Card Rout UW To Complete Sweep

Taylor's homer starts seven-run inning

Stanford needed a strong weekend up in Seattle to keep their NCAA Tournament hopes alive. What transpired was complete domination on the Cardinal side for a convincing three-game sweep. Sunday saw Stanford score seven runs in the fourth inning en route to an easy 10-2 victory. The Cardinal again received contributions from up-and-down the lineup while Jeremy Bleich delivered a solid performance on the mound. With the victory, Stanford has now won six in a row.

The Stanford Cardinal made things look awfully easy this weekend.  Playing a club also battling for a spot in the NCAA Tournament, Stanford went up to Seattle and promptly swept the host Washington Huskies.  After a shutout win behind Greg Reynolds on Friday and a blowout victory on Saturday, the Cardinal handed Washington a 10-2 defeat Sunday afternoon to complete the sweep.  Stanford rapped out 15 hits - including three home runs - in the victory while Jeremy Bleich tossed a career-high seven innings on the mound.

The Cardinal have now won six games in a row and eight out of their last nine.  Stanford's conference record has climbed all the way up to 10-11 while their overall mark now sits at 27-21. 

On Sunday, much like on Saturday, it would be a big inning at the plate that propelled the team to a convincing win.

Trailing 1-0, the pivotal top of the fourth inning started with Michael Taylor.  The sophomore right fielder has had a solid year at the plate with an average hovering around .300 all season.  The one statistic that has plagued Taylor all year though has been the home run.  Taylor went deep versus Cal State Fullerton back in early-February and then went a total of 45 games without another longball.  That streak came to an end today as Taylor took a 1-0 pitch from UW starter Elliott Cribby and blasted it over the wall in left field for a no-doubt-about-it home run.  The shot tied the score at 1-1 and set the stage for a thrilling top of the fourth.

Randy Molina followed the Taylor home run with a single before Chris Lewis ripped a double down the left field line to put runners on second and third.  Jason Castro was up next and the freshman bounced a ball to the left side of the infield for an RBI single.  Shortstop Bradley Boyer was able to make a play on the grounder and attempted to throw out Lewis at third base.  However, a wild throw from Boyer led to yet another run coming across as Lewis raced home for a 3-1 Stanford lead.

A walk to Brian Juhl and a bunt single from Jim Rapoport loaded the bases before Ryan Seawell grounded into a fielder's choice with Castro forced out at home.  Emerging DH Grant Escue followed with an infield single plating Juhl for a 4-1 lead and then Chris Minaker, the ninth man to hit in the frame, grounded a sharp single into left field scoring two more Cardinal runners.  That ended Cribby's afternoon as the converted closer, who threw well initially with three scoreless frames, retired just one batter in a difficult top of the fourth.

Stanford's final run of the inning scored on a Molina groundout.  The Cardinal sent 12 batters to the plate in the fourth scoring seven runs on seven hits.

Bleich's solid seven-inning stint on the mound saw the freshman allow two runs (both earned) on eight hits.  The southpaw has been in-and-out of the starting rotation throughout the Pac-10 season after recording seven saves during the first two months of the '06 campaign.  Last weekend against Cal, Bleich fired 4 1/3 impressive innings of long relief with just two hits and one run surrendered.  That effort earned Bleich a return to the starting rotation and the Louisiana native would come through against the Huskies.

Bleich worked out of a key bases loaded jam in the bottom of the second inning as he struck out Brett Kaluza to strand the three runners.  With a big lead, Bleich threw plenty of strikes during the second half of his afternoon.  He also was able to induce a pair of inning-ending double plays in the fifth and sixth frames.  All total, Bleich walked just one batter and struck out three.

Stanford added two more runs in the top of the seventh inning.  After Lewis drew a leadoff walk, Castro belted an offering from reliever Nick Hagadone over the fence in right field for a home run.  It was Castro's second round-tripper of the year and was especially impressive as it came against a talented left-handed pitcher.  Then in the ninth, Seawell connected for a line drive, solo homer to left to cap the scoring.

