Cardinal Edge Broncos 5-4

Jason Cooper's one out RBI single in the bottom of the ninth inning snapped a 4-4 tie and gave the Cardinal their 20th straight win over Santa Clara. Stanford had to battle back from two separate late inning deficits to post the victory. Read on for the recap of the Cardinal's dramatic win.

It wasn't all that pretty, but it got the job done.  The top ranked Stanford Cardinal (8-3) rallied twice tonight to defeat the Santa Clara Broncos 5-4 on a cool Friday evening at Sunken Diamond.  The Cardinal came back from a 2-0, 6th inning deficit and a 4-3, 8th inning deficit to post their 20th consecutive victory over the Broncos.  Jason Cooper had the game winning hit, a single to left center field gap scoring Carlos Quentin with one out in the bottom of the ninth.  On the evening, the Cardinal capitalized on three Santa Clara errors to put across three unearned runs.

The game began as a pitcher's duel between Stanford's Jeremy Guthrie and SCU's Chad Fillinger.  Neither team was able to muster any offense through the first five innings as the score remained 0-0.  The Broncos got only three hits off Guthrie through the first five frames, while the Cardinal recorded only four hits off Fillinger in that same time.  Finally in the top of the sixth, Santa Clara got to Guthrie.  After easily retiring the first two hitters, Pat Peavey kept the inning alive with a single.  The next hitter, Joey Gomes, struck out but the ball got away from Garko allowing Gomes to reach first base.  It went down as a wild pitch on Guthrie.  Jack Headley then stepped to the plate and grounded a ball up the middle only to have Chris O'Riordan make a diving stop up the middle.  O'Riordan, from his knees, attempted to throw out Headley at first, but it was not in time and the ball was in the dirt.  First baseman Donny Lucy was unable to handle it cleanly as he only stopped the ball and Peavey took advantage of it as he never stopped running around third base and scored SCU's first run of the game.  The Broncos put across their second run when Guthrie uncorked his second wild pitch of the inning allowing Gomes to score from third.

The Cardinal responded in the bottom half of the inning with the help of the Santa Clara fielders.  Quentin led the inning off with a double down the left field line bringing up Garko.  Garko lofted a deep fly ball to center field but Santa Clara centerfielder Ryan Pierpont dropped the fly ball when he went back too far.  Garko was safe at second on the error while Quentin advanced to third.  After a Cooper strike out, Donny Lucy brought in run #1 of the evening on a ground out while Stanford's second run came home on an error by Bronco second baseman Jack Headley and the score was tied 2-2.

After Guthrie threw a scoreless seventh, the Cardinal hitters went back to work.  O'Riordan walked and Sam Fuld was hit by the pitch to put two runners on to start the inning and with one out, Garko brought home O'Riordan with a single up the middle and Stanford had their first lead of the game at 3-2.  The Broncos would not quit though as they put across two runs in the top of the eighth inning to reclaim the lead.  Guthrie walked the leadoff hitter and was then pulled in favor of John Hudgins.  With one out, Hudgins gave up a double to Gomes putting runners on second and third and setting the table for 2001 All-WCC second baseman Jack Headley.  Headley delivered with a bloop single over the head of Scott Dragicevich at short scoring both runs and putting the Broncos back in front.  Stanford responded though in the bottom of the eighth again with some help from the Broncos defense.  Brian Hall led things off by reaching on an error by Headley at second and then advanced to second on Dragicevich's single.  After Andy Topham sacrificed both runners up to second and third, O'Riordan came through with a sacrifice fly to right field, scoring Hall and tying the game at 4-4.

That set the stage for a dramatic ninth inning.  With two outs and nobody on, Hudgins walked SCU leadoff hitter Ryan Chiarelli and then gave up a single to A.J. LaBarbera which ended his evening as Coach Marquess summoned closer J.D. Willcox to face the dangerous Pat Peavey.  Peavey grounded a ball in between third and short that was destined for left field, but Scott Dragicevich made a diving stop and although he had no play, kept the go-ahead run from scoring.  So, with the bases loaded and two out, Bronco clean-up hitter Joey Gomes stepped to the plate.  Gomes though was unable to deliver the clutch hit as Willcox got him to pop out to shallow center field ending the threat and keeping the score tied 4-4.  In the bottom of the ninth, Quentin led the inning off by getting hit by the pitch for the eighth time this season.  Arik VanZandt, who had come in earlier for defensive purposes, sacrificed Quentin over to second which brought up Jason Cooper.  Cooper, who was 0-for-3 coming into the at-bat, came through with a single to the left-center gap scoring Quentin from second and giving the Cardinal another victory over the Broncos.

Game Notes :
* Jeremy Guthrie's final pitching line saw him go seven innings giving up three runs on six hits.  The junior righthander walked three and struck out six.  It was only his second no-decision in his last 22 starts.

* Ryan Garko was the only Cardinal hitter with a multi-hit game this evening going 2-for-4.  It was the first time in nine games that the Cardinal didn't record a double-digit hit total.

* Chris O'Riordan extended his hitting streak to eight games with a 1-for-3 performance while Donny Lucy had yet another RBI giving him at least one in all eight of his starts this season (16 total).

Santa Clara      0 0 0  0 0 2  0 2 0   -   4   11   3
Stanford         0 0 0  0 0 2  1 1 1   -   5    8   1

The Cardinal and Broncos will play game two of their three-game series tomorrow afternoon at Buck Shaw Stadium in Santa Clara.  First pitch is scheduled for 4pm.  Stanford has not announced a starting pitcher while the Broncos are scheduled to start John Redmond (2-1, 1.45).

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