Baseball Continues Domination Of The Bears

Stanford won their 14th consecutive game over the California Golden Bears with a 7-4 victory in the series opener on Friday evening. Brian Hall paced the offensive attack with a 4-for-4 performance which extended his hitting streak to 17 games. Meanwhile, Mark Romanczuk tossed a solid seven innings on the hill to record the victory while an emerging ace out of the bullpen notched his first collegiate save.

Stanford starter Mark Romanczuk breezed through the first two innings tonight against the Cal Bears.  The only base runner came when #5 hitter Justin Nelson reached on a fielding error by Jed Lowrie.  Meanwhile, Cal starter Adam Gold gave up three rockets off the bats of Sam Fuld, Jonny Ash, and Jed Lowrie in the bottom of the first, however all three balls found Bears defenders.  Still, if the first inning was any indication, it would appear that the Cardinal hitters were going to be able to get to the Cal ace on this Friday evening.

The Cardinal broke through against Gold with two runs in the bottom of the second inning to take the lead.  Danny Putnam led off by drawing a hard-earned nine-pitch walk.  After John Mayberry, Jr. and Donny Lucy were retired, Putnam stole second to put himself into scoring position.  Then the hottest hitter in the Stanford lineup, Brian Hall, came through with the clutch hit as he lined a single into right field scoring Putnam.  Hall moved to second when the throw went all the way to the plate.

After Hall's basehit, Chris Carter stepped up and lined a single up the middle and off of the pitcher Gold.  It was unfortunate that Carter's ball found Gold as it appeared ticketed for center field and another run-scoring hit, but #9 hitter Chris Minaker would get the job done as he blooped a single into right scoring Hall for a 2-0 advantage.

Romanczuk gave up his first run and hit of the game in the top of the third inning when shortstop Jeff Dragicevich touched him up for a solo homer.  Then in the fourth, right fielder Brian Horwitz connected for a solo home run to tie the game at 2-2.  Other than those two long balls though, Cal could not muster any sort of rally against the Cardinal ace.

Stanford reclaimed the lead in the bottom of the fourth with three runs off Gold.  Lucy got things started with a single and he would move to third when Hall ripped a double down the left field line.  Carter then brought home the Stanford catcher with a hard-hit single to make it a 3-2 game.  Minaker scored Hall when he grounded into a fielders choice while the final run of the inning came home on a sacrifice fly off the bat of Ash.

The Cardinal pushed their lead up to 7-2 with two runs in the bottom of the sixth.  And surprise, surprise, Brian Hall was right in the thick of things.  The senior right fielder led off the inning with a line drive single off the third baseman's glove.  That chased Gold from the game as lefty reliever Cameron Johnson was brought into pitch. 

Johnson promptly walked Carter and then Minaker laid down a perfect sacrifice bunt to move the runners over.  Fuld then walked to load the bases, but Ash would pop out for the second out of the inning.  But Johnson couldn't find the strike zone when facing Lowrie as he walked the National Player of the Year candidate on four pitches to force home a run.  Stanford scored their final run of the inning and the game when Putnam reached on an infield single which brought home Carter.

Romanczuk cruised through the fifth, sixth, and seventh innings tonight.  He allowed just one base hit during that three inning stretch and was keeping his pitch count fairly low.  But in the eighth, Romanczuk walked the leadoff batter on four pitches and then #3 hitter David Weiner smoked a home run over the fence in right and all of a sudden it was a 7-4 game.

That would end Romanczuk's evening as freshman Jeff Stimpson was summoned from the bullpen.  Stimpson brought a 0.54 ERA into tonight's contest and he would actually improve on that number.  In the eighth, Stimpson fired eight consecutive strikes to set down the three batters he faced (two of which struck out) to end the inning.  Then in the ninth, Stimpson worked around a two-out walk to put up a zero and secure the victory for Stanford.

Game Notes:
* Hall led the offensive attack tonight with his 4-for-4 performance.  He scored three runs and also picked up an RBI.  Hall's hitting streak now stands at 17 games while his season batting average is all the way up to .368.

* Romanczuk picked up the win with seven solid innings of work.  He allowed four runs, but just five hits.  Romanczuk walked three and struck out two to improve to 7-1 on the year.

* For his career, Romanczuk is now 19-3 overall and a perfect 14-0 at Sunken Diamond.

* Romanczuk had allowed just four homers in his first 55 2/3 innings pitched prior to tonight's start.  He surrendered three longballs against the Bears today.

* Other multi-hit games tonight came from Putnam (2-for-3, 3B, RBI) and Carter (2-for-3, RBI).

* Mayberry, Jr. saw his nine-game hitting streak come to an end tonight.  Fuld (1-for-4, BB) did, however, extend his hitting streak to eight games. 

* Fuld did not score a run tonight, so he's still at 244 which is tied for first all-time at Stanford.  He was at third base with two outs in the bottom of the sixth, but Mayberry, Jr. struck out to end the inning.

* Stimpson picked up his first collegiate save tonight with two no-hit innings.  He struck out two.

* Stanford has now won 14 consecutive games over Cal dating back to March, 2002.

California    0 0 1  1 0 0  0 2 0   -   4   5   0
Stanford      0 2 0  3 0 2  0 0 x   -   7  11   1

WP: Mark Romanczuk (7-1)
LP: Adam Gold (6-4)
S: Jeff Stimpson (1)

HR: California - David Weiner (8), Brian Horwitz (5), Jeff Dragicevich (3)

Records: #2 Stanford (27-5, 5-2), California (20-21, 6-7)

* These two teams will play game two of this three-game series tomorrow afternoon at 1:00pm.  Stanford (as of 10pm PST) has yet to officially announce a starting pitcher, but sophomore Jeff Gilmore (5-1, 5.00) is the most likely candidate to start.  Cal is scheduled to go with right hander Mike Padgett (3-4, 4.53).

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