One Run Enough In Shutout Of Cal

Stanford appears to have found their ace. Freshman Jeffrey Inman, inserted into the top position of the starting rotation for this weekend, fired 7 2/3 dominant innings Friday night against the California Golden Bears. Inman allowed just three hits and struck out nine while David Stringer recorded the final outs for another save. The 1-0 win marked Stanford's sixth victory in a row.

The Stanford offense mustered season-low totals of one run and five hits on Friday night.  Defensively, the Cardinal committed three errors to match their high total of the year.  None of it mattered.  Jeffrey Inman and David Stringer combined on a three-hit shutout as Stanford edged the California Golden Bears 1-0 Friday evening in the opener of a three-game, non-conference series. 

Inman dazzled in his debut as the #1 starter in the Cardinal starting rotation.  The freshman went the first 7 2/3 innings surrendering just three hits with three walks and nine strikeouts.  Inman had been starting on Saturday's for Stanford and compiled a 4.87 ERA in the first four appearances of his collegiate career.  With previous Friday starter Nolan Gallagher off to a slow start (1-2, 6.87 ERA), Mark Marquess made the move this weekend inserting the rookie into the coveted #1 position in the weekend rotation. 

Inman has perhaps the highest ceiling of any pitcher on the Cardinal staff thanks to his low-to-mid 90's fastball and above-average secondary pitches.  That outstanding pure stuff was on full display Friday night as Inman carved up the Cal hitters in picking-up his second career victory.

In fact, Inman immediately showed the Bears and the crowd of 1,492 at Sunken Diamond that he was headed for a big game with a dominant first trip through the batting order.  The freshman started the night with a 92 M.P.H. fastball to leadoff hitter Stephen Carlson and never looked back.  The only hit allowed by Inman during Cal's first trip through the order was a swinging bunt, infield single off the bat of Jeff Kobernus in the top of the second inning.

In his first five innings of work, Inman allowed just that one hit.   Inman struck out two batters in each of the fourth and fifth innings as the freshman picked-up momentum heading into the later frames.

The Stanford offense scored their lone run of the evening in the bottom of the third inning on a fielder's choice groundout from Joey August.  One-out singles by Adam Gaylord and Brendan Domaracki put runners on first and third as August stepped to the plate.  The sophomore left fielder than took a pitch from Bears starter Tyson Ross and grounded it sharply back up the middle only to see shortstop Brett Munster make a diving stop.  From the ground, Munster flipped the ball to second baseman Josh Satin to record the force out on Domaracki, but August easily reached first safely as Gaylord crossed home plate with the game's only run.

Michael Taylor was up next and he promptly singled into left - the fourth well-struck ball of the inning off of Ross.  But Sean Ratliff, who hit clean-up tonight, grounded out to end the threat. 

Through three innings, Stanford had notched four hits against Ross and thus looked as if they'd have a chance for more runs against the Bears ace later in the contest.  But Ross, who was Baseball America's preseason pick for Pac-10 Pitcher of the Year, fired five shutout innings with just one hit allowed to end the game keeping the Cardinal bats in check.

Fortunately, Inman was on his game tonight matching Ross pitch-for-pitch.  Cal threatened in the sixth when Carlson led off with a double into the left field corner while Ryan Hanlon was hit by a pitch with two outs.  But Inman came right back with a three-pitch strikeout of Blake Smith to retire the side.

After a 1-2-3 seventh inning on a pair of strikeouts, Inman ran into serious trouble in the eighth.  Pinch-hitter Mike Van Winden led off with a line drive toward the left field line that appeared ticketed for a double.  But August came racing over and made a full-extension, diving catch to rob Van Winden of an extra-base hit.

After Carlson grounded out, Satin singled sharply up the middle to bring the potential go-ahead run to the plate.  The dangerous David Cooper, the reigning Pac-10 Player of the Week, was up next.  Inman though looked as if he would retire Cooper when the Cal first baseman hit a high-chopping ground ball to shortstop.  But Gaylord played back on the ball and when it deflected off of his glove and into shallow left-center field, the Bears had runners on first and second.

Inman quickly fell behind the next hitter, Hanlon, 2-and-0 which signaled the end of his evening.  Red-hot closer David Stringer was brought into pitch and Stringer fired two straight pitches out of the zone to Hanlon which loaded the bases.

Smith was up next looking to bounce back from his sixth-inning strikeout, but Stringer never gave the Bears right fielder a chance.  The reliever, in the biggest at-bat of the night, came through with a four-pitch swinging strikeout of Smith ending the rally and keeping Stanford in front.

