A Stanford rally fell short in the bottom of the ninth, as the Beavers hit three home runs and got a solid starting performance from Jorge Reyes to take a 8-6 win. Stanford put the tying run on base and brought the winning run to the plate with one out in the ninth, but Eddie Kunz quickly ended Stanford's hopes with pop out and ground out to end the game.
Jason Ogata, Mike Lissman and Darwin Barney all hit home runs for OSU, who took the lead for good in the second inning. Stanford got three runs in the bottom of the first on hits from Adam Sorgi (8-for-13 for the weekend with five RBIs) and Randy Molina. But after a rocky first, Reyes settled down and threw five more innings without allowing a run.
After two Stanford coaches were ejected on Saturday, no one was tossed from today's game, but each coach came out of the dugout at least once to argue. This was one of the worst called series of any series I've ever seen--inconsistent strike zones, indecisive decisions on interference calls, and a couple of blown calls on various other plays. I don't think the decisions particularily favored one side, but by the end of the series I think both coaching staffs were frustrated with the men in blue. Not a good weekend for Pac-10 umpires.
Stanford now needs to win its final nine Pac-10 games to crack .500 in the conference. They have their three weakest opponents left (Washington at home and Washington State and USC on the road), but that is still a tall task. Next week it is a Saturday through Monday series in Pullman against the second-to-last Cougars. It might be a series for pride at this point, but it will be one the Cardinal badly want to win.
OSU moves to 6-6 in conference with the win. I think they have the pitching to go deep in the postseason, even if they come up short in the Pac-10 race. With UCLA and ASU both losing the Beavers are four games back with 12 to play. Not an impossible gap to make up, but with so many teams ahead of them, it will be tough.
Reyes looked like the real deal today once he found his groove and he should compete with Daniel Turpen for the third starter spot down the stretch. I think the starters aren't quite as strong as the bullpen, but it could definitely be good enough to carry the Beavers to Omaha.
That's pretty much it for me here at Sunken Diamond. It has been a lot of fun again this weekend. For my money, it doesn't get much better than Pac-10 baseball. Thanks for reading and hopefully I'll be back one more time as the season winds down.
Sunken Diamond has been a pretty bleak place to be in recent weeks. Before yesterday's game, Stanford was just 1-6 in Pac-10 play at home and just 12-11 overall at Sunken, a place where the Card normally dominate.
But today there is a different feel at the ballpark. A buzz that has eluded this team all year. Last night people around campus were talking about Stanford baseball in a positive way, and that is definitely a first this season. And it was all thanks to a walkoff three-run home run by Michael Taylor with two outs in the bottom of the 11th inning that gave Stanford a dramatic 9-7 victory over Oregon State.
There is no doubt that the win should give the Cardinal a little bit of a spark, but the question is: was it in time to matter. Even if Stanford gets red hot a postseason berth may be out of reach. But today for the final game of the series there is a feeling of optimism among the Cardinal faithful.
Oregon State can ill afford a series sweep to Stanford, the last place team in the Pac-10. Arizona State and UCLA are still hot and a loss again today would push the Beavers two games under .500 in conference play. Surprisingly, OSU is going with freshman righthander Jorge Reyes who is making just his third start of the year. He is filling in for Daniel Turpen who had been a fixture this season in the Sunday starters spot. Turpen threw out of the bullpen yesterday and we could definitely see him again today if Reyes gets into trouble.
Junior righthander Erik Davis will make his first career weekend start today for the Cardinal. He pitched four innings on Wednesday in a makeup game against Fresno State, but threw under 60 pitches and Stanford coach Mark Marquess said he should be good to go as long as the Cardinal need him.
Today's game was pushed up to a 12:30 start time from a original 1:00 start to accomodate Oregon State's travel plans. It will be interesting to see how many fans actually make it for first pitch after the last minute change.
As usual, I'll be back postgame. The last two game have each lasted four hours, so it might be a while, but I will return.
It took 11 innings and two Stanford comebacks, but the Cardinal have finally beaten Oregon State. Michael Taylor was the hero for Stanford, hitting a three-run home run with two outs in the bottom of the 11th inning to give Stanford a 9-7 win. Oregon State was one strike away from winning its seventh straight over Stanford before Taylor took a 2-2 slider from Greg Keim out to left field.
