Baseball Falls To Texas, 9-6

Stanford saw their 16-game home winning streak snapped this afternoon when the Texas Longhorns defeated the Cardinal by a 9-6 score. The difference in the game was Texas' ability to come through with some big two-out hits, something Stanford lacked today. The Longhorns also received some stellar pitching out of their bullpen in this contest as they even up the series.

Neither the pitching nor the hitting were really working for Stanford today, yet the Cardinal still found a way to bring the winning run to the plate in the bottom of the ninth inning of their 9-6 loss to the 6th ranked Texas Longhorns.  Texas roughed up Jeff Gilmore and Matt Manship to the tune of nine runs over the first six innings and looked poised to run away with this ballgame.  The Stanford bats were quieted after scoring four runs early (runs came mainly due to Longhorn pitching wildness and poor defense) as the Cardinal found themselves down 9-4 heading into the bottom of the eighth.  But Stanford pushed across two unearned runs in the bottom of the eighth and then had a chance in the ninth when Sam Fuld stepped up representing the winning run.  But the All-American struck out looking with the bases loaded to end the game.

Gilmore had pitched very well over his four appearances of the year as he brought a 2.00 ERA into today's game.  But the sophomore right hander struggled from the onset in this one.  Dooley Prince walked to start the game and then #2 hitter Michael Hollimon blasted a two-run homer to right up put Texas up early.

Stanford would answer though against UT starter Sam LeCure with three runs of their own in the bottom of the first.  Fuld and Jed Lowrie both walked to start the inning and then Danny Putnam singled to load the bases.  John Mayberry, Jr. was up next and the slugging first baseman grounded a ball to third.  Moving to his left, Longhorn third baseman J.D. Reininger fielded the ball and instead of trying for the 5-4-3 double play, he turned and threw home in an attempt to nail Fuld at the plate  The throw, however, pulled catcher Taylor Teagarden off the plate and everyone was safe.

After Chris Carter struck out, Donny Lucy was hit by a 3-and-2 pitch to bring home another run.  Then after a strike out of Brian Hall, Adam Sorgi drew a hard-earned bases loaded walk to put Stanford in front at 3-2. 

LeCure got out of the inning without further damage, but Head Coach Augie Garrido had seen enough as he went to the bullpen to start the second.

The strike zone in the early innings of this game was extremely small.  LeCure especially looked visibly upset with the zone in his difficult first inning.  Gilmore was also affected by the small strike zone and this led to a lot of runs coming home early in the game.  The zone did expand later in the contest, and the Texas bullpen took full advantage.

Gilmore did settle down in the second inning when he threw a 1-2-3 frame recording two strike outs in the process.  The Longhorns though did rough him up for two runs in the third inning to reclaim the lead.  With one out, Prince doubled and then Hollimon walked to put two runners on.  Curtis Thigpen followed with a single to drive home Prince then Teagarden doubled to bring home Hollimon.

Stanford tied the score at 4-4 with a single run in the bottom of the third off reliever Randy Boone.  With one out, Hall reached on a throwing error by the shortstop Hollimon.  Hall then stole second and advanced to third when the throw bounced away.  He scored two batters later on a Chris Minaker sacrifice fly to center.  That would be all the Stanford offense would get though until the eighth inning.

Texas took the lead for good with three runs in the fourth - all the runs scoring on clutch two-out base hits.  With a runner at third and two down, Gilmore gave up a single to Prince to put Texas in front at 5-4.  After a walk to Hollimon, Gilmore was lifted from the game in favor of Matt Manship.  Manship allowed both of his inherited runners to score when after a walk to Thigpen, Teagarden came through with a big two-run single to push the lead up to 7-4.

The Cardinal had an opportunity to cut into the lead in the bottom of the fourth when they had runners on second and third with two outs, but Lucy struck out swinging to end the threat.  Stanford then went down 1-2-3 in the fifth as Boone starting settling into a groove.

