Baseball Blanks Gaels

In one of their most complete performances of the season, the Stanford Cardinal rolled past the Saint Mary's Gaels by a 10-0 score on Tuesday night at Sunken Diamond. Greg Reynolds and a trio of relief pitchers combined on a four-hitter while the top two hitters in the batting order each came through with three-hit games at the plate. Here is a complete recap of Stanford's big win.

Greg Reynolds earned his second consecutive Tuesday start and again came through with a solid, if not spectacular, performance on the mound.  The hard-throwing sophomore right-hander went the first four innings allowing just two hits and no runs.  He did not walk and a single batter and dominated to the tune of five strike outs. 

Reynolds worked himself into a jam in the top of the first inning when Orben Frederick reached with one out on a strike out, wild pitch.  Bryan Bryne followed with a single to put runners at first and second.  But Reynolds came back to induce the dangerous #4 hitter, Sam Carter, to ground into a routine 6-4-3 double play to retire the side.

The only other runners to reach safely against Reynolds tonight was a one-out single in the top of the second and a batter reaching on an infield error in the top of the third.  The Pacifica native set down the final five batters he faced of the evening throwing 55 total pitches during his four-inning stint.

At the conclusion of the Arizona State series one month ago, the Cardinal made a significant change to how they go about their pitching strategy.  In effort to mix things up, catcher John Hester now calls most of the pitches from behind the plate as opposed to getting the signs from pitching coach Tom Kunis.  A handful of Stanford hurlers appeared to have benefited over the last few weeks from this change in strategy and Reynolds may be near the top of the list.

The one difference I'm noticing with Reynolds is with the greater amount of curve balls he is now throwing.  Tonight especially, Reynolds would appear to throw the hook at any time he needed a big pitch, even if he was down in the count.  The pitch, which I thought was the big reason why he excelled in the fall, was definitely "on" this evening and it resulted in the fantastic final pitching line.  And being able to complement it with his usual explosive fastball also led to his success.

Over his last four appearances, Reynolds has allowed just one earned run on four hits over 9 2/3 innings (0.93 ERA).  He's struck out ten batters during the hot streak.

The strong pitching continued after Reynolds as well.  Freshman Erik Davis came on next and fired a pair of scoreless innings.  Davis allowed just one hit with no walks and two strike outs.  Fellow freshman Nolan Gallagher dazzled in his two-inning stint.  Showing off three sparkling pitches including a filthy, untouchable breaking ball, Gallagher struck out four batters tonight.  That included striking out the side in the top of the eighth as he sent down all three Saint Mary's batters looking in the inning.  Gallagher, who allowed just one hit during his time on the mound, has now chalked up 51 K's (21 BB) in 45 1/3 innings this year.  His season ERA now sits at a stellar 3.18.

Matt Manship, with the Cardinal possessing a commanding lead, came on in the ninth inning and promptly struck out the side 1-2-3.  Combining Gallagher's outing with Manship's, the Stanford pitching staff struck out the final seven Gael batters of the night.

Offensively, the Cardinal jumped on the board with a single run in the bottom of the third inning.  With one out, DH Ryan Seawell drew a five-pitch walk.  After Adam Sorgi singled Seawell over to second and Chris Minaker flied out, it was Jed Lowrie coming through with the clutch hit as he lined a single into right field.  It was an excellent at-bat from Lowrie in a big spot as he worked the count full before fouling off a couple of tough pay-off pitches before smoking the single into right field.  It was Lowrie's team-leading 58th RBI of the season (he had 68 last year).

Stanford added two more runs in the bottom of the fifth inning to extend their lead out to 3-0.  Again it was Seawell getting the rally started - this time with a hard hit single into center field.  With one out, Minaker singled and then Lowrie walked to load the bases.  John Mayberry, Jr. was up next and the first baseman ran the count full before rifling a line drive single into left field.  Seawell and Minaker scored on the play to give Stanford the three-run cushion.

In the bottom of the seventh, Minaker opened the inning with a ground ball double down the left field line.  He would later score on a clutch Hester two-out single.  Then in the eighth, Stanford blew the game open with six runs for a whopping 10-0 lead.

Another rally was started by Seawell as the DH was hit by a pitch with one out.  An Adam Sorgi double moved Seawell to third and then Minaker scored both runners with a single into left field.  Consecutive walks to Lowrie and Mayberry, Jr. loaded the bases and then Hester smoked a deep line drive into center field.  The ball was plenty deep enough to score Minaker from third, but SMC center fielder Adam Thompson misjudged the line drive as it bounced just over his glove.  Hester was credited with an RBI sacrifice fly on the play, but was able to reach second base safely on the error and two runs came across to score on the misplay instead of just one.

Michael Taylor then immediately followed with a line drive RBI single into right field while the sixth and final run of the inning scored on a Jim Rapoport ground out.

Game Notes:
* Stanford has scored in double figures in consecutive games for the second time this season (14-5 and 11-4 wins at Washington State).   The Cardinal have outscored the opposition by a 21-1 margin in the last two contests.

* Over the last four games, Stanford's pitching staff has surrendered just four earned runs.  Their season ERA now stands at 3.67 (would be the third lowest in Mark Marquess' 29-year tenure as head coach - 1977: 3.44, 2001: 3.50)

* Every Cardinal starter with the exception of Rapoport (who still walked, stole a base, and had an RBI) recorded a hit tonight.  Sorgi (3-for-5, 2B) and Minaker (3-for-5, 2B) both produced three-hit games from the top two positions in the lineup.  Taylor (2-for-4, RBI) also had a multi-hit game.

* Seawell received all of the playing time at DH tonight (after Matt Leva was put into the starting lineup as per the usual custom).  This was despite a right-handed starting pitcher on the mound for Saint Mary's.  Lefties Brendan Domaracki and Ben Summerhays have received essentially all of the playing time at DH against righties this year.  But Seawell, who blasted a pinch-hit home run on Sunday against UCLA, got the call tonight and reached base safely in three out of his four plate appearances.  He officially finished 1-for-2 with a single, a walk, a HBP, and three runs scored.

* Stanford has won 20 consecutive games over Saint Mary's dating back to February, 1994.

* The four Cardinal pitchers tonight combined for zero walks and 14 strike outs.

* The Cardinal pitching staff has a 1.81 ERA over the last ten games (6-4 record).

Saint Mary's    0 0 0  0 0 0  0 0 0   -   0   4   1
Stanford        0 0 1  0 2 0  1 6 x   -  10  13   1

WP: Greg Reynolds (1-2)
LP: Joel Fountain (5-9)

Records: Stanford (30-19), Saint Mary's (20-30)

* The Cardinal return to action this weekend with a Pac-10 series against the 8th ranked Arizona Wildcats at Sunken Diamond.  First pitch on Friday is scheduled for 6:00 P.M. while the games on Saturday and Sunday will get underway at 1:00 P.M.  Jeff Gilmore (9-1, 3.13 ERA) will start on the mound in the first contest of the series with Mark Romanczuk (5-5, 4.11 ERA) on the hill for Saturday.  A Sunday starter has not yet officially been announced, but Matt Leva (4-2, 4.30 ERA) would seem to be the most likely candidate.

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