Oregon State had two chances to close out the series win, once in the ninth and once in the 11th. The Beavers took a 6-4 lead into the bottom of the ninth, but OSU closer Eddie Kunz walked three and hit freshman outfielder Toby Gerhart to drive in the game tying run. Kunz did get Taylor to hit into an inning-ending double play, however, to send the game to extras.
The Beavers also had a chance to win it in the 11th. Jordan Lennerton hit his second home run of the game to lead off the top of the inning, but the champs stranded two runners that could have added some insurances. Stanford outfielder Joey August led off the bottom half of the inning with a single off of Anton Maxwell and Sean Ratliff walked two batters later to set up Taylors heroics. With two gone and runners at first and second Taylor hit a 2-2 pitch out for the walkoff win.
Two Stanford coaches were ejected in the game. Head coach Mark Marquess was thrown out for arguing balls and strikes in the top of the 10th. He did not go down quietly and I really think that that fired Stanford's guys up. Third base coach Dean Stotz was actually ejected as he was walking off the field after Taylor's home run and didn't realize it until well after the game had ended. It was heated all through the extra innings, especially after Marquess got tossed.
Taylor had another big play in the extra frames when he threw out a runner trying to score from second on a base hit from right field. With one out in the 10th and runners at first and second, Mitch Canham singled sharply to right. Joey Wong tried to score from second, but Taylor gunned him out by at least a step.
Oregon State was 28-0 before today when leading after eight innings, which is a testament to Kunz and the whole OSU bullpen. But today, they looked vulnerable and wild. Maxwell took the loss, but Kunz and Keim also struggled. Nolan Gallagher took the win for Stanford in his third relief appearance of the season after starting ten games in the weekend rotation. The junior righty threw five innings in relief of Jeffrey Inman and surrendered three runs. OSU starter Joe Paterson took a ND after giving up four runs in seven innings.
Really a wild one from start to finish. Stanford took a couple of early leads, but could never gain any traction. Every time the Cardinal scored, OSU answered right back, until the Beavers finally took the lead in the eigth. Jeff Whitlow hit a solo home run for Stanford early.
The two teams will be back at it again tomorrow and if the first two games are any indication, Sunday's game could be another good one. Last night's contest was really closer than the 13-7 score would indicate (OSU scored three in the ninth to put it away) and today was hands down the most exciting game I have seen all season.
Stanford needed a win today to keep their slim/very, very slim postseason hopes alive. They need another victory tomorrow, and probably need to win 14 of their last 16 games to have any shot. OSU's chances of winning the Pac-10 took a little bit of a hit, especially with UCLA and Arizona State each winning. That OSU/ASU series in Corvallis in three weeks will be huge. The Beavs also close out the regular season at UCLA.
I'll be back tomorrow with the rubber game. It will be Erik Davis throwing for Stanford and Jorge Reyes going for OSU. Davis got some national attention when he was hit in the face with a line drive while pitching in the Cape Cod League last summer. Davis required multiple facial surgeries and was forced to undergo a legnthy recovery process. Amazingly, Davis was back and pitching last fall and has been one of Stanford's top pitchers this year out of the bullpen. He started last Wednesday against Fresno State, but will be called on again on short rest to make his first career weekend start.
As usual I'll bring a little pregame analysis and follow it up with a recap. It was a wild one today, and it should be just as fun tomorrow.
There are plenty of questions to be answered in Game 2 of the series between Oregon State and Stanford here at Sunken Diamond: Will Stanford ever again beat OSU? (Answer: Probably, but it might be a while.) Will the Card have any shot of making the postseason? (Answer: No chance.) How sunburned will I get if I can't find someone with some sunscreen? (Answer: Extremely. I better get on that.)
A loss today for Stanford would probably solidify them as a non-postseason team, so this usually charged matchup has a little extra going, despite the apparent mismatch between the teams. Last nights 13-7 OSU win really showed the difference. Every chance OSU got, they took advantage (the Beavers scored 13 runs on just eight hits). Stanford, meanwhile, struggled in clutch spots as they had all year (seven runs on 14 hits). That's why Oregon State will still be playing through June, while Stanford will be taking their finals at home for the first time in years. I feel bad writing the Cardinal off with so many games left to play, but the record (17-22, 2-11 Pac-10) and the RPI (81) speak for themselves.
