1/17 Baseball Practice Notes

The offense bounced back during Wednesday's intrasquad game with a number of hitters performing well against the top pitching group. Adam Sorgi, in his return from injury, looks to be settling in at the plate as the redshirt junior connected for a grand slam. Included in this report are all of the notes and statistics from another day of preseason practice at Sunken Diamond.

With the top pitching group on the mound Wednesday, a low-scoring intrasquad game was expected at Sunken Diamond.  What transpired was the exact opposite.  The Cardinal Team edged the White Team by a 9-8 score thanks to four runs in their final at-bat.  Freshman infielder Adam Gaylord delivered the game-winning hit when he singled home two runs with two outs against Nolan Gallagher.

The White Team, which had two fewer at-bats than the Cardinal squad, scored all eight of their runs in the first inning.  Facing Erik Davis, Adam Sorgi supplied the big hit when he connected for a grand slam to deep right field.  13 hitters came to the plate during the frame with Brendan Domaracki and Toby Gerhart also coming through with RBI hits.

On the Cardinal side, Michael Taylor led the offensive attack with three hits and a pair of RBI. 

The pitching was very up-and-down all afternoon with Davis surrendering all eight runs (although only three were earned) in the difficult first inning.  Gallagher was touched up for all four of the runs in the final frame.  On the positive side, both Jeremy Bleich and Jeff Inman came through with impressive outings on the hill.

Defensively, it was a struggle with each team committing four errors in the shortened game.


BOXSCORE

Cardinal    3 0 1  1 0 0  4   -   9  11   4
White       8 0 0  0 0 X  X   -   8   6   4


Cardinal          POS   AB   R   H  RBI    BB  SO
Joey August        LF    3   1   0   0      1   1
Austin Yount      2B/3B  4   1   2   0      0   0
Michael Taylor     CF    4   2   3   2      0   0
Grant Escue        1B    3   0   1   2      1   2
Brian Juhl          C    3   2   1   0      3   0
Cord Phelps       3B/2B  3   1   1   0      1   1
Adam Gaylord       SS    4   1   2   2      0   0
Wande Olabisi      DH    4   0   0   0      0   2
Jeff Whitlow       RF    4   1   1   0      0   1

E: Yount, Escue, Phelps, Bleich



White             POS   AB   R   H  RBI    BB  SO
Toby Gerhart       LF    3   1   1   1      1   0
Sean Ratliff       CF    3   1   0   0      0   1
Brent Milleville    C    3   1   0   0      0   0
Brendan Domaracki  RF    2   1   1   1      1   0
Adam Sorgi         DH    3   1   2   4      0   0
Randy Molina      1B/3B  3   1   1   0      0   1
J.J. Jelmini       SS    3   1   1   0      1   0
Stephen Brown     3B/1B  3   1   0   0      1   1
Brian Moon         2B    2   0   0   1      1   1

E: Milleville, Domaracki, Gaylord, Moon
HR: Sorgi (1st inning, 3 on, 0 out)
SB: Gerhart, Jelmini


                    IP   H   R  ER  BB  SO
Erik Davis         1.1   4   8   3   3   0
Jeff Inman         3.0   3   3   2   1   2

Cory Bannister     2.2   3   2   2   4   2
Nolan Gallagher    2.2   6   4   3   2   2
Jeremy Bleich      2.2   1   0   0   1   5



NOTES
* It was a noteworthy game at the plate for Sorgi with his first-inning grand slam and single late in the contest.  Sorgi turned on a 3-1 pitch from Davis and launched a high fly ball that just cleared the fence in right field.  It was the first home run of the preseason for any player.  Sorgi is starting to look like the Sorgi of old at the plate.  It remains to be seen whether he'll hit in one of the top two spots in the batting order or just behind the heart of the lineup.  Sorgi led the '05 team in batting average when he hit at a .322 clip.  Of note, however, Sorgi has not played shortstop in a game since the preseason opener last Friday.

* Taylor sure seems ready for the regular season after another big afternoon offensively.  The slugging outfielder, who continues to play center with Ryan Seawell out, racked up three more hits (all singles) in four at-bats.  Nearly everything off of Taylor's bat is hit hard and all signs point toward an All-Conference, if not All-American, season for the Florida native.  Taylor leads the club with a .667 batting average (8-for-12) during the preseason.  He's also played a capable center field of late.

