Offense Explodes In Pac-10 Opener

In their most complete offensive performance of the season, the Cardinal blasted the Washington State Cougars by a 14-5 score on Friday night in Pullman. In their Pac-10 opener, Stanford rapped out a season-high 20 hits and scored in eight different innings to record the victory. Michael Taylor led the way with four hits and three RBI while Adam Sorgi also contributed three hits and a home run.

It was not a pretty sight on Tuesday night at Sunken Diamond.  The Cardinal were handed a 2-0 loss by the Pacific Tigers in a ten-inning game that saw Stanford record just four hits all evening.  Tonight's game, however, was a complete turnaround as the Cardinal hammered Washington State pitching to the tune of 14 runs and 20 hits in a convincing 14-5 victory.  While on the mound, Mark Romanczuk tossed six quality innings to pick up his fifth win of the year.

James Freeman entered tonight's game with a Pac-10-leading six wins.  The senior also boasted an impressive 3.06 ERA although his success was largely against inferior non-conference opposition.  He was roughed up last weekend at Cal and it was more of the same tonight as the Cardinal blasted him for seven runs on 11 hits over four innings.

The first four batters of the game reached safely for Stanford this evening.  Chris Minaker got things started with a single and then moved to third on an Adam Sorgi double.  Jed Lowrie brought home Minaker with a line drive single and then a walk to John Mayberry, Jr. loaded the bases.  After John Hester flied out, Michael Taylor supplied the big hit of the inning with a single plating two for a 3-0 Cardinal lead.  It was the first of many big hits on the night for the freshman right fielder.

The consistent offensive evening continued in the following innings against Freeman as Stanford scored single runs in the second and third and a pair of tallies in the fourth for a 7-0 advantage.  The second inning rally saw Minaker again get things started - this time with a leadoff double.  With one out, Minaker stole third and then scored on a Lowrie sacrifice fly.

In the third inning, it was Taylor right in the thick of things.  The outfielder began the frame with a double and he would score three batters later on a clutch two-out single from Jim Rapoport.

Stanford took a commanding lead with their two-run fourth inning.  This time it was a two-out rally as a Mayberry, Jr. single and a hit by pitch of Hester put a couple of runners on.  And the clutch hitting continued as Taylor doubled to center scoring Mayberry and then Hester would come home when the following batter, Chris Lewis, reached on an infield single.

Meanwhile, Romanczuk was throwing well keeping the Cougars off the scoreboard as the junior lefty fired five shutout innings to begin the contest.  Only #3 hitter Jay Miller was able to get to Romanczuk with a two-out single in the first inning and a two-out double in the bottom of the third.  No other Cougar was able to muster a hit off Romanczuk over the first five frames. 

After the Cardinal added a run in the top of the sixth on a Ryan Seawell RBI ground out (set up by another Taylor double), Washington State finally got to Romanczuk.  In the bottom half of the inning, four consecutive hitters reached base with one out - three of which came home to score.  A walk and two singles loaded the bases and then DH Zach Franklin smoked a double over Rapoport's head in center field to score a pair.  The third run came home on a groundout cutting the lead down to 8-3.  Romanczuk escaped without further damage and was removed from the game after six full innings of work.

The bullpen may be the #1 weakness of this Washington State team and the Cardinal took full advantage in the late innings of this ballgame.  Stanford answered the Washington State scoring in the bottom of the sixth with two runs of their own in the top of the seventh.  Three walks from a pair of Cougar relief pitchers led to the two runs.  Hester provided an RBI single while the second run came home on a Lewis sacrifice fly.

Stanford then blew the game open, if it wasn't already, with three runs in the eighth.  With Rapoport at second and one out, Sorgi stepped to the plate and launched a home run over the wall in center field extending the lead out to 12-4.  Sorgi is arguably Stanford's most improved hitter this season and he's off to a hot start in the Pac-10 season with three hits and the home run (his third of the year) tonight.

Later in the eighth inning, a Lowrie double followed by a Mayberry, Jr. single scored another run to make it a 13-4 contest.  Then for good measure, Stanford plated yet another run in the ninth when Lewis led off with a double off the wall in left and then scored two batters later on a Rapoport ringing triple to center.

Nolan Gallagher finished the game on the mound for Stanford.  In his three innings, Gallagher surrendered two runs, but just one of those was earned.  The freshman right hander allowed five hits with no walks and three strike outs.  Because he threw at least three innings to end the game, Gallagher is credited with the save.

Game Notes:
* It was Stanford's best offensive game of the season tonight.  The Cardinal rapped out a season-high 20 hits and the 14 runs scored was only one shy of the 15 they scored at Cal State Fullerton back on February 6th (most of the year).

* Stanford scored in eight of the nine innings in this evening's game.   The lone exception was the top of the fifth.

* Taylor had a huge night at the plate finishing 4-for-5 with three doubles and three RBI.  Taylor's batting average now sits at a season-high .292 (.375 since a 2-for-25 start).

* Sorgi also had a big game with a 3-for-7, 2B, HR, 2 RBI effort.  Meanwhile, Mayberry. Jr. went 3-for-4 with a double and an RBI.  Junior reached base a total of five times (three hits and two walks).

* Other multi-hit games came from Minaker (2-for-7, 2B, SB), Lowrie (2-for-4, 2B, 2 RBI), Hester (2-for-5, RBI), Lewis (2-for-3, 2B, 2 RBI), and Rapoport (2-for-4, 3B, 2 RBI, 2 SB).

* Romanczuk picked up the win with six quality innings of work.  The southpaw allowed three runs on five hits with three walks and four strike outs.  Romanczuk's season ERA now stands at 3.98 to go with a 5-3 record.

* With the victory, Romanczuk now has 28 wins in his Stanford career.  That ties him with Bruce Mignano (1979-82) for sixth all-time at Stanford.  Jeff Ballard (1982-85) has the record with 37.

* Washington State lost their five consecutive game and 21st in a row to Stanford.

Stanford         3 1 1  2 0 1  2 3 1   -   14  20   1
Washington State 0 0 0  0 0 3  1 1 0   -    5  10   0

WP: Mark Romanczuk (5-3)
LP: James Freeman (6-2)
S: Nolan Gallagher (2)

HR: Stanford - Adam Sorgi (3)

Records: #12 Stanford (15-9, 1-0), Washington State (15-15, 0-4)

* This series resumes tomorrow afternoon with first pitch scheduled for 1:00pm.  Jeff Gilmore (4-1, 2.84) is expected to start on the mound for Stanford while the Cougars will counter with Wayne Daman (4-1, 3.02).

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