Mitch Canham and Jordan Lennerton had three RBIs each to propel Oregon State to a 13-7 win over Stanford in a game that took over four hours. Mike Stutes and Jeremy Bleich both looked very hittable in a matchup of Friday night starters that looked more like a midweek pitching showdown. Stutes surrendered six earned runs in 4 1/3 innings, whil Bleich gave up nine runs (seven earned) while also lasting 4 1/3.
Oregon State took advantage of a number of free passes issued by the Cardinal, needing only eight hits to tally their 13 runs. Canham and Lennerton each had bases-clearing doubles after Stanford pitchers allowed multiple walks and hit batsmen. Stanford, on the other hand couldn't take care of business in key spots and used 14 hits to score their seven runs.
The loss may mean the end of Stanford's already miniscule hope of reaching an NCAA Regional. The Card are now 2-11 in the Pac-10 with just 11 conference games left to play. Another loss to the Beavers (or anyone else, for that matter) would almost certainly be the final blow. Stanford was in last place in the Pac-10 last season at the midway point of the season and came back to make a Regional last season, but the Card also had five wins over Texas and Cal State Fullerton under their belts. This year, Stanford went just 1-5 against those two teams. Hard to believe Stanford may be out of it already with still a month to go in the regular season.
Oregon State, on the other hand, showed that even when their pitching struggles, the offense can pick up the slack. Entering the game Oregon State sported a .295 team batting average, nothing special for the Pac-10. But tonight, when their ace Stutes didn't have his best stuff, they took advantage of every opportunity that Stanford gave them. They have the look of a team that could easily find themselves back in the CWS, especially if they get a Regional and a Super at home, which is very possible and probably deserved. It's especially amazing considering that six of eight position players are basically new to the lineup and the top three pitchers from a year ago are all playing pro ball.
Stanford has seen the best of the Pac-10 so far this year and Oregon State gave me the impression that they could repeat. I still think ASU is the team to beat in the conference race, but OSU has the experience and the talent to compete. I think Arizona will continue to cool off and UCLA will run into trouble when they face the top teams in the conference (they opened with Stanford, Washington, USC--not exactly the toughest road to the top).
Game Two will be tomorrow at 1:00 here on the West Coast. It will be Joe Paterson going for the Beavers facing freshman righthander Jeffrey Inman for Stanford. I'll be back with some pregame coverage as always before hitting the air waves.
It's been a while since I've been here, but with the national champs in town to face Stanford, I got the call back. It should be an exciting weekend with the Cardinal looking for a little revenge after losing five straight games to Oregon State last year, all in Corvallis, including a 15-0 Super Regional clinching win. Both of these teams look dramatically different than they did a year ago, but I still think the Card would love to keep the Beavers below .500 in the Pac-10.
As would be expected the champs bring a big crowd. It was a beautiful day in Palo Alto (it is still probably 80 degrees out) and they are giving away blankets to the first couple thousand fans. The TV crews are here as well. CSTV will be providing national coverage and that always adds a little mayhem to the press box.
It has been a long season for Stanford, especially since the Pac-10 season began. The Cardinal are 2-10 in the Pac-10 and have won just one midweek non-conference game since the Pac-10 season started. Losing like this is a new thing for most Stanford fans who are spoiled from the five straight World Series appearances early this decade. The Cardinal are last or next to last in nearly every relevant statistical category offensively, in pitching, and especially on defense. It has not been pretty. Obviously it does not get any easier tonight.
Pitching-wise tonight it will be Jeremy Bleich going against Mike Stutes. Bleich faced OSU once last year and gave up just one run, but still took the loss. Stutes is also familiar with the Cardinal, facing them not only last season, but also while he was with Santa Clara before transferring to OSU. Going strictly by the numbers this is a one-sided matchup. Stutes' ERA sits at 2.36 and he is 9-1, while Bleich is 1-7 with a 5.32 ERA (actually one of the better on the team).
The biggest cheer in this game came when it was announced that Stanford's men basketball made the NCAA Tournament, but Michael Taylor's RBI single in the eighth to ties the game was a close second. The Cardinal scored ten runs in the seventh and eighth (to come back from a four run deficit. Taylor advanced his hit streak to ten games and set a new career high with five RBIs.
All six runs in the eighth scored with two outs after USC reliever Kevin Couture struck out the first two batters of the inning. Taylor's single tied the game and catcher Brian Juhl was hit by a pitch to score the go-ahead run.
