Baseball drops one, preps for weekend

Baseball was 9-0 in midweek games, but like Lindsay Lohan's acting career, all good things must come to an end. St. Mary's took out visiting Stanford 3-2 Tuesday night, and now the No. 21 Card will look to rally at No. 7 Arizona State this weekend.

Jordan Pries started and pitched a scoreless two innings Tuesday against the Gaels, the equivalent of a middle relief or closer appearance Dean McArdle then pitched four innings, yielding two runs on two hits, while Chris Reed earned the loss for surrendering a run, albeit unearned, in his 1 1 innings, which included the game's final plays

Reed entered after Scott Snodgress loaded the bases in the eighth while failing to record an out A fielder's choice, a strikeout and a fly out later, Reed found himself out of the ultimate jam and the teams entered the ninth knotted at two

Yet, Reed's eighth-inning euphoria quickly gave way to ninth inning dismay Ricky Boas led off with a single and advanced to third when Reed threw away Riley Heinzler's subsequent bunt single With one out, Markus Melgosa then grounded to third, but Boas beat the throw home and the Gaels (18-18) celebrated their walk-off win

Stanford (20-14, 5-7 Pac-10) scored its runs in the sixth and eighth innings in a game the Card never led, yet never trailed by more than a single run Stephen Piscotty had two hits, the only Card with more than one, and he and Zach Jones accounted for the team's RBIs, with Brian Ragira and Austin Wilson scoring the runs

Looking ahead, the road only gets tougher, with Tempe the next stop At 11-4 in the Pac-10 (29-9 overall), the Sun Devils sit alone in second place, the conference's on-deck circle, half a game behind Oregon State Stanford, meanwhile, is mired at sixth, two games under 500 in the league, and if the Card are going to make a serious move on the national scene, let alone in the Pac-10, now would be the time, But a month remains between today and the May 28 season-finale doubleheader at Cal

Key Sun Devils include Tim Esmay, second in the league with a 311 Pac-10 batting average, and their weekend starters, in order, Brady Rodgers (5-2, 2 85 ERA), Kramer Champlin (6-1, 2 78 ERA) and Jake Barrett (5-3, 4 55 ERA), all righties Stanford will counter with righties Mark Appel (3-4, 2 93 ERA), Pries (4-4, 3 44 ERA) and Danny Sandbrink (2-0, 2 64 ERA)

NB: Stanford has scored nine runs in third innings this season, less than half its total in any other inning * (The lone exception is the ninth, but teams often face an opponent's star closer, so scoring is usually significantly lower anyway )
- Kenny Diekroeger and Stephen Piscotty lead the team with nine errors apiece, four more than any other Cardinal Of course, Piscotty's 348 batting average and 462 slugging percentage are team highs, and Diekroeger isn't far behind at 324 and 410
- Despite a team-low 245 batting average, Tyler Gaffney actually leads the squad with a 407 on-base percentage His secret? Twenty-four walks, more than double anyone else on the roster
- Stanford has 18 homers on the season, yet no single batter has more than three homers Meanwhile, Dean McArdle has yielded five of opponents' eight homers on the season, despite a team-best 5-2 record and a pedestrian 37 2 innings of work, about average among the seven regularly-used pitchers on the staff
- Each of those seven pitchers, Sandbrink, Reed, A.J. Vanegas, Appel, Snodgress, Pries and McArdle, is holding opponents to no better than 270 hitting, with Vanegas ( 205), Reed ( 214), Snodgrass ( 217) and Sandbrink ( 219) leading the way
- Appel has pitched the most innings on the season (58 1) and has the only complete game by a Cardinal pitcher this year
- Snodgress has allowed just four extra-base hits, and Reed just five, each in about 30 innings of work (McArdle and Appel, meanwhile, have allowed 14 and 13 respectively )
- On the whole, Reed is probably the best pitcher statistically thus far this season The five extra-base hits, his 214 average and his 2 81 ERA are all second-best on the squad, while his 34-to-11 strikeout-to-walk ratio blows the rest of the staff out of the water

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