Cardinal Hang On To Edge Jayhawks

First career home run for Whitlow

Stanford had just enough Friday night to defeat Kansas in the opener of their three-game series. The Cardinal, on the strength of two home runs, scored five times in the first inning for a big, early lead. The Jayhawks though would not quit chipping away at the Stanford lead before David Stringer came on in the final innings to slam the door. Here is a complete recap of Stanford's 6-5 win.

Stanford looked to be in excellent shape after one inning Friday night.  Home runs from Ryan Seawell and Jeff Whitlow resulted in a five-run bottom of the first for the Cardinal as Stanford appeared poised to claim the opener of their three-game series with Kansas.  But the Jayhawks, fresh off an impressive run to the NCAA Tournament last season, would not quit.  KU gradually cut into the Stanford lead with Preston Land's eighth-inning, two-run homer cutting the Cardinal advantage down to 6-5.

Land's home run came off of Max Fearnow with no outs in the frame.  With closer David Stringer ready in the bullpen, Mark Marquess didn't waste any time going to his red-hot reliever.  With no margin for error, Stringer came on and struck out Casey Larson before Buck Afenir drew a walk.  But the walk-on from Palo Alto responded by retiring Kyle Murphy on a routine fly out to center before leadoff hitter Brock Simpson struck out swinging to end the inning.

With the score still 6-5, Stringer went back out for the ninth.  Robby Price started the inning with a clean single to left field before Stringer came back with consecutive strikeouts of John Allman and Ryne Price - the #3 and #4 hitters in the KU lineup.  Erik Morrison kept the Jayhawks in the game with a single to left putting runners on first and second which set the table for Land, who of course homered in his last trip to the plate.  But Stringer would pitch out of trouble inducing Land to hit a high, chopping ground ball to shortstop that Adam Gaylord took to second base for the force out.  It was Stringer's third save of the year as Stanford evened their overall record at 5-5.

Nolan Gallagher earned his first win of the year as the junior pitched into the sixth inning on Friday.  Gallagher was given a big, early lead and was effective, but certainly not dominant, through much of the night.  The Jayhawks rallied with two outs in the second and third innings to score runs and cut into the Stanford lead.  In the second, two walks and a single produced a run before three straight two-out singles in the third made the score 5-2.

Gallagher cruised through the fourth and fifth innings without allowing a hit before struggling with his control in the sixth.  Back-to-back hit by pitches started the rally before Larson grounded a ball to first base.  Brent Milleville fielded the ball cleanly and fired to second base for one out, but there was confusion on the back-end of the play as both Gallagher and Milleville covered first base on Gaylord's relay throw.  Larson would have been safe anyway, but Gaylord's accurate throw to the bag glanced off of Gallagher's glove and rolled away as the lead runner raced home with Kansas' third tally of the evening.  It was Stanford's first (and lone) error of the evening.  The Cardinal have now committed at least one error in all ten games this season.

Gallagher was pulled after his fielding miscue in favor of Fearnow who pitched out of trouble in the sixth and then worked a 1-2-3 seventh.  Fearnow, however, allowed a single and a home run in the eighth before leaving the game.

The Stanford hitters wasted little time getting to Kansas starting pitcher Zach Ashwood tonight.  Ashwood entered the contest with an ERA of 2.53 in his first two starts, but against the likes of Hawaii-Hilo and South Dakota State.  Tonight, he was greeted rudely by Seawell as the Cardinal leadoff man blasted an Ashwood pitch over the fence in left field for a line drive home run.  For Seawell, it was his team-leading second homer of the year.

After the Seawell round-tripper, Sean Ratliff and Michael Taylor both singled before a walk to Brent Milleville loaded the bases.  Ratliff scored on Brian Juhl's sacrifice fly to make the score 2-0 and then it was Whitlow's turn to get in on the action.  The sophomore, who didn't receive an at-bat last season, is garnering some regular playing time these days in left field with the injury to Toby Gerhart.  Tonight, Whitlow drove an Ashwood offering high and deep over the wall in straightaway left field for a three-run homer and a 5-0 Cardinal advantage.  It was Whitlow's first career home run and it came in just his sixth ever at-bat on the Farm.

Ashwood did recover to shutout the Cardinal during the next four innings before turning things over to the KU bullpen.  Stanford's final run of the night came in the bottom of the sixth as singles from Milleville and Juhl started the inning before a sacrifice bunt and a Cord Phelps groundout produced a score.


