Ugly Loss Ends Streak For Cardinal

Ratliff one of the few bright spots

It wasn't pretty for Stanford on Tuesday night in Santa Clara. Ten walks, three hit batters, and two errors for the pitching/defense plus 14 runners left on base on the hitting side. Add it all up and the Cardinal were left on the wrong end of a 13-5 score to the Broncos. The loss ended Stanford's eight-game winning streak as the Cardinal now prepare for a weekend series with USC.

The Stanford winning streak came to an end Tuesday night in Santa Clara with a laugher.  The Broncos used an 11-hit offensive attack and capitalized on ten walks from Cardinal pitchers to post a convincing 13-5 win in the non-conference matchup.  At the plate, Stanford also received ten walks, but wasn't nearly as effective with runners in scoring position as their Bay Area rivals.  The Cardinal had won eight games in a row and saw their overall record fall to 10-6.

It was ugly from the start for the Cardinal pitching staff.  Freshman Brandt Walker earned the start after four previous appearances out of the bullpen.  Walker pitched fairly well in those relief outings with no runs allowed in five innings.  He possesses some of best pure stuff on the pitching staff, but often struggled with his control during intrasquads.  In those early relief outings, Walker displayed solid control with just one walk, but a team-best three wild pitches.  But on Tuesday, the wheels would fall off for the freshman from Austin, Texas.

The Stanford offense gave Walker a 2-0 advantage with a pair of runs in the top of the first inning, but the rookie right-hander was unable to hold the lead.  Santa Clara sent nine batters to the plate in the bottom of the first with four reaching via the walk.  A one-out free pass to David Hoffmire followed by two-out walks to Gabe Alcantar and Ryan Conan loaded the bases.  Carl Bacon was up next and the Bronco catcher delivered a clutch single to score a pair of runs before Evan LeBlanc reached on an Austin Yount error to push across the third run of the frame.  To Walker's credit, he did retire #9 hitter Jon Karcich on a groundout to leave the bases loaded and keep the deficit at one run.

Unfortunately, the second inning was no better for Walker.  A walk to Juan Parra started things off before a sacrifice bunt and then a single from Long plated SCU's fourth run of the evening.  After Alcantar singled to put a pair of runners on, Mark Marquess had seen enough as the Cardinal skipper made the first of many pitching changes on the evening.

Erik Davis was called upon out of the bullpen to make his first appearance since February 16.  The junior right-hander, who struggled mightily in preseason workouts and thus dropped considerably on the pitching depth chart, surrendered a double to the first man he faced, Conan, to score two more runs.  Davis got out of the inning without further damage, but the Broncos had taken a 6-2 lead and would control the game for the rest of the night.

The top of the third was a key inning as Stanford put runners on first and second with one out.  Still trailing by four runs, Joey August stepped to the plate and belted a ball to deep right field.  But the Santa Clara right fielder Long raced back and made a spectacular running catch over his head for the second out of the inning.  And with Jeff Whitlow, the original runner at first base, anticipating the ball to land over the fielder's head, it was an easy double play to end the rally.  Instead of possibly a two-run double, the fantastic defensive play resulted in the end of the inning and the score holding at 6-2.

Another game-changing inning with Stanford at the plate was the top of the sixth.  The Cardinal trailed 9-3 to begin the frame, but put runners on first and second with none out thanks to a Yount double and a walk to Ryan Seawell.  After Sean Ratliff grounded into a fielder's choice, Michael Taylor drew a walk to load the bases.  Stanford had a chance to significantly cut into the Santa Clara lead, but managed just one run in the sixth when pinch-hitter Jason Castro drew a two-out, bases loaded walk.  A strikeout of Brent Milleville and a groundout off the bat of Randy Molina ended the threat with the score showing 9-4.

Santa Clara put the game out of reach in the seventh with four runs against a trio of Cardinal relievers.  Back-to-back singles allowed by Max Fearnow started the inning before Rex Petrill walked a batter and hit two more.  Then it was Blake Hancock surrendering a pair of sacrifice flies sandwiched between a walk.  When the dust had settled, the Broncos had again batted around and scored four runs (on just two hits) to take a commanding 13-4 lead.


