After scoring 38 runs against the USC Trojans this weekend, the Cardinal offense decided that it was the pitching staff's turn tonight. While Stanford managed just three runs against five San Jose St. pitchers, it was a great evening for Tom Kunis' staff, as Tim Cunningham, Mark Jecmen, Kodiak Quick, Billy Paganetti, Drew Ehrlich, Jonny Dyer, and Ryan McCally combined on a four hit shutout.
The big story tonight was Cunningham. While the Cardinal have not announced a starter for Sunday's game against Cal, the smart money is now on Cunningham who pitched well tonight, earning his first win since January 26th, the second game of the season. Cunningham's return may now give Mark Marquess the luxury of keeping Matt Manship as his closer. In any case, the outing was a step in the right direction for the senior Cunningham.
Stanford scored in the first, leading from the third batter of the game. Sam Fuld ripped the first pitch of the game from Jose Amaya to left center for a double, and was moved to third on Brian Hall's groundout to the right side. Carlos Quentin, tonight named a finalist for the Golden Spikes Award, singled to right field on a 2-1 pitch, giving Stanford a 1-0 lead.
Cunningham faced just three batters in the first. While a Tobin Swope error allowed the leadoff hitter Nathan Corrick to reach, Donny Lucy (getting the start for Garko at catcher) gunned out the runner trying to steal on the next pitch, and Cunningham retired the next two batters. He gave up a one out single in the second, but then induced a double-play groundout off the bat of Aaron Bates to end the inning. While the Cardinal were not doing anything offensively, Cunningham continued to pitch well in the third. He gave up a leadoff walk to Markum King, but worked effectively, getting two groundouts and a strikeout to end the inning. His control looked sharp, and Cunningham showed the form that most thought he would in his senior season. His final line: 3.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 1 K, and 37 pitches.
Stanford had just one hit from the first inning until the seventh, but still held a 1-0 lead. Marc Jecmen relieved Cunningham in the fourth, and was rusty. Swope's second error of the night allowed Kevin Fransden to reach, and then Jecmen walked and hit a batter, loading the bases. Mark Marquess got Kodiak Quick, who promptly got a pop out and a groudout to end the inning, preserveing the Cardinal lead.
Quick pitched a 1-2-3 fifth, striking out two batters without allowing a hit. He was also impressive today, especially after not working all weekend. Billy Paganetti was next, and while he gave up a leadoff walk, he retired the next three batters in the sixth, his only inning of work.
Finally, in the seventh, the Cardinal broke through with two more runs. Quentin led off and was hit by a pitch, and Danny Putnam singled to center to break a 8 AB hitless streak. Chris Carter was next, and after getting down in the count 1-2, Carter singled to right center, giving Stanford a 2-0 lead. Jed Lowrie followed by grounding a ball to the shortstop Anthony Contreras, whose throw to second was briefly dropped by the second baseman David Pierson, but Pierson recovered in time to force Carter. A run came across to make it 3-0. Noteable on the play was Carter's slide, which came up about 5 feet short of the bag, a bit of a blooper for him. However, Carter hit the ball hard tonight, and Stanford had its third and final run.
Drew Ehrlich pitched a scoreless seventh, throwing just 9 pitches in his first appearance since the 18th of April. Jonny Dyer gave up a couple of hits in the 8th but got out of a jam with a strikeout and groundout, and looked for the save in the 9th. Dyer retired the first two batters but walked the pinch hitter Brad Kilby. Marquess made one final pitching change, getting Ryan McCally, who threw four pitches, striking out pinch hitter Ruben Martinez for his second save of the year, as the Cardinal won their fourth in a row.
Stanford 1 0 0 0 0 0 2 0 0 - 3 8 2
San Jose State 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 - 0 4 1
WP: Tim Cunningham (2-3)
LP: Jose Amaya (3-4)
S: Ryan McCally (2)
San Jose St. (22-26), Stanford (32-14, 13-5 Pac-10)
-Stanford's win tonight was their 11th in a row on the road.
-Tim Cunningham's win was his first since 1/26 vs. Santa Clara.
-Ryan McCally's save was his first since opening day, January 25th.
-Tobin Swope had a tough night, making 2 errors in game for the first time since February 2.
-Ryan Garko earned a night off, the first game he hasn't started in 2003 and his first non-start since 2001. He had a pinch hit appearance and popped out to second.
-The six through nine hitters in the order went 2-16 tonight (Lowrie, Lucy, Mayberry, Swope).
-Kodiak Quick looked great tonight. 1.2 perfect innings with 2 K.
-Up next for the Cardinal is archrival California. The games will be played at Evans Diamond in Berkeley. The Bears beat Fresno St. tonight to improve to 27-24 overall, 10-11 in the Pac-10. This weekend is their final Pac-10 series. Game 1 on Friday starts at 2:30 PM and pits Jesse Ingram (2-2, 6.11 ERA) against John Hudgins (7-3, 3.29 ERA). A full preview will be out tomorrow.
Chad Goldberg is the voice of Stanford Baseball on KZSU, 90.1 FM.