Romanczuk's Gem Leads To Victory

In need of a bounce back outing, Mark Romanczuk came through with the most dominant performance of his career. The lefty ace fired a complete-game shutout with just four hits allowed and 12 strike outs in Stanford's 6-0 victory over USC Friday night. With the victory, the Cardinal have taken the first game of this non-conference series.

Quite simply, it was the most dominant outing of Mark Romanczuk's career.  The junior left-hander was coming off a difficult start last weekend at Texas when he surrendered five runs in 3 1/3 innings with just one strike out recorded.  A bounce back effort was needed and the fired-up veteran came through with a memorable performance.

Romanczuk tossed a complete-game shutout tonight at Sunken Diamond in leading the Cardinal to a 6-0 victory over the USC Trojans.  The Delaware native was at his best at the end retiring the final seven batters he faced - five via the strike out.  The last hit surrendered by Romanczuk was a harmless single with one out in the top of sixth.

The Trojans had very little opportunities to push across any runs versus the lefty as he retired the leadoff man of the inning eight times out of nine.  In the top of the second, Roberto Lopez rifled a double down the left field line with two outs and then Daniel Perales hit a high, lazy fly ball to left center field.  Jim Rapoport, who has had a couple of problems catching fly balls this early season, came up with the defensive play of the game when on a full-out extension dive he robbed Lopez of what would have been an RBI hit.  And that was the closest the Trojans came to scoring a run on the evening.

The Cardinal bats plated two scores in the bottom of the first inning against SC #2 starter Zack Kalter.  Michael Taylor led off by reaching on catchers interference and then Chris Minaker, who was inserted back into the #2 spot in the lineup, lined a double down the right field line to put a couple of runners in scoring position.  Jed Lowrie was up next and the All-American second baseman launched a fly ball to center field only to see Perales make the catch up against the wall.  The fly ball, however, was plenty deep enough to score Taylor from third.  And then when Perales' throw bounced away from the cut-off man, Minaker alertly raced around third base for the second run of the inning.

The score remained 2-0 in favor of Stanford until the bottom of the fourth when the Cardinal struck for two more runs.  The hot-hitting Adam Sorgi, who was moved up to the fifth position in the lineup, doubled to left to lead off.  Then with one out, John Hester lofted a fly ball to center only to see Perales drop what should have been a routine out.  With runners at second and third and one down, Chris Lewis promptly ripped a single through the hole on the left side and all of a sudden it was a 4-0 Cardinal advantage.

Stanford scored their final two runs of the night in the bottom of the seventh inning when with one out, Taylor singled to left.  Minaker followed with a double over the head of the left fielder Cyle Hankerd to score Taylor.  Then with Minaker at third, Lowrie hammered another deep fly ball - this time caught at the wall in left center field - for a sacrifice fly RBI.

It was a tough-luck start for Kalter tonight.  The junior right-hander threw well allowing just one earned run in his five innings, but three Trojan errors behind him led to three unearned runs.  Give the Cardinal credit for capitalizing on the miscues as they threatened all evening with runners on base in each of their eight trips to the plate.

Meanwhile, Romanczuk was in cruise control during his entire outing.  He was attacking with his fastball all evening throwing it to both corners of the plate and above the zone with success.  In addition, Romanczuk had a particularly effective change-up recording a handful of strike outs with that offspeed pitch.

SC threatened mildly in the top of the fifth when Lopez led off with a single and then Hector Estrella singled to put two runners on with one out.  But Romanczuk settled down to strike out leadoff hitter Matt Cusick swinging and #2 man Blake Sharpe swinging to retire the side.  Romanczuk allowed just two base runners the remainder of the game - the single in the sixth and a hit by pitch with two outs in the seventh.

Game Notes:
* The complete-game shutout was Stanford's first since Jeremy Guthrie accomplished the feat at UCLA on May 17, 2002.  Guthrie struck out 13 that night in Westwood.

* For Romanczuk, it was his third career complete-game and his first since his freshman campaign.  Romanczuk allowed just four hits with two walks and 12 strike outs.  He lowered his season ERA to 3.26 and improved his career record to 26-7 (tied with Jeremy Guthrie and Stan Spencer for eighth on Stanford's all-time win leaderboard).

* Minaker was the star at the plate going 4-for-4 with two doubles and an RBI.  The big night raises Minaker's season average to .353 - tops on the team.

* Lowrie missed a home run by a couple of feet on two different occasions tonight (settled for sac flys both times).  He now has 22 RBI through 13 games.

* Mayberry, Jr. saw his eight-game hitting streak come to an end with an 0-for-4 evening.  Taylor did extend his hitting streak to six games with a seventh inning single.

* Stanford remains perfect at home this season with a 7-0 record.

USC       0 0 0  0 0 0  0 0 0   -   0   4   4
Stanford  2 0 0  2 0 0  2 0 x   -   6   7   0

WP: Mark Romanczuk (3-2)
LP: Zack Kalter (1-1)

Records: #13 Stanford (8-5), #22 USC (4-1)

* These two teams will play game two of the series tomorrow afternoon at 1:00pm.  Jeff Gilmore (2-1, 3.09) is scheduled to start on the hill for the Cardinal while the Trojans are expected to counter with right-hander Ian Kennedy (1-0, 0.00).

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