USC had taken the lead in the top of the eighth on a single from freshman catcher Robert Stock. Stock's numbers this season aren't great, but it is clear that the talent is there. There is a reason everyone talked about him as the top newcomer to the Pac-10.
Most of the attention on campus is devoted to the selection show later today (Go UNC!), but here at Sunken the Cardinal are trying to avoid the sweep against USC. Jeremy Bleich threw eight shutout innings, but USC tallied two runs in the ninth to claim the 2-1 victory.
Stanford will send Nolan Gallagher back out for another Sunday start. Gallagher has really struggled, even in the Sunday role and it won't be easy against today against a lefty-dominated USC lineup. USC is going with Tommy Milone. I got to see Milone pitch twice as a freshman last year and the only thing that really stood out is how slow he works. He is a crafty lefty and I think his pace really keeps hitters off balance.
A loss today would be an unfortunately noteworthy one for the Cardinal. Stanford hasn't been swept at home in ten years. The last time Stanford was swept at Sunken Diamond was 1997 to Arizona State. Every time I see a stat like that I am amazed the level of success that Mark Marquess has been able to maintain at Stanford for so many years.
Sorry for the short entry this morning and missing yesterday's ballgame. I'll be back after the game with an extensive breakdown of the series.
It was an ugly, offensive game and USC came out on top courtesy of five runs in the top of the eighth inning. Stanford overcame and early 5-1 deficit and tied the game up, 6-6, in the bottom of the seventh with a two run homer by Sean Ratliff and a solo blast to straight away center by Michael Taylor.
The Trojans rally in the eighth was fueled by a critical error by shortstop Cord Phelps on a beautiful double-play ball with runners at first and second and one out. Phelps dropped the ball on the transition, no outs were recorded and five unearned runs came in to score as the inning continued. It was the fourth error on the game from Stanford, but by far the most costly. Stanford rallied with two in the bottom of the eighth, but it was not enough. USC closer Paul Koss got his ninth save of the season by shutting down the Card in the ninth.
The moral of this game? My predictions are absolutely worthless. I though after Jeffrey Inman's shutdown performance last week and with Ryan Cook's solid numbers we would see a pitcher's duel. Instead, the teams combined for 35 hits and 19 runs.
Just to make it clear one more time, Taylor's home run was an absolute bomb. Down by one, he got ahead in the count 2-0 and USC reliever Hector Rabago left a fastball right down the middle. Goodbye baseball. It was the raw power that Taylor is expected to show, but has never been able to display consistently throughout his Stanford career. Bottom line, he crushed it.
But it was not to be for the Card, who have yet to play an error-free game this year. The errors come early, come often and throughout the season have taken the Cardinal out of games. Just terrible defense tonight from Stanford.
One other note: Stanford designated hitter Brendan Domaracki was ejected from the game in the bottom of the fourth. With the bases loaded and two outs in a 5-3 ballgame, Domaracki appeared to have checked his swing at a 1-2 fastball high, out of the zone. Rather than appealing the play, the home plate umpire ruled (incorrectly from my perspective, but it was still a close call) that he went around for the strikeout. Domaracki went off and within ten seconds was ejected. Stanford coach Mark Marquess came out and argued on his behalf and was probably lucky not to join Domaracki back in the locker room. The call totally changed the momentum of the game and Stanford didn't get another hit against Cook until Ratliff's homer three innings later.
For USC, they have more short, stocky players than I have ever seen. We saw seven players for USC listed at 5-foot-9 or below tonight. How is that possible for a top 25 team? Matt Cusick, the Trojans best hitter is listed at 5-foot-9, 180 pounds. Their starting left fielder was 5-foot-8, 165 pounds, and that was probably on the generous side.
It was the first home loss of the season for Stanford and their sixth in seven games to ranked opponents. A series loss here is going to leave the Cardinal needing a solid Pac-10 season to make it to the postseason. Last year the Card carried five wins in six games against Fullerton and Texas into the Pac-10 season. This year, they got just one win in six tries against those same teams.
It will be Jeremy Bleich against freshman Brad Boxberger tomorrow afternoon. All signs point to some solid pitching, but again, that's what I thought tonight and we ended up with a nearly four hour game.
I'm back at Sunken this weekend for another non-Pac-10 Pac-10 series as Stanford hosts USC. Stanford is coming off by far their worst game of the season, a 13-5 blowout loss at Santa Clara on Tuesday. USC, meanwhile, celebrated breaking into the Baseball America poll for the first time this season by dropping a 4-1 decision to UC-Riverside at home.
