac-12) starter Brett Lilek shut down the offense through the first 6.1 innings. The lefty allowed only four hits, walked four and struck out six to keep Stanford off the board, as ASU pulled ahead 3-0.
Nathan Causey hit a two-run homer in the first inning and
Stanford (14-16, 5-8 Pac-12) threatened often, reaching base in six of seven innings against Lilek, but could not come up with a timely hit, an all-too-familiar setting for the Cardinal that was snapped in the late innings.
Cardinal starter Brett Hanewich was touched up for three runs in 3.2 innings. He allowed six hits, walked three and fanned two before Logan James was called upon from the bullpen.
While Stanford's bats were being silenced, James kept the Cardinal in the game by throwing 4.1 innings of shutout baseball up until the ninth. He struck out four in his longest outing of the season.
A.J. Vanegas (1-1) needed only eight pitches to get through the ninth inning and get Stanford's hot bats back in the dugout. Vanegas has now 17.0 innings this season without allowing an earned run.
Stanford looks to keep its momentum rolling tomorrow against Arizona State at 6 p.m.
Cal Quantrill (3-3, 3.20) will face former Canadian junior national squad teammate Ryan Kellogg (4-2, 4.07) in a battle of pitchers from north of the border.
In San Diego, Palo Alto High grad T.J. Braff had four hits and four RBI to pace Santa Clara to an 8-5 victory over host San Diego on Thursday night at Fowler Park. The Broncos improved to 11-5 in the West Coast Conference (25-12 overall).
In his third start of the season, Braff hit a three-run homer in his first at-bat to open the scoring for Santa Clara in the top of the second. The junior first baseman took a 2-2 pitch out over the left-field wall to make the score 3-0.
"I just tried to have a good approach," Braff said. "I knew it was a lefthander who was trying to stay more middle away, so I was looking for something over that part of the plate and tried to get a good pitch to hit. They challenged me because I haven't had a whole lot of at bats this year, and I was able to capitalize on it."
After the Toreros tied the ballgame at 3 in the third, Braff put the Broncos ahead for the second time in the game with an RBI single in the fifth to give him four RBI on the night. He started the game with one RBI in 15 appearances and two starts on the season. He either scored or drove in six of Santa Clara's eight runs in the victory and made 12 putouts at first in place of injured senior Mac Hess.
"I'm proud of T.J. and pumped for him in so many ways," head coach Dan O'Brien said. "He's defining what our program is all about. We promise our guys that opportunity will come and to be ready. T.J. was. To have him step up after losing a middle of the lineup hitter is huge, and says a lot about T.J. and our team's depth."
"This week, there was a big emphasis on hitting the ball harder on the ground," Braff said. "Over the past few weekends, we hit a lot of balls in the air. Having us keep the ball on the ground led to a lot more hits."
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