OMAHA, Neb. – Although Stanford entered as the odds-on favorites, its stay in the College World Series was a short and disappointing one.
Auburn knocked off the No. 2 national seeded-Cardinal 6-2 in an elimination game on Monday on the strength of Cole Foster’s three-run double in the sixth inning.
Stanford (47-18) lost both of its games in Omaha, including its opener Saturday against Arkansas, 17-2 — the most lopsided game here in 34 years — and then did next to nothing after taking an early lead against Auburn.
Stanford coach David Esquer said the pain of losing will subsidize and the most important thing about the trip will remain.
“When time passes, nobody is going to remember the scores,” Esquer said. “What I’ll remember is that I went to the College World Series with the team I love.”
Stanford, which staved off elimination five times in its regional and super regional, went 0-2 in a CWS for the first time in 18 appearances.
The victory was Auburn’s first in the College World Series in 25 years. The Tigers had been 0-3 in the CWS since beating Rice 10-1 in 1997.
Trace Bright (5-4) went five innings for the win and Blake Burkhalter, the Tigers’ star closer, struck out six of the eight batters he faced for his 16th save.
The Tigers, who lost 5-1 to Mississippi on Saturday, had managed one run and seven hits in 14 innings before breaking out in the sixth against the Cardinal.
Foster, who doubled twice, was back in the lineup after leaving in the middle of Saturday’s game because of illness and dehydration. Auburn coach Butch Thompson said before Monday’s game that seven or eight of his players have had a stomach virus.
Stanford starter Drew Dowd, a former Serra High standout, turned in a strong start. Although the sophomore left-hander struggled with his fastball command his last few appearances, he was dialed in through the first four innings.
Dowd, though, gave up Brooks Carlson’s double leading off the fifth and walked Foster on four pitches to bring on Quinn Mathews (9-2).
Mathews got Stanford out of the inning but ran into trouble in the sixth, giving up two singles, hitting a batter and issuing a walk before Foster’s bases-clearing double off the wall in left center put the Tigers up 4-2. Auburn added two more in the seventh.
Stanford had an opportunity to cut into the lead in the seventh when it loaded the bases with two outs against Tommy Sheehan. That’s when Auburn called on Burkhalter, and he went to a full count against Brett Barrera before blowing a fastball past him for an inning-ending strikeout.
Barrera and Adam Crampton hit RBI doubles off Bright to put the Cardinal up 2-0. Crampton, a sophomore shortstop from Oakland Tech, had three of the Cardinal’s eight hits, including a pair of doubles.
Nevertheless, after Stanford jumped out to the early lead, Bright settled down to retire 10 of the last 11 batters he faced.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.