In the bottom of the sixth inning, Stanford tried to mount a comeback after
trailing 11-5. Redshirt junior Adam Sorgi delivered with a seeing-eye
single through the right side that just squeezed through the reaching gloves of
San Jose State first baseman Marcus McKimmy and second baseman Karson Klauer.
Sorgi drove in two runs on the play, the first for the Cardinal since the second
inning, but celebration immediately was replaced by concern from both the home
and visiting fans for McKimmy and Klauer. The two Spartans launched
head-first in a horrific collision.
Both stayed in the game after attention from trainers, though Klauer left in
the top of the 8th, giving way to a pinch hitter. Little was thought of
that substitution at the time. Then after the conclusion of the three-hour
39-minute game, Klauer began to struggle with his breathing. Paramedics
were summoned to Sunken Diamond and tended to the San Jose State freshman, who
was reportedly slipping in and out of consciousness. He was carted onto an
ambulance and driven off the field at 10:17pm PDT, 35 minutes after the game
The medical emergency put into perspective the evening's sporting event,
which started wonderfully for the home Cardinal and then soured as the game
progressed. Stanford jumped to an early 5-1 lead through the first two
innings before giving up 10 straight runs and ultimately falling 11-8. The
defeat marked the end of an eight-game Stanford winning streak against San Jose
State and the first loss to the Spartans in Sunken Diamond since 2000.
"Well, we couldn't stop them," says Stanford head coach Mark Marquess.
"I think they seven or eight hits in that one inning. We didn't make
errors. We didn't walk anybody. We just could not stop them.
They hit a couple balls really hard, and they had a couple balls they didn't hit
"It would have been different if we had walked a bunch. We walked a
couple and hit a couple batters, but that wasn't the deal. We just
couldn't stop their offense, and they did a good job swinging the bat," the
coach continues. "Sure, we had a lead and couldn't hold it. But you
have to give them credit, too. They swung the bats. Again, we just
couldn't get them out. It's harder to take if you make errors and walk
people, but we made some really good plays that got us out of some jams."
The Cardinal have been sliding mercilessly the last month and a half, losing
16 of their last 22 games. The last time Stanford Baseball was on a roll,
they strung together eight straight wins in February and March. The last
seven of those victories came in the comfy confines of Sunken Diamond, which was
reason for hope this week. Stanford Tuesday night was starting a six-game
homestand spanning eight days. Few things cure losing like playing at
Instead, the Cardinal have started that stretch with a loss and have to worry
about how they will find pitching to carry them. Stanford threw five
pitchers against San Jose State, in a game where conserving arms would have been
critically important. The Cardinal follow that night game already with a
day game today at 3pm against Fresno State.
"After a tough loss where we had a lead, I think it's good to come back and
play, rather than have to wait until Friday to play again," opines Marquess.
"I think we look forward to coming back and playing."
The Cardinal put up a couple crooked numbers in the first two frames Tuesday
night by hitting the ball well early. Stanford led off the bottom of the
first inning with back-to-back singles by sophomore Sean Ratliff and sophomore
Toby Gerhart. Ratliff advanced to third on a groundball fielder's choice
by junior Michael Taylor, next scoring on a single back up the middle by
sophomore Joey August. After a strikeout, Stanford scored another run on a
two-out single by junior Brian Juhl through the right side.
Three more runs came in much more eventful bottom of the second.
Freshman Adam Gaylord started with a one-out single and then went to third on a
double crushed to center field by Ratliff. The ball carried outfielder
Brian Yocke all the way to the wall, and he put a glove on the ball but crashed
hard and lost it. Gerhart drove in Gaylord with a grounder down the third
base line which was fielded but thrown off-line to the catcher at home, with
Gaylord sliding barely before the tag. A passed ball next let Ratliff
score from third, but more noteworthy was Gerhart's aggressive and speedy
baserunning to go to third all the way from first on the play. That proved
important when Taylor's subsequent groundout brought Gerhart in to score.
The next three innings were quiet for the Cardinal, though. Three
batters came to the plate in the fifth after four in the fourth. Sophomore
Cord Phelps did his part in the third to start a rally with a lead-off double to
left-center, which he stretched from a single with aggressive baserunning and a
good slide. Gaylord also got aboard with a four-pitch walk, but two
Stanford batters struck out in the inning and Gerhart ended the frame with a
chopper to the pitcher.
By the time Stanford next scored in the bottom of the sixth on that fateful
single by Sorgi which netted the San Jose State infield collision, a 5-1 lead
had transformed into an 11-5 deficit. San Jose State scored one run each
in the top of the second and fourth innings, the latter coming on a home run
crushed to left field by Ryan Angel. The big blow, though, came in the top
of the fifth, when the Spartans plated six runs on seven hits to take the lead
they would never relinquish.
