Cardinal Sweep Fresno State

The weather didn't cooperate for most of the weekend, but Sunday did see Stanford and Fresno State do battle on the baseball field. In a completion of Saturday's suspended game, the Cardinal blasted the Bulldogs by a 9-2 score for their first victory of the season. Stanford then followed it up with a narrow 6-4 win for the sweep. Here is a complete recap of all the action with notes and stats.

After getting swept by the Cal State Fullerton Titans last weekend, the Cardinal were in dire need of some victories as they returned home to take on Fresno State.  Unfortunately, the weather proved to be Stanford's biggest foe for much of the weekend as rain completely washed out Friday's scheduled contest.  The clubs then managed just four innings of play on Saturday afternoon before the skies opened.  Sunday, however, was a different story.

The Cardinal opened today with a 6-1 lead at the start of the fifth inning thanks to some early offense and solid pitching from Nolan Gallagher on the soggy Saturday at Sunken Diamond.  Jeff Inman picked up right where Gallagher left off to start the fifth as the freshman finished the contest with five quality innings of work to record his first collegiate victory.  Meanwhile, the offense kept things going with three more runs to post a convincing 9-2 win.

Inman scattered six hits during his long relief outing with his only run allowed coming with two outs in the top of the ninth inning.  The Bakersfield native, with his trademark big fastball and solid off-speed pitches, displayed excellent control with no walks.  He also managed five strikeouts with a single punchout coming in every inning he worked. 

Gallagher got the starting call on Saturday and was short-changed a win thanks to the rain that forced the contest to be resumed Sunday afternoon.  After getting rocked at Fullerton last weekend (3 IP, 8 H, 7 R), Gallagher rebounded nicely against the Bulldogs.  In four innings, the junior yielded one run on four hits with just one walk and four strikeouts.  Gallagher was especially effective in the top of the fourth inning when he managed to pitch out of a runners at 1st and 3rd, no out jam.  He responded to the challenge by inducing a pop-out of the next hitter before back-to-back strikeouts. 

Offensively, Stanford had little difficulties against Fresno starter Brandon Miller tagging the left-hander for six runs in the first three innings on Saturday.  In the first, Austin Yount drove home a run with a two-out single while another run scored on an error.  The Cardinal then opened things up in the third with a pair of freshman doing most of the damage.  With two outs and a runner on second, rookie shortstop Adam Gaylord singled driving home a run.  After Cord Phelps walked, frosh Toby Gerhart stepped to the plate and blasted an opposite-field, three-run homer to right field for a 6-1 lead. 

Later in the contest (on Sunday), Phelps scored a run after tripling before coming home on an error.  Then in the seventh, an RBI double from Gaylord brought home yet another Cardinal score. 

The second game on Sunday afternoon was a much tighter affair as Stanford scored two runs in the bottom of the sixth inning to snap a tie en route to a 6-4 victory.  Back-to-back one-out singles from pinch-hitters Brent Milleville and Ryan Seawell started the rally putting runners on first and second.  Brian Juhl was up next and the catcher bounced a ball up the middle that shortstop Todd Sandell was unable to come up with.  Second baseman Erik Wetzel though was able to get the baseball and make a throw over to third base to try to get Seawell, but was late in his attempt.  Then with Milleville breaking for home, third baseman Tommy Mendonca's throw hit Milleville which allowed both runners to score. 

The two-run cushion was all Stanford needed as David Stringer come on to start the seventh and shut down the Fresno hitters for his first save of the year.  Stringer allowed just two baserunners : a two-out double in the seventh and a one-out single in the ninth.  The junior struck out three including a punchout of Steve Detwiler, who was representing the potential tying run, to end the game and complete the sweep.

Stanford scored their first four runs of the game in the bottom of the first on the strength of six singles.  With two on and two down, Joey August reached on an infield single to first base as pitcher Brandon Burke was late covering the bag on the ground ball.  Gerhart, who was at third at the start of the play, scored easily.  But Michael Taylor, who was at second, never stopped as he rounded third base and scored ahead of the throw from the napping pitcher.

Juhl and Gaylord scored runs later in the frame with clutch two-out hits.


BOXSCORE
(Game Two)

Fresno State   0 0 0  0 4 0  0 0 0   -   4  13   2
Stanford       4 0 0  0 0 2  0 0 X   -   6   9   1

Fresno State       POS  AB   R   H  RBI  BB  SO
Loren Storey        LF   5   1   3   0    0   1
Brian Lapin         CF   5   1   2   2    0   0
Steve Susdorf       1B   5   0   2   0    0   0
Ozzie Lewis         RF   4   0   1   1    0   0
Tommy Mendonca      3B   4   0   1   0    0   2
Erik Wetzel         2B   4   0   1   0    0   0
Todd Sandell        SS   4   1   2   0    0   0
Steve Detwiler      DH   3   0   0   1    0   2
Ryan Overland        C   4   1   1   0    0   0

E: Mendonca, Sandell
2B: Sandell 2, Susdorf, Overland
SB: Lapin

                     IP   H   R  ER  BB  SO
Brandon Burke       5.0   7   4   4   0   2
Justin Wilson (L)   1.1   2   2   0   0   2
Clayton Allison     1.2   0   0   0   0   3



