Baseball Extends Home Win Streak To 14

Seven Stanford pitchers combined on a four-hitter as the Cardinal won their 14th straight home game with a 7-2 victory over San Jose State on Tuesday evening. Stanford improves their 2004 home record to a sparkling 21-1 as they remain hot heading into their big weekend series at Washington. In this game, in addition to the strong pitching, the Stanford hitters blasted three more home runs. Read on for a complete recap.

Freshman Matt Leva made his third Tuesday night start of the year this evening and the Galveston, Texas native was on his game.  In the first, Leva worked a perfect 1-2-3 inning throwing just 12 pitches.  In the second, Leva allowed a one-out single, but quickly set down the next two batters to retire the side.  Leva ran into a little trouble in the third as he surrendered a run, however it was of the unearned variety.  After a leadoff walk to Ryan Angel, #9 hitter Justin Santich-Hughes grounded a ball to third.  Chris Lewis fielded the ball, but his throw to Jed Lowrie at second was a hard fastball that rose on the sophomore second baseman.  Not the easiest throw in the world to handle, but a ball Lowrie should have caught.  Instead, it glanced off the top of his glove (for an error on Lowrie) and into the outfield as everyone was safe (Angel to third and Santich-Hughes at first).

But Leva would do a masterful job to limit the damage.  Kevin Frandsen was up next and the freshman right hander induced SJSU's leadoff batter to ground into a 6-4-3 double play (a run did score).  Then Anthony Contreras grounded out to shortstop to end the inning.  Leva's evening was complete after three very effective innings of work.

Stanford actually took the early lead in this ballgame with two runs in the bottom of the first.  With one out, Chris Minaker singled through the left side.  Up next was National Player of the Year candidate Jed Lowrie and Lowrie would continue his unbelievable season with a home run over the wall in right.  For Lowrie, it was his team-leading 15th homer of the season and his 55th and 56th RBI's.

The Spartans would cut the lead in half with that run in the third to make it a 2-1 game.  Kodiak Quick came in to pitch the fourth and the sophomore right hander continued his recent strong play.  Quick set down the first two batters before Josh Lansford reached on a throwing error by Lewis at third.  But Quick worked around it getting Nate Corrick to ground into a fielder's choice ending the inning.

In the bottom of the fourth, Stanford pushed across two more runs extending their lead out to 4-1.  Chris Carter got things started with a ringing double off the wall in right.  A wild pitch moved him to third and then another wild pitch scored the DH.  Then Lewis stepped up and crushed a home run over the scoreboard in left center - his third home run in the last two weeks. 

Lewis certainly had an interesting game tonight.  He would be pulled from the contest after four innings in favor of Adam Sorgi who took over at third.  Lewis struggled defensively, but the sophomore is swinging an extremely hot bat right now.  Since starting 0-for-16 this year, Lewis has five hits in his last eight AB's including three homers.  Now third base is not his natural position and that showed today, however his bat might be too hot to keep out of the lineup for this weekend's big series at Washington.  If Coach Marquess plays for defense though, look for Adam Sorgi to get the call at third base.

Getting back to the game, Drew Ehrlich came on to pitch to start the fifth.  Ehrlich has been a fringe guy this year in that he's sometimes been left off the 25-man Pac-10 roster.  Unfortunately for Drew, he didn't exactly help his cause tonight.  After setting down the first batter, he hit Angel in the head with a pitch and then issued a walk to the #9 hitter Santich-Hughes.  That would be all for Ehrlich as Jeff Stimpson was summoned from the bullpen.

Stimpson has been roughed up quite a bit his last two outings and things didn't look good initially tonight as the first batter he faced was Frandsen and the Spartan second baseman lined a single into left to score a run.  That made it a 4-2 game.  But Stimpson would come back to get two consecutive ground outs to keep San Jose State at bay.

Stimpson then worked a perfect 1-2-3 sixth inning, so he's heading into the Washington series on a positive note.

The Cardinal added to their lead with a single run in the bottom of the sixth to make the score 5-2.  Brian Hall led off with a triple to deep right center field.  Hall though would remain at third when Carter lined out to second and Hester grounded out to third (on a fabulous diving play by third baseman Josh Lansford).  But after a walk to Sorgi, Sam Fuld blooped a single into left for the clutch RBI hit.

Mark Jecmen relieved Stimpson to start the seventh and the 6'8" right hander put up a zero to keep the score at 5-2.  It wasn't really an easy inning, but Jecmen will certainly take it after his rough relief appearance last weekend versus Washington State.  Jecmen walked two batters in the inning, but also struck out two including a K of Frandsen with two runners on in what was one of the biggest at-bats of the game.

Stanford scored their final two runs tonight in the bottom of the seventh.  With one out, Danny Putnam singled and then John Mayberry, Jr. smoked a home run over the wall in left - his 12th long ball of the season.

Blake Holler fired a scoreless eighth inning as he worked around a pair of two-out singles.  Since moving to the bullpen, Holler has thrown eight scoreless innings (spanning four outings) yielding just three hits in the process.

Matt Manship then came on in the ninth and worked a 1-2-3 frame getting two pop outs and a ground out to seal the victory for Stanford.

Game Notes:
* The seven Stanford pitchers tonight held San Jose State to just four hits.  Leva gets credit for the victory as he tossed three innings yielding one unearned run on hit.  He walked one and struck out one.

* Putnam (2-for-4, SB) was the only Stanford player with a multi-hit game today.  However, every starter in the lineup had at least one basehit.

* Lowrie (1-for-3, HR, 2 RBI) extended his hitting streak to ten games.

* Hester (1-for-4, SB) got the start at catcher for Donny Lucy.  Coach Marquess continues to give Lucy some Tuesday games off here in late in the season.  Hester certainly deserves to play more, but can't really crack the regular starting lineup with the season Donny is having (.365, 10 HR, 37 RBI).

* Three more home runs tonight for the Cardinal gives them 74 for the season.  That equals the 74 hit by last year's squad.  It took that 2003 team 69 games to reach that figure while we've played only 42 contests this season.

* Stanford has now won 14 consecutive games at home and are 21-1 at Sunken Diamond this season.

San Jose State   0 0 1  0 1 0  0 0 0   -   2   4   1
Stanford         2 0 0  2 0 1  2 0 x   -   7  10   2

WP: Matt Leva (4-0)
LP: Jose Amaya (1-5)

HR: Stanford - Jed Lowrie (15), John Mayberry, Jr. (12), Chris Lewis (3)

Records: #1 Stanford (36-6), San Jose State (19-26-1)

* The Cardinal return to action this weekend for a huge three-game series up in Seattle against the 21st ranked Washington Huskies.  First pitch on Friday is scheduled for 6:30pm while Saturday's and Sunday's games will both get underway at 1:00pm.  Stanford (10-2) is 1 1/2 games ahead of second-place Washington (10-5) in the Pac-10 standings.

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