The Stanford baseball team is headed to the Super Regionals for the first time since 2008. Ben Clowe made sure of it. The senior went 4-for-4 with two home runs and two doubles to lead the Cardinal's 20-hit attack against Illinois in a 14-2 win last night at Fullerton's Goodwin Field. Stanford will play UNC, which swept through the Chapel Hill Regional, next weekend. Dates and times will be announced tonight.
Illinois, which staved off elimination earlier in the day with a come-from-behind win against Fullerton, was playing its fourth game in three days and didn't have the pitching to hang with the Cardinal. Lee Zerrusen, who started only four games for the Illini during the regular season, allowed 5 runs on 7 hits in 2.2 innings. The Illinois relief corps didn't fare much better.
Stephen Piscotty, Lonnie Kauppila, and Austin Wilson all collected three hits, with Wilson launching a mammoth home run as part of a four-run seventh inning that extended the Cardinal's lead to 12-2. Senior Danny Sandbrink allowed eight hits and struck out six over seven innings to pick up the win.
The story of the night was Clowe, who doubled his home run total for the season and was one of five Stanford players named to the All-Regional Team.
"I don't think I've hit two home runs in a game since I've been in college," Clowe said after the game. "It's nice. For a career winding down, to contribute like this, it's a good feeling."
Stanford's sweep highlighted a good first weekend for the Pac-10 in the tournament. While UCLA failed to advance out of its regional despite hosting at Jackie Robinson Stadium,, two other Pac-10 teams have already punched their tickets to the Super Regionals. Cal and Arizona can advance with wins today. Good luck to the Golden Bears, who have battled all the way back from an opening-game loss and play Baylor today at 4.