Card Rebound With Sweep Of UW

At this time a week ago, the Cardinal had just been swept by Arizona State in heartbreaking fashion to drop to under .500 in Pac-10 play. But Stanford found a way to rebound. With the Washington Huskies in town this weekend, the Cardinal managed a three-game sweep by the scores of 2-1, 10-6, and 6-3. Read on for a complete recap of the series.

Friday's game under the lights at Sunken Diamond saw two of the top pitchers in the Pac-10 get together in what ended as a 2-1 Stanford victory.  The Cardinal have been plagued this season in close ballgames - losing 11 of their 14 games by one or two runs - so it was a welcome sight to see the team pull out a close win against a top flight pitcher.  That pitcher was UW righty Tim Lincecum who won Pac-10 Pitcher of the Year honors last season as a freshman.  He was on his game Friday night, but fortunately for Stanford, Jeff Gilmore was just a little better.

Coach Marquess elected to make a change in the starting pitching rotation for this weekend moving Gilmore up a day to start on Friday.  Meanwhile, the struggling Mark Romanczuk was shifted down to the Saturday starting position.  The move certainly paid off this weekend as Gilmore fired a complete game four-hitter with just one run allowed.  The junior right-hander went the entire game without walking a batter, struck out a career-high nine, and did it on just 112 pitches.

Gilmore was unhittable in both the early and late innings on Friday.  The Huntington Beach native set down the first ten batters of the game as he and Lincecum dueled.  Then once Stanford gave him the lead in the bottom of the sixth, Gilmore promptly went 1-2-3 through the Washington lineup in the seventh, eighth, and ninth innings to complete the contest. 

Gilmore has certainly been Stanford's most effective starting pitcher this season and it was a great sign for the future that he was able to handle the pressure of starting on Friday nights.  The Cardinal will be going up against a couple of more All-Conference type pitchers on Friday's later this season - namely Arizona's John Meloan and USC's Ian Kennedy - so an effective Gilmore will be a must for the Cardinal to contend in those series-opening games and to set the tone for the rest of the weekend.

While the Cardinal offense mustered only four hits on Friday, they broke out on Saturday night as the team posted a 10-6 victory to clinch the series win.  Stanford trailed 2-0 after three innings before erupting for four runs in each of the fourth and fifth frames to take a commanding 8-2 lead.  Adam Sorgi provided the big hit in the fourth when he doubled home two runs with two outs to put Stanford in front.  In the fifth, Chris Minaker also doubled home a pair of runs while the Cardinal also benefited from two Washington errors in that inning (five total in the game). 

Romanczuk was hardly dominating on Saturday, but he did enough pitching into the fifth inning before handing the game over to the bullpen.  Marquess expects and demands his Friday starter pitch deep into the game so he can save his relievers for the remainder of the series.  That's not the case on Saturday and Romanczuk experienced that in the fifth inning this weekend.  After allowing two runs through the first four frames, Romanczuk allowed a double and a walk to start the fifth.  With the dangerous Zach Clem (who had homered his last time up) stepping to the plate, Marquess showed no hesitation as he went to the 'pen.  The move paid off as Nolan Gallagher came on and induced Clem to ground into a 5-4-3 double play and then notched a strike out of clean-up hitter Matt Hague to retire the side and preserve the two-run Stanford lead.  The Cardinal would score their four runs in the bottom half of the frame and would go onto victory.

Matt Manship finished the game for Stanford on Saturday tossing the final three innings.  Manship did a nice job despite giving up a run in the ninth inning as the tying run reached as far as the on-deck circle.  The junior right-hander has really come on strong over the last month and a half and along with Blake Holler and Nolan Gallagher, appear to be the go-to relievers in the late innings for Coach Marquess.  The run allowed in the ninth though did end Manship's perfect season.  The Texas native has now given up one run over 17 2/3 innings this year for a paltry 0.51 ERA.

Offensively on Saturday, John Mayberry, Jr. led the way with a 3-for-4, 2B, RBI performance.  Hester (2-for-4, 2B), Taylor (2-for-3), and Minaker (2-for-5, 2B, 3 RBI) also had multi-hit games.

Sunday was a well-played game out at Sunken Diamond as the Cardinal completed the sweep with a 6-3 victory.  Matt Leva continues to get the call on Sunday's and the sophomore came through with a solid performance on the mound on this day.  Overall, Leva fired 5 1/3 innings with just one run and four hits allowed.  He walked one and struck out two. 