* Other positive notes from Wednesday's practice were the pitching performances of Bleich and Inman.  The sophomore Bleich was the top pitcher of the afternoon with 2 2/3 excellent innings that saw the southpaw allow only one hit and one walk.  He struck out a game-high five batters.  Bleich sat at 88-89 M.P.H. with his fastball and mixed in a couple of different off-speed pitches.  In his second inning of work, the White squad loaded the bases with none out on an error, a walk, and a single.  But Bleich recovered with back-to-back strikeouts of Randy Molina and Stephen Brown before a routine ground out to shortstop from J.J. Jelmini.  Bleich has always shown tremendous composure in big spots which was a huge reason why he notched seven saves during the first half of last season.  In addition to a solid second half as a starter, Bleich was an All-Star starting pitcher in the Cape, so it would appear he can handle that role as well.  Right now, it wouldn't be a surprise if Bleich found his name penciled into the Friday starting spot.

* Inman recovered nicely from a rocky start to post solid numbers.  In his first inning, Inman allowed three singles which led to a run before a two-out wild pitch plated the second score of the frame.  He responded though by not allowing a hit in his final two innings.  There have been many times since the start of Fall Ball that Inman looks every bit like the top pitcher on this team.  Whether this success in practice translates into similar success during games early on is another matter.  If it does, then it won't be long before Inman becomes one of the better starting pitchers in the Pac-10.  He's that good.  On Wednesday, Inman sat between 89 and 93 M.P.H. with his fastball.

* It's certainly interesting to note the elevation of Cory Bannister to the top pitching group.  Last weekend, while pitching in the third group, Bannister fired 3 2/3 no-hit innings after a solid Fall Ball performance.  Bannister again showed Wednesday that he may be ready for significant early action out of the bullpen for the Cardinal.  He entered the contest and managed to put out the fire started by Davis and halt the scoring at eight runs.  In his other two innings, Bannister had difficulties finishing off Brian Juhl walking the catcher three times, but otherwise pitched well.  Bannister can probably be best described as a 'crafty righty.'  He's not afraid to throw his breaking ball at any time and features an excellent cutter that is especially effective against left-handers.  Bannister's lack of overpowering velocity is probably the reason why he wasn't rated highly on the draft boards last spring, but he clearly knows how to pitch.  And the fact he's now throwing with the first group is further evidence that the Arizona product may get a chance at some early innings this season.

* Speaking of Juhl, look for the Cardinal catcher to lead the team in walks this season.  The junior has an excellent eye at the plate and takes a lot of pitches which will result in a high on-base percentage.

* Gerhart was moved up to the leadoff spot in the batting order for his club today.  He may not look like a leadoff batter, but don't be fooled, the freshman can run and that's very evident when he's on the bases or playing the field.  Gerhart recorded a single, a walk, and a stolen base during Wednesday's practice game.  He may spend half of his year playing football, but there's no doubt that Gerhart is a true baseball player.  He does many little things well and has constantly earned the praise of Coaches Marquess and Stotz since preseason practice began last week. 

* There isn't a lot of speed on this team and thus I don't think the stolen base will be a huge part of the offense.  Some of the exceptions to that, however, are Gerhart and Taylor.

* It was not a day to remember for the junior pitchers Davis and Gallagher.  Davis was not sharp during his stint on the mound and while two errors early in the inning set up the lengthy rally, he still didn't have his best stuff.  Davis sat between 86 and 87 M.P.H. but lacked strong control and also served up the Sorgi grand slam.  Meanwhile, Gallagher pitched out of jams in his first two innings to put up zeros before the opposition got to him for four runs in his third and final frame.  Gallagher was throwing a fastball at 88 and 89 M.P.H. 

* Senior pitcher Jeff Stimpson has left the team to focus on academics and prepare for graduate school.  Stimpson appeared in just one game out of the bullpen last season surrendering four runs in 2/3 of an inning.  The departure of Stimpson leaves the current roster with only one senior: Ryan Seawell.