The Stanford Cardinal jumped out to a 5-0 lead and made it stand up Saturday at Sunken Diamond, with Tyler Thorne inducing a game-ending double play grounder with the tying run at second base in the top of the ninth as the Cardinal handed the Kansas Jayhawks just their second loss of the season, 5-4.
Connor McKay reached on a one-out single in the ninth for Kansas (12-2) and moved up to second when Stanford third baseman Alex Blandino booted Dakota Smith’s grounder. But Thorne was undeterred and got Aaron Hernandez to ground to shortstop Drew Jackson to start a game-ending 6-4-3 double play to earn his third save of the season for the Cardinal (6-8).
Kansas starter Robert Kahana (1-2) just didn’t have it on Saturday. Stanford got a run in the bottom of the first when Brett Michael Doran led off by reaching on an error by shortstop Justin Protacio, went to second on Danny Diekroeger’s single through the right side and both runners advanced on Blandino’s sacrifice bunt.
Austin Slater beat out an infield single as Doran scored to give the Cardinal a 1-0 lead.
Stanford added another unearned run in the second. Brant Whiting led off with a single and moved up to second on a ground out. Whiting wound up at third and Jackson was safe at first on another miscue by Protacio and Jonny Locher made the Jayhawks pay with a sacrifice fly to right field.
Stanford blew the game open in the third. Diekroeger drew a one out walk, Blandino was hit by a pitch and Kahana walked Slater to load the bases. Alex Dunlap grounded an 0-2 pitch through the left side for a single and everyone moved up a station, with Dierkroeger scoring to make it 3-0.
Whiting followed with a seeing-eye single of his own to score Blandino. Slater scored on a groundout by Tommy Edman.
Unfortunately, Chris Viall couldn’t hang in long enough to get the win.
Kansas came back with three unearned runs in the fifth, all of the damage coming with two outs. Protacio drew a two-out walk and moved up when Jackson couldn’t handle a grounder by Colby Wright. Michael Suiter singled to load the bases and McKay found a gap in right field for a double that cleared the bases, cutting Stanford’s lead to 5-3.
That ended the day for Viall, who worked 4.2 innings and allowed the three unearned runs on four hits while walking four and striking out one. Instead, reliever John Hochstatter (2-1) got the win, recording the final out of the fifth before running into some trouble in the sixth.
Hochstater gave up back-to-back singles to start the sixth and left in favor of A.J. Vanegas after a sacrifice bunt put runners at second and third. Protacio grounded out to second to get a run home but Vanegas got pinch-hitter Michael Tinsley to ground out to hold the lead.
Vanegas worked 2.2 innings and allowed three hits before Thorne came in for the ninth.
Dunlap and Whiting had two hits apiece for the Cardinal.
The series wraps up Sunday at 1 p.m.