Sophomore Austin Yount started the game and pitched well enough for a Tuesday
game. He yielded back-to-back singles to open the first inning but then
recorded three straight outs, including a strikeout and an excellent pick-off at
second base. Yount gave up two more hits and hit another batter in the
second inning - all with two outs - but he retired the side in order in the
third. It was not the home run in the fourth but a later walk that ended
his day. Junior David Stringer came on in relief and closed the inning
with a ground ball on his first pitch.
Stringer, who leads Stanford with seven saves, had a disastrous fifth frame.
He gave up four straight hits to opening the inning before a visit to the mound,
after which he recorded a fly out to center field. A single back up the
middle by the next batter ended Stringer's day, with the lead gone and the score
tied at 5-5. Sophomore Max Fearnow came into the game and quickly struck
out his first hitter, but two straight hits drove in three more runs.
Of the six hits in the inning, two went for extra bases. Both of those
took freshman left fielder Gerhart to the wall in left-center, and both times he
put a glove on the ball but dropped it. Both plays were ruled hits, a
triple and double, and not errors. The triple may have been the most
difficult to swallow, with Gerhart seemingly securing the ball for a moment
before bobbling it.
San Jose State tacked on three more runs in the sixth, all against junior
Nolan Gallagher. He replaced Fearnow to start the frame and quickly loaded
the bases with no outs on two singles and a five-pitch walk. A wild pitch
scored the first run, also advancing the other two runners to second and third.
They were able to score on a single and a groundout.
Gallagher had been used in a starting role all season before moving to the
bullpen this past weekend at Cal. In Saturday's heart-stopping 4-3 win
over the Bears, Gallagher made his 2007 relief debut with two innings of one-hit
baseball to earn his first save since his freshman year. That bullpen
magic was not working on Tuesday, disappointingly. His one flash of
excitement came at the end of the sixth inning, with a strikeout on a nasty
slider. Gallagher did not follow with success in the seventh, however,
loading the bases for the second straight inning (two singles, one HBP, one
With Stanford already having gone through a pair each of its best junior and
sophomore pitchers and the game unraveling, Marquess turned to freshman
righthander Brandt Walker. He came into the game for just his second
appearance in the last 21 Stanford games. Walker had a promising start to
the season in the opening series at Cal State Fullerton, when he tossed three
innings of shutout baseball. His control afterward started slipping,
culminating in a nightmarish five walks in just 1 1/3 innings at Santa Clara on
This was an unlikely pitcher to steady Stanford, and also an unlikely spot
for Walker to reclaim his confidence. But the freshman escaped the
bases-loaded jam with an inning-ending ground ball double play. Walker
came back in the eighth inning and struck out the side, flashing his curveball.
In the ninth, he was touched for his first and only hit of the evening, though,
it was a chopper to freshman third baseman Brian Moon on which he whiffed.
San Jose State sacrifice bunted the runner to second, and Walker put another
baserunner aboard whom he drilled in the back. He finished his 2 2/3
innings of work next with a ground ball double play, however.
It was a surprising and superb performance from Walker, who stopped San Jose
State and gave his teammates a chance to even the score at the plate.
Though the Cardinal would plate just one more run in the bottom of the seventh
and lost the game, the performance was an important one on the return road for
"He looked good. He's a freshman and he pitched well," offers Marquess.
"He had a good fastball, and he got his breaking ball over. It was a good
outing for him."
Though this was just the second official outing for Walker in the last month
and a half, the freshman built his way back through mid-week "JV" intersquad
games that go unreported and unnoticed to the public eye.
"It's just a matter of getting out there and pitching. That's what we
try to do, whether it's an intersquad or whatever. We try to get them out
there so that they face live hitters and try to get them out, with umpires.
There is just no substitute for that," Marquess explains. "It's a matter
of maturity, and hopefully that comes to him. Sometimes it comes sooner
than for others. He has a good arm, and as you can see, he has a good
curveball. It's just a matter of getting out there and repeating it.
Hopefully he can get some confidence."
The other highlight in this down evening was Ratliff at the plate. He
notched his first career four-hit game, going 4-for-5 on the evening and scoring
three of Stanford's runs. In addition to his first-inning single and the
long double to center in the second, the sophomore singled to open the sixth
inning and was one of the two runs that scored on Sorgi's single through the
right side. Ratliff's fourth hit came in the seventh inning, a triple to
left-center that drove in the Cardinal's eighth and final run: junior Matt Cano,
a walk-on who made his collegiate debut pinch running and then came around to
score his first career run.
Ratliff was on deck in the bottom of the ninth inning with two outs and would
have been the tying run, but a Randy Molina strikeout kept him from the plate.
Ratliff was also a home run away from hitting for the cycle, which would not
have surprised us. He leads the Cardinal in slugging percentage (.524) and
home runs (six).
"He's a young player, and he's improving," says Marquess of the sophomore.
"He still makes some mistakes and does some things; he
knows that. Offensively, he's becoming a better player and tougher.
Cutting down his strikeouts a little bit - he's working on that. He's a
good player, and he should get better if he works on it. He's working
hard at it."
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