After getting swept by Stanford in a three-game series in early April, Cal faces its rival again, but this time in a single-game matchup out at Sunken Diamond. The Bears will look to the team’s spark plug, Kade Kretzschmar, to reignite the team’s offense and winning ways — since it seems like when Kretzschmar is on, Cal is on.
With the Bears coming off a series loss against the Ducks, this game will be a tone setter for both sides, especially with a win for the blue and gold. Cal is in dire need of a conference victory, falling behind in the Pac-12 with a 6-15 conference record compared to Stanford’s 13-5.
Claiming a victory will be no easy task for the Bears as Stanford mashed the ball last time out, putting up 31 runs and limiting Cal’s offense to just 18. The Cardinal currently occupy second place in the Pac-12 standings with an overall 25-12 record. The Bears’ .500 record of 18-18, however, puts them in second to last, just in front of Utah.
Tuesday’s game could be the final time Cal and Stanford play each other this season, having competed in four games prior to this point. The Cardinal won three of the four with a sweep of the Bears, even after the blue and gold won the first matchup in the early part of the season.
Before losing two of three to Oregon, Cal won five of six of its previous games, riding the momentum of Kretzschmar’s hot bat. In the Bears’ one win against the Ducks, Kretzschmar went three for four and scored two runs, setting up productive days from Carson Crawford and Caleb Lomavita. However, in Cal’s two losses, Kretzschmar was quiet at the plate.
With this in mind, Cal will lean on its cleanup hitter to create the momentum needed to power the offense over Stanford. Pitching performances will be key for both teams as well, keeping games close and within striking distance, with shutdown outings having set up these offenses nicely.
Pitchers have been starting every five games, so the predicted pitching matchup for Tuesday looks to be Cal’s Andres Galan against Stanford’s Braden Montgomery — which would sway in favor of the Bears.
In his last three starts, Galan is 3-0 with only four earned runs allowed in 17.0 innings pitched. His most notable performance took place April 10 against Nevada, tossing six shutout innings with nine strikeouts. His season ERA is at 3.80 as he looks to continue his winning ways and lower that marker in this upcoming game against Stanford.
On the opposing mound, Montgomery has struggled as of late, taking losses in his last two outings against Texas Tech and Sacramento State. He allowed seven earned runs in just 3.1 innings of work in these two starts, now sporting an ERA up at 9.58. He aims for a bounceback start, with the Bears hoping to ambush him in the early going.
With how this matchup lines up, Cal should narrowly avoid facing Stanford’s ace Quinn Mathews, who threw seven innings of one-run ball against the Bears earlier this year, has a 2.60 ERA and earned Pac-12 Pitcher of the Week three times this season.
Getting off to a hot start will be crucial for either team, much like Cal’s four-run first inning that proved to be the difference in the Bears’ sole Stanford win earlier this year. The Cardinal won all three games against their cross-Bay rivals when they were leading early, even with the amount of runs they conceded in the latter halves of games.
The classic rivalry between Cal and Stanford never disappoints, and this matchup could be the final one of 2023 for these baseball teams. Catch this game on the Stanford Live Stream starting at 6:05 p.m., and do not miss out on the action.