In the ninth, Stringer set down the Bears 1-2-3 with some help from Jason Castro as the first baseman made a diving catch moving to his right on Brett Munster's line drive.  The play saved a hit as Stringer came back with a strikeout of Jordan Karnofsky to end the game.


BOXSCORE

California    0 0 0  0 0 0  0 0 0   -   0   3   0
Stanford      0 0 1  0 0 0  0 0 X   -   1   5   3

California         POS  AB   R   H  RBI  BB  SO
Stephen Carlson     3B   4   0   1   0    0   0
Josh Satin          2B   4   0   1   0    0   1
David Cooper        1B   4   0   0   0    0   1
 Rich Gorman        PR   0   0   0   0    0   0
 Taylor Grigsby     CF   0   0   0   0    0   0
Ryan Hanlon         LF   1   0   0   0    2   0
Blake Smith         RF   3   0   0   0    1   2
Jeff Kobernus       DH   4   0   1   0    0   2
Brett Munster       SS   4   0   0   0    0   2
Charlie Cutler       C   3   0   0   0    0   0
 Jordan Karnofsky   PH   1   0   0   0    0   1
Brett Jackson       CF   2   0   0   0    0   2
 Mike Van Winden   PH/1B 1   0   0   0    0   0

2B: Carlson
HBP: Hanlon

                       IP   H   R  ER  BB  SO
Tyson Ross (L)        8.0   5   1   1   1   8



Stanford           POS  AB   R   H  RBI  BB  SO   AVG
Brendan Domaracki   DH   4   0   1   0    0   2  .238
Joey August         LF   4   0   1   1    0   0  .286
Michael Taylor      RF   4   0   1   0    0   2  .231
Sean Ratliff        CF   3   0   0   0    0   1  .264
Jason Castro        1B   3   0   0   0    0   0  .105
Brian Juhl           C   3   0   1   0    0   1  .350
Ryan Seawell        3B   2   0   0   0    0   1  .344
 J.J. Jelmini       2B   1   0   0   0    0   1  .000
Cord Phelps        2B/3B 2   0   0   0    1   0  .286
Adam Gaylord        SS   3   1   1   0    0   0  .349

E: Seawell 2, Gaylord
SB: August

                        IP   H   R  ER  BB  SO   ERA
Jeffrey Inman (W)      7.2   3   0   0   3   9  3.54
David Stringer (S)     1.1   0   0   0   0   2  2.03


WP: Jeffrey Inman (2-1)
LP: Tyson Ross (1-3)
S: David Stringer (6)

Records: Stanford (8-5), California (7-8)


NOTES
* This was Stanford's sixth win a row while the team also remained perfect this season at Sunken Diamond (7-0).

* This was the first time since 1995 that a freshman pitcher started the opening game of a weekend series for the Cardinal.  In 1995, eventual first round draft pick and future major leaguer Kyle Peterson quickly stepped into the role of Friday ace and finished with a 14-1 record.

* Inman threw 110 pitches on the night as the 7 2/3 innings and nine strikeouts were both season-high totals for a Stanford pitcher.  Inman lowered his ERA to 3.54.

* Stringer has now saved the last five Stanford games.  The junior right-hander has six saves on the season which is just one shy of cracking the Stanford single-season Top 10.  The single-season record for saves is 13 held by Steve Chitren (1987) and Jeff Bruksch (2000).  Of note, there are 42 games remaining in the regular season.

* Marquess shook up the lineup this evening with Stanford facing their first right-handed starting pitcher since February 20th (USF).  Seawell, who had been hitting leadoff against the lefties, dropped down to the #7 spot.  Domaracki and August, two left-handed swingers, occupied the #1 and #2 positions in the lineup respectively.  Meanwhile, Ratliff hit clean-up for the first time in his Stanford career.

* Seawell, who continues to adjust to his new position of third base, had his first rough game defensively at the hot corner.  The senior committed two errors on routine plays - a fielding mishap on a first-inning ground ball and a throwing error in the second on a toss to second base.  Seawell was removed from the game for defensive purposes to begin the sixth. 

* This was Stanford's first 1-0 game since March, 2000 when they edged the Santa Clara Broncos at Sunken Diamond.

* Ross was a tough-luck loser tonight for the Golden Bears.  The Cal ace is just 1-3 in his first five starts this year, but the sophomore owns a spectacular 2.02 ERA in 35 2/3 innings pitched.


ON DECK
These teams will continue this three-game, non-conference series tomorrow afternoon at 1:00 P.M.  Jeremy Bleich (1-1, 5.82 ERA) is scheduled to start on the mound for the Cardinal while California has yet to officially announce a starting pitcher.

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