Stanford            POS  AB   R   H  RBI  BB  SO   AVG
Sean Ratliff         CF   4   0   0   0    0   2  .292
Toby Gerhart         LF   4   1   1   0    0   0  .286
Michael Taylor       RF   4   1   1   0    0   0  .250
Austin Yount         2B   3   0   1   0    0   0  .350
 J.J. Jelmini        2B   1   0   0   0    0   1  .000
Joey August          1B   2   1   1   1    0   0  .300
 Brent Milleville   PH/1B 2   1   1   0    0   1  .167
Brendan Domaracki    DH   2   1   1   0    0   0  .167
 Ryan Seawell       PH/DH 2   1   1   0    0   1  .167
Brian Juhl            C   3   0   1   1    0   0  .389
Adam Gaylord         SS   3   0   1   1    0   1  .294
Cord Phelps          3B   3   0   0   0    0   1  .333

E: Yount
CS: Yount

                     IP   H   R  ER  BB  SO    ERA
Jeremy Bleich       4.1   8   4   3   0   1   6.10
Max Fearnow (W)     1.2   3   0   0   0   2   2.08
David Stringer (S)  3.0   2   0   0   0   2   4.50


WP: Max Fearnow (1-1)
LP: Justin Wilson (1-1)
S: David Stringer (1)

Records: Stanford (2-3), Fresno State (1-5)



NOTES
* Some notable statistics from the first game of the series:
- Toby Gerhart, LF: 2-for-5, HR, 3 RBI
- Sean Ratliff, CF: 2-for-5
- Brian Juhl, C: 2-for-4
- Austin Yount, 2B: 2-for-4, RBI
- Adam Gaylord, SS: 2-for-4, 2B, 2 RBI
- Nolan Gallagher, RHP: 4 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 4 SO
- Jeff Inman, RHP: 5 IP, 6 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 5 SO

* All nine runs scored by Stanford in the first game and the first four runs of game #2 came with two outs in the inning. 

* Jeremy Bleich got the start in game two and initially threw well with four scoreless innings.  Bleich managed to scatter five hits in those four innings with no walks and a strikeout.  The sophomore would run into some trouble in the fifth though as a double, a sacrifice fly, an error, and a pair of singles knocked the southpaw out of the game.  The error, the only miscue in the field for Stanford during the game, was a fielding mishap at second from Yount and opened the door for the big inning.  Bleich left the contest with Stanford up 4-3 and one runner on base.  Max Fearnow came on in relief and promptly allowed two singles which tied the game before setting down the next two hitters retiring the side.  Fearnow also worked a scoreless top of the sixth and was officially credited with the victory.

* Only five pitchers saw action on the mound for the Cardinal in this rain-shortened two-game series.  It was no surprise that Fearnow and Stringer were the relievers on the hill on Sunday as the duo is expected to log key innings out of the bullpen this season.  Although Fearnow did allow the two singles at the beginning of his outing, they did combine for 4 2/3 scoreless innings of work - a refreshing change from the horrific numbers put up by the bullpen last weekend in Fullerton. 

* All total, the pitching staff allowed five earned runs in the two games for a 2.50 team ERA.  Meanwhile, the hitters compiled a .296 batting average (21-for-71).

* Brent Milleville and Ryan Seawell made their 2007 debuts this weekend after missing the Fullerton series with injuries.  Both started in the first game with Milleville at first base and Seawell at DH and each finished 0-for-4.  Milleville struck out three times while Seawell did manage one walk.  With a right-hander on the mound in game two, Mark Marquess went to a pair of left-handed hitters at first base (Joey August) and DH (Brendan Domaracki).  But once Fresno State put left-handed reliever Justin Wilson into the contest, Marquess lifted his starters for Milleville and Seawell in the pivotal bottom of the sixth.  The duo both singled in the frame to help put Stanford ahead. 

* Adam Sorgi, who continues to recover from his serious shoulder injury, did not play all weekend.  Jason Castro also continues to recover from an injury (hand), but is expected to return within the next few weeks during the non-conference portion of the schedule.

* August made his first career start at first base when he got the nod for game two of the series.  August, who played exclusively corner outfield last season, also saw action at first late in game #1.  The sophomore has been working out at the position (in addition to outfield) since Castro went down with an injury last month.  August played a very capable first base during games this weekend and this added versatility gives Marquess another option at the position (along with Castro, Milleville, Grant Escue, and Randy Molina).

* Gaylord has started all five games this season at shortstop.  The freshman has held his own at the plate recording a .294 batting average (5-for-17) with one double and three RBI.  He hit in the #8 spot in the batting order in both games this weekend.  In addition, Gaylord has committed just one error thus far.

* Juhl is the early leader in batting average as the junior is hitting an impressive .389 (7-for-18) with a pair of RBI.

* With a lefty on the mound in the first game, Gerhart made his first career appearance in the leadoff spot in the batting order.  The freshman made an immediate impact on the game with a single in the second inning and his three-run homer in the third.  In the first, Gerhart was robbed of an extra-base hit when right fielder Ozzie Lewis made a spectacular catch on a fly ball as he crashed into the fence.

* Gallagher displayed nice velocity on Saturday reaching 90 and 91 M.P.H. with his fastball.

* The scheduled third game of this series will now be played on Wednesday, April 25th at Sunken Diamond (time TBA).


ON DECK
Stanford will host Rikkyo University of Japan in an exhibition game at Sunken Diamond on Tuesday afternoon.  First pitch is scheduled for 2:00 P.M.  Admission is free to the public.  Expect a number of pitchers to see brief action on the mound during the contest.

Stanford's next official games will come at 7th ranked Texas over the weekend.  The Longhorns and Cardinal will play on Friday at 12:30 P.M. (PST) and Saturday and Sunday at 11:00 A.M. (PST).  The entire series will be played in Round Rock with Disch-Falk Field currently undergoing renovations.  Texas dropped two-of-three games to host Long Beach State this weekend.