Its hard to believe that just about one month ago, the Cardinal were shutout at home by the Santa Clara Broncos 2-0. This weekend in the NCAA Tournament, Stanford scored 41 runs on route to an easy three game Regional sweep at Sunken Diamond, clobbering the University of Illinois-Chicago, UC Riverside, and today, the Richmond Spiders.
Mark Romanczuk got the nod facing lefty Tim Rice for Richmond. Both pitchers worked solid 1-2-3 first innings, but the Cardinal struck first in the second. Ryan Garko led things off with a base hit to left, and Donny Lucy did the same. After a Danny Putnam bunt, Jed Lowrie lofted a fly to shallow right. Garko tagged and beat Vito Chiaravalloti's throw and made it 1-0. Then Jonny Ash singled through the right side, and Stanford took a quick 2-0 lead.
The score remained 2-0 for only about ten minutes, as after a quick bottom of the 2nd, the Cardinal went back to work in the third. A leadoff walk to Sam Fuld, followed by a Brian hall bunt put a runner at 2nd for Carlos Quentin. He got ahead 3-1, and smoked a single to left center, scoring Fuld and giving the Card a 3-0 lead. But the three remained on the scoreboard for one pitch, as Ryan Garko hit another homer, this time to deep left, and all of the sudden, it was 5-0 Stanford. The homer was Garko's second of the regional and 17th of the year, but he wasn't done yet.
Richmond did strike against Romanczuk in the third inning, after Romanczuk walked the leadoff hitter and gave up a 2B to Brian Pritz. Romanczuk would struggle in the fourth and fifth a bit, giving up runs in each inning and walking some batters, but kept the Cardinal well within the game.
In the fourth, Stanford added two more runs when Brian Hall doubled home Ash and Swope, giving Stanford a 7-1 lead. Richmond's Tim Rice departed after just three innings, and once the Cardinal got to a depleted Spiders' bullpen, the runs kept on coming. Quentin blasted a two-run shot in the sixth, giving Stanford a 10-3 lead, and Jonny Ash's RBI double made it 11-3. In the seventh, Fuld and Hall made outs before three straight walks and a Danny Putnam Grand Slam Homerun, putting the game truly out of the hands of the Spiders. With a five-run seventh, Stanford had a 15-3 lead.
Meanwhile, Romanczuk got much better in the sixth and seventh, retiring six in a row before departing after 6.2 innings, allowing five hits, three runs, walking five and striking out six. O'Hagan got the final out in the seventh on two pitches and handed it over to Matt Manship for the final six outs.
The Cardinal did score three more times in the eighth. With two on and one out, Ryan Garko blasted his second homer to left, a monstrous shot, his 18th of the year. He was named Most Outstanding Player of the Stanford Regional, with good reason. Garko had eight hits including 3 HR.
While Matt Manship finished the job, Jim Fasano homered for Richmond in the ninth, but it was too little too late, as Stanford cruised to the Regional Victory by a final of 19-6.
Stanford 0 2 3 3 0 3 5 3 0 - 19 19 2
Richmond 0 0 1 1 1 0 0 0 3 - 6 7 3
WP: Mark Romanczuk (11-0)
LP: Tim Rice (5-3)
HR: Garko 2 (18, 2nd inning and 8th inning), Quentin (10, 6th inning), Putnam (13, 7th inning), Fasano (16, 9th inning)
Records: Richmond (48-15)*, Stanford (44-15)
ALL TOURNAMENT TEAM
C Ryan Garko, Stanford
1B Brian Hall, Stanford
2B Jed Lowrie, Stanford
SS David Reaver, Richmond
3B Jonny Ash, Stanford
OF Sam Fuld, Stanford
OF Danny Putnam, Stanford
OF Carlos Quentin, Stanford
DH Adam Tidball, Richmond
P Ryan McCally, Stanford
P Mike McGirr, Richmond
Most Outstanding Player: Ryan Garko
-The Cardinal's victory gives them the Stanford Regional Title, as they will play Long Beach St. in a Super Regional next weekend.
-Stanford has won 16 of their last 17 games.
-Stanford has won all five 4-team regionals which they have played since the 64-team format began in 1999.
-Ryan Garko: 3-5, 2 HR, 5 RBI today. In the tourney, he went 8-13, 3 HR, and 9 RBI. He is now hitting .418 with 18 HR and 87 RBI.
-Every starter for Stanford had at least one hit, as Hall had two, Quentin had two, Carter had two, Ash had three, and Swope had two.
-Chris Carter continues his unbelievable postseason play. He is now 16 for 38 lifetime with 4 HR in the postseason.
-Mark Romanczuk is now 11-0 after his victory today.
-Quentin-Garko-Lucy/Carter-Putnam: 9-18 with 4 HR and 13 RBI.
-On to the Super Regional for the Cardinal, but the dates will be announced tomorrow. Long Beach St went 3-0 in their own regional this weekend. The 49ers have two of the best pitchers in the country with Abe Alvarez and Jared Weaver. A full preview will come out on Wednesday.
Chad Goldberg is the voice of Stanford Baseball on KZSU, 90.1 FM.