Stan-UT: Blowin' in the Wind

By Glenn Tanner - February 17, 2007

Any ball hit high in the air here is a complete adventure.

Texas took advantage of the wind and the sun to break out to a 4-0 lead after three innings.

Longhorn Brad Suttle opened the second inning with a single up the middle, and then the elements took over. Kyle Russell hit a towering popup that the entire Stanford infield lost in the sun. When it landed, shortstop Adam Gaylord unadvisedly tried to throw Suttle out at second, but his throw sailed into the right field corner. When the play was over, Suttle was high-fiving in the dugout and Russell was standing on third. Chance Wheeless followed with a routine fly to center, but the strong wind turned it into a run-scoring Texas Leaguer double. A walk followed, and with two on and none out, it looked like Texas was ready to blow it open. But pitcher Jeffrey Inman remained composed and got a strikeout and two grounders to get out of it.

In the third, Jordan Danks led off with a double and later scored on Brad Suttle's wind-blown triple. Stanford right fielded Michael Taylor was under the ball at the wall, but couldn't play the wind. Suttle scored on Kyle Russell's sac fly.

But the win giveth, and the wind taketh away -- later in the inning, Texas DH Brett Lewis hit what would have been a no-doubter three-run homer yesterday, but today, it didn't even make it to the left field warning track, and Inman was out of the inning.

After three frames, Texas pitcher Adrian Alaniz has only allowed one hit, an infield single.

Though not as infuriating as Mike Martin's send-the-catcher-out-to-talk-to-the-pitcher-and-wait-till-he's-all-the-way-back-to-the-plate-before-I-leave-the-dugout-to-go-pull-him stall job, Stanford coach Mark Marquess has his own unique and annoying strategy.

When Marquess turns in the lineup card every game, his designated hitter is the previous game's starting pitcher. When that spot's turn comes to bat, Marquess will send in a pinch-hitter who will remain the DH.

Stanford SID Kyle McRae says that Marquess has been doing this for about three seasons and hasn't received any flack about it, other than good-natured ribbing. McRae says that he has seen the strategy pay off a couple of times – once when Marquess sent in a pinch-hitter to sacrifice bunt, and once when Stanford jumped on a lefty starter early and the opposing manager brought in a righty reliever before the DH slot came to bat.

One of the other writers in the press box says that former Arizona State coach Jim Brock invented the strategy, but we can't think of anyone else who does it.

Posted by Glenn Tanner at 02:22 PM on February 17, 2007
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