BOXSCORE

Kansas       0 1 1  0 0 1  0 2 0   -   5   9   2
Stanford     5 0 0  0 0 1  0 0 X   -   6   9   1

Kansas            POS  AB   R   H  RBI  BB  SO
Brock Simpson      RF   5   0   0   0    0   2
Robby Price        3B   5   0   1   0    0   0
John Allman        LF   5   1   1   0    0   1
Ryne Price         2B   5   0   1   0    0   3
Erik Morrison      SS   4   2   3   1    0   0
Preston Land       1B   3   2   1   2    1   0
Casey Larson       DH   2   0   0   0    1   1
Buck Afenir         C   3   0   1   1    1   1
 Nick Faunce       PR   0   0   0   0    0   0
 Dylan Parzyk       C   0   0   0   0    0   0
Kyle Murphy        CF   4   0   1   0    0   1

E: Afenir, Ashwood
HR: Land (1st, 8th inning, 1 on, 0 out)
HBP: Morrison, Land, Larson

                      IP   H   R  ER  BB  SO
Zach Ashwood (L)     5.0   6   5   5   1   4
Andres Esquibel      2.1   3   1   0   1   2
Paul Smyth           0.2   0   0   0   0   0



Stanford          POS  AB   R   H  RBI  BB  SO   AVG
Ryan Seawell       3B   4   1   2   1    0   1  .304
Sean Ratliff       CF   4   1   1   0    0   2  .302
Michael Taylor     RF   4   1   1   0    0   1  .220
Brent Milleville   1B   2   2   1   0    2   0  .300
Brian Juhl          C   3   0   1   1    0   0  .323
Jeff Whitlow       LF   2   1   1   3    0   0  .429
 Joey August      PH/LF 1   0   0   0    0   0  .294
Cord Phelps        2B   4   0   0   1    0   1  .273
Jeremy Bleich      DH   0   0   0   0    0   0   ---
 Jason Castro     PH/DH 3   0   1   0    0   1  .133
Adam Gaylord       SS   3   0   1   0    0   0  .353

E: Gallagher
2B: Castro
HR: Seawell (2nd, 1st inning, 0 on, 0 out), Whitlow (1st, 1st inning, 2 on, 1 out)

                      IP   H   R  ER  BB  SO   ERA
Nolan Gallagher (W)  5.1   4   3   3   2   3  6.87
Max Fearnow          1.2   3   2   2   0   2  3.86
David Stringer (S)   2.0   2   0   0   1   4  2.53


WP: Nolan Gallagher (1-2)
LP: Zach Ashwood (1-1)
S: David Stringer (3)

Records: Stanford (5-5), Kansas (7-2)


NOTES
* Stringer's big week on the mound continued with his two scoreless innings tonight.  Combined with his stellar performance on Tuesday versus San Francisco, Stringer has now thrown five innings this week without allowing a run.  The junior right-hander has struck out six and has been credited with two saves.  On the year, Stringer has now appeared in six of Stanford's first ten games.

* The Cardinal won their third game in a row with tonight's victory.  The returned to .500 for the first time since game #1 of the season and remained perfect at Sunken Diamond (4-0).

* Adam Gaylord (eight games) and Ryan Seawell (five games) both extended hitting streaks this evening.  Seawell was the lone starter to record a multi-hit game at the plate as the senior third baseman finished 2-for-4 with an RBI.  Cord Phelps was the only starter without a hit.

* Jason Castro continues to get back to full speed after a hand injury knocked him out for most of the preseason and the first two weeks of the regular season.  Castro got the nod at DH tonight, but dropped down to the #8 spot in the lineup with the tough lefty on the mound.  In the fourth inning, the sophomore belted a double to deep left center field for his second hit of the season.  The loud hit was a welcome sight from Castro after picking up just one single in his first 13 at-bats prior to that fourth-inning plate appearance.

* Jeff Whitlow continues to impress in the limited playing time he has received this year.  The Michigan native has now recorded three hits (two doubles and a home run) in seven at-bats this year.  He's also driven home five runs.  With two more left-handed pitchers expected to start for Kansas this weekend, Whitlow, a rare right-handed swinger among the outfield corps, may get a chance for continued playing time.

* Stanford is still averaging exactly six runs scored per game this season (60 runs in ten games).  With tonight's performance, the pitching staff lowered their ERA to below six for the first time this year (5.93).


ON DECK
The Cardinal will look to continue their winning ways at Sunken Diamond on Saturday with the second game of this three-game series against the Kansas Jayhawks.  First pitch is scheduled for 1:00 P.M.  Jeff Inman (1-1, 6.14 ERA) is slated to start on the mound for Stanford while Kansas is expected to counter with left-hander Nick Czyz (1-0, 1.93 ERA).

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