But Tuesdays are just Tuesdays. Seasons are usually decided on the weekends and this weekend could do a lot to put Stanford back on the college baseball map. Stanford is just 1-5 against ranked teams this season (granted, that was against Fullerton and Texas, both on the road) so a win this weekend could help erase the image that the Card have just beat up on weak opponents this season to get to its 10-6 record.
It's going to be freshman righty Jeffrey Inman against sophomore righthander Ryan Cook. Inman outdueled Cal ace Tyson Ross last week, and tonight should be another classic Friday night Pac-10 matchup. Of course, last week my predictions on the offense outputs were less than accurate, so maybe we'll see an offensive slugfest. The wind is blowing straight out to center and it should be a warmish night, so we could see a ball or two leave the yard.
I don't fully understand the value of playing conference opponents during the non-conference schedule, but I guess it cuts down on the travel and gives a preview of what's coming up later in the season. But, I would love to see Stanford get at least one more series against another solid big conference opponent. I know Nebraska is coming to Palo Alto next year, so maybe that is the direction things are headed with the later start date next season. USC has gotten Long Beach, San Diego, San Diego State, Tulane and Georgia (on the road) in the non-conference. That is a tough schedule and their 13-8 record has put them in the top 25. With Stanford's name, I bet they could put together an equally tough schedule.
Anyway, that's it for now. Should be a good one here at Sunken. I'll be back after the final out with a quick cap and some analysis. You can catch the radio broadcast on kzsu.org if you want to tune in live.
Some final thoughts from Palo Alto before we wrap it up for the weekend:
The most obvious observation from this weekend's action is that Cal still has a lot of holes left to plug. With the exception of Tyson Ross the Cal pitching staff is not very deep. On the offensive side, when David Cooper isn't hitting, like this weekend, there really isn't too much to be scared of.
For Stanford, these early season wins are huge. I don't know how the Pac-10 is going to shape up. Arizona State, Oregon State, USC, UCLA and Arizona could all qualify for Regionals. The conference is going to be competitive as always and I think that these wins over Cal should five the Card a boost going into conference play next month.
This weekend's action also showed that the Stanford-Cal rivalry is still in fine form. Even though Stanford took the sweep, Cal kept it close with a pair of one-run games and then today's two-run Stanford win. The matchups were close until the final out and Cal's coach (and former Stanford shortstop) David Esquer and Stanford's Mark Marquess took turns screaming at the umpires and everyone was generally fired up. Great tradition, great games, really a great weekend overall.
Thanks for reading. Hopefully I'll be back sometime down the road.
A quick recap now and I'll give you a little more analysis later this afternoon.
Stanford earned the sweep in an offenisve battle (apparently my skills of prediction are severely lacking) as the two teams combined for 27 hits. Stanford starter Nolan Gallagher lasted just 3 2/3 innings, while Cal starter Alex Rollin didn't make it out of the third.
Cal took an early 4-1 lead, but Stanford tallied six runs in the bottom of the third and never trailed the rest of the way. Stanford centerfielder Sean Ratliff was a home run away from the cycle and he scored four runs.
Cal put up a fight in the ninth against Stanford closer David Stringer, putting the tying run on base with two outs. But the Palo Alto-native got Michael Capbarat to ground out to end the inning. Stringer has now pitched in eight straight games and made 11 appearances in 15 games.
Stanford's eighth straight victory was win number 2,500 in Stanford's history joining USC, Michigan, Fordham, and Texas as the only programs to reach that milestone.
I'll be back in about an hour with some final analysis from The Farm.
So my predictions about a lot of offense before yesterday's game turned out to be dead wrong. Sure, the teams combined for nine runs, but that was about as ugly as nine runs can get. RBI fielder's choices, run-scoring errors and seeing-eye singles dominated the big offensive innings, not the home runs I was looking for.
So what am I looking for today? After a pair of offensive stinkers (one run on Friday, nine runs yesterday), I'm not expecting much today. The pitching actually should pick up today with Nolan Gallagher, Stanford's typical Friday night starter going for the Cardinal and Alex Rollin going for the Bears. Rollin has notched three of Cal's seven wins on the season.
