Card Edge Bears 9-8 In Series Opener

It looked as if the Cardinal were going to cruise to an easy victory this afternoon as Stanford scored six runs in the top of the first inning and had their ace, John Hudgins, on the mound. But Cal clawed their way back into it and eventually took the lead. Thanks though to some late-inning hitting heroics and fabulous relief work by Kodiak Quick and Matt Manship, the Cardinal pulled out a huge 9-8 victory over the Bears.

The Stanford Cardinal picked up another huge Pac-10 victory Friday afternoon with a 9-8 win over the California Golden Bears in Berkeley.  Stanford stormed out to a 6-0 lead after the top of the first, but Cal rallied to eventually take an 8-7 lead with two runs in the sixth.  The Cardinal though battled back tallying single runs in the eighth and ninth frames to claim the victory.

The Cardinal jumped all over Bears starter Jesse Ingram to the tune of six runs in the top of the first inning.  Sam Fuld walked to get things started and then Jonny Ash brought him home with a double to left field.  Carlos Quentin then ripped a single to center field and when Cal center fielder Ben Conley had trouble with the ball, Ash scored and Quentin moved all the way over to third.  Then Ryan Garko stepped to the plate and off the heels of his 10-for-13, 3 HR, 11 RBI weekend at USC last week, the senior catcher blasted a home run to left center field to put Stanford ahead 4-0.  The Cardinal weren't done though as with one out, Jed Lowrie singled and then Chris Carter belted a home run to right center field, his first homer of the season.  That ended Ingram's afternoon as Adam Gold was summoned from the bullpen.

John Hudgins was on the mound today for Stanford and the junior righthander worked through the bottom of the first with relative ease (issued only a two-out walk).  The Bears though struck for a run in the bottom of the second to make the score 6-1.  Chris Grossman led off with a double and scored two batters later on a double off the bat of James Holder.

Stanford scored an unearned run in the third inning off Gold to push their lead back to six runs.  Danny Putnam began the inning by reaching on an error, he moved to third on a Lowrie single and then scored when Carter grounded into a 4-6-3 double play.

The Golden Bears would not back down though as they mustered a single run in the bottom of the third off Hudgins to cut the lead to 7-2.  Ben Conley singled to lead off, moved to second on a wild pitch, to third on a single, and then scored on another wild pitch.  The Bears easily could have had more runs in the inning had Stanford leftfielder Danny Putnam not gunned down a runner at home on a perfect throw to end the inning.

The Cardinal bats were all of a sudden very quiet against Gold.  The freshman reliever, who had thrown just 16 innings prior to today's game, set down the Cardinal hitters in order in the fourth, fifth, and sixth innings.  Meanwhile, Cal scored four more runs in the bottom of the fifth to trim Stanford's lead to one run.  Allen Craig led off with a single and scored two batters later on a David Nicholson double.  Brian Horwitz then came up and hit a high fly ball down the right field line.  Carlos Quentin raced over toward the foul line, but dropped the ball in an attempt to make a thigh-high catch.  It was very close to being a foul ball, but it was ruled fair and the Bears had runners on at second and third with just one out.  That ended Hudgins' afternoon as David O'Hagan was brought into pitch and the junior righthander promptly gave up a three-run homer to slugger Conor Jackson to make the score 7-6.

O'Hagan went back out in the bottom of the sixth, but didn't last long.  He hit the first batter with a pitch and then gave up another home run, this one to Justin Nelson, and just like that, Cal was ahead by an 8-7 score.  Kodiak Quick relieved O'Hagan and quickly retired the side.

Adam Gold went back to work in the seventh inning, this time with a lead.  The Cardinal finally put a couple of runners on base against Gold as Fuld singled and Ash walked with one out.  But Quentin popped out and Garko flied out and Stanford still trailed by a run.

The first two runners reached base against Quick in the seventh, but Kodiak worked out of the jam getting a double play and a ground out.  Gold was removed from the game to start the eighth in favor of Travis Talbott and then the Cardinal promptly tied the game.  With one out, Lowrie grounded a ball in the hole between short and third.  Cal shortstop Jeff Dragicevich fielded it, but his long throw across the diamond got past the first baseman.  It was scored a hit and an error.  After Carter struck out, Talbott was taken out as David Esquer brought in Matt Brown to pitch.  Brown had been Cal's #1 starter for the majority of the season, but with an ERA over 6, he was moved to the bullpen this weekend.  The first batter he faced was Brian Hall and Hall wasted no time as he came through with a triple to the right center gap to tie the game at 8-8.

After Quick retired the Bears in order in the bottom of the eighth, Stanford went ahead for good with a run in the top of the ninth.  With Brown still in the game, Jonny Ash lined a triple to the right center field gap with one out.  Coach Esquer elected to not walk Quentin intentionally to set up the double play with Garko and the move appeared to have paid off as Quentin popped out to shallow right field.  Esquer could have then walked Garko intentionally to bring Putnam to the plate, who was 0-for-4 on the day, but would have meant a lefty-vs-righty matchup.  Garko was pitched to and the senior catcher once again came through in the clutch as he grounded ball up the middle that shortstop Jeff Dragicevich got a glove on his dive, but could not come up with it cleanly.  Ash scored and Stanford was back in front, 9-8.

In the bottom of the ninth, Quick set down the first batters on a ground out and a strike out, but then Conor Jackson singled to bring the winning run to the plate.  Closer Matt Manship was summoned from the bullpen to face Cal #5 hitter Chris Grossman, who was 3-for-3 on the day.  On a 1-and-2 pitch, Manship got Grossman to ground into a fielder's choice to shortstop to end the game and give Stanford the victory.

Game Notes:
* Another big game for Ryan Garko as the senior catcher went 2-for-5 with a home run and three RBI.  The homer was his tenth in Pac-10 play (in 19 games) and his 14th of the season.

* Kodiak Quick picked up the win with 3 2/3 innings of scoreless relief.  Quick gave up two hits, walked none, and struck out three.

* Matt Manship recorded his team-leading sixth save by retiring the final batter of the game.  And with Manship being used today, you would think that greatly increases the chance that Tim Cunningham will make his return to the weekend rotation on Sunday.

* Jed Lowrie (3-for-4), Sam Fuld (2-for-4), and Jonny Ash (2-for-3, 2B, 3B, RBI) all had multi-hit games today.

* Brian Hall made his first start of the season at first base this afternoon.  John Mayberry, Jr. was a late-inning defensive replacement.

* Cal's Adam Gold tossed 6 2/3 innings of relief yielding just one run (it was unearned) on three hits.

* The win was Stanford's 12th consecutive on the road.

* The Cardinal (14-5) are now two full games ahead of Arizona State (10-5) and 2 1/2 games in front of Arizona (11-7).  Both the Sun Devils and the Wildcats are off this weekend.

* Famous faces in the crowd today included former Stanford pitcher and current New York Yankee Mike Mussina and Oakland A's GM Billy Beane.

Stanford       6 0 1  0 0 0  0 1 1   -   9  12   2
California     0 1 1  0 4 2  0 0 0   -   8  12   3

WP: Kodiak Quick (2-0)
LP: Matt Brown (3-7)
S: Matt Manship (6)

HR: Stanford - Ryan Garko (14), Chris Carter (1) ; California - Conor Jackson (8), Justin Nelson (9)

Records: #7 Stanford (33-14, 14-5), California (27-25, 10-12)

* Game two of this series is tomorrow afternoon at 1:00pm.  Mark Romanczuk (9-0, 3.63) is scheduled to start for the Cardinal while Cal has yet to announce a starting pitcher.

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