Card Outlast Bears In Series Opener

Friday's series opener between the Stanford Cardinal and the California Golden Bears was a spirited back-and-forth affair. Fortunately, the Cardinal came out on top by a 12-9 score thanks to some late clutch hitting and stellar work out of the bullpen from Jonny Dyer and David O'Hagan. Meanwhile, Jed Lowrie continues to rip the cover off the bat as he connected for three triples while driving home four.

The great thing about pitching depth is that when one hurler isn't getting the job done, you should be able to plug someone else in and not have it be a problem.  That was the case during Stanford's 12-9 victory over the California Golden Bears in a non-conference game on Friday afternoon in Berkeley.  Ace starter Mark Romanczuk and top reliever Kodiak Quick had surrendered eight runs through the first 4 2/3 innings of today's ballgame and the Cardinal found themselves down by an 8-5 score.  But, Jonny Dyer and David O'Hagan picked up the slack as the duo combined to allow just one run over the final 4 1/3 innings while Cal couldn't find anyone to shut down the potent Cardinal offense as Stanford mounted their comeback.  At the plate, Jed Lowrie sparked the offensive attack with three triples and four RBI.

Stanford jumped ahead first in this game when Brian Hall connected on a solo home run to left center field.  It was Hall's only hit of the game, but he stung the ball all game long, so hopefully he's on his way to breaking out of his early-season slump.

The Bears answered with two runs of their own in the bottom of the second inning to take a 2-1 lead.  Facing Romanczuk (who looked great in a 1-2-3 first inning), Chris Grossman singled to lead off and then Justin Nelson walked to put two runners on.  After a sacrifice bunt, James Holder singled home Grossman and then Nelson scored on a Garrett Bussiere ground out.

The Cardinal quickly responded with two runs in the top of the third off Cal starter Mike Padgett to reclaim the lead.  Jonny Ash walked to get things started and then Lowrie belted the first of three triples on the afternoon to score the run.  Then with two outs, DH Jim Rapoport, who was making just his second career start, reached on an infield single to plate Lowrie with Stanford's third run of the game.

Cal though clearly was not going to go away in this ballgame.  They pushed across a run in the bottom of the third to tie the game at 3-3.  Allen Craig began the inning by walking and he scored three batters later on a two-out double off the bat of Grossman. 

After each team went down without scoring in the fourth, both clubs provided plenty of offensive fireworks in the fifth frame.  Ash started the top half of the inning with a single and he scored when Lowrie ripped a triple down the right field line.  Lowrie would eventually score on a groundout off the bat of Rapoport for a 5-3 Cardinal lead.

But again, the Bears would answer.  Romanczuk walked Craig to start the inning, never a good idea after your team scores some runs to put you in front.  David Nicholson then doubled to deep center to put runners on second and third with none out.  The hit extended Nicholson's hitting streak to 18 games which dates back to last season.

Freshman center fielder Chris Errecart followed with a single to score Craig and move Nicholson to third.  That ended Romanczuk's afternoon as Kodiak Quick was summoned from the bullpen.  Quick had not allowed a run in his first 5 2/3 innings this year, however, today he ran into some major problems.

Grossman was the first batter he faced and he promptly singled home a run to tie the game at 5-5.  Then after a ground out, Quick wild pitched home another run to make it 6-5 Cal.  But the Bears weren't done as Holder unloaded a home run to left field for an 8-5 California lead.  It was a quick outing for Kodiak as in came Jonny Dyer to stop the bleeding.

Stanford has been an excellent come-from-behind team all season though and today was no different.  The Cardinal scored three runs in each of the sixth and seventh innings to take the lead for good.

In the sixth, Donny Lucy reached on an error to begin the rally and then moved to second when Adam Sorgi walked.  Sam Fuld followed with a walk to load the bases which brought Ash to the plate.  The senior third baseman would deliver as he singled up the middle to score two runs which made it an 8-7 Bears lead.  After a walk to Lowrie, Putnam grounded into a fielder's choice, but that scored another run to make it an 8-8 tie.

Then in the seventh, Stanford pushed across three scores to take control of the game.  With a runner on second base and two outs, Fuld came through with the clutch hit when he singled into center field to score the run.  Then after an Ash infield single, Lowrie continued his assault on opposing pitching with a triple to deep left center field scoring both Fuld and Ash for an 11-8 Stanford advantage.

Meanwhile, Cal went down 1-2-3 in the sixth, before scoring a run in the seventh off Dyer to make it an 11-9 game.  A pair of bloop hits from Nelson and Brian Horwitz put two guys on.  Then Holder kept his big game going with a single scoring Nelson to cut into the lead.  But Dyer got David Weiner to ground into a 6-3 double play right after the Holder hit to keep the score at 11-9.

Stanford scored their final run of the game in the top of the ninth on a Donny Lucy solo home run to left center.

Cal threatened in both the eighth and ninth innings against David O'Hagan, but could not score in either frame.  In the eighth, they had runners on first and second with two outs, but O'Hagan induced Grossman to ground into a fielder's choice to end the threat.  Then in the ninth, the Bears put runners on second and third with two outs which brought the tying run to the plate.  However, O'Hagan struck out pinch-hitter Jordan Karnofsky with a nasty breaking ball to end the game.

Game Notes:
* Lowrie finished the afternoon 3-for-3 with three triples and four RBI.  The three triples were the first of his career.  He extended his hitting streak to nine games and is now batting .457 for the season.

* Ash also is swinging a hot bat.  The Oakland native went 3-for-5 this afternoon with two RBI and is now currently riding an eight-game hitting streak.

* Lucy was the other player with a multi-hit game today as he finished 2-for-5 with a home run.

* Romanczuk went four-plus innings today yielding five runs on six hits.  He walked three and struck out four.

* Dyer (2 1/3 IP, 4 H, 1 R) notched the victory while O'Hagan (2 IP, 2 H, 0 R) recorded the save.

* Stanford has now won 11 consecutive games over the Bears dating back to the 2002 season.

* With two runs and one hit today, Sam Fuld moved into sole possession of third place all-time at Stanford in runs (224) and fourth all-time in hits (301).

Stanford      0 1 2  0 2 3  3 0 1   -   12  12   0
California    0 2 1  0 5 0  1 0 0   -    9  14   2

WP: Jonny Dyer (1-0)
LP: Matt Swanson (0-1)
S: David O'Hagan (3)

HR: Stanford - Brian Hall (2), Donny Lucy (2) ; California - James Holder (2)

Records: #1 Stanford (11-2), California (7-7)

* The Cardinal and Bears will play game two of this three-game series tomorrow afternoon at 1:00pm.  Stanford is scheduled to start sophomore right hander Jeff Gilmore (2-1, 4.57) while the Bears are expected to counter with their own sophomore right hander in Adam Gold (3-0, 0.68).

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