Cardinal Complete Sweep Of Bears

Stanford posted their third series sweep of the season today with a 6-2 victory over the California Golden Bears in Berkeley. Freshman Blake Holler sparkled on the mound while a balanced offensive attack put away the Bears. The #1 ranked Cardinal now boast a 13-2 record while they've won 12 of those 13 contests by three runs or more.

Freshman Blake Holler looks to have established himself as the #3 starter on this team after another excellent outing today against Cal Golden Bears.  In Stanford's 6-2 victory to complete the sweep, Holler went seven innings limiting the Bears to just one run on five hits.  He walked three and struck out four.  At the plate, Stanford had a balanced 13-hit offensive attack led by John Mayberry, Jr. and his three hits with three RBI.

The Cardinal jumped on Bears starter Kyle Crist for two runs in the top of the first inning to take the early lead.  With one out, three straight singles from Jonny Ash, Jed Lowrie, and Danny Putnam loaded the bases.  Mayberry, Jr. then came up and hit a ground ball that appeared ticketed for right field.  Second baseman David Nicholson made a fabulous diving play to stop the ball, but his throw to first sailed over the head of the first baseman and back toward the home plate area.  Nicholson probably would have been best served to hold onto the baseball as Mayberry was going to beat it out, but with that wild throw, Lowrie was able to race around and score the second run of the inning.  Mayberry, Jr. was credited with a single and one RBI on the play.

Cal scored their only run off Holler in the bottom of the first inning on a two-out solo home run off the bat of David Weiner.  You could tell though that Holler had his good stuff today in the first few innings as his breaking ball was moving, he was spotting his fastball nicely, and he was pumping first-pitch strikes to nearly every batter.

Stanford extended their lead to 3-1 with a single run in the top of the second off Crist.  Donny Lucy led off with a single.  Second baseman Chris Minaker, who was making just his second start of the year, was up next.  On a perfectly executed hit-and-run, Minaker singled to left field moving Lucy to third and the Cardinal catcher scored when Sam Fuld grounded into a double play.

The Cardinal added another run in the fourth inning when Lucy unloaded a solo homer to left.  Cal's Evans Diamond is definitely a hitters park as it's just 320 feet down the lines and 365 to the power allies.  However, Lucy's blast would have gone out in every ballpark in the conference - it was a magnificent home run.

Stanford kept the pressure on with a run off reliever Matt Brown in the top of the fifth to make it a 5-1 game.  Ash led off by walking.  After a Lowrie fly out to the warning track in center, Putnam moved Ash over to second with a ground out.  Then Mayberry, Jr. drove him home with a single up the middle.

Meanwhile, Holler was easily setting down the Cal hitters.  He allowed a pair of hits in the second inning, but got out of the minor jam thanks in large part to Lucy throwing out a runner trying to steal.  Holler surrendered just one basehit in the third through the fifth innings as the Bears could never muster any sort of rally.  Through five innings, the southpaw had thrown just 48 pitches.

The Cardinal scored their final run of the game in the seventh inning as Mayberry, Jr. again came through with a clutch two-out hit.  With two outs and nobody on, Lowrie and Putnam both drew walks.  Then Mayberry ripped a double to right center field scoring Lowrie for a 6-1 lead.  With runners on second and third and two outs, Chris Carter struck out swinging to end the inning.  Carter continues to struggle as he went 0-for-2 with two strike outs off the bench today and is just 4-for-29 (.138) on the season.

Holler had to throw a few more pitches in the sixth and seventh innings, but Cal still couldn't score off him.  Sam Fuld threw out a runner trying to stretch a single into a double with a perfect throw into second base during the sixth inning.  Holler would be removed from the game after seven full innings of work.

Matt Manship came on in the eighth and did nice job holding the Bears down in that inning.  He hit a batter with a pitch with one out, but that was the only baserunner of the bottom of the eighth.  The sophomore righthander would struggle though in the ninth.  With one out, Manship allowed a single, hit another batter, and then walked a hitter to load the bases.  Head Coach Mark Marquess had seen enough as Jonny Dyer was summoned from the bullpen.  Dyer came on and got a fielder's choice ground out (a run scored on this play) and a strike out to end the game.

Game Notes:
* Mayberry, Jr. led the offense today with a 3-for-5, 3 RBI effort.

* Ash, Lowrie, Putnam, Lucy, and Minaker each went 2-for-4.  Lucy homered for the third time this season.  He's now just one behind Mayberry, Jr. for the team lead.

* Dyer was credited with the save - the first of his career.

* Stanford has now won 13 straight games over the Bears dating back to 2002.

* Lowrie and Ash extended their hitting streaks to 11 and 10 games respectively today.  Those two players are the top two hitters on the club right now - Lowrie is at .472, Ash at .375.

* This was Stanford's third series sweep of the season (Fullerton and Kansas).

* The Cardinal did not commit an error the entire weekend.

* Fuld (0-for-5) did not score a run today for the first time in 11 games.

* The 13-2 record is Stanford's best mark through 15 games since the 1998 season when the team was 14-0-1.  The only teams during the Mark Marquess era (1977-2004) to have started better through 15 games than this squad was that '98 club, the '82 team (13-1-1), and the 1980 team (14-1).  The 1980 and 1998 teams did not reach the College World Series.  The 1982 squad finished in a tie for fifth at the CWS.

Stanford     2 1 0  1 1 0  1 0 0   -   6  13   0
California   1 0 0  0 0 0  0 0 1   -   2   6   1

WP: Blake Holler (2-0)
LP: Kyle Crist (1-3)
S: Jonny Dyer (1)

HR: Stanford - Donny Lucy (3) ; California - David Weiner (2)

Records: #1 Stanford (13-2), California (7-9)

* Stanford returns to action this upcoming weekend when they travel down to Los Angeles to take on the USC Trojans in a three-game, non-conference series.  First pitch on Friday is scheduled for 6:00pm while Saturday's and Sunday's games will both get underway at 1:00pm.

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