Never give up; don't ever give up. In a game similar to last year's College World Series matchup with Tulane in which the Cardinal battled back from an 8-0 deficit to win 13-11, the top ranked Stanford baseball squad battled back from 7-1 down to come back and win 15-11 over the Florida State Seminoles this afternoon in Tallahassee. In fact, the Cardinal actually had to come from behind on two occasions today as after they battled back to take a 10-7 lead, the Seminoles responded with four runs to go ahead 11-10. But the Cardinal (4-1) were not to be denied this afternoon as they scored five times in the eighth inning to reclaim the lead and would hold on for the victory.
FSU (6-3) opened the scoring with three unearned runs off Tim Cunningham in the first inning. A misplayed ground ball by Andy Topham kept the inning alive, and the Seminoles took advantage with two clutch two-out hits to bring home three runs. After Stanford scored a single run in the top of the second inning on a Scott Dragicevich RBI single, the Seminoles opened up the game with four more tallies in the bottom half of the inning. Three consecutive hits to open the inning knocked Cunningham out of the game, and although new pitcher Drew Ehrlich was able to get out of the inning, it was not before Florida State had increased their lead to 7-1.
Then came the comeback. The Cardinal put across a single run in the top of the fourth inning on an RBI double from Andy Topham and then exploded for five scores in the fifth inning to tie the game. Chris O'Riordan and Sam Fuld opened the Stanford half of the fifth with singles, setting the table for catcher Ryan Garko. Garko delivered with a three-run home run to deep left field, and all of a sudden it was a 7-5 game. Stanford wasn't done, though, as after Carlos Quentin was hit by a pitch, Donny Lucy doubled him home, cutting the lead to 7-6. The final run of the inning came on an RBI fielder's choice off the bat of pinch-hitter Jonny Ash. The Cardinal took the lead in the sixth inning with three runs, with the big hit being an RBI single off the bat of Lucy. Stanford also caught a break on the final run of the inning when with runners on second and third and two out, Topham hit a routine grounder to FSU third baseman Kevin Richmond. Richmond, though, thinking there was a force at third, went to tag the bag only to find out there was no force. By the time he figured it out, Stanford's third run of the inning had come across to score.
The Seminoles aren't ranked 6th in the country for no reason, as they came back in the bottom of the sixth to tie the game on a three-run homer by Tony Richie off John Hudgins. With the score tied 10-10, FSU reclaimed the lead in the bottom of the seventh on a two-out, RBI single by Chris Hart, and once again the Cardinal found themselves having to play catch-up. And catch-up they did. In the top of the eighth inning, Garko led off with a single, and after Quentin was hit by another pitch, it brought up Brian Hall in a bunting situation. Hall laid down the bunt but it was bobbled by FSU pitcher Trent Peterson, and the bases were loaded. Lucy then stepped up to the plate and grounded one to third, but third baseman Chris Hart was unable to handle it, and two runs had scored giving Stanford back the lead at 12-11. Later in the inning, Chris Carter came through with a two-out RBI single, and then O'Riordan doubled home two more runs and when the dust had settled the score was 15-11. That was all John Hudgins needed as he slammed the door shut on the Seminoles in the final two innings, and Stanford had taken game two of this series.
O'Riordan (3-for-6, 2 RBI), Fuld (3-for-6), Garko (3-for-4, HR, 3 RBI), and Lucy (3-for-6, 3 RBI) led the 16-hit offensive attack. Cunningham struggled in his second start of the season giving up six runs (three earned) in one-plus innings of work. Hudgins picked up the win tossing the final four innings, giving up three runs, but striking out six. But the top pitching performance of the day came from Drew Ehrlich. The sophomore righthander came on for Cunningham in the second inning and went on to throw four quality innings yielding only two runs and two hits in the process.
* Carlos Quentin was hit by the pitch five times today (no, that's not a typo). The five beanings set an NCAA Division 1 record.
* Pitcher John Hudgins was forced to hit in the ninth inning when Stanford had to give up their DH when Lucy moved from designated hitter to catcher. The sophomore righthander flew out to the warning track in right field.
* Unearned runs were a common theme this afternoon. Five of Stanford 15 runs were unearned, while 3 of FSU's 11 runs were unearned.
* Stanford has now scored 51 runs in their first five games of the season (10.2 per game).
1 0 1 5 3 0
5 0 -
15 16 1
Florida State 3 4 0 0 0 3 1 0 0 - 11 11 4
The Cardinal will go for the sweep tomorrow as first pitch is scheduled for 10:00am (PST). Stanford will likely send out freshman Mark Jecmen (0-1, 21.60) to the mound while Florida State is expected to start Robby Read (2-0, 1.64).