Big First Inning Leads To Victory

After struggling at the plate last night, the Cardinal wasted little time getting back on the right track this afternoon. Stanford sent 11 men to the plate in the top of the first inning scoring six runs and then coasted to an 8-2 victory at Sacramento State. On the mound, Jeff Gilmore came through with another solid outing with 8 1/3 quality innings of work.

The Cardinal no doubt were letting out some frustration during the top of the first inning today.  After only picking up three hits in all of last night's game in a 4-3 loss to the Hornets, Stanford erupted for six runs on five hits in the top of the first inning and then let Jeff Gilmore carry them to victory.  Gilmore came through with 8 1/3 quality innings on the mound as Stanford earns a split in the two-game series.

Facing left-hander Matt Campbell, Chris Minaker started the ballgame off with a five-pitch walk.  A single from Adam Sorgi put two runners on and then previously struggling Jed Lowrie stepped to the plate and belted a double to score both runners and just like that, it was a 2-0 Cardinal advantage.

Stanford wasn't done though as John Mayberry, Jr. followed the Lowrie double with a double of his own to score another run.  Then after John Hester struck out, Michael Taylor smoked a double over the head of the center fielder to score Mayberry for a 4-0 lead.  After consecutive walks to Chris Lewis and Ryan Seawell, Jim Rapoport reached on an infield single to make it a 5-0 game.  Then Minaker completed the scoring with a sacrifice fly to center.  11 men came to the plate for Stanford in the first inning as they gave Gilmore an early 6-0 lead.

By and large, it was another successful outing for the junior right-hander.  Hitting opposing batters with pitches though was a problem for the second consecutive outing.  Last Sunday against Pacific, Gilmore plunked a remarkable six batters in his seven innings of work.  That was still an overall solid outing though as Gilmore walked just one batter and gave up three runs in Stanford's 9-6 win. 

Back to today, it was more of the same for Gilmore.  Not a lot of runs allowed (two) and barely any walks (one), but an incredibly high HBP total as he plunked five batters in his 8 1/3 innings of work.  It's tough to explain why Gilmore is hitting so many guys since his control with limiting walks is still excellent.  But the bottom line is runs allowed and you can't complain with what Gilmore is doing.

The lone hiccup from Gilmore today came in the bottom of the fourth inning.  After a quick two outs, Gilmore issued a walk to Brett Flowers and then plunked two straight hitters to load the bases.  Brian Conradi then had an excellent at-bat as he singled up the middle on a 1-2 pitch to score a pair and make the score 6-2.  Gilmore though would escape without further damage as he struck out the next batter, David Flores, to end the frame.

The Hornets had a handful of baserunners against Gilmore in the middle and late innings this afternoon.  In the bottom of the sixth, a single, a hit by pitch, and a sacrifice bunt put runners at second and third with one out.  But Gilmore battled back with a strike out and a pop-out to keep the score at 6-2.  Then in the eighth, Gilmore allowed a one-out single and another hit by pitch, but a ground ball double play ended the threat.

Stanford had opportunities throughout much of the game against the Sac State bullpen to add to their lead, but were unable to do so until the top of the ninth inning.  After Minaker led off by reaching on an error, Sorgi stepped up and smoked a ball over the fence in right field for a two-run homer and an 8-2 Cardinal lead.

Gilmore came back out to start the ninth inning and retired the first batter on a ground out before being removed from the contest in favor of Blake Holler.  Holler set down the next two hitters on a couple of fly outs to end the game and preserve the victory for Stanford.

Game Notes:
* Gilmore fired 8 1/3 quality innings this afternoon.  He allowed two runs on six hits with one walk, five strike outs, and five hit by pitches.  Gilmore lowered his season ERA to 2.84.

* The Cardinal rapped out 12 hits on the afternoon.  Freshman right fielder Michael Taylor continues to play very well as he finished the day 3-for-4 with a double and an RBI.  Taylor's batting average is up to .272. - .357 since a dreadful 2-for-25 start to the season.

* Other multi-hit games came from Sorgi (2-for-5, HR, 2 RBI), Lowrie (2-for-5, 2B, 2 RBI), and Rapoport (2-for-4, RBI).

* Lowrie's two RBI give him 30 on the season which leads the team (Mayberry, Jr. next closest with 22).

* Stanford had their fourth consecutive errorless game in the field.

Stanford          6 0 0  0 0 0  0 0 2   -   8  12   0
Sacramento State  0 0 0  2 0 0  0 0 0   -   2   6   1

WP: Jeff Gilmore (4-1)
LP: Matt Campbell (1-4)

HR: Stanford - Adam Sorgi (2)

Records: #12 Stanford (14-8), Sacramento State (8-16-1)

* The Cardinal return to action on Tuesday evening with a single non-conference game versus Pacific at Sunken Diamond.  First pitch is scheduled for 6:00pm.  Stanford begins Pac-10 play on Friday with a series at Washington State.

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