Card Rally In Ninth For Series Sweep

Brian Hall's grand slam capped a seven-run ninth inning rally as the Stanford Cardinal defeated the Kansas Jayhawks 10-6 on Sunday afternoon. The Cardinal looked destined for defeat in this contest, but they were able to push across three runs in the bottom of the ninth to tie the game before Hall's home run won it. With the victory, Stanford completes the sweep of the Jayhawks and wins their fifth game in a row.

A sign of a great team is unquestionably their ability to win games even when they under perform.  In today's contest, the Stanford Cardinal committed a season-high four errors and were held without scoring from the third through the eighth innings, yet they still managed to pull out the win.  Trailing 6-3 heading into the bottom of the ninth, Stanford scored seven runs capped off by Brian Hall's grand slam home run to deep left field.  The win gave the Cardinal the series sweep over Kansas while it also was their fifth straight win overall and their 15th consecutive victory at home.

Despite not getting out of the first inning in his outing last weekend at Fresno State, junior right hander Mark Jecmen was given the ball to start today's game.  Unfortunately for Jecmen and the Cardinal, the results were very much the same.  Jecmen walked Matt Baty to lead off the game.  Two batters later, Baty scored on a Sean Richardson single.  After consecutive singles from Ryan Baty and Matt Tribble, Jecmen was lifted from the game in favor of David O'Hagan.  Jecmen faced five batters, four of which reached base (three singles and a walk).  He allowed three runs and saw his ERA balloon up to 11.81.

O'Hagan was coming off an excellent long relief appearance at Fresno last Sunday.  In six innings pitched, O'Hagan didn't allow any runs while striking out nine.  Luckily for Stanford, O'Hagan enjoyed similar success this afternoon.

The senior right hander surrendered a single run in the second inning when A.J. Van Slyke walked and then scored when Matt Baty doubled him home.  However, that was all Kansas would get off O'Hagan until the eighth inning.

So with the score 4-0 Jayhawks, Stanford had their work cut out for them.  The Cardinal cut into the lead with a single run in the bottom of the second off KU starter Mike Zagurski.  John Mayberry, Jr. and Donny Lucy each singled to start the frame.  After a Hall fly out moved Mayberry to third, Chris Carter brought him home with a ground out to second.

Stanford chased Zagurski from the game in the third inning with two more tallies.  After consecutive walks to Sam Fuld and Jonny Ash, Jed Lowrie singled to left field to bring home a run.  Zagurski was pulled after that hit in favor of lefty Sean Land.  Land did a nice job limiting the damage getting both Danny Putnam and Mayberry, Jr. to ground out (Junior's ground out scored Ash) and Lucy to pop out.  After three innings, the score was Kansas 4, Stanford 3.

O'Hagan flat-out dominated through the middle innings of this game.  There was an occasional walk and a couple of errors by the defense that allowed runners to reach base, but every time O'Hagan got out of the inning.  In fact, the Jayhawks went without a hit against O'Hagan in the third through the seventh inning. 

Meanwhile, the reliever Land was doing a number on the Cardinal hitters.  Stanford went down without a basehit in the fourth and fifth innings.  In the bottom of the sixth, with the score still 4-3 Kansas, the Cardinal had runners on first and second with two outs, but pinch-hitter Chris Minaker popped out to end the threat.

In the bottom of the seventh, Fuld singled to lead off.  With one out, Lowrie walked and then the runners moved up to second and third on a Putnam ground out.  Land was taking out of the game at this point in favor of the right handed Clint Schambach.  Schambach was able to get out of the inning as he induced Mayberry, Jr. to ground out to third base leaving runners at second and third.

O'Hagan quickly retired the first two batters of the eighth inning, before finally getting touched up for a hit when KU third baseman Travis Metcalf unloaded a solo homer to left field.  It was the first hit off O'Hagan since the second inning.  The next batter was Jared Schweitzer and he doubled, but O'Hagan was able to get out of the inning without further damage as Mike Dudley lined out to right on a beautiful diving catch by Hall.

