Bats Silenced In 3-1 Loss to Fresno State

The Stanford offense was completely shut down this evening at Beiden Field as Fresno State's David Griffin and Michael Cooper combined on a two-hitter in the Bulldogs' series-opening victory. The Cardinal scored 28 runs in three games last weekend against Cal State Fullerton's vaunted pitching staff, but could get nothing going in tonight's contest. The loss also snapped Stanford's 14 game road winning streak which dates back to last season.

Friday night's offensive output was unquestionably one of the worst in recent Stanford baseball history.  The Cardinal scored just one run on two hits in their 3-1 loss to the Fresno State Bulldogs.  The two hits tonight were the fewest for a Stanford team since Game One of the 1999 Super Regionals.  In that game, USC ace starter Barry Zito allowed just one run on two hits although he was beaten by a 1-0 score.  Zito though was in the Major Leagues just one year later while he won a Cy Young three years later.  Tonight, Stanford was shut down by FSU's David Griffin who pitched all of 30 innings last year and Michael Cooper who's ERA at USC last season was in double figures.

Six times tonight Stanford went down 1-2-3 in an inning.  The lone hits were a one out single in the fourth inning by Danny Putnam and a leadoff double in the fifth inning by John Mayberry, Jr.  And in both innings Stanford left runners in scoring position.  In the fourth, Fuld actually walked to lead off and after Hall struck out, Putnam singled to put two runners on.  With Jed Lowrie at the plate, Fuld broke for third base and was going to make it easily for a stolen base.  Putnam then took off for second, but FSU catcher Brandon Marcelli gunned him down for the out.  Lowrie then grounded out to end the inning.

In the fifth, after Mayberry doubled off the top of the wall, Ash grounded out to second to move him to third.  The game was still scoreless at this point, so this was a golden opportunity to take the lead.  But Donny Lucy popped out and Chris Carter flied out to end the threat.

Fresno State starting pitcher David Griffin is the prototypical left handed softballer.  His fastball tonight was topping out in the high 70's and low 80's and Stanford just couldn't figure him out.  This has been a recurring theme for Stanford as traditionally the Cardinal do have problems with these junkball lefties.  Today was certainly no exception.  I'm sure Stanford would much rather face a fireballer who is bringing 90+ mile per hour gas. 

Griffin went 7 2/3 innings today with just two hits and one unearned allowed.  He walked three and struck out five.  Griffin made just one start while compiling a 3.30 ERA last season.  He did make 28 relief appearances.

Stanford's only run scored tonight came in the top of the eighth with the Cardinal trailing 3-0.  Ash led off with a walk, but then Lucy struck out.  John Hester was then asked to pinch hit for Carter and in a very surprising move, Hester laid down a bunt which moved Ash to second.  Chris Minaker was then called upon to pinch hit for Chris Lewis and Minaker hit a hard ground ball to short that went under the glove of FSU shortstop Chris Patrick for an error which allowed Ash to score.  After Fuld walked, Griffin was lifted from the game in favor of Michael Cooper.

Cooper had a whopping 11.10 ERA last season as a freshman at USC.  In an outing against Stanford last May, he surrendered ten runs in two innings of relief work.  But he had the Cardinal's number tonight as he struck out Hall looking on three straight called strikes to end the eighth and then breezed through Putnam, Lowrie, and Mayberry, Jr. 1-2-3 in the ninth.

A few Cardinal hitters are struggling mightily to begin the season.  Hall went 0-for-4 with three strike outs today and is just 2-for-15 with six K's on the year.  After going 0-for-2 tonight, Chris Carter is just 1-for-10 this season.  Granted, Stanford has faced just one right handed starter in their first four games, but Carter hasn't exactly been helping his cause to get consistent at-bats against lefties this early season.  Finally, Chris Lewis is still looking for his first hit of the year.  The sophomore second baseman is now 0-for-8 with four strike outs.  Look for Adam Sorgi to play tomorrow when Fresno starts a righty.

Enough with bad news from tonight's game.  There were a couple of bright spots.  Mark Romanczuk and Drew Ehrlich combined to allow just three runs today - an run total that's usually enough to win with this Stanford offense.  Romanczuk dominated through the first four innings allowing just two singles while striking out three.  He struggled in the fifth and sixth innings, however.  In the fifth, Chris Patrick was hit by a pitch with one out.  After #9 hitter Nick Moresi doubled down the left field line to put two runners on, Ryan Haag ripped a single up the middle scoring two. 

In the sixth, Miami transfer Tom Shannon belted a home run over the scoreboard in left center field for a 3-0 Fresno lead.  Christian Vitters doubled on the very next pitch which ended Romanczuk's evening.  In came Drew Ehrlich and the senior right hander pitched very well.  In 2 2/3 innings of work, Ehrlich allowed three hits, walked two, and struck out five.  Drew now has eight K's in 5 2/3 innings pitched on the young season.

The other positive note for Stanford tonight was that they did not commit an error in the field.  That's the third straight error-less game for the Cardinal.

Game Notes:
* Danny Putnam is now the only player to have hit safely in every game this season.

* Stanford hitters finished the game on an 0-for-14 cold streak.

* Romanczuk suffered the loss to even his 2004 record at 1-1.  In 5 2/3 innings, he surrendered three runs on seven hits.  He did not walk a batter while striking out three.

* Stanford saw their 14 game road winning streak come to an end with this loss tonight.

Stanford      0 0 0  0 0 0  0 1 0  -  1   2   0
Fresno State  0 0 0  0 2 1  0 0 x  -  3  10   1

WP: David Griffin (1-0)
LP: Mark Romanczuk (1-1)
S: Michael Cooper (1)

HR: Fresno State - Tom Shannon (1)

Records: #6 Stanford (3-1), Fresno State (1-0)

* These two teams will meet up again tomorrow at 1:00pm.  Matt Manship (0-0, 11.57) is scheduled to start for the Cardinal while the Bulldogs are expected to counter with sophomore right hander Matt Garza (1-6, 9.55 in 2003).  With nearly the entire bullpen intact, expect a quick hook for Manship tomorrow if he gets into any trouble as Coach Marquess will want desperately to avoid a series loss.

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