Stanford Powers Their Way To Sweep

Nothing should surprise you anymore with this Cardinal offense, however Sunday's effort has to go down as one for the ages. In a shortened 6 1/2 inning game, seven different Stanford players combined for eight home runs en route to a convincing 17-3 victory. With the win, Stanford completes the sweep of Washington State while they improve their overall record to a staggering 35-6 and their Pac-10 mark to 10-2.

Before I get to the all the offensive heroics, the beginning of Greg Reynolds' start today should not go unnoticed.  Making his first career Pac-10 start, Reynolds retired the first 11 batters he faced.  The Cougars started to catch up to him the second time through the order, but made very little solid contact over the first three frames.  In fact, Reynolds needed just 28 pitches to set down Washington State through the first three innings throwing just seven balls in the process.  He allowed a two-out infield single in the fourth, but worked around it to put up another zero on the scoreboard.

The home run barrage began early for Stanford as the Cardinal hit two bombs in the second inning resulting in four runs.  Danny Putnam started things off with a check-swing infield single to third.  Up next was Donny Lucy and the junior catcher deposited a ball over the fence in left for a 2-0 lead.  After a couple of fly outs to center, Chris Lewis doubled to deep right field which was followed by another home run, this time a blast to right off the bat of Sam Fuld.  Just like that, it was 4-0 in favor of Stanford.

The Cardinal blew the game open with five scores in the bottom of the third with the home run ball again leading the way.  John Mayberry, Jr. was back in the starting lineup today after sitting out the first two games this weekend (he was a late-inning defensive replacement on Saturday).  And the slugging first baseman wasted little time getting involved as he belted a solo homer to lead off the third.  Promptly after the Mayberry homer, Putnam stepped up an homered to deep right extending the lead out to 6-0.

But Stanford wasn't done in that third inning.  After a single by Lucy and a walk to Brian Hall, Chris Carter laced a double to deep center field scoring both runners to make it an 8-0 contest.  Then the Cardinal played some small ball as Lewis successfully bunted Carter over to third while Fuld brought him home with a sacrifice fly to right.

Then for good measure, Stanford tacked on five more runs in the bottom of the fourth to give them a 14-0 cushion.  With one out, Mayberry, Jr. lined a single into right and moved to third when WSU right fielder Jay Miller mishandled the rolling ground ball.  After a walk to Putnam, Lucy doubled home a run.  Then it was Hall's turn and the senior right fielder remained red-hot with a two-run double of his own extending the lead out to 12-0.  The final two runs of the inning would come home to score when Lewis belted a two-run home run to deep left center field.

As mentioned above, Reynolds cruised through the first four innings, but the freshman right hander would run into some trouble in the fifth.  And surprisingly, it was his control that was the main problem.  Entering the top of the fifth, Reynolds had walked just four batters in 18 1/3 innings pitched this year, however three free passes would be his downfall in the fifth.  With one out, Reynolds walked Jeremy Farrar.  After a single up the middle from Zach McAngus, Brandon Reddinger worked a walk to load the bases.  #9 hitter Justin McClure was up next and Reynolds made a nice pitch to the Cougar shortstop, however McClure found a hole on the right side with a slow-rolling ground ball to score a run.  Reynolds then walked the leadoff batter, Kaeo Rubin, on four pitches forcing home another run.  WSU's leading hitter Jason Freeman was up next and he bounced a ball to shortstop.  The force out was made at second base, but Jed Lowrie's relay throw was not in time to first as the third run of the inning scored.  However on the play, McClure took too big of a turn around third base and Mayberry, Jr. alertly fired to Lewis at third who made the tag for the third out.

Stanford picked up a single run in the bottom of the fifth to make it a 15-3 game when Putnam hit an opposite field home run to left.  Freshman Blake Holler relieved Reynolds to start the sixth and he would pitch very well today.  Holler worked around a leadoff bloop single and a hit batsman in the sixth in putting up a zero.  Stanford added to their already sizable lead with two more runs in the bottom half of the inning.  Back-to-back solo homers from Hall and Carter did the damage.  Hall's home run was an opposite field round-tripper to right while Carter's was his usual mammoth blast over the wall in deep right.

Holler worked a perfect 1-2-3 seventh inning which ended today's game.  A Pac-10 rule states that in the final game of a series, if a team is up by 12 runs or more after seven innings, then the game can be called if both coaches agree to it before the game.  The was the case today as Stanford goes home with a 17-3, 6 1/2 inning victory.

Game Notes:
* The eight home runs hit by Stanford are a season-high.  The previous high was five homers which had been done twice this year (Feb. 7 at Fresno State and Apr. 10 at Oregon State).

* Stanford has now hit 71 home runs in 41 games this year.  The school record is 102 homers set by the 1997 team.  Last year's potent offense blasted 74 home runs all season.

* Putnam had a perfect day at the plate going 3-for-3 with two home runs and two RBI.  Lucy also had three hits as he finished 3-for-4 with a home run and three RBI.

* Hall continued his amazing hot streak with a 2-for-3, 2B, HR, 3 RBI effort.  Hall has now hit safely in 25 of his last 26 games, is hitting .638 (30-for-47, 5 HR, 19 RBI) in 12 Pac-10 games while his season average now stands at .399.  That's just one point behind Jed Lowrie's .400 for the team-lead.

* Other multi-hit games came from Fuld (2-for-3, HR, 3 RBI), Minaker (2-for-5, 2B), Mayberry, Jr. (2-for-5, HR, RBI), Carter (2-for-4, 2B, HR, 3 RBI), and Lewis (2-for-3, 2B, HR, 2 RBI).

* Minaker and Lowrie were the only two starters without a home run today, however they combined for three hits in 10 AB's.

* Lewis made his first start at third base this season.  With Mayberry back in the lineup at first, Hall moved back out to right.  And with a lefty on the hill, Lewis got the nod at third over the left handed hitting Adam Sorgi.

* Reynolds gets credit for the win with five innings pitched today.  The freshman right hander surrendered three runs on just three hits with three walks and three K's.  Holler tossed two shutout innings to finish the game yielding only one base hit while he fanned three.

* Stanford has now won 13 straight games at home while their overall home record in 2004 now stands at 20-1.  They've also taken 29 of their last 30 home games dating back to May of last season.

* The Cardinal should move back up to #1 in the polls tomorrow after Texas (now 42-8) dropped 2-of-3 games at Missouri this weekend.

* Washington defeated Oregon State 8-5 this afternoon in Corvallis to win that series.  That means Stanford (10-2) remains 1 1/2 games ahead of the Huskies (10-5) in the conference race.  They are, however, three up in the loss column.  Stanford and Washington will play a three-game series in Seattle this weekend.

Washington State   0 0 0  0 3 0  0   -   3   4   1
Stanford           0 4 5  5 1 2  x   -  17  19   0

WP: Greg Reynolds (3-0)
LP: Garrett Alwert (4-2)

HR: Stanford - Danny Putnam 2 (11, 12), John Mayberry, Jr. (11), Donny Lucy (10), Brian Hall (9), Chris Carter (5), Sam Fuld (2), Chris Lewis (2).

Records: #2 Stanford (35-6, 10-2), Washington State (23-19, 5-10)

* The Cardinal will next be in action this Tuesday night for a non-conference game against the San Jose State Spartans at Sunken Diamond.  First pitch is scheduled for 6:00pm.  This weekend, Stanford heads up to Seattle for a three-game set with the Washington Huskies.  Friday's game will get underway at 6:30pm while Saturday's and Sunday's contests are both set for 1:00pm start times.

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