Stanford scored two runs in each of the second and third innings to take an early 4-0 lead against UW starter Matt Kasser.  Hester got the rally started in the second inning with a solo home run over the fence in left field.  The second run came home when Chris Lewis came through with a clutch two-out double.  Then in the third, it was Minaker (on a double) and DH Ben Summerhays (on a single) providing the run-scoring hits.

For Summerhays, it was the biggest game of his Stanford career.  The slugging junior has seen little playing time of late with Brendan Domaracki garnering most of the action at designated hitter against right-handed pitching.  Summerhays though got the call today and not only did he deliver with that big two-out, RBI single, but he also lined a two-out, RBI double into right field to score a key insurance run in the bottom of the eighth.

Blake Holler relieved Leva in the sixth with a couple of runners on and one out and the southpaw managed to get out of the ham.  He did allow a pair of runs to score in the seventh to cut the lead down to 4-3, but a magnificent pitching effort in the eighth was unquestionably the biggest point in the game.  Clem and Kyle Larsen started the inning with singles to put the tying and go-ahead runners on base.  But Holler came back to strike out Hague (who was batting over .400) and then induced a fly out and a ground out to keep Stanford in the lead.

After the Cardinal scored two runs in the bottom of the inning, Holler worked a perfect 1-2-3 ninth with a pair of strike outs for his first save of the season.

Offensively, Minaker (3-for-4, 2B, 2 RBI), Hester (2-for-4, 2B, HR, RBI), and Summerhays (2-for-3, 2B, 2 RBI) led the hitting attack.

Notes:
* The complete game for Gilmore was his first of the season and third of his career.  His record now stands at 6-1 on the year with a 3.67 ERA and .232 opponents batting average.

* Jim Rapoport remained in the leadoff spot in the starting lineup for all three games of the series.  He was much more quiet at the plate compared to his banner series in Tempe last weekend, but the center fielder still leads the club in batting average at .366.

* Stanford now has six regular starters batting over .300: Rapoport (.366), Mayberry, Jr. (.329), Lowrie (.319), Sorgi (.306), Taylor (.304), and Hester (.301).

* The Cardinal defense committed just one error in the series as their season fielding percentage sits at a staggering .981.  The school record is .977 set by the 2001 team.

* After a difficult pitching weekend at Arizona State, the Stanford pitching staff recorded a 3.33 ERA over the three-game sweep.  Erik Davis and Greg Reynolds both went the entire weekend without seeing any action and thus should be the two primary hurlers for this Tuesday's game against Santa Clara.

On Deck:
* The Cardinal return to action for that single non-conference game against the Broncos on Tuesday night.  First pitch at Sunken Diamond is scheduled for 6:00pm.  Stanford then has the weekend off as they'll see the field next on Monday, May 2nd with an afternoon tilt at UC Davis.  After a game the following day (Tuesday, May 3rd) at Nevada, the Cardinal return to Pac-10 action with a series in Berkeley against the California Golden Bears starting on Friday, May 6th.  Stanford took 2-of-3 from the Bears in a non-conference matchup back in early March at Sunken Diamond.  Cal is 7-8 in Pac-10 play (26-18 overall) and travel down to UCLA before their series with the Cardinal.


Washington   0 0 0  0 0 1  0 0 0   -   1   4   2
Stanford     0 0 0  0 0 2  0 0 x   -   2   4   0

WP: Jeff Gilmore (6-1)
LP: Tim Lincecum (6-5)


Washington   0 1 1  0 0 1  2 0 1   -   6  14   5
Stanford     0 0 0  4 4 1  1 0 x   -  10  13   1

WP: Nolan Gallagher (1-3)
LP: Kyle Parker (6-5)
S: Matt Manship (2)

HR: Washington - Zach Clem (6)


Washington   0 0 0  1 0 0  2 0 0   -   3   9   0
Stanford     0 2 2  0 0 0  0 2 x   -   6  10   0

WP: Matt Leva (2-1)
LP: Matt Kasser (3-4)
S: Blake Holler (1)

HR: Stanford - John Hester (3); Washington - Matt Hague (6)

Records: #24 Stanford (24-14, 7-5), Washington (24-17, 4-8)

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