Lowrie, Reynolds Ready To Roll

Saturday's intrasquad game was filled with tremendous individual efforts. Leading the way was All-American second baseman <b>Jed Lowrie</b> who had a day at the plate that would make even Barry Bonds jealous. Meanwhile, sophomore pitcher <b>Greg Reynolds</b> had yet another standout performance on the mound. Read on for notes on these efforts plus all of the other action out at Sunken Diamond.

I think Jed Lowrie is ready for the start of the season.  This afternoon, the All-American second baseman put together a standout effort at the plate.  The numbers really say it all:

6-for-7, three singles, one triple, two home runs, and seven RBI.

But he was hardly the only player to put forth mind-boggling numbers at the plate today.  Shortstop Chris Minaker continued his hot hitting this preseason with a 5-for-7 effort.  Minaker, who will certainly improve on his .270 batting average from a year ago, rapped out a pair of doubles, a home run, and two RBI.  First baseman John Mayberry, Jr. also had a solid day at the plate finishing 2-for-6 with a couple of ringing doubles off the wall and two RBI.

Based on these numbers, you would think it was a banner today for the hitters, but that was hardly the case.  The rest of the team today combined for just four hits (4-for-44) as Greg Reynolds, Blake Holler, and Jeff Gilmore had standout performances on the mound.

Today's intrasquad game again featured three hitting groups of four players apiece (the top 12 hitters on the team).  Minaker, Lowrie, and Mayberry Jr. (perhaps a bit unfairly) were put on the same team and that resulted in their squad scoring 11 of the 12 runs this afternoon.  The only other notable hit today was a Ben Summerhays solo home run to right.

Getting to the pitchers, it was quite a day for the sophomore Reynolds.  Based on his fall and now January performances, it's basically a foregone conclusion that Reynolds will be the third starter for Stanford to begin the year.  But with how he's throwing right now, it's not hard to see Reynolds moving up even further on the pitching depth chart.

This afternoon, the towering right-hander began his outing with four no-hit innings of work.  Reynolds was in complete control the entire way through getting ahead of almost every hitter and then making his pitch to get them out.  He was attacking with a hard fastball that regularly reached 90 and 91 MPH.  And when you factor in his cut fastball, curve ball, and change-up, Reynolds was really able to throw four different pitches for strikes today.  The results speak for themselves.  Over those first four innings, he walked just one and struck out three - including a swinging strike out of Lowrie on a high fastball (the only time Jed was retired this afternoon).

Marquess sent Reynolds back out for a fifth inning and he struggled somewhat surrendering two runs on three hits.  The big blow was a Lowrie two-run homer to right.  However, there was really no shame in giving up a big hit to the second baseman today.

Holler also had a terrific outing on the hill.  The sophomore lefty went four innings surrendering just one run on four hits.  He did not allow a single hit over his first two innings before surrendering a run on three hits in his third inning of work.  Again it was Lowrie providing the RBI knock with a single to left.  Holler though finished his outing with a bang striking out Michael Taylor, Ryan Seawell, and Adam Sorgi to end the game.  He ended the day with five strike outs.

Gilmore also dazzled this afternoon.  He was far less dominant than Reynolds or Holler when it came to blowing away hitters, but that's of course how Jeff Gilmore goes about getting people out.  Using a fastball in the mid 80's, but with excellent control, Gilmore allowed just two hits and two runs in his four innings.  In three of his four innings, the opposition went down without recording a hit.  That fourth inning saw Minaker double to deep left and Lowrie smoke an inside-the-park home run - the only two hits (and runs) off Gilmore today.  The Lowrie homer was an incredibly hard hit line drive just to the right of center fielder Jim Rapoport.  Rapoport was in a tough place in that he had to make a decision on whether to dive or play it on a hop.  With basically no time to make that decision because the ball was hit so hard, he tried to make the catch on his shoe top and it rolled past him and to the wall.  Lowrie was just able to beat the relay throw home for the round-tripper.

The only real negative pitching-wise today was Mark Romanczuk.  The junior lefty was tagged for six runs on eight hits in his 3 2/3 innings.  He walked two and struck out just one.  Romanczuk was done in primarily by one bad inning as the Minaker-Lowrie-Mayberry trio scorched him for five runs.  With one out, Minaker hammered a home run to left.  After Lowrie singled, Mayberry, Jr. doubled him home with a shot off the wall.  After a Jeff Boes ground out, Minaker doubled home a run and then Lowrie capped the scoring with a deep two-run triple to right-center field.  No shame in giving up some big hits to those hitters, however this was not exactly the outing you want from your ace just six days before opening night.  With how the other three pitchers threw today, Romanczuk has to be feeling some heat when it comes to holding onto the Friday spot in the rotation.

It was certainly an interesting intrasquad game on Saturday afternoon.  Three hitters and three pitchers really shined and there's no doubt that those six players will play major roles on the team this season.  Quite frankly, after watching the All-American duo in the fall and now this month, this year's offense will be all about getting guys on base in front of them and then having a player or two provide protection behind them.  If these things happen, then get out the record books - Lowrie and Mayberry, Jr. will put up some incredible numbers this season.

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