The sixth inning was a back breaker for the Cardinal.  With one out and nobody on, Manship walked Hollimon and Thigpen consecutively to put two guys on.  Both walks were on 3-and-2 pitches after each fouled off a few to stay alive.  That ended Manship's day as Jonny Dyer was summoned from the bullpen.  Dyer struck out Teagarden looking for the second out, but then Seth Johnston grounded a ball past Minaker at third for an RBI double to make the score 8-4.  Reininger was next and the Longhorn third baseman blooped a ball over Dyer's head, but in front of the shortstop Sorgi for an infield hit to score another run.  At this point, Texas was in complete control of the game at 9-4.

Meanwhile, Stanford could get nothing going against the freshman Boone.  They went down 1-2-3 in the sixth and then were held without scoring in the seventh despite a leadoff single from Mayberry, Jr.

In the eighth, the Cardinal scored two runs to make it a 9-6 game.  With runners on first and second and two out, Putnam lined a ball to left field.  The left fielder, Prince, raced over to the ball, but slightly overran it and when he reached back, the ball glanced off his glove for an error.  Both runs came home to score and Putnam was able to move into third.  But the theme of the day was lack of clutch hitting for Stanford as Mayberry, Jr. struck out swinging against the new pitcher J. Brent Cox to end the inning.

In the bottom of the ninth, with the score still 9-6, Cox struck out the first two batters of the inning with ease.  Jim Rapoport though, who came in to pinch-hit for Hall earlier in the game, lined a single into left to keep Stanford alive.  Sorgi followed with a walk to bring the tying run to the plate.  Minaker was up next and the Stanford third baseman nubbed a ball out in front of the mound (a swinging bunt, essentially) and was able to beat out the throw which loaded the bases.  But Cox was able to bear down as he struck out Fuld looking on a beautiful back-door breaking ball to end the game.

Game Notes:
* Stanford left 13 runners on base today - nine of which were in scoring position.

* Texas reliever Randy Boone had an excellent outing today as he tossed 6 2/3 quality inning yielding just three unearned runs and four hits.

* Cox was the closer today in place of the injured Huston Street, but he looked every bit as good as Street (1 1/3 IP, 0 R, 4 SO).  Looking at his numbers this year, Cox may be the best set-up man in the country (13 2/3 IP, 6 H, 1 R, 16 SO) which just goes to show you how talented this Texas pitching staff is.

* Despite putting up six runs today, Stanford didn't really swing the bats very well.  They had just seven hits with only Danny Putnam (2-for-5) picking up a multi-hit game.

* Fuld particularly had a tough afternoon as he went 0-for-5 with the big strike out at the end.  Fuld is still looking for his first hit of the series (0-for-7) although he has scored four runs.

* Minaker made the start in place of Jonny Ash today at third base.  In his first collegiate start, Minaker went 1-for-4 with an RBI.

* Gilmore went 3 2/3 innings today.  He surrendered seven runs on seven hits with three walks and three K's.  The loss was the first of his collegiate career.

* The Cardinal did get some nice relief work today from Jonny Dyer and Matt Leva.  Dyer went 1 2/3 scoreless innings with three strike outs.  Leva threw scoreless eighth and ninth innings while not allowing a hit in the process.

* Stanford saw their overall six game winning streak snapped with this loss as well as their 16 game home winning streak.

Texas       2 0 2  3 0 2  0 0 0   -   9  12   4
Stanford    3 0 1  0 0 0  0 2 0   -   6   7   1

WP: Randy Boone (2-0)
LP: Jeff Gilmore (2-1)
S: J. Brent Cox (1)

HR: Texas - Michael Hollimon (1)

Records: #4 Stanford (9-2), #6 Texas (11-1)

* These two teams will play the rubber game of this three-game series tomorrow afternoon at 1:00pm.  Stanford has announced that freshman left hander Blake Holler (0-0, 3.00) will start on the mound.  Holler has pitched six innings this year spanning two relief appearances.  Texas is expected to counter with senior lefty Justin Simmons (2-0, 1.93).

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