Cardinal Defeat Cal To Complete Season Sweep

Not even rainy, cold weather can slow down the Stanford bats. The Cardinal completed the series and season sweep of the California Golden Bears on a wet Sunday afternoon with an 8-3 victory. Jed Lowrie smoked his team-leading 11th home run of the season while Brian Hall extended his hitting streak to 19 games. Meanwhile, David O'Hagan dazzled in long relief with 5 1/3 scoreless, one-hit innings. Read on for a complete recap.

Stanford starter Blake Holler had a little bit of trouble in the top of the first inning, but escaped without giving up a run.  Allen Craig began the game with an infield single.  After a strike out and a ground out, #4 hitter Chris Grossman drew a walk to put two runners on, but Holler came back to get Brian Horwitz to ground into a fielder's choice to end the threat.

The Cardinal also threatened in the first inning, but like Cal, they would come up empty-handed.  Jonny Ash drew a one-out walk while Danny Putnam singled with two outs, but John Mayberry, Jr. popped out to end the rally.

Holler continued to labor in the top of the second, but this time he could not hold Cal off the scoreboard.  With one out, Justin Nelson singled and then #8 hitter James Holder crushed a home run well over the fence in left for a 2-0 lead.  After a ground out, Holler issued back-to-back to walks throwing just one strike in the process.  That would end his afternoon as Coach Marquess wasted little time bringing in his ace reliever, David O'Hagan.

O'Hagan walked the first batter he faced, but then came back to strike out Grossman with the bases loaded to end the inning.

Stanford scored their first runs of the game in the bottom of the third against Cal starter Matt Brown.  Still trailing 2-0, back-to-back walks to Sam Fuld and Ash started the inning.  Jed Lowrie then singled to load the bases for clean-up hitter Danny Putnam.  Putnam grounded a ball to shortstop as the force was made of Lowrie at second base.  Fuld scored on the play to make it 2-1 while Putnam was safe at first.

Mayberry, Jr. was up next and the towering first baseman grounded a ball down the third base line.  Bears third baseman Matt Einspahr made an excellent diving stop, but instead of throwing the ball to second or first, he tried to get Ash at the plate.  An accurate throw would have gotten Ash, but it wasn't an easy toss to make and it bounced past the catcher Grossman and all the way to the backstop.  Ash scored on the play to tie the game while Putnam and Mayberry, Jr. moved up to third and second respectively.

After a walk to Donny Lucy loaded the bases, red-hot Brian Hall delivered the big hit with a ringing double to deep center field.  Putnam and Mayberry, Jr. scored on the play although Lucy was thrown out at home on a perfect relay to the plate.  Still, the damage had been done and Stanford had taken the lead at 4-2.

Meanwhile, O'Hagan was really settling into a groove.  He issued a two-out walk in the third inning, but worked around it.  He then fired 1-2-3 fourth and fifth frames to keep the score at 4-2 Cardinal.  In the sixth, O'Hagan surrendered a leadoff single to Jeff Dragicevich, but he easily set down the next three hitters to retire the side.

Stanford did very little against Cal reliever Kyle Crist in the fourth and fifth innings, but they would get a gift run courtesy of Crist and fellow reliever Jesse Ingram in the bottom of the sixth.  With one out, Crist beaned Ash with a pitch which was followed by a walk to Lowrie.  Ingram would enter the game at this point and he promptly walked Putnam to load the bases.  Then with Mayberry, Jr. at the plate, Ingram uncorked a wild pitch to score Ash for a 5-2 Stanford advantage.

O'Hagan breezed through the seventh 1-2-3 keeping the score at 5-2 before the Stanford hitters went back to work in the bottom half of the inning.  Lucy got things started with a double that one-hopped the wall in deep left center.  Stanford then played perfect fundamental baseball as Hall bunted the Cardinal catcher over to third which was followed by a sacrifice fly off the bat of DH Chris Carter

Jeff Stimpson relieved O'Hagan to start the eighth inning.  Stimpson struggled a little early as he issued a leadoff walk.  After a strike out of the next batter, Dragicevich singled to put runners at the corners.  Stimpson got the next hitter, Nelson, to ground out, but a run would score on the play to make it a 6-3 game.

Stanford scored their final two runs of the game in the bottom of the eighth.  Fuld singled to lead off and then two batters later, Lowrie crushed a no-doubt-about-it home run to deep right center field.  For Lowrie, it was his team-leading 11th home run of the season.

Stimpson allowed a leadoff single in the ninth, but a double play and fly out later, the ballgame was over and Stanford had completed the season sweep of the Bears.

Game Notes:
* O'Hagan dominated on the hill in his long relief stint this afternoon.  The senior right hander worked 5 1/3 innings yielding no runs on just one hit.  He walked two and struck out five.  For the season, O'Hagan is now 5-0 with a 2.20 ERA, .184 opposing average, and four saves.  He's also struck out 44 (compared to just 14 walks) in 41 innings.

* Lowrie had another big day at the plate with a 2-for-4, HR, 2 RBI effort.  He's now hitting .397 this season with 11 home runs, 47 RBI, a .778 slugging percentage, and a .509 on-base percentage (team-leader in all five categories).

* Other multi-hit games came from Putnam (2-for-4, RBI) and Lucy (2-for-4, 2B).

* Hall extended his hitting streak to 19 games with his third-inning double.  Hall finished 1-for-2 today to raise his season average to .371 (third on the team).

* Lucy (11 games) and Fuld (ten games) also extended their respective hitting streaks.

* Holler lasted just 1 2/3 innings today.  The freshman southpaw surrendered two runs on three hits with three walks and one strike out.

* Stanford won their fifth game in a row overall, their eighth straight at home, and 16th in a row over the Cal Bears dating back to March, 2002.

* The Cardinal became the first Pac-10 team to record a conference series sweep.  Stanford (7-2) has opened up a two game lead in the Pac-10 race over Arizona (5-4), USC (5-4), and Washington (5-4).

California    0 2 0  0 0 0  0 1 0   -   3   6   1
Stanford      0 0 4  0 0 1  1 2 x   -   8  10   0

WP: David O'Hagan (5-0)
LP: Matt Brown (3-3)

HR: Stanford - Jed Lowrie (11) ; California - James Holder (6)

Records: #2 Stanford (29-5, 7-2), California (20-23, 6-9)

* The Cardinal will next be in action on Tuesday night when they host the Saint Mary's Gaels for a 6:00pm game.  This weekend, Stanford takes on Sacramento State in a two-game series.  Friday's game will be at Sunken Diamond at 6:00pm while Saturday's contest is in Sacramento at 2:00pm.

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