Card Top Mustangs 9-4 In Series Opener

Behind another outstanding pitching performance from John Hudgins and a balanced offensive attack, the Stanford Cardinal posted a 9-4 victory over the Cal Poly Mustangs on Friday night at Sunken Diamond. In his final tune-up for the postseason, Hudgins worked six innings allowing just one unearned run while the Cardinal offense pounded out 13 hits. Read on for a complete recap.

In front of a Sunken Diamond season-high crowd of 4,017, the Stanford Cardinal defeated the Cal Poly Mustangs 9-4 to take the first game of the series.  While a lot of the fans were in attendance for the postgame fireworks show, they were treated to another dominating start by John Hudgins and a balanced Stanford offensive attack that rapped out 13 hits on the evening.  The win marked the Cardinal's 11th victory in their last 12 games and improved their record to 39-15 on the year.

The Cardinal started the scoring in the bottom of the first with a single run off Mustangs starter Josh Kougl.  With one out, Brian Hall doubled to right center field and then scored when Ryan Garko doubled two batters later.  In the bottom of the second, Donny Lucy walked to leadoff and then freshman second baseman Jed Lowrie smoked a double to deep left center to score Lucy for Stanford's second run of the game.  After Jonny Ash sacrificed Lowrie to third with a bunt, Tobin Swope grounded out to short to score Lowrie for a 3-0 Stanford lead.

The Cardinal added to their lead with a single run in the bottom of the fourth.  Lucy singled with one out and then with two outs, moved to second on an Ash single.  Swope was up next and the senior shortstop grounded a ball up the middle that was fielded (not very cleanly) by Cal Poly shortstop Scott Anderson who then flipped it to second, but wide of the bag.  Lucy alertly rounded third and scored on the error to make the score 4-0.

Meanwhile, John Hudgins was mowing down the Cal Poly hitters.  The junior righthander retired the first eight batters he faced until Anderson blooped a single down the right field line with two outs in the third.  Anderson though was promptly thrown out at second trying to stretch it into a double.  Billy Saul singled with one out in the fourth, but was quickly erased when the next batter, Adam Leavitt, grounded into a 6-4-3 double play.  Hudgins then worked a perfect 1-2-3 fifth inning to keep the shutout intact.  Through five innings, Hudgins had thrown just 48 pitches only 14 of which were balls.

Finally, Cal Poly got to Hudgins in the sixth, albeit with an unearned run.  Bret Berglund was hit by a pitch to start the frame.  After a strike out of Cory Taillon, Berglund moved to second on a ground out off the bat of Anderson.  Sam Herbert then grounded a ball in the hole at short that was thrown low and in the dirt by Swope to first base for an error.  The Mustangs capitalized as the next batter was Saul and he singled up the middle to plate Berglund with Cal Poly's first run of the game.  Hudgins quickly set down the next batter to end the inning and was then removed from the game.

The Cardinal scored one run in the bottom of the sixth on a successful suicide squeeze bunt from Jonny Ash to score Lucy who had earlier reached on an error.  In the seventh with Jonny Dyer on the hill, Cal Poly pushed across two runs to cut the Cardinal lead to 5-3.  Cory Taillon delivered the big hit with a two-run, two-out single.  The inning could have been worse for Dyer and the Card as Taillon was thrown out at the plate trying to score from first on a double by Anderson.  Stanford executed a perfect relay as Carlos Quentin threw the ball into Lowrie who fired a perfect strike to Garko at the plate to cut down the runner.  For Dyer, he allowed two runs on four hits in his lone inning of work.

Stanford though would respond with four runs of their own in the bottom of the seventh to make the score 9-3.  Three straight singles by Fuld, Hall, and Quentin to start the inning produced a run.  After Hall and Quentin were successful on a double steal attempt, Garko struck out, and then Putnam was intentionally walked to load the bases.  Lucy followed with a clutch hit as he singled through the left side to score Hall and Quentin.  Putnam would later score on an Ash sacrifice fly to right.

Kodiak Quick pitched a scoreless eighth inning although he had to work around two walks and a single.  The freshman righthander benefited from a double play in the inning.  Ryan McCally worked the ninth and gave up a run on two hits.  The run scored on an infield single over the mound by Anderson.  That was the only damage done in the inning though as McCally induced Herbert to ground into a fielder's choice to shortstop to end the game.

Game Notes:
* John Hudgins picked up his ninth win of the year with six solid innings tonight.  He gave up just three hits and one unearned run.  Hudgins didn't walk anybody, struck out two, and threw only 68 pitches on the night which should keep him fresh for postseason play which starts in a week from today.

* Brian Hall led the offense with a 3-for-5 performance.  It was his fourth straight three-hit game while he now has 15 hits in his last 26 at-bats.

* Other multi-hit games tonight came from Ryan Garko (2-for-4, 2B, RBI), Donny Lucy (2-for-3, 2 RBI), and Jed Lowrie (2-for-4, 2B, RBI).

* Garko's strike out tonight in the third inning was his first since April 5th, a span of 81 at-bats.  He actually went down on strikes twice this evening, but still has more homers (14) than K's (13) on the year.

* Sam Fuld (12 games) and Carlos Quentin (11 games) extended their hitting streaks tonight.

* Three sacrifices (two bunts and one fly out) for Jonny Ash in this game.  Ash singled in his only other at-bat.

* Of the 11 regulars on the team (the nine starters tonight plus Mayberry, Jr. and Carter), seven are now hitting above .300.  Ten of the 11 are at .284 or above with the only exception being Chris Carter who is at .217 in 46 AB's this year (although even he is heating up of late).  Quentin (.392) has a slim lead over Garko (.390) for the team-lead in batting average.

Cal Poly    0 0 0  0 0 1  2 0 1   -   4  10   2
Stanford    1 2 0  1 0 1  4 0 x   -   9  13   1

WP: John Hudgins (9-3)
LP: Josh Kougl (1-9)

Records: Cal Poly (27-26-1), #5 Stanford (39-15)

* Game two of this three-game series is tomorrow afternoon at 1:00pm.  Mark Romanczuk (9-0, 3.70) is scheduled to start for the Cardinal while Cal Poly is expected to throw lefty Garrett Olson (5-2, 3.89).

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