Sunday's (10-26) Baseball Practice Notes

Today's practice saw the two big sophomore pitchers - Matt Manship and Mark Romanczuk - on the hill. In today's practice notes, we take a look at both their performances this afternoon and the on-going battle for the #1 starting pitching spot. Also, two freshmen hurlers who look to play prominent roles this year threw today with good results.

It was another 90 degree day out at Sunken Diamond this afternoon as the Stanford baseball team kicked off the final week of Fall Practice.  The pitching group of Matt Manship, Greg Reynolds, Mark Romanczuk, and Blake Holler threw in today's intrasquad game while as usual, 2/3 of the position players faced live pitching.

Manship had an excellent afternoon on the hill.  The sophomore righthander fired four solid innings yielding one run on three hits.  He walked two and struck out one.  Manship was locating nicely, going inside and outside with no problems at all.  He wasn't really overpowering, but there wasn't a lot of solid contact off him.  His lone strikeout was a beauty against Chris Carter.  Fastball on the inside corner for strike one.  Fastball on the outside corner for strike two.  Fastball on the inside corner for a called strike three. 

Reynolds also had another very solid outing.  In his four innings, the 6'7" righthander from Pacifica allowed one earned run (three total) on five hits.  He walked two and struck out two.  One thing I always watch closely with the freshman pitchers is their control.  Haven't seen any control problems from Reynolds in the four times he's pitched this fall.  Reynolds' breaking ball again looked good today while he was spotting his fastball well, for the most part.  This guy has so much potential and I think he's going to make it very hard for Coach Marquess to leave him out of the starting rotation this year.  He's certainly going to see a significant amount of innings.

Romanczuk's final pitching line is a little deceiving, in my opinion.  In 2 2/3 innings, he allowed three runs on three hits with two walks and three K's.  Romanczuk worked a quick 1-2-3 inning his first time out.  In his second inning, he allowed an infield single, hit a batter, a bloop single to left, and a sac fly which produced two runs.  Then in his third and final inning, Romanczuk gave up an RBI double off the wall in left to Sam Fuld.

I like how Romanczuk is using all his pitches effectively and throwing them for strikes.  Romanczuk and Manship appear to have a good handle on the top two starting pitching spots.  But like last preseason with Hudgins and Cunningham, I think the battle for the Friday spot will go all the way to the last week of January.  Both pitchers certainly have a lot going for them.  Romanczuk has plenty of starting experience at Stanford including many big games down the stretch and in the postseason last year.  The Friday start is always pressure packed as it's usually low scoring and each team very much wants to get the early upper hand in the series.  Manship probably has a little better control than Romanczuk.  You can't give away extra bases on Friday nights, so good control is an absolute must. 

This is a rare year for Stanford in that the Cardinal don't have a big-time junior starting pitcher returning to the rotation after a solid (or standout) sophomore campaign.  Last year, both Hudgins and Cunningham (who was a senior) had lots of starting experience and were seasoned veterans.  In 2002, Jeremy Guthrie was coming off a big sophomore year as the #1 starter.  And the list goes on and on over the last decade.  One of the big keys this year is whether Romanczuk and Manship, both still relatively young players right now, are ready to take the reigns and become the go-to-guys on this pitching staff.  In every CWS run in the last ten years, the Cardinal have had that #1 starting pitcher who could be counted on for seven or eight innings every time out.  The time is now for either Romanczuk or Manship (or both) to rise to the occasion and become the go-to-guy.  Everything I've seen so far this fall tells me that they're well on their way.

The last pitcher to throw today was 6'4" frosh lefty Blake Holler.  It was another strong outing for Holler as he allowed two runs on three hits in 3 1/3 innings.  Only one walk for Holler which was very encouraging.  He also struck out one batter.  I believe Holler is on track to see some significant innings out of the bullpen this year.  The big key for him is keeping his control in check so Coach Marquess will have the confidence to go to him in big spots late in games. 

Now for the hitters ...
Red Team
1. Sam Fuld
2. Chris Minaker
3. John Mayberry, Jr.
4. Chris Carter
5. Chris Lewis
6. Josh Corn
7. Ryan Kissick

White Team
1. Jim Rapoport
2. Jonny Ash
3. Jed Lowrie
4. Donny Lucy
5. Ben Summerhays
6. Cameron Matthews

It's certainly no shocker to anyone, but Sam Fuld continues to rip the ball.  He's smoking line drives to all fields and is primed for a huge senior season.  It's going to be quite a luxury to have Fuld, with all of his talent and experience, leading off and playing center field.  In today's game, Fuld went 2-for-5 with a double, two RBI, and a walk.  Easily could have had four hits with any luck.  Minaker had a strong game for the Red Team as he went 2-for-4 with a double and an RBI.  Finally, Ryan Kissick blasted his first home run of the fall - a drive to left off Manship (the only run and extra base hit that he gave up).  Kissick has quietly put together a nice fall with the bat.  He finished the game today 2-for-5.

On the White Team, it was another big day for Jed Lowrie.  The sophomore from Salem, Oregon went 2-for-5 with a triple, two RBI, and a stolen base.  The triple was a drive to right field off Reynolds.  Rapoport was the other player on this team with a multi-hit game as he finished 2-for-5 with a pair of singles.  One of Rapoport's hits was just a chopping ground ball on the infield in-between third and short to which the speedy outfielder easily beat it out.  It seems that all Rapoport needs to do to get on base is to hit a ground ball in the right spot on the infield and then use his blazing speed.  Personally, I like to see which guy is faster, Rapoport or Brian Hall?

The Bootleg Top Stories