Cardinal Hold Off Late WSU Rally To Post Victory

Chris Minaker's sixth inning grand slam gave Stanford a commanding 12-4 lead, but the Cardinal had to work a little harder than expected to close out the victory on this Saturday afternoon. The Cougars plated six runs over the final three frames, however Stanford would hold them off in posting a 13-11 win to clinch another series victory. Brian Hall and Chris Carter led the offensive attack while Minaker and Jed Lowrie clubbed home runs. Here is a complete recap.

I mentioned in this week's preview that you should expect plenty of runs in the afternoon games of this series.  Stanford and Washington State are the two most prolific run-scoring teams in the conference and that combined with the warm weather should make for a couple of slugfests.  And on this Saturday afternoon, that's exactly what we got.

Washington State jumped all over Jeff Gilmore in the top of the first inning for three runs to take the early lead.  After a hit by pitch to leadoff batter Kaeo Rubin and a balk, Jason Freeman doubled to score a run.  That was immediately followed by a double off the bat of Jay Miller plating another run.  Then after a ground out, Zach Kosturos singled to make it 3-0.  Gilmore wasn't exactly fooling anyone in the first inning today, however he would settle down to throw a nice game.

Stanford didn't waste any time getting on the board either as they pushed across three scores in the bottom of the first against WSU starter Aaron Trolia.  With one out, Jim Rapoport singled which was followed by a double off the first base bag from Jed Lowrie.  Rapoport scored on a ground out by Danny Putnam while Lowrie scored on a clutch two-out single off the bat of Brian Hall.  But Stanford wasn't done as after the Hall single, Chris Carter came through with a single of his own to score a run and all of a sudden, it was a 3-3 game.

Gilmore breezed through the second, before surrendering an unearned run in the third.  The first batter reached safely on an error from Gilmore himself when he dropped a throw from the first baseman Hall on a play at first.  Then Freeman came up and flied a ball to deep right field.  Rapoport stumbled back to the warning track and then saw the ball glance off his glove for another error.  The Cougars at this point had runners at second and third with none out, but Gilmore did a nice job limiting the damage as only one of those guys came home to score.

Stanford took the lead for good in this ballgame with three scores in the bottom of the third.  Three straight walks to Lowrie, Putnam, and Donny Lucy started the inning.  Hall scored a run with a sacrifice fly to center and then Carter brought home two more with a single up the middle.

Gilmore worked scoreless fourth and fifth innings in this game to keep the score at 6-4 in favor of Stanford.  WSU threatened in the fifth putting a couple of runners in scoring position with one out, but the sophomore right hander came back to get a soft fly out to right and a strike out to end the rally.

The Cardinal opened up their lead with two runs in the bottom of the fifth to make it an 8-4 game.  Lucy drew a walk to leadoff which was followed by a single from Hall.  Carter continued his big afternoon with an RBI single while the second run of the inning came home on a sacrifice fly to deep right field off the bat of Sam Fuld.

Gilmore was tagged for a run in the sixth inning and would be pulled from the ballgame with two runners on and two outs.  Jason Freeman came to the plate representing the tying run, but reliever Jeff Stimpson came on and got WSU's leading hitter to ground out to second to keep the score at 8-5.

Stanford erupted for four runs in the bottom of the sixth thanks to a grand slam home run from Chris Minaker.  Before the Minaker AB, Carter was walked intentionally with runners at second and third and two outs.  Big mistake as on the very first pitch to the sophomore shortstop, he lined a ball over the fence in left for the grand slam.  That made it a 12-4 Stanford lead.

The Cougars though would not give in.  Still facing Stimpson, they knocked around the freshman for two runs in the top of the seventh.  It could have been worse had Fuld not thrown out a runner at second base. 

The Cardinal scored their final run of the game in the bottom of the seventh when Lowrie connected on a solo homer to right.  For Lowrie, it was his Pac-10 leading 14th home run of the season.

Stimpson continued to struggle in the eighth allowing a run and leaving with the bases loaded and two outs.  Mark Jecmen came into the game at this point and promptly walked the first batter he faced to score a run.  Then before he was able to throw another pitch, Jecmen balked home another Cougar run.  Just like that it was a 13-10 game.  Jecmen was swiftly taken out of the game after the balk as Matt Manship came in and got Zach McAngus to ground out to shortstop to end the inning.

Manship came out to start the ninth and ran into more trouble.  Justin Hart doubled to lead off and he would score when pinch-hitter Jeff Miller doubled two batters later.  But the sophomore right hander would bear down getting Rubin to line out to first and then he struck out Freeman looking to end the game.

Game Notes:
* Another huge game for Hall.  Again playing first base, Hall went 4-for-4 with two RBI.  Hall is now a perfect 8-for-8 in this series and is batting an amazing .636 (28-for-44) in Pac-10 play.  His season average is all the way up to .394.

* Carter also had a big game going 3-for-4 with four RBI.  Carter is creeping closer to the .300 mark as he now stands at .294 for the year.

* Other multi-hit games came from Lowrie (2-for-4, 2B, HR, RBI) and Rapoport (2-for-5).

* Lucy's 15-game hitting streak and Putnam's 12-game hitting streak both came to an end today.  However, Lucy did walk three times and scored four runs.

* Mayberry, Jr. did not start for the second straight game.  He did though come in for Hall as a defensive replacement at first base in the ninth inning.

* Gilmore gets credit for the win after he tossed 5 2/3 innings yielding five runs (four earned) on nine hits.  He walked one and struck out four.

* Fuld has had an incredible amount of bad luck this weekend.  The senior center fielder is now mired in an 0-for-19 slump, but he's been stinging balls all over the yard in this series.  Today, Fuld was robbed of a hit on a line drive to left.  In the fifth, he came up with the bases loaded and crushed a ball to right only to see WSU right fielder Jay Miller make a running catch at the warning track.  Then in the seventh, Fuld grounded a ball softly to short and even then couldn't get a hit on a bang-bang play at first base in which he was called out.  You have to figure his luck is going to change at any moment.

* Stanford has now won all 11 of their three-game series' this season.  They've also taken 12 games in a row at home and 19 straight over WSU.

Washington State  3 0 1  0 0 1  2 3 1  -  11  15   2
Stanford          3 0 3  0 2 4  1 0 x  -  13  12   2

WP: Jeff Gilmore (7-2)
LP: Aaron Trolia (4-4)
S: Matt Manship (2)

HR: Stanford - Jed Lowrie (14), Chris Minaker (2)

Records: #2 Stanford (34-6, 9-2), Washington State (23-18, 5-9)

* The Cardinal and Cougars will wrap-up this three-game series tomorrow afternoon at 12:00pm.  Stanford has not yet announced a starting pitcher while Washington State is expected to go with lefty Garrett Alwert (4-1, 4.56).

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