Stanford rightfielder Michael Taylor picked up his offensive game a bit yesterday with a pair of doubles, but still has yet to get in any kind of rhythm. His average is now up to .250, but he still is stuck at two homers. Taylor is going to need to pick it up, not only for his own sake (Taylor's status as a top prospect is slipping), but also for the Card. Stanford's power numbers have been down in recent years and this season the trend seems to be continuing. Stanford has hit just nine home runs in the first 14 games this season.
Cal just came out for infield practice wearing probably the most hideous baseball unis I have ever seen. Remember those gold football jerseys Cal sported last season? Now imagine taking the sleves from those jerseys and sewing them onto Cal's usual Navy jerseys. It is not a pretty sight. The giant golden "C" across the chest is really not helping. Yikes.
The Stanford lineup is in and redshirt junior infielder Adam Sorgi is making his debut in the field. Sorgi led the team in batting average in 2005, but missed all of 2006 with a torn labrum. He has played in just three games so far this season, all as either a pinch hitter or DH, but he'll get the start at second today.
As usual, I'll be back after the game with some postgame thoughts and a quick recap.
Remember how I said yesterday's game was what a Stanford-Cal game should be? Today's game? It was more like a Little League game than a Pac-10 battle. It was amazing how, despite how close the game was from beginning to end, how little intensity either team showed.
Cal head coach David Esquer was all over the map in this ballgame. The Bears used eight pitchers, including right fielder Blake Smith and star first baseman David Cooper. Cooper came in the inning after Cal had taken a 4-3 lead and promptly gave up a pair of walks and two runs to give the lead right back to Stanford. Cooper is a great hitter and all (even though he is now 0-for-9 on the series), but as a pitcher in a one-run game? I just don't get it. There were wild substitutions all game long from the Bears, and there was a rumor that began circulating around the fifth inning that Stanford was playing the game under protest because of illegal substitutions. No word on whether the rumor was true, but it seemed to fit with the feel of the game.
Esquer was also in the face of the home plate umpire all game, mostly for balls and strikes. The ongoing argument came to a head in the top of the eighth when the Bears put runners on first and second with no outs, down by one. Cal catcher Charlie Cutler put a bunt down the first base line, but ran out of the basepath and had the ball hit off his back. The home plate umpire called Cutler out and sent the runners back to first and second. Esquer, who also coaches first and was right on top of the play, went nuts. Amazingly, he wasn't ejected after getting right in the umpire's face. Stanford ended up getting out of the inning and holding on to their lead.
Lost in the shuffle was a great outing by Jeremy Bleich. Bleich allowed just two hits through the first six innings, before running into some trouble in the seventh and taking a no decision. Stanford's starting pitching has really picked up this weekend, and they still have thier "ace" Nolan Gallagher going tomorrow afternoon.
It's going to be tough to top yesterday's 1-0 pitcher's duel, but when Stanford and Cal get together, you never know what can happen. But I do expect to see a lot more offense between the two teams. Cal's starting pitching takes a big drop off after Tyson Ross (the Bears have announced they are starting a righty, but they haven't yet said who) and the Cardinal are going with its normal Sunday starter, sophomore Jeremey Bleich.
It will be interesting to see how Cal comes out in this game. After their three-hit performance last night (one of which was an infield single), the Bears had a 30+ minute meeting in leftfield before heading back to Berkeley. From the press box, it was clear that Cal coach David Esquer was less than pleased with his team's performance.
Most of the Stanford campus' attentnion is directed to the building about 100 yards beyond the right field wall, Maple Pavilion. The Cardinal men's basketball team is taking on Arizona in what has become one of the most interesting and competitive rivalries in the Pac-10. Meanwhile, the women's hoops team is playing at the Women's Pac-10 Tournament in San Jose, so today baseball is getting third billing.
Tonight's game is what a Stanford-Cal game should be. Tyson Ross and Jeffrey Inman battled all night, but it was the freshman Inman who got the better of Ross by striking out nine in 7 2/3 and helping Stanford to a 1-0 win.
Inman pitched beautifully in the first Friday night start of his career, and against the cross-Bay rival Bears no less. Inman became the first Stanford freshman to start a Friday night game since Kyle Peterson did it in 1995. That stat boggles the mind when you consider the quality of pitchers Stanford has had in the last twelve years. Guys like Jeff Austin, Jason Young, Mark Romanczuk and Greg Reynolds and no freshman year Friday night starts among them. Crazy.
