Baseball Edges Fullerton For Second Win In A Row

In a game filled with lead changes, the Stanford Cardinal found themselves on top at the end in their 8-7 victory over the Cal State Fullerton Titans on Saturday afternoon. The Titans took a 6-4 advantage in this game, but a two-out rally in the bottom of the sixth inning produced four runs and Stanford never looked back. Read on for a complete recap.

It was a lot tougher today for Stanford, but the 6th ranked Cardinal still managed to post another victory.  On a beautiful afternoon at Sunken Diamond, 2,437 fans witnessed an 8-7 Stanford victory over the 4th ranked Cal State Fullerton Titans.  The Cardinal erased a 6-4 deficit with a four-run sixth inning and then held on for the win.

The Titans jumped on Cardinal starter Matt Manship for a run in the top of the first inning.  Ronnie Prettyman led off with a double to deep left and scored three batters later when Kurt Suzuki singled him home. 

After going down quietly in the bottom of the first against Titan starter Ricky Romero, Stanford pushed across two scores in the second inning.  Danny Putnam walked to lead off and then advanced to second on a Jed Lowrie single.  Both runners moved up on a wild pitch and then scored on Jonny Ash's one-out single to left.

Manship worked a quick second inning before running into some trouble in the third.  With one out, P.J. Pilittere drew a walk and then Suzuki smoked a home run off the scoreboard to put the Titans back in front, 3-2.  That ended Manship's afternoon as Coach Marquess brought in senior right hander Drew Ehrlich in to pitch.  It was a quick hook for Manship (2 1/3 IP, 4 H, 3 R), but if you recall from a practice report this past week, the sophomore righty was roughed up in his last outing so apparently Coach Marquess did not like what he was seeing out of Manship.

Ehrlich came in and retired the side before the Cardinal offense went back to work.  In the bottom of the third, Chris Lewis led off by reaching safely at second on a Neil Walton throwing error at shortstop.  Fuld then immediately drove him home with a single to tie the game back up at 3-3.  After a Brian Hall sacrifice bunt and a John Mayberry, Jr. walk, Putnam delivered the clutch hit with a single to right scoring Fuld which put Stanford back in front.

Ehrlich fired a perfect 1-2-3 fourth inning with a pair of strikeouts before getting touched up for a run in the fifth.  And surprisingly for Ehrlich (a pitcher who usually throws a lot of strikes), it was his control that failed him.  A leadoff walk and then three wild pitches brought home the tying run.  Ehrlich though did come back to strike out Brett Pill with two outs and the go-ahead run at third base.

The Titans went back ahead with two more runs in the sixth inning.  Jake Mendrin led off with a single and was then advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt.  After Bobby Andrews walked, Coach Marquess made the call to the bullpen bringing in freshman Matt Leva.  Prettyman was first up and the Fullerton leadoff hitter bounced a single through the right side to load the bases.  Then with Justin Turner at the plate, Andrews at second for some reason broke for third in an attempt to steal.  There was of course already a runner at third base and he wasn't going anywhere, so the Cardinal tagged out Andrews after a brief rundown.  But Turner would make up for the mistake as he grounded a ball right back up the middle scoring two and putting Fullerton in front, 6-4.  Leva then retired Pilittere to end the inning.

However, the Stanford offense wasn't done.  Still facing Romero, Putnam drew a leadoff walk to start the bottom of the sixth.  Lowrie then ripped a single back up the middle to put two runners on.  It looked as if Romero would get out of it though as Carter struck out and Ash popped out.  But up stepped Donny Lucy and the Cardinal catcher came through with his first hit of the season as he singled sharply into left field plating Putnam with Stanford's fifth run of the game.  Fullerton coach George Horton then made a pitching change bringing in righthander John Tucker to face Lewis.  Coach Marquess countered though by sending lefty Adam Sorgi to the plate.  Marquess' move paid off as in his first collegiate at-bat, Sorgi singled to right center field to score Lowrie which tied the game at 6-6.  But Stanford wasn't done.  Up came Fuld and the All-American leadoff hitter promptly doubled to deep left scoring both runners to put Stanford back in the lead, 8-6.  Three straight two-out, run-scoring hits for Stanford in the bottom of the sixth.

In the seventh, Leva walked the leadoff batter which forced another pitching change.  In came senior David O'Hagan and the veteran righthander got out of the minor jam with a fly out and a double play.  O'Hagan then worked a quick 1-2-3 eighth inning on just eight pitches.  In the ninth, Turner led off with a double to left.  After Pilittere struck out, Suzuki continued his monster day with a single which Turner to make the score 8-7.  But O'Hagan bore down as he struck out Felipe Garcia and pinch-hitter Danny Dorn - both swinging - to end the game.

Game Notes:
* Sam Fuld had a big day at the plate today going 2-for-4 with a double and three RBI.  Donny Lucy also went 2-for-4 with an RBI while Jed Lowrie finished 3-for-4.

* The starting nine players in the lineup today were the same as last night.  The only changes concerning the batting order had Carter moving up to the sixth spot, Ash to the seventh spot with Lucy dropping down to the #8 position.

* It was a solid effort for Ehrlich out of the bullpen today even though his numbers may not reflect it (3 IP, 2 ER).  The senior pitched very well in preseason practice this year (lowest ERA on the team) and looks to have solidified himself on the Cardinal pitching staff.

* O'Hagan gets the save with three excellent innings out of the bullpen.  He surrendered three hits and one run with no walks and three K's.  O'Hagan saved three games last year while finishing with a 7-1 record.

* Kurt Suzuki led the Fullerton offensive charge today with a 3-for-4, HR, 4 RBI effort.

* Stanford has now won 11 consecutive home games dating back to last season.

CS Fullerton    1 0 2  0 1 2  0 0 1   -   7  12   2
Stanford        0 2 2  0 0 4  0 0 x   -   8  10   0

WP: Matt Leva (1-0)
LP: Ricky Romero (0-1)
S: David O'Hagan (1)

HR: Cal State Fullerton - Kurt Suzuki (1)

Records: #6 Stanford (2-0), #4 Cal State Fullerton (0-2)

* The teams will conclude this three-game series tomorrow afternoon at 1:00pm.  In a surprise move, Stanford will start junior Mark Jecmen on the mound.  Jecmen pitched very well his last two times out during preseason intrasquad games and is being rewarded for it.  His control has been much better and he'll get a chance to prove himself tomorrow.  Fullerton is expected to start freshman right hander Lauren Gagnier who will be making his collegiate debut.

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