Cardinal Baseball Beats BYU 8-1

Cardinalmaniacs have been waiting for this moment for some time, and Tuesday night Darin "Nacho" Naatjes delivered in his Stanford pitching debut. Nacho delivered, as did his trio of hurling teammates for a combined three-hitter. The bats delivered as well, including a pair of first career home runs for the Card. Read on for the full recap!

Four Cardinal pitchers combined on a three-hitter while Sam Fuld and Donny Lucy each hit home runs as the top ranked Stanford Cardinal easily defeated the BYU Cougars 8-1 on a cool Tuesday evening at Sunken Diamond.  Tim Cunningham got the start and pitched brilliantly for four innings and then handed the ball over to the bullpen as Darin Naatjes, David O'Hagan, and Jonny Dyer shut down the Cougar bats over the final five frames.

As has been the case many times this young season, the Cardinal jumped on the scoreboard early.  Chris O'Riordan led off the bottom of the first inning with a single and was followed by Fuld who promptly blasted a home run to right field.  The homer was the first of Fuld's Stanford career.  Meanwhile, Tim Cunningham got the start on the mound after getting knocked out in the second inning of his last start on Saturday versus Florida State.   The junior lefthander was outstanding this evening pitching four shutout innings (54 pitches) while giving up only one hit.  The Cardinal though were unable to put across any more runs in the second, third, or fourth innings off BYU starter Jeff Stone and so the score remained 2-0 heading to the fifth.

In the fifth, Head Coach Mark Marquess turned the ball over to junior righthander Darin Naatjes who was making his Stanford debut on the mound.  After the first hitter reached base on an error, Naatjes retired the next six batters he faced striking out four in the process.  This encouraging outing from "The Chief" was a welcome sight to the Cardinal coaching staff who are certainly looking for more arms out of the bullpen.

In the bottom of the fifth inning, the Cardinal bats finally broke through on Stone.  With one out, Fuld walked and advanced to second when Ryan Garko was hit by the pitch.  After Jason Cooper grounded out to move the runners up to second and third, Carlos Quentin singled them both home increasing the lead to 4-0.  After a Brian Hall walk, Donny Lucy crushed a home run to deep left field extending the lead to 7-0 and giving some breathing room for the Cardinal pitchers.  After Naatjes got out of the sixth, it was David O'Hagan's turn to make his Cardinal debut on the mound.  The sophomore righthander, who did not pitch any games last season, gave up a run in his first inning of work, but got through the eighth inning without being scored upon.  O'Hagan's final line saw him give up two hits and one run while striking out two.

Stanford added another tally in the bottom of the eighth when Scott Dragicevich led off with a triple to the right-center gap and then scored on an Andy Topham single up the middle.  Then in the ninth, freshman Jonny Dyer became the third Stanford pitcher of the evening to make his his Cardinal debut on the hill and he certainly impressed as he struck out the side.

Top games offensively for the Cardinal came from Scott Dragicevich (3-for-3), Sam Fuld (2-for-3, HR, 2 RBI), and Carlos Quentin (2-for-3, 2 RBI).  Cunningham picked up his second win of the season as the Cardinal improved to 5-2 in 2002.  BYU fell to 2-8.

Game Notes:
* Surprise, surprise, Carlos Quentin was hit by another pitch.  The sophomore outfielder, who was hit by the pitch an NCAA record five times in a single game last Saturday, was plunked in the first inning giving him 7 HBP's on the season.

* By giving up only one run in five innings tonight, the Stanford bullpen lowered their combined ERA to 1.91 (7 ER in 33 IP).

* This was Stanford's first mid-week regular season game of the season.  Last year, the Cardinal went 8-2 in such games.  Their next mid-week contest is scheduled for Tuesday, April 2nd versus USF.

BYU         0 0 0  0 0 0  1 0 0  -  1   3   0
Stanford    2 0 0  0 5 0  0 1 x  -  8  10   1

The Cardinal will next be in action this coming weekend when they travel to Fresno to take on the Fresno State Bulldogs in a three-game series.  Game times are 7:05pm on Friday and 1:05pm on Saturday and Sunday.

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