Cardinal Roll Past USF

Facing arguably their toughest Tuesday night opponent of the season, the Stanford Cardinal handled the San Francisco Dons by a 7-1 score this evening at Sunken Diamond. Erik Davis recorded his first collegiate win with five solid innings on the mound to begin the game. Meanwhile, a balanced 14-hit attack led by Adam Sorgi and Brendan Domaracki provided the offensive lift. Here is a complete recap.

All facets of the game were working for Stanford on Tuesday night.  The offense rolled to 14 hits including a couple of clutch RBI knocks early in the ballgame.  The defense was solid, as usual.  While four pitchers combined to allow just one run in a good tune-up before another key Pac-10 series.

This San Francisco ballclub was not your typical Tuesday night opponent.  The Dons entered the game with a 23-11 overall record and while Pepperdine will likely take home the WCC championship, there is a very real possibility that USF could garner an at-large bid.  Add to that Stanford's recent struggles against the Dons at Sunken Diamond as San Francisco posted victories over the Cardinal in 2001 and 2003 (with far less talented teams) in Palo Alto.  Tonight, however, it would be all Stanford.

The Cardinal jumped all over San Francisco starting pitcher T.J. Franco to the tune of five runs in the first two innings.  Adam Sorgi started the ballgame with a line drive single into left field.  Chris Minaker was up next and the junior shortstop belted a double that one-hopped the wall in left center field.   Sorgi raced around the bases and scored ahead of the throw for a 1-0 Cardinal advantage.

Stanford wouldn't stop there though as after a Jed Lowrie strike out, John Mayberry, Jr. flied to right moving Minaker over to third.  Then John Hester grounded a ball to shortstop that was booted by Tavo Hall for an error and another Stanford run.

The Cardinal extended their lead in the bottom of the second inning with three more runs off of Franco.  After Jim Rapoport led off by reaching on an error and then was balked to second, Chris Lewis lined a single into center field to score a run.  DH Brendan Domaracki followed with a looping double down the left field line as Lewis moved to third.  Lewis would then score on a Sorgi single while Domaracki crossed home plate when Minaker flied out to center.

That would be all the run support the Stanford pitchers needed on this night.  Freshman Erik Davis earned his second consecutive Tuesday night start and the right-hander came through with an outstanding outing.  Davis, who was asked to start most likely because he didn't see any action last weekend against Oregon State, had a fresh arm and had little trouble setting down the USF hitters.

Davis was extremely efficient with his pitches as not once did he throw over 13 in an inning tonight.  In fact, over his five innings this evening, Davis made just 59 throws.  The lone blemish was a Royce Fukuroku solo home run to left field to lead off the top of the second inning.  Davis did not walk a batter tonight, scattered five hits, and struck out three.

Jeff Stimpson relieved Davis to start the sixth inning with Stanford ahead by a 5-1 score.  Stimpson wasn't nearly as effective as Davis, but still managed 1 2/3 scoreless innings.  Control was an issue for the sophomore right-hander as Stimpson issued four free passes during his brief stint on the mound.  Fortunately, the Dons only mustered one hit and thus no runs were scored against him.  Stimpson left the ball game in the seventh inning with runners at first and second and two outs.  Greg Reynolds came on and allowed an infield, ground ball single to shortstop.  But then in arguably the at-bat of the game, Reynolds induced USF's top hitter, Stefan Gartrell, to fly out to center field ending the inning and leaving the bases loaded.

Reynolds came back out in the eighth and worked around a one-out single to put up another zero.  The towering right-hander continued to display excellent stuff as he recorded two strike outs - both swinging - in that eighth frame.

Meanwhile, Stanford was unable to push across any more runs until the bottom of the eighth.  They certainly had their chances, but a pair of inning-ending double plays (three total) plus a couple of runners being thrown out on the base paths resulted in no runs.  In the eighth, consecutive singles from Hester and Michael Taylor put runners on first and second with no out.  After Rapoport bunted the runners over, Lewis struck out.  But Domaracki would come through in the clutch with a single through the left side scoring both runners to extend the lead out to 7-1.

Matt Manship became the fourth Cardinal pitcher of the night when he started the ninth inning.  And it was more of the same for the red-hot reliever.  A ground out on one pitch to start the inning and then a pair of swinging strike outs ended the game sending the Cardinal to victory.

Game Notes:
* Davis recorded his first collegiate win with his five-inning performance tonight.  Davis lowered his season ERA down to 3.86.  Not counting his first three outings of the season (relief stints against Fresno State, Fullerton, and Kansas), Davis has a spectacular 1.93 ERA - 4 ER/18.2 IP.

* Manship remained perfect on the season with a 1-2-3 ninth inning.  Manship has now not allowed a run in 12 1/3 innings with just six hits surrendered.

* Every Cardinal starter had a hit tonight with the exception of Mayberry, Jr.  Sorgi led the way with a perfect 3-for-3 night that included a walk and an RBI.

* Other multi-hit games came from Minaker (2-for-3, 2B, 2 RBI), Taylor (2-for-4), Rapoport (2-for-3), and Domaracki (2-for-4, 2B, 2 RBI).

* Rapoport (ten games) and Hester (eight games) both extended hitting streaks.  Rapoport's season average has climbed to .370.

San Francisco   0 1 0  0 0 0  0 0 0   -   1   8   2
Stanford        2 3 0  0 0 0  0 2 x   -   7  14   1

WP: Erik Davis (1-0)
LP: T.J. Franco (2-3)

HR: San Francisco - Royce Fukuroku (5)

Records: #14 Stanford (20-11), San Francisco (23-12)

* The Cardinal return to action this weekend with a key Pac-10 series at Arizona State.  First pitch on Friday and Saturday from Packard Stadium is scheduled for 6:30pm.  Sunday's series finale is slated for a 1:00pm start time.

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