Ross took what is the definition of a tough-luck loss, striking out eight in a complete game effort. Stanford's lone run of the game came across on an RBI fielder's choice in the third inning. It was back and forth all night, each pitcher trying to one-up the other
It's a beautiful day in Palo Alto for a little Bay Area baseball. Stanford and Cal open a non-conference series tonight at Sunken Diamond in the first of six matchups between the two rivals this season. And as if the series didn't mean enough already, Cal fans added some fuel to the heated battle by burning a giant "C" in the grass directly in front of the Stanford dugout and stealing home plate last week. Gotta love this rivalry.
Stanford completed the sweep of the quasi-doubleheader, beating Fresno State, 6-4. The Cardinal leapt out to a 4-0 lead only to see the Dogs claw back with four runs in the fifth. But the Card went ahead for good in the sixth, when a pair of runs scored after two errors on one play. Fresno State committed five errors in the two games in the series, and each blunder led to at least one run.
Sophomore Max Fearnow took the win for Stanford, while former walk-on and Palo Alto-native David Stringer earned the save with three scoreless innings. Stanford cf Sean Ratliff made a diving catch in left-center with the tying run at the plate and two outs in the ninth to end the game. In two games that featued eight errors, it was kind of ironic that a fantastic piece of defense may have been the difference.
As it turned out, not a bad day of baseball. The weather was beautiful, the second game was competitve all the way to the end and we saw some solid pitching performances from both teams. I'm going to head home and post some final analysis on the weeks ahead for the Cardinal and the Bulldogs.
We just went final in game one here in Palo Alto, as the Cardinal built on its 6-1 lead entering today's action and took the 9-2 decision. Jeff Inman looked dominant in five innings of work, allowing just one run with two outs in the top of the ninth, when the game was already out of reach. Freshman Adam Gaylord drove in a run in today's session and a pair of Bulldog errors ruled out any chance of a comeback.
I know I said I would let the weather go, but it has turned into a beautiful day at Sunken Diamond. There are still a few lingering clouds, but right no it feels more like May than February.
Game two is scheduled to start at 2:55, with Jeremey Bleich getting the start for the Card. Bleich came into preseason practices as the frontrunner for the Saturday starter role, but Inman snatched it away. Still, Bleich is one of the top pitching prospects in the Pac-10. A lefty with great control, I wouldn't be surprised to see Bleich become a star someday. He took a loss against Fullerton last weekend, but really that "L" should go to the bullpen, who allowed 11 runs in one inning last Sunday.
Fresno State is going with Clayton Allison, but offense might be more of a concern at this point. The Bulldogs have scored just 15 runs in their first five games this season. Brian Lapin and Tommy Mendonca each had a pair of hits in game one.
So, as they say, "Let's play one and a half." Game two starts at 2:55 PT and I'll be back after the game ends with some final thoughts on the two-game series.
Finally, some sun here in Palo Alto. I've felt more like a weatherman than a baseball fan for the last two days, but rain shouldn't be an issue. Stanford and Fresno State are planning to play a game and a half today, first wrapping up yesterday's suspended game before playing game two right after.
Stanford leads game one, 6-1, after four innings. Nolan Gallagher bounced back from his terrible season-opener in Fullerton and gave up one run in four innings. Unfortunately for the Stanford junior, because of the suspension, there is no way he gets his first win as a Friday night starter.
Freshman Jeff Inman will get the call as a "starter" for the first game this afternoon. Inman was one of the top recruits in Stanford's freshman class and proved himself in fall and preseason practices. He has three pitches he can get over for strikes, a fastball in the low-90s, and judging from his performance in Southern California, is not easily rattled by the pressure of big-time college baseball.
The umpires just gathered and called the game after about a 45 minute rain delay. We'll be back to hopefully finish game one tomorrow at 1:00 PT. Again, the weather is a concern, but it is supposed to clear up tomorrow afternoon.
Four innings complete from Sunken Diamond, and here comes the rain. The umpires waited until the final out of the inning before signaling the rain delay. Stanford leads 6-1, behind a solid start from Nolan Gallagher and a three-run homer from freshman two-sport star Toby Gerhart.
After last night's rainout of the season opener against Fresno State, the Bullldogs and Cardinal were slated to play a double-header starting at noon PT. It looks like Mother Nature has different plans.