Card Hook Horns In Series Opener

It wasn't the prettiest of games, but Stanford will no doubt take their 7-4 victory over 6th ranked Texas on Friday night. Both teams were able to capitalize early on poor defense from their opponent, but the difference in the game were the pitching performances from Mark Romanczuk and David O'Hagan. The duo combined on a five-hitter while recording 13 strike outs in the process to lead the Cardinal to victory.

With tonight's 7-4 win over the 6th ranked and previously undefeated Texas Longhorns, Stanford (9-1) has now won six games in a row overall and 16 straight at home.  Mark Romanczuk and David O'Hagan combined on a five-hitter to lead Stanford to victory.  At the plate, the Cardinal took advantage of some poor Texas defense while also coming through with a few clutch hits early in the ballgame to win this contest.

Romanczuk worked a perfect 1-2-3 first inning recording two strike outs in the process.  He was coming off a 13 strike out performance last weekend against Kansas and the early returns tonight showed that he may be heading down that same path.  And outside of a bump in the road in the second and third innings (Stanford's poor defense was as much to blame here), the sophomore lefty from Delaware was just about as dominant.

The Cardinal struck for three runs in the bottom of the first inning off Texas ace lefty J.P. Howell.  Sam Fuld walked to get things started and then Jonny Ash grounded a ball to UT first baseman Curtis Thigpen.  Thigpen elected to go to second, but his throw bounced past shortstop Michael Hollimon and into left field for an error.  Fuld took the turn at second and raced into third.  But then left fielder Nathan Warrick came up throwing and fired the ball over Longhorn third baseman J.D. Reininger for another error which allowed Fuld to score while Ash took second.

After Jed Lowrie grounded out and Danny Putnam struck out, John Mayberry, Jr. came through with a big hit when he lined a triple to deep right center field to score Ash.  Then with Donny Lucy at the plate, Howell uncorked a wild pitch to score Mayberry which made the score 3-0.

Texas answered back quickly thanks in large part to some poor Stanford defense.  Seth Johnston singled to lead off and then was balked to second.  After a Reininger fly out and a Drew Stubbs walk, David Maroul hit a hit ground ball to third.  If fielded cleanly, Stanford may have been able to turn the inning-ending double play, but Ash bobbled the ball and then his rushed throw to first pulled Mayberry, Jr. off the bag.  Johnston scored on the play to make it a 3-1 game.

The Longhorns weren't done though as the next batter, Dooley Prince, skied a high fly ball to medium-deep left center field.  Putnam and Fuld converged, but bumped into each other and as a result the ball bounced out of Fuld's glove for an error.  That loaded the bases and then the second run of the inning scored when Romanczuk walked the #9 hitter Warrick to force home a run.

However, the Cardinal ace hurler did a masterful job getting out of the inning without any further damage.  The leadoff man Hollimon fouled out to third (on a nice over-the-shoulder catch by Ash) for the second out and then Thigpen grounded out to shortstop to end the inning.  The score remained Stanford 3, Texas 2.

After the Cardinal went down quietly in the bottom of the second, Texas took the lead with two scores in the top of the third (again aided by subpar defense).  Taylor Teagarden led off by reaching on a fielding error by Adam Sorgi at shortstop.  After a sacrifice bunt, Reininger blasted a line drive home run to left field to make the score 4-3.  That would be all Texas would get tonight though.

Stanford answered Texas' two runs with three runs of their own in the bottom of the third to retake the lead at 6-4.  The first three batters of the inning reached when Fuld was hit by a pitch, Ash singled, and Lowrie walked.  It looked like the Cardinal were going to held off the scoreboard though as Howell came back to strike out Putnam and Mayberry, Jr. for the first and second outs of the inning.  But Donny Lucy came to the rescue as on a 3-and-2 pitch, the Cardinal catcher lined a ball over the second baseman's head for a two-run single.  Stanford wasn't done though as next up was Brian Hall and the senior right fielder delivered an RBI single to left to score another run.

Meanwhile, Romanczuk absolutely dominated in the middle innings.  He allowed just one hit over the fourth through the seventh frames (just a two-out single in the fourth from Teagarden).  He walked just one batter over that stretch and retired the last nine hitters he faced - four of which by strike out.  Romanczuk was taken out of the game after seven full innings of work.

Stanford scored their final run of the game in the bottom of the fifth when Lowrie led off with a single, moved to third on a wild pickoff throw from Howell, and then scored on a Mayberry, Jr. single.  Howell was removed from the game after 4 1/3 innings of work and the Texas bullpen did a great job of keeping the Cardinal hitters at bay.

David O'Hagan relieved Romanczuk to start the eighth and the senior righthander had no problems setting down the Texas batters.  Over the last two innings of the game, O'Hagan surrendered one hit, walked one, and struck out a whopping five batters.  The tying run never came up to the plate.

Game Notes:
* Romanczuk went seven innings yielding four runs (two earned) on just four hits.  He walked four and struck out eight.  Romanczuk now has 21 strikeouts over his last 14 innings of work.

* O'Hagan notches his second save of the year with his outstanding effort out of the bullpen tonight.

* Not the strongest hitting performance from Stanford today as they mustered just six hits the entire evening.  However, J.P. Howell is one of the top pitchers in the country (a preseason All-American) while the Texas bullpen is also one of the best.

* Mayberry, Jr. led the offensive attack with a 2-for-4 night that included a triple and two RBI.

* Putnam saw his ten-game hitting streak come to an end with an 0-for-3 performance this evening.

* Stanford committed three errors tonight.  That's now seven errors in their last two games after making just three errors in their first eight contests.

* Texas entered tonight's game with a perfect 10-0 record on the season.

Texas      0 2 2  0 0 0  0 0 0   -   4   5   3
Stanford   3 0 3  0 1 0  0 0 x   -   7   6   3

WP: Mark Romanczuk (3-1)
LP: J.P. Howell (1-1)
S: David O'Hagan (2)

HR: Texas - J.D. Reininger (2)

Records: #4 Stanford (9-1), #6 Texas (10-1)

* These two teams will continue this three-game series tomorrow afternoon at 1:00pm.  Jeff Gilmore (2-0, 2.00) will start on the mound for Stanford while Texas is expected to counter with right hander Sam LeCure (1-0, 2.77).

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