Stanford 8, California 5
...........................................R H E
California 030 000 200 5 7
Stanford 000 340
10X 8 8 1
Brent Milleville's fifth-inning grand slam catapulted
the No. 6 Cardinal (29-18-2, 11-7 Pac-10) to an 8-5 victory over No. 16 Cal
(32-16-2, 11-10). The Cardinal stand alone in second, one
game behind Arizona State (38-9, 12-6) in the chase for its first
Pac-10 title since 2004.
"It's huge to pick up this one and not get swept,"
Milleville said. "Since I've been here, we haven't really competed for a
Pac-10 Championship, so it's really exciting."
Both the Cardinal and the
Sun Devils have trips to Arizona and Washington remaining. After hosting Santa
Clara at 6 p.m. tomorrow, Stanford visits the Wildcats (34-15, 8-10) next
weekend and closes the season at the Huskies (30-17, 9-8) May 23-25.
It was 3-3 in the fifth when leftfielder Joey August,
second baseman Colin Walsh and catcher Jason Castro hit consecutive one-out
singles to load the bases for Milleville, batting cleanup.
And the junior first baseman delivered, crushing a 2-1 inside fastball perhaps
450 feet. The bomb landed amongst the lightpoles illuminating the field
hockey turf, laughably clearing the 335-foot leftfield wall. Milleville's homer,
his seventh of the season and second career grand slam, was fair by just
ten feet -- but that was enough to earn Stanford its first win in four tries
this season against Cal.
"I was looking for a fastball, and he threw it
inside, where I can hit it," Milleville said. "I thought it was foul
for sure and kind of stood in the box and watched it -- I feel bad about that. I
knew it was far enough and thought it was a foul ball, but it ended up, right at
the last second, going fair."
Sophomore Jeffrey Inman (7-2) gave up five
runs, three earned in 6.2 innings for the win. Cal freshman righty Kevin Miller
(6-1) earned the loss after surrendering the bomb to Milleville, but southpaw
starter Chris Petrini was pulled after just 3.1 innings with three runs to
his name. Freshman righty Drew Storen earned his fifth save, allowing just two
hits and no earned runs over the final 2.1 innings.
After a scoreless sixth, both teams scored on errors in the
seventh. First, Walsh misplayed a routine two-out grounder from David Cooper,
letting Charlie Cutler and Brian Guinn score from second and third,
respectively, to pull Cal within 7-5. Stanford's defense had Barry-Bonds shifted
deep and left for Cooper, Cal's strongest hitter, so that Walsh was
positioned in shallow rightfield. That Cooper's grounder changed trajectory as
it moved from the infield dirt to the outfield grass may have contributed to the
Then, with Jason Castro on base after a triple and two outs in the
bottom of the inning, Randy Molina just made contact with the tip of his bat,
spinning a grounder to Jeff Kobernus. The slice might have confused Cal's third
baseman, who couldn't field it cleanly as Molina scored for the final 8-5
No. 8 hitter Zach Jones walked and advanced to third on a
Joey August single in the bottom of the eighth, but a Walsh groundout to the
pitcher on a suicide squeeze ended the inning. Kobernus stole second with two
out in the ninth, but Cutler flied out to August in left as Stanford snapped a
three-game losing streak.
"Everyone was really excited," Milleville
said. "It's been a real tough week. We didn't have many things go our
way. But that's how baseball is. Winning this game was huge for us for the rest
of the season."
Cal started the scoring in
the second, with Kobernus and Guinn doubles driving in three runs. Stanford drew
to a 3-3 tie in the fourth, with Molina and Sean Ratliff singles
and a Cord Phelps sac fly each scoring a run.
The Card's offensive
consistency Sunday was a welcome change from struggles at the top of the lineup
in losses yesterday, when the two through four slots went 0-for-10,
and Friday, when the six through nine hitters were 1-for-15. Today, the one
through seven slots in the batting order all produced hits. The balance was
timely, as the Cardinal gave up as many runs as it had all season in a Pac-10
has had ups-and-downs offensively," Milleville
acknowledged. "We're a very good offensive team and still haven't really shown
it. If our bats get hot, it's hard to stop us. Hitting's hard
sometimes. You put too much pressure on yourself to do too much, like
in a lot of sports, and when you tense up, it's not as easy.
Hitting's a hard thing."
Luckily for Stanford, hitting wasn't too
hard for Milleville, as he led the Card to a Senior Day victory.
"Senior Day is an emotional day, especially for seniors, but for juniors too,"
Milleville said. "We've played with them for three years now,
and some of them are our best friends. It's good to send them off on high
note, but more important is getting momentum for the last couple Pac-10
So while Stanford heads to Tucson next weekend, expect a lot of
eyes to be cast northward, as Arizona State visits Seattle. Stanford knows some
help wouldn't hurt in the Pac-10 title hunt.
Pac-10 is definitely a goal preseason," Milleville said. "That's always our
goal. All of us knew we had the talent to go out and get that Pac-10 title.
That's one of our top goals."
Are you fully subscribed to The
Bootleg? If not, then you are missing out on all the top Cardinal
coverage we provide daily on our website, as well as our full-length feature
articles in our glossy magazine. Sign up today for the biggest and best in
Stanford sports coverage with TheBootleg.com
(sign-up) and The Bootleg