When it was all said and done, today's game at Sunken Diamond had all the usual trappings of a Sunday Pac-10 Game with one caveat: the win gave the Cardinal their first outright Pac-10 Title since 1999. Lots of offense, including seven homers today, defined Game 3 of this series, which went to extra innings for the second time in as many days.
Tim Cunningham got the nod for the Cardinal on the mound, and got into trouble early. With one out, he gave up a single to Warren Trott to bring up Wes Whisler. Whisler hit a high chopper to second, which Lowrie flipped to second for one out, but Swope's throw to first pulled 1B Brian Hall off the bag, and Whisler reached base safely. Two pitches later, Billy Susdorf hit the ball out of the ballpark, giving UCLA a 2-0 lead.
Facing Doug Silva, Stanford hit the ball hard in the first but came away without a hit. In the second, Chris Carter led off. Carter was 2-2 coming into the game against Silva with 2 HR. He hit a 3-1 pitch way out of the stadium to right, cutting the lead in half. Danny Putnam followed with a blast to right, and the back-to-back homers tied it up against Silva. But Stanford wasn't done. Brian Hall ripped a one-out double, and after an infield single by Donny Lucy, Hall was driven home on a Tobin Swope Sac Fly, giving the Cardinal a 3-2 lead after two.
Both pitchers pitched scoreless third innings, but the Bruins tied the game in the fourth. After a one out double by Matt Thayer, a groundout and a Cunningham wild pitch brought the Bruins back in the game.
Going 1-2-3 in the fourth, the Cardinal had their 2-3-4 hitters in the fifth. Ash walked to lead off the inning, and Carlos Quentin hit a line-drive homer to left-center, his eighth of the year, giving Stanford a 5-3 lead. That would be all for Silva, as in two games against Stanford in the last two years he surrendered seven homers. Brian Beck finished the inning and Stanford held the lead, but only temporarily.
Cunningham came out for the sixth inning, but promptly gave up a solo homer to Wes Whisler, as the Bruins pulled to within one. Cunningham was finished, going 5 innings, allowing four runs on seven hits, with one walk and two strikeouts. Kodiak Quick was next, and looked great for two batters, striking out Susdorf and McMillan for the first two outs. But he walked the next two batters, and the next two hitters, Brandon Averill and Ryan McCarthy, both singled. The singles tied the game and then gave UCLA a 6-5 lead. David O'Hagan got the final out of the sixth on one pitch.
In the sixth, Stanford had a great opportunity again go by the boards. Hall and Lucy started the inning with singles, and moved up a base each on Swope's sac bunt. So with runners and second and third, Beck intentionally walked Fuld to get to Ash. In yesterday's game, Ash grounded into a double play in the 10th when anything else would have won it for Stanford. On 1-0, Ash ripped a ball down the left field line, but barely foul. On the next pitch, Ash again grounded into a double play, and UCLA still lead 6-5.
O'Hagan gave up a two run homer in the seventh, again to Wes Whisler, and UCLA had a 8-5 lead. It was Whisler's second 2-HR game against the Cardinal in six career games, and after a single by Susdorf, Ryan McCally was called in from the pen. He got out of the seventh with no further damage, but UCLA had a three-run lead with nine outs to go for a series win.
But Stanford responded. After a one out walk to Carter, Danny Putnam went deep to left field, his second HR of the day, and it cut the lead to one. Putnam's HR gave him 11 on the year, but more importantly, the Cardinal were closer.
McCally struck out three in the eighth (one reached on a passed ball) and again held the Bruins at bay. With one out in the bottom of the eighth, Fuld hit a fly ball to center that just kept going. It went over Adam Simon's head in CF, and with his tremendous speed, Fuld went to third on a 3B. Ash was due up, but Mark Marquess went to his bench, where Ryan Garko awaited. Garko injured his finger on a slide yesterday, but was not hurt badly enough to hit. He got down in the count 1-2, but ripped a ball deep to left. Thayer made a great play to catch Garko's drive up against the wall, but Fuld scored easily, tying the game at eight.
In the ninth, McCally gave up a two-out hit but struck out Thayer to end the inning, and the Cardinal failed to score despite a leadoff walk to Carter. McCally worked out of trouble again in the 10th with two on and two out, as he struck out Trott again to end the inning, and the Cardinal had last ups.
Donny Lucy faced Mike Castillo, who had given up only one hit all year in six innings. He got Lucy down 0-2. On 0-2, Castillo's split finger hung just too long for Lucy, who slammed it to left, off the scoreboard and out of the yard, giving the Cardinal a 9-8 victory and the outright Pac-10 title.
UCLA 2 0 0 1 0 3 2 0 0 0 - 8 13 0
Stanford 0 3 0 0 2 0 2 1 0 1 - 9 13 0
WP: Ryan McCally (5-2)
LP: Mike Castillo (1-1)
HR: Susdorf (9), Whisler 2 (9), Carter (3), Putnam 2 (11), Quentin (8), Lucy (2)
Records:UCLA (26-30, 9-12), Stanford (38-15, 18-6 Pac-10)
-Stanford won the Pac-10 outright with the win, a final record in conference of 18-6, their best since 1999, when they went 19-5.
-Lucy's HR was just his second of the year, and the second time this year the Cardinal have ended the game with a HR (Quentin vs. Washington).
-Danny Putnam had two homers today, giving him 11 this year. Its the third time this year that Putnam has had a multi-HR game.
-Tim Cunningham got a no-decision in a so-so performance. He got into the sixth, allowing four runs on a day where the ball was carrying, but had to work in and out of trouble all game.
-Wes Whisler had 2 HR and 3 RBI for UCLA.
-Ryan Garko did not start today, but his pinch hit Sac Fly was key for Stanford, and it was Garko's 74th RBI.
-Stanford has won every series against UCLA since 1998.
-Sam Fuld extended his hit streak to 11 with two hits today and Carlos Quentin extended his hit streak to 10 with his HR.
-Brian Hall remained hot: 3-5 today and 6-11 in the series. Hall is 13 for his last 23.
-Stanford finishes up the regular season with three non-conference games against Cal Poly next weekend at home. Friday's first pitch is at 6 PM.
Chad Goldberg is the voice of Stanford Baseball on KZSU, 90.1 FM.