BOXSCORE

Stanford     2 0 0  0 1 1  0 1 0   -   5  11   2
Santa Clara  3 3 0  1 2 0  4 0 X   -  13  11   0

Stanford          POS   AB   R   H  RBI  BB  SO   AVG
Ryan Seawell       3B    5   1   1   0    1   3  .341
Sean Ratliff       CF    5   2   3   0    0   0  .323
Michael Taylor     RF    3   1   1   0    2   0  .250
Brent Milleville  1B/C   4   0   2   2    1   1  .282
Brian Juhl          C    1   0   0   1    1   0  .333
 Jason Castro     PH/1B  1   0   0   1    1   0  .154
Jeremy Bleich      DH    0   0   0   0    0   0   ---
 Jeff Whitlow     PH/DH  1   0   0   0    1   0  .286
 Randy Molina     PH/DH  2   0   0   0    1   0  .200
 Adam Gaylord      SS    0   0   0   0    0   0  .319
Joey August        LF    4   0   2   0    1   0  .281
Cord Phelps       SS/2B  5   0   0   0    0   0  .250
Austin Yount      2B/P   3   1   1   0    1   0  .258
 Grant Escue       PH    1   0   1   0    0   0  .250

E: Phelps, Yount
2B: Taylor, August, Yount
SB: Ratliff, Milleville

                      IP   H   R  ER  BB  SO   ERA
Brandt Walker (L)    1.1   3   6   5   5   1  7.11
Erik Davis           2.2   3   1   1   2   3  6.75
Andrew Clauson       1.0   1   2   1   1   1  2.08
Tom Stilson          1.0   0   0   0   0   1  4.76
Max Fearnow          0.0   2   2   2   0   0  5.00
Rex Petrill          0.0   0   2   2   1   0 27.00
Blake Hancock        1.0   0   0   0   1   1  5.40
Austin Yount         1.0   2   0   0   0   0  5.23



Santa Clara        POS   AB   R   H  RBI  BB  SO
Juan Parra          CF    3   3   0   1    1   1
 Patrick Glenn      CF    1   0   0   0    0   0
 Michael Rauschnot  LF    0   0   0   0    0   0
David Hoffmire      3B    2   1   1   3    1   0
Matt Long           RF    4   2   2   2    0   2
 Kyle Hartz         RF    0   0   0   0    0   0
Gabe Alcantar       1B    2   2   1   0    2   1
Ryan Conan          DH    1   1   1   2    2   0
 Tommy Medica       PH    0   0   0   1    0   0
Carl Bacon           C    5   0   2   3    0   2
 Geoff Klein         C    0   0   0   0    0   0
Evan LeBlanc        LF    4   1   1   0    0   0
 Nathan Faulkner   LF/CF  1   0   1   0    0   0
Kevin Drever        2B    4   1   1   0    1   1
Jon Karcich         SS    2   2   1   0    3   0

2B: Conan
HBP: Parra, Hoffmire, Conan
SB: Alcantar 2, Parra, Long, Conan, Karcich
CS: Hoffmire, Bacon

                      IP   H   R  ER  BB  SO
Donald Brandt (W)    4.0   5   3   3   5   2
Justin Kuehn         1.0   1   0   0   2   0
Steve Kalush         2.0   2   1   1   3   1
Alex Rivers          1.0   2   1   1   0   0
Jeff Lombard         1.0   1   0   0   0   1


WP: Donald Brandt (2-0)
LP: Brandt Walker (0-1)

Records: Stanford (10-6), Santa Clara (11-10)


NOTES
* With the loss, the Cardinal fall to a dismal 1-6 on the road this season.  They are 9-0 in games played at Sunken Diamond.

* Stanford left a season-high 14 runners on base.

* The Cardinal committed two errors in the field and still have not posted an errorless game this season.

* Ratliff, the reigning Pac-10 Player of the Week, remained red-hot at the plate with three hits in five at-bats.  He raised his season batting average to .323 and also stole his team-leading sixth base of the year (in six attempts).

* Taylor extended his hitting streak to seven games with a fifth-inning double.

* Santa Clara stole six bases (in eight attempts) this evening.

* With the blowout, it was a rare game off for closer David Stringer.  Stringer had appeared in eight straight games out of the bullpen for the Cardinal and 11 of the first 15 contests this year.

* The final game time registered three hours and 50 minutes.


ON DECK
The Cardinal return home this weekend for a three-game, non-conference series against the 20th ranked USC Trojans.  The series begins on Friday with first pitch scheduled for 5:00 P.M.  The games on Saturday and Sunday will begin at 1:00 P.M.

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