The Cardinal had baserunners this afternoon in every inning except the third.  Every starter, with the exception of Juhl, recorded a basehit.

Matt Manship finished the game out of the bullpen for Stanford.  The senior allowed a leadoff single in the bottom of the eighth and then promptly went on to set down the next six batters he faced to seal the victory and complete the sweep.

Stanford     0 0 0  7 0 0  2 0 1   -  10  15   0
Washington   0 0 1  0 0 0  1 0 0   -   2   9   1

Stanford            POS   AB   R   H  RBI    BB  SO
Ryan Seawell         CF    6   2   2   1      0   2
Grant Escue          DH    5   1   3   1      0   1
 Brent Milleville    PH    1   0   0   0      0   0
Chris Minaker        SS    5   0   1   2      0   1
Michael Taylor       RF    4   1   3   1      1   0
Randy Molina         3B    4   1   1   1      1   0
Chris Lewis          2B    3   2   2   0      2   1
Jason Castro         1B    4   1   2   3      1   0
Brian Juhl            C    4   1   0   0      1   1
Jim Rapoport         LF    5   1   1   0      0   0

2B: Lewis 2
HR: Seawell (2nd), Taylor (2nd), Castro (2nd)

                        IP   H   R  ER  BB  SO
Jeremy Bleich (W)      7.0   8   2   2   1   3
Matt Manship           2.0   1   0   0   0   1



Washington          POS   AB   R   H  RBI    BB  SO
Bradley Boyer       2B/SS  4   0   0   0      0   0
Matt Hague           DH    4   0   1   0      0   0
Curt Rindal          1B    4   1   2   0      0   0
Zach Clem            LF    4   0   2   1      0   0
Matt Stevens         3B    4   0   0   0      0   2
Matt Lane             C    3   0   1   0      1   0
Nick Burnham         CF    3   0   1   0      0   0
 Cory Rickard        PH    1   0   0   0      0   0
Danny Cox            SS    0   0   0   0      0   0
 Ryan Anderson       2B    2   0   0   0      0   0
 Andy Lentz          PH    1   0   0   0      0   0
Brett Kaluza         RF    3   1   2   1      0   1
 Jake Rife           PH    1   0   0   0      0   1

2B: Rindal, Clem
HR: Kaluza (2nd)
E: Boyer

                        IP   H   R  ER  BB  SO
Elliott Cribby (L)     3.1  10   7   7   1   3
Matt Kasser            0.2   0   0   0   2   1
Nick Hagadone          5.0   5   3   3   3   2


WP: Jeremy Bleich (4-4)
LP: Elliott Cribby (6-6)

Records: Stanford (27-21, 10-11), Washington (32-23, 9-12)


Notes:
* The sweep was Stanford's second of the year (February 3-5, vs. Cal State Fullerton) and first on the road.  The Cardinal have also won three consecutive series' for the first time this season.

* Stanford outscored Washington by a staggering margin of 29-8 in the three games.  The 29 runs scored was a season-high in a three-game, weekend series for the Cardinal. 

* This was the first time all year the Huskies had been swept at home.  Prior to this weekend, Washington had dropped just one home series (two-of-three versus Cal Poly in March) all season.

* Taylor extended his hitting streak to eight games with his 3-for-4 performance at the plate.

* Escue started all three games at DH this weekend finishing 5-for-12 (all singles) with two RBI.

* The Cardinal went a perfect 5-0 on the road this week.

* In their last nine games (8-1 record), the Stanford pitching staff has recorded a stellar 2.69 ERA.

* Stanford (10-11) now only trails Oregon State (11-6), Arizona State (10-7), USC (11-9), and UCLA (9-8) in the Pac-10 standings.  The Beavers and Sun Devils are currently doing battle in Tempe while the Trojans and Bruins will get together in Los Angeles for their series finale late Sunday afternoon.

* Stanford returns to action on Tuesday evening when they host the Santa Clara Broncos for a single non-conference game.  First pitch at Sunken Diamond is scheduled for 6:00 P.M.

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