Card Pitching Dominant In Victory

Stanford clinched at least a share of the Pac-10 title on Friday night with their 5-0 win over Arizona State in the series opener. Mark Romanczuk and David O'Hagan combined on a three-hitter as the dazzling duo made the Sun Devils' potent offense look awfully ordinary. While at the plate, Danny Putnam's first-inning grandslam supplied all the offense the Cardinal would need to secure the victory.

Stanford jumped all over Arizona State pitcher Jeff Mousser for four runs in the bottom of the first inning tonight to take an early lead.  A walk to Sam Fuld got things started.  Jonny Ash and Jed Lowrie then delivered consecutive hard-hit singles to the outfield to load the bases.  That set the stage for Danny Putnam and the junior left fielder came through in a big way as he launched a grand slam home run over the wall in left field for a 4-0 Stanford lead.

Meanwhile, Cardinal ace starter Mark Romanczuk breezed through the first four inning tonight making ASU's potent offense look awfully ordinary.  He worked 1-2-3 frames in the first and third.  In the second, the Sun Devils recorded a two-out double and a walk, but Romanczuk came back to get Chris Cook to pop out harmlessly to first ending the rally.  Then in the fourth, Zechry Zinicola drew a one-out walk, but would be stranded at first when Romanczuk set down the next two hitters.

The Cardinal added to their lead with a single run in the bottom of the fourth to make it a 5-0 game.  With one out, Ash worked a walk.  After Lowrie flied out, Putnam singled to left moving Ash to second.  Then John Mayberry, Jr. ripped a single into left field scoring the senior third baseman was Stanford's fifth run of the game.

Over the first six innings today, the Cardinal were making a lot of really solid contact.  The scoreboard may show very little outside of the Putnam grand slam, but there were a bevy of hard-hit balls off of Mousser, just little clutch two-out hitting.  Stanford left ten runners on the base paths over the first six frames.  There was also a very strong wind blowing out to left tonight that knocked down a few deep fly balls off the bats of some Stanford hitters.  Jed Lowrie crushed two balls tonight, one to right in the second inning and one to center in the fourth, but both times came up empty as those were not the parts of the ballpark to challenge on this night.  In addition, Brian Hall smoked a ball to right in the first inning that was eventually caught at the warning track.  On a normal day at Sunken, all of these balls probably fly out of the yard.

However, things usually even out in baseball as Putnam's grand slam certainly was helped by the strong wind blowing out to left field.  Fortunately for Stanford though, the five runs scored would be more than enough.

Romanczuk continued to cruise through the fifth, sixth, and seventh innings.  ASU put two guys on in the fifth, but Romanczuk got Travis Buck to fly out to center to end the threat.  Jeff Larish drew a leadoff walk in the sixth, but was promptly erased on a 1-6-3 double play.  Then in the seventh, Romanczuk worked a perfect 1-2-3 inning which ended his evening.

David O'Hagan closed the ballgame out tonight with two dominating innings of relief.  The senior right hander allowed just one single, walked one, and struck out three.  The Sun Devils never mounted a serious threat against the Pac-10 ERA leader.

Game Notes:
* Romanczuk came through in his biggest start of the season.  The southpaw fired seven shutout innings yielding no runs on just two hits.  He walked four and struck out five as his season record improves to an impressive 11-2.

* Putnam extended his career-high hitting streak to 14 games with the first-inning grand slam.  It was his 15th homer of the year - one behind Jed Lowrie for the team-lead.

* Multi-hit games came from Ash (2-for-3), Putnam (2-for-3, HR, 4 RBI), Mayberry, Jr. (2-for-4, RBI), and Minaker (2-for-4).

* This was Stanford's second shut out of the season.  They also kept San Jose State off the scoreboard in a 5-0 win on March 30th.

* Arizona State was shut out for only the second time in their last 555 games.  Their NCAA-record 506 consecutive scoring game streak was snapped in February by Oklahoma.

* A season-high crowd of 4,089 witnessed tonight's contest.

* Stanford clinches at least a tie of the Pac-10 with this evening's win.  Stanford (15-7) now stands one full game ahead of Washington (15-9) in the Pac-10 race.  Arizona State (12-10) and UCLA (12-10 after their loss to Oregon State tonight) have been eliminated from contention.  Just one win for the Cardinal in the next two games will clinch an outright conference championship.

Arizona State    0 0 0  0 0 0  0 0 0   -   0   3   1
Stanford         4 0 0  1 0 0  0 0 x   -   5   9   0

WP: Mark Romanczuk (11-2)
LP: Jeff Mousser (6-4)

HR: Stanford - Danny Putnam (15)

Records: #2 Stanford (43-11, 15-7), #16 Arizona State (39-15, 12-10)

* The Cardinal and Sun Devils will play game two of this three-game series tomorrow afternoon at 1:00pm.  Jeff Gilmore (8-2, 4.61) is scheduled to start on the mound for Stanford while ASU is expected to counter with Jason Urquidez (11-2, 2.90).

The Bootleg Top Stories