Saturday night’s Stanford-Rice game was a tough one to swallow for the
Cardinal as the Owls posted a 4-3, ten inning victory to take a 1-0 series lead
in the best-of-three CWS National Championship Series. Rice battled back
from 3-1 down as they scored two in the sixth to tie the game and then scored
the winning run in the bottom of the tenth on a Kodiak Quick throwing
error. For the Cardinal, Ryan McCally pitched a fantastic game as he went
9 1/3 innings on the mound while allowing four runs (three earned) before giving
way to Quick with one out in the tenth. At the plate, Jonny Ash hit
another homer, a solo shot in the first inning.
The Cardinal jumped on the board early with three runs off Rice ace starter
Jeff Niemann in the top of the first. Niemann, who entered the game with a
perfect 17-0 record, surrendered a one-out, solo homer off the bat of Jonny Ash. For Ash, it was his second home run in as many games after not
hitting one homer in his Stanford career. The Cardinal wasn’t done
though as Carlos Quentin then singled and Ryan Garko belted a double to deep
right center field to make the score 2-0. After Danny Putnam grounded out
to move Garko to third, Jed Lowrie reached on an error by Owls first baseman
Vincent Sinisi which scored Garko for a 3-0 Stanford lead. It was Sinisi’s
first error of the season.
Ryan McCally got the starting call for Stanford. Pitching on just three
days rest after a solid seven inning outing against South Carolina, the senior
righthander fired two shutout innings to start the game. Rice did rap out
two hits and McCally issued a walk during those first two frames, but he got out
of both innings unscored upon. In the third though, Rice mustered a run as
leadoff hitter Chris Kolkhorst tripled and then Dane Bubela scored him with a
sacrifice fly to center.
Meanwhile, Niemann settled down after allowing the three first inning
runs. Brian Hall led off the second with a single, but he was thrown out
trying to steal second. In the third, Ash led off with a single and Garko
singled with one out, but both runners were stranded. Then in the middle
innings, Niemann really settled into a groove as the Cardinal didn’t even pick
up a hit in the fourth through the sixth frames while Niemann issued just one
walk during that stretch.
McCally breezed through the fourth and fifth innings throwing just 17 pitches
in the process. In the bottom of the sixth, with the score still 3-1
Stanford, the Owls pushed across two scores to tie the game. Bubela led
off with a double and after Sinisi flied out, #4 hitter Austin Davis singled to
left score Bubela to make the score 3-2. The key on that play was that
Putnam in left tried to gun down Bubela at the plate which allowed Davis to take
second base. It looked though as if McCally would get out of it without
further damage as Craig Stansberry flied out, but then second baseman Enrique
Cruz came through with the clutch hit as he singled up the middle past the
diving Tobin Swope to tie the game at 3-3.
Brian Hall led off the seventh inning with a deep fly ball to left that
looked as if it had a chance to leave the yard, but leftfielder Chris Kolkhorst
made the catch just in front of the wall. Niemann retired the next two
batters in the inning on a couple of groundouts. McCally matched Niemann
with a 1-2-3 bottom of the inning to keep the score tied.
In the eighth, Garko walked with two outs and then Putnam smoked a ball to
deep left field. Like Hall’s ball, this one appeared to have a shot to
clear the fence, but Kolkhorst made a spectacular catch crashing into the wall
to end the inning. McCally showed very few signs to tiring as he fired
another 1-2-3 inning in the bottom of the eighth.
In the ninth, Rice elected to make a pitching change as Niemann was removed
in favor of star closer David Aardsma who was a first round draft pick a few
weeks ago. Lowrie promptly greeted Aardsma with a clean single and after
Chris Carter flied out to deep left (another very nice catch by Kolkhorst on a
ball at the warning track), Aardsma uncorked a wild pitch to move Lowrie to
second. But the bottom two hitters in the order couldn’t come through as
Hall grounded out to third and Swope popped out to second to end the threat.
In the bottom of the inning, DH Matt Uecket singled with one out, but McCally
got Paul Janish to fly out to right and Justin Ruchti to fly out to center to
send the game into extra innings.
Stanford went down quietly in the tenth as Fuld and Ash both grounded out
while Quentin struck out. Aardsma threw only eight pitches in the inning.
McCally went back out to the mound in the bottom of the tenth and walked the
leadoff batter, Kolkhorst, on five pitches. After Bubela sacrificed him to
second, McCally was lifted in favor of freshman Kodiak Quick. Quick faced
All-American Vincent Sinisi to start his outing and struck Sinisi out on a great
slider in the dirt for the second out. Quick made another nice pitch to
next batter, Austin Davis, as he looked to get out of the inning. Davis
hit a slow roller on the right side in between the pitchers mound and first
base. Quick pounced off the rubber but his throw sailed wide of Hall and
up the foul line which allowed Kolkhorst to easily score from second with the
* Ryan McCally took the loss in this game, but he still pitched very well. In
what will likely be his final outing as a Stanford Cardinal, McCally went 9 1/3
innings yielding four runs (three earned) on eight hits. He walked three and
struck out three.
* Rice starter Jeff Niemann went the first eight innings as he allowed three
runs (two earned) on six hits. He walked two and struck out four while he
didn’t allow a hit in the final five innings of his outing.
* David Aardsma recorded the win with two scoreless innings of relief.
* Offensively for Stanford, Jonny Ash (2-for-5, HR, RBI) and Ryan Garko
(2-for-3, 2B, RBI) both had multi-hit games.
Stanford 300 000 000 0 - 3 7 1
Rice 001 002 000 1 - 4 8 1
WP: David Aardsma (7-3)
LP: Ryan McCally (7-3)
HR: Stanford – Jonny Ash (2)
Records: #3 Stanford (50-17), #1 Rice (57-11)
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