Baseball Blanks Spartans

Five Stanford pitchers combined on a six-hitter as the Cardinal matched their longest winning streak of the season at six games with a 5-0 win over San Jose State Tuesday night. Freshman Matt Leva got the ball rolling in his first career start with three shutout frames and then four relievers followed suit. Offensively, the Cardinal used a four-run fourth inning to put some distance between them and the Spartans.

San Jose's Municipal Stadium hasn't always been very kind to the Stanford hitters.  In the Cardinal's last two games at the Muni (spanning the last two seasons), Stanford was only able to muster three total runs (winning one game and losing the other).  On a cool evening tonight, Stanford showed some improvement as they pushed across five scores, but it was the pitching that carried them to victory.  Five Cardinal hurlers combined on a six-hit shutout while Stanford was also flawless in the field to post their 21st win of the season.

Stanford was having a tough time early figuring out SJSU starter Jose Amaya tonight.  The Cardinal couldn't muster any hits over the first three frames and on the rare occasion that they hit something hard, it was right at a Spartan fielder.

Fortunately, San Jose State was having just as much trouble with Stanford's pitching.  Making his first career start, freshman Matt Leva dazzled during his three inning stint.  The Galveston, Texas native, surrendered just two hits, did not walk anyone, and struck out three.  His offspeed pitchers were especially impressive including a nearly unhittable change-up.  And when he needed to blow a fastball by someone, he was able to do it successfully.  In four outings this season, Leva has now allowed just one run in 7 2/3 innings for a sparkling 1.17 ERA.

The Cardinal finally got to Amaya in the top of the fourth.  Jed Lowrie started things off by drawing a walk.  After Danny Putnam lined a single into center to put runners at the corners, John Mayberry, Jr. bounced a single over the first baseman's head to score a run.  Stanford wasn't done, however, as catcher Donny Lucy followed with a hard-hit RBI single through the left side to make it a 2-0 game.

With runners on first and second and none out, Coach Marquess asked Brian Hall to lay down a sacrifice bunt and the Cardinal right fielder did so successfully.  What made this move interesting was that Marquess was taking the bat out of the hands of his hottest hitter (Hall) and leaving the RBI duties up to the coldest hitter in the lineup (Chris Carter). 

Carter didn't get a hit, however his ground out to second did score a run to make it 3-0.  Then Chris Minaker, who garnered his second consecutive start at shortstop tonight, came through with a clutch two-out, RBI single.

Freshman Jeff Stimpson relieved Leva to start the bottom of the fourth.  Stimpson wasn't quite as dominating, but he was equally effective.  In his two innings of work, Stimpson surrendered two hits, walked one, and struck out two.  In five relief appearances this season, Stimpson has allowed a grand total on zero runs spanning 10 2/3 innings.

Mark Jecmen came on in the bottom of the sixth with Stanford still ahead 4-0.  The junior righthander gave up a leadoff double and a two-out walk, but he came back to get DH Josh Lansford to fly out to end the threat.

Matt Manship relieved Jecmen to start the seventh.  The sophomore hit the first batter he faced with a pitch, but the runner would quickly be erased when the next batter grounded into a 3-6-3 double play that was beautifully turned by Mayberry, Jr.

Stanford did very little outside of their four-run fourth inning tonight.  They did pick up an insurance run in the top of the eighth on a Minaker sacrifice fly to score Mayberry, Jr., who had led off with a single.

Manship gave up a leadoff single in the bottom of the eighth, but again got a double play to end any thoughts San Jose State had of scoring.  Manship went two solid innings today throwing just 16 pitches in the process.

Closer David O'Hagan came on in the bottom of the ninth and worked a perfect 1-2-3 frame recording a strike out to end the game.

Game Notes:
* The shutout was Stanford's first of the season.

* The current six-game winning streak for the Cardinal matches their longest of the season.  The pitching staff has a sparkling 1.67 ERA during the streak.

* Mayberry, Jr. led the offense tonight with a 2-for-4, RBI effort.

* Hall extended his hitting streak to nine games with a single in the top of the eighth.

* Stanford didn't hit a home run in tonight's game which snapped a string of 12 consecutive games with at least one homer.

* The Cardinal are now 10-2 on the road this year and they've won 24 out of their last 26 road contests dating back to last season.

* The 21-3 record for Stanford is the fourth best 24-game start during the Mark Marquess era (1977-2004).  Only the 1998 team (21-2-1), the 1982 team (21-2-1), and the 1978 team (21-2-1) started better.

Stanford        0 0 0  4 0 0  0 1 0   -   5   7   0
San Jose State  0 0 0  0 0 0  0 0 0   -   0   6   1

WP: Matt Leva (2-0)
LP: Jose Amaya (1-3)

Records: #1 Stanford (21-3), San Jose State (14-13-1)

* The Cardinal open up the Pac-10 season this weekend with a three-game series at UCLA.  First pitch is scheduled for 6:00pm on Friday while Saturday's and Sunday's games will both get underway at 1:00pm.  Mark Romanczuk (5-1, 3.19) is scheduled to start the opener, Blake Holler (3-1, 3.03) will start on Saturday while Jeff Gilmore (5-1, 4.64) gets the ball in the finale.



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