The Cardinal went down quietly in the eighth 1-2-3 which kept the score at 5-3.  Drew Ehrlich relieved O'Hagan to start the ninth and he gave up a run when Ritchie Price singled home J.C. Sibley who had led off the inning with a double.  Kodiak Quick came in for Ehrlich after the Price hit, and got a ground out and a strike out to end the inning.

Things didn't look good for Stanford at this point in the game.  They trailed 6-3 and had recorded just three hits and no runs over the previous five innings.  In the bottom of the ninth, pinch-hitter Jim Rapoport flied out to center to start things off.  But then came the comeback.

Schambach walked Fuld on five pitches and then hit Ash with a pitch to put two runners on.  After Lowrie walked on four pitches to load the bases, a pitching change was made as lefty Jacob Jean was brought in to face the left handed hitting Danny Putnam.  On a 2-and-1 pitch, Putnam lined a ball right back up the middle that glanced off Jean's leg and rolled toward the third base line.  The ball was hit so hard that when it went off Jean, it rolled far enough away that when the KU pitcher recovered it, there was no play to be made.  Fuld had scored to make it a 6-4 game and the bases were still loaded.

That was all for Jean as right hander Ken Livesey was brought in to face Mayberry, Jr.  Livesey had a very interesting start to his season.  Entering play today, Livesey had allowed just one hit in five innings of work.  But, he had walked an amazing 12 batters in his limited action.  Knowing this, Mayberry, Jr. was patient at the plate and he was able to work a five-pitch walk which forced home another run to make it a 6-5 game.

Up next was Lucy and Livesey remained in the game to face the Cardinal catcher.  Lucy worked the count full, before hitting a ground ball to third that Metcalf got a glove on, but couldn't handle cleanly.  It was scored an infield hit and Lowrie scored on the play to make it a 6-6 game.

Kansas Head Coach Ritch Price had seen enough of Livesey as Tyson Bothof was summoned from the bullpen to face Hall.  With the score tied 6-6 and the bases loaded, Hall blasted a grand slam home run to deep left field on the very first pitch he saw to end the game.

Game Notes:
* The last Stanford victory to end in a walkoff home run was when Lucy homered in the final Pac-10 game of the year last season against UCLA to clinch the conference championship for the Cardinal.

* Off Hall's bat, it was obvious that the game was going to be over since all Stanford needed was a sacrifice fly to win the game.  But there was just enough carry on the ball to clear the fence for the dramatic game-ending home run.

* Quite an effort for O'Hagan this afternoon.  In 7 2/3 innings of work, he allowed two runs on three hits with three walks and five strike outs. 

* Multi-hit games today came from Mayberry, Jr. (2-for-4, 2 RBI) and Lucy (2-for-5, RBI).

* Putnam extended his hitting streak to ten games with his single in the ninth inning.

* Lowrie has taken over the team-lead in batting average at .429 (15-for-35).

* Stanford had committed just three errors in their previous eight games before making four this afternoon.  Fortunately, none of the errors led to any unearned runs.

* Freshman Ryan Seawell pinch hit in the sixth inning and delivered a two-out single for his first collegiate hit in his first ever at-bat.

Kansas     3 1 0  0 0 0  0 1 1   -   6   8   0
Stanford   0 1 2  0 0 0  0 0 7   -  10  10   4

WP: Kodiak Quick (1-0)
LP: Jacob Jean (0-1)

HR: Stanford - Brian Hall (1) ; Kansas - Travis Metcalf (4)

Records: #4 Stanford (8-1), Kansas (7-7-1)

* The Cardinal will next be in action this upcoming weekend when they take on the 6th ranked Texas Longhorns in a three-game series at Sunken Diamond.  Friday's contest will start at 6:00pm while Saturday's and Sunday's games will get underway at 1:00pm.

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