Strong Pitching Carries Stanford To Victory

On a day when the Cardinal bats were neutralized, Stanford's pitching came through in a big way. Blake Holler tossed eight excellent innings this afternoon while David O'Hagan recorded the final three outs for the save in the Cardinal's 3-1 victory over the Cal Poly Mustangs. At the plate, Danny Putnam smacked a solo home run while John Mayberry, Jr. came through with a clutch RBI double. Stanford clinches the series win and goes for the sweep tomorrow.

Stanford recorded a solid 3-1 victory over the Cal Poly Mustangs on Saturday afternoon at Sunken Diamond to clinch the series victory.  The Cardinal got the hits when they needed them, but the story of the day was the pitching by Blake Holler and David O'Hagan.  Holler went the first eight innings yielding one run while O'Hagan recorded the last three outs to nail down the save.  With the win, the Cardinal have now won all seven of their series' this season along with 11 in a row dating back to last season.  They also improve their overall record to an amazing 19-3.

The Mustangs (22-11-1) jumped on the board first with a single run off Holler in the top of the first inning.  With one out, Adam Leavitt singled before he was forced at second when the next batter, Brandon Roberts, grounded into a fielders choice.  Holler then picked off Roberts at first base, but the speedy left fielder for the Mustangs was able to beat Mayberry, Jr.'s throw into second for a stolen base.  It was Roberts' team-leading 19th stolen bag of the year.

After Chalon Tietje reached on an infield single, Cory Taillon singled home Roberts for a 1-0 Cal Poly lead.  Holler would retire the next batter on a fly out to end the inning.

The Cardinal went down quietly in the bottom of the first and then the Mustangs went back to work.  With one out in the top of the second, Kyle Blumenthal singled and then he was bunted to second.  Leadoff man Sam Herbert followed with a single up the middle, but Blumenthal was gunned down at the plate by Sam Fuld in an attempt to score from second.

In the bottom of the second, Danny Putnam got things started with an opposite-field home run to left.  For Putnam, it was his fifth homer of the year and it tied the score at 1-1.  John Mayberry, Jr. produced the second run of the inning when he was hit by a pitch following the Putnam blast.  Donny Lucy then flied out to deep left and Mayberry, Jr. alertly tagged up and raced into second base.  He was then balked to third which proceeded a wild pitch allowing him to score.

Cal Poly had another golden opportunity to score in the top of the third against Holler, but again came away empty handed.  With one out, an error and two walks loaded the bases, but Holler induced Josh Mayo to ground into a 4-6-3 double play to end the threat.

Mustang starter Jonathan Fleming got through the third inning without giving up any runs and was then pulled from the game.  If he wasn't hurt, this was a bit of surprising move.  Statistically, Fleming is the best starter on the team as he brought a 4-0 record, 2.43 ERA, and .178 opposing batting average into the game.  Nevertheless, Cal Poly head coach Larry Lee didn't mess around as he brought in his closer, Nolan Moser, to start the fourth.  Moser came into today's game with a sparkling 1.96 ERA and seven saves.

Moser started hot as he worked a 1-2-3 bottom of the fourth and then worked around a leadoff single from Brian Hall in the fifth.  Still up 2-1, Stanford would get to the Mustang closer in the bottom of the sixth.  Jonny Ash led off with a hard hit single to right and then moved to second when Jed Lowrie walked.  After Putnam flied out, Mayberry, Jr. ripped a double down the left field line scoring Ash and moving Lowrie to third.

Stanford couldn't produce any more runs that inning though as Lucy popped out and then after an intentional walk to Hall, Chris Carter struck out looking with the bases loaded.  The score remained 3-1 Stanford.

Meanwhile, Blake Holler was in cruise control.  He surrendered a one-out single in the fourth, but easily set down the next two batters to end the inning.  He worked a 1-2-3 fifth inning and then got around a leadoff single in the sixth frame to keep Stanford in the lead.

The freshman lefty kept things going with 1-2-3 seventh and eighth innings.  Through eight, he had retired nine in a row and 14 of 15.

In the bottom of the seventh, Fuld singled with one out which ended Moser's afternoon.  Still very much in the game, Larry Lee summoned his other star reliever, Dennis LeDuc (1.29 ERA, 3 Saves) into the contest.  LeDuc gave up a two-out single to Lowrie, but got Putnam to pop out to end the inning. 

In the bottom of the eighth, Hall tripled to deep right center with two outs, but was stranded when Carter popped out.

Holler went back out to work in the top of the ninth, but struggled as Mayo and Bret Berglund both singled to start the frame.  Coach Marquess elected to make a pitching change as closer David O'Hagan was brought into pitch.  The move paid off as after Blumenthal laid down a sacrifice bunt to move the runners into scoring position, O'Hagan struck out pinch-hitter Billy Saul and then got Sam Herbert to fly out harmlessly to center to end the game.

Game Notes:
* Holler went eight-plus innings yielding one run on nine hits.  He walked two and struck out three.  The eight innings pitched were a career-high for Holler and the most any Stanford pitcher has thrown this season.

* O'Hagan recorded the last three outs for his team-leading fourth save of the year.  His season ERA is now at 1.30.

* Multi-hit games today came from Ash (2-for-4) and Hall (2-for-3, 3B).

* Putnam extended his hitting streak to ten games with his second inning home run.

* Stanford has won nine in a row over Cal Poly dating back to the 2001 season.

Cal Poly     1 0 0  0 0 0  0 0 0   -   1   9   0
Stanford     0 2 0  0 0 1  0 0 x   -   3   8   2

WP: Blake Holler (3-1)
LP: Jonathan Fleming (4-1)
S: David O'Hagan (4)

HR: Stanford - Danny Putnam (5)

Records: #1 Stanford (19-3), Cal Poly (22-11-1)

* Stanford will go for the series sweep tomorrow afternoon at 1:00pm at Sunken Diamond.  Jeff Gilmore (4-1, 5.30) is scheduled to start on the mound for the Cardinal while Cal Poly is expected to counter with lefty Garrett Olson (5-2, 3.95).

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