Bats Silenced In Loss To Santa Clara

The Stanford Cardinal were shutout for the first time all season tonight as they dropped a 2-0 decision to the Santa Clara Broncos at Sunken Diamond. Outside of the relief pitching, there weren't a lot of positives in this game as Stanford mustered only four hits, missed numerous opportunites to score thanks to reaching on walks, and played sub-par defense. Read on for a recap.

The Stanford hitters were shut down tonight at Sunken Diamond as the red-hot Santa Clara Broncos defeated the Cardinal 2-0 to take the final game of the season series.  Stanford mustered only four hits the entire the evening and couldn't take advantage of eight walks issued by Santa Clara pitching.  The loss was the Cardinal's third in their last four games.

Tim Cunningham got the start on the hill for Stanford, his first appearance since April 8th when he was knocked out of the first inning against these same Broncos.  It was a much better outing for Cunningham as he worked a perfect 1-2-3 first inning getting a groundout and two fly outs.  In the second, Cunningham walked the first hitter, but got a double play on the very next pitch.  The third batter of the inning flied out to give Tim two shutout frames.

Hard throwing right hander Scott Shapiro started for SCU and he fired two scoreless innings before being removed from the game. Shapiro walked three batters during his outing, but Stanford couldn't capitalize.

The Broncos scored the only runs of the game with a two-spot in the top of the third.  Jason Matteucci led off with a single and was then forced out at second on a ground ball off the bat of David Mandley.  Cunningham then struck out Michael Lange as it looked like he was going to get out of the inning.  But he hit the next hitter, Scott Dierks, was hit with a pitch and then Jack Headley singled to right center field to score Mandley.  Center fielder Sam Fuld bobbled the ball out in the outfield when he went to field it, and that allowed Dierks to score all the way from first to give Santa Clara the 2-0 lead.  Cunningham walked the next hitter which ended his evening.  Kodiak Quick was summoned from the bullpen and he struck out clean-up hitter Jim Wallace to end the inning.

Stanford went down 1-2-3 in the third, but had a golden opportunity to score against new reliever Andrew Slorp in the fourth.  Ryan Garko led off the inning with a line drive right back up the middle, but Slorp snagged it for the first out of the inning.  Slorp then walked Danny Putnam and Donny Lucy to put runners on and then a wild pitch had Putnam and Lucy at third and second base respectively.  Brian Hall was the next hitter and the Cardinal third baseman hit a weak ground ball right back to Slorp on the mound.  Putnam broke for the plate, saw he wasn't going to make it, so he got in a rundown.  Slorp fired to the catcher, who threw to third baseman, who finally threw it back to Slorp as he ran Putnam back to third base.  While all this was going on, Donny Lucy alertly moved up to third while Brian Hall took second.  So, Slorp was running back Putnam to third and finally Danny just went all the way back to the bag where Lucy was already standing.  Slorp tagged out both runners, and by rule, Lucy was out.  But for some reason, Putnam started walking off the bag and Slorp quickly tagged him out for the unconventional double play which ended the inning.

In the fifth, Stanford had another great opportunity to score.  Slorp walked Carter to start the inning and then Tobin Swope came up to the plate.  Swope hit a hard grounder up the middle that kicked off Slorp and went right to the shortstop who promptly turned the 1-6-4-3 double play.  Slorp then walked Fuld and Jed Lowrie (who was hitting second tonight), but Carlos Quentin flied out to the warning track in left for the third out of the inning.  Slorp was pulled after this inning, his final line : 2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 5 BB, 0 SO, 2 WP.

Meanwhile, Kodiak Quick worked scoreless fourth and fifth innings and was then taken out of the game in favor of Mark Jecmen.  Jecmen walked the leadoff runner in the sixth, but retired the next three batters in order on two fly outs and a soft line out.  He then worked a perfect 1-2-3 seventh inning which ended his evening.  Jecmen was definitely one of the few bright spots tonight.  

Matt Krueger relieved Slorp to start the sixth and gave up a one out double to Putnam.  That was Stanford's first hit of the game.  Krueger was taken out in favor of Thomas Van Buskirk and Van Buskirk came on and promptly struck out Lucy and Hall to end the inning.  In the seventh, Tobin Swope singled with one out, but was stranded at first after Fuld struck out and Lowrie grounded out.

Billy Paganetti worked a scoreless eighth and then SCU reliever Chad Fillinger fired a perfect 1-2-3 bottom of the eighth.  Stanford put a couple of runners on in the bottom of the ninth against Santa Clara closer Patrick Overholt, but was unable to score.  Lucy singled to lead off the inning, but Overholt struck out pinch-hitter Jonny Ash and then struck out Carter.  John Mayberry, Jr. then came up as a pinch hitter for Swope and he blooped a single into right.  That brought Sam Fuld to the plate representing the winning run, but Fuld grounded out weakly to second to end the game.

Game Notes:
* This was the first time all season the Stanford had been shut out.  Their last shutout was back on May 1, 2002 when they lost a 12-0 decision at San Jose State.

* The four hits tonight was also a season-low for the Cardinal.

* Tim Cunningham took the loss to fall to 1-3 on the year.  He went the first 2 2/3 innings yielding two runs on two hits.

* Several Stanford hitters continue to slump as Sam Fuld went 0-for-4 and is now 4-for-27 (.148) in his last six games.  Brian Hall dropped down to the #7 spot in the order but continued to struggle as he went 0-for-3 and is now 2-for-23 (.087) in the last six games.  Other starters, Jed Lowrie, Carlos Quentin, Ryan Garko, and Chris Carter were also all hitless tonight.

* Santa Clara didn't exactly throw their best pitchers at Stanford this evening either.  The Broncos have a huge series at Pepperdine this weekend that will likely decide the WCC race, so Coach O'Brien held back most of his best until the last three innings.  Patrick McBride, who threw a scoreless third inning, had thrown just 4 1/3 innings this year.  Thomas Van Buskirk, who put out the fire in the sixth, had faced just three batters all season.  Matt Krueger was making his first appearance of the year while Andrew Slorp entered the game with a 9.64 ERA in 18 2/3 innings pitched.

Santa Clara     0 0 2  0 0 0  0 0 0   -   2   5   0
Stanford        0 0 0  0 0 0  0 0 0   -   0   4   2

WP: Scott Shapiro (1-1)
LP: Tim Cunningham (1-3)
S: Patrick Overholt (8)

Records: Santa Clara (25-22), #9 Stanford (28-14)

* Stanford will next be in action this weekend as they travel south to take on the USC Trojans in a huge three-game series.  First pitch on Friday is scheduled for 6:00pm while Saturday's and Sunday's games will start at 1:00pm.

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