Card Even Series With Dramatic Win

Chris Minaker's two-out single into left field scored Jim Rapoport from second base sending Stanford to a dramatic 5-4 over #8 Arizona on Saturday afternoon. Before Minaker's heroics, relief pitchers Nolan Gallagher and Greg Reynolds each worked out of huge jams in the eighth and ninth frames to keep the score tied. Read on for a complete recap of Stanford's thrilling victory.

The ninth inning was full of drama on both sides Saturday afternoon at Sunken Diamond.  With the score tied 4-4, Coach Marquess elected to give the ball to Matt Manship to begin the frame.  Manship promptly walked the #9 hitter Bryan Kervin to start the inning.  After a balk moved Kervin to second, Stanford decided to intentionally walk the dangerous Trevor Crowe putting two runners on base.

With runners on first and second and none out, Marquess decided to make another pitching change as Greg Reynolds became the fifth Cardinal hurler of the day.  Brad Boyer was the first man Reynolds faced and the Arizona second baseman laid down a perfect sacrifice bunt moving both runners into scoring position.  Jeff Van Houten was up next and Reynolds moved out ahead of the count 1-2 before plunking Van Houten in the back with a pitch to load the bases.

That set the stage as clean-up man and the Pac-10 RBI leader in Jordan Brown came to the plate.  Reynolds initially worked from ahead before Brown came back to make the count 3-2.   Reynolds tried a couple of high fastballs only to see Brown foul them off to keep the count full.  At this point, on the eighth pitch of the AB, Reynolds came up with a filthy curve ball as Brown swung over the top for strike three.  The breaking pitch continues to be the "bread and butter" for Reynolds as the sophomore has been able to turn his season around.

He was hardly out of the woods though as catcher Nick Hundley was next.  Hundley had already homered on the day - his team-leading 14th round-tripper of the day.  But on the first pitch, Hundley hit a high foul pop-up behind the plate that Hester made a catch on to retire the side.

Stanford came to the plate in the bottom of the ninth facing lefty reliever Eric Berger.  Jim Rapoport would start things off with a hard hit ground ball single into center field.  Arizona elected to change pitchers at this point bringing in their ace closer Mark Melancon.  Ryan Seawell was the pinch-hitter for Brendan Domaracki, but Seawell would pop-up the bunt attempt to first base for out #1.

After Chris Lewis struck out swinging, Rapoport stole second base without a throw to put the winning run into scoring position.  For Rapoport, it was his team-leading 12th stolen bag of the season.  The Wildcats then decided to intentionally walk Adam Sorgi to set up a righty-vs.-righty matchup with Chris Minaker coming to the plate.  On a 2-1 pitch, Melancon fired a beautiful breaking ball below the zone that Minaker missed badly to even the count.  On the next pitch, Melancon tried the same breaking ball, but left it too far up in the zone as Minaker ripped a hard ground ball through the left side of the infield.  Rapoport never stopped as he rounded third and would score the go-ahead run to put Stanford in the winners circle.

The top of the eighth inning also saw a Stanford relief pitcher work out of a huge jam with the score tied at 4-4.  Blake Holler started the frame by allowing a single and then a sacrifice bunt.  Nolan Gallagher was then summoned from the bullpen and the hard-throwing freshman promptly balked the go-ahead run to third.  But Gallagher, throwing almost exclusively breaking pitches, struck out Jason Donald swinging and Derek Decater swinging to keep the score tied.  Gallagher was removed in favor of Manship to begin the ninth inning.

Arizona opened the scoring today in the top of the second inning when Hundley connected for a solo home run off of Mark Romanczuk.  Stanford would quickly tie the game in the bottom of the second when Domaracki knocked home a run with a clutch two-out single into center field. 

The Wildcats plated two more runs against Romanczuk in the top of the fourth when Brown lofted a fly ball home run into right field.  Romanczuk's final pitching line today saw him give up four runs in six-plus innings of work.  However, he looked good on the mound normally setting down the dangerous Arizona hitters with ease.  The Hundley blast was just a high fly ball to left that initially looked routine, but got up into the wind and just carried over the fence.  Brown was well out on his front foot, but still managed to hit his 12th homer of the year.  Romanczuk walked two and struck out four this afternoon.

Trailing 3-1, the Cardinal erupted for three runs in the bottom of the fifth inning against Arizona starter Kevin Guyette.  Domaracki got things started with a single.  Lewis was up next and on the first pitch he hammered a two-run homer well over the fence in left to tie the game at 3-3.  It was Lewis' sixth home run of the season.

Stanford wasn't done though as Sorgi immediately restarted the rally with a ringing triple to deep right center field.  He would score on a Minaker sacrifice fly to center.

The Wildcats tied the game in the seventh as Boyer knocked home a run off of Holler (run charged to Romanczuk) with a one-out single.

Game Notes:
* Stanford has lost 15 of their 20 games this season by one or two runs, but managed to win the close one today against the 8th ranked Wildcats.

* Domaracki (2-for-3, RBI) and Lewis (2-for-4, HR, 2 RBI, SB) both had multi-hit games at the plate.

* Reynolds was credited with the win on the mound.  Over his last five appearances. Reynolds has allowed just one run on four hits in 10 2/3 innings (0.84 ERA).

* Lowrie has struggled in the series with a combined 0-for-8 in the two games.

* Stanford moves to within one game of third place in the Pac-10 with today's win.  The Cardinal (11-9) are tied with Arizona State (11-9) for fourth and a game behind USC (12-8).  The Trojans lost this afternoon at Oregon State with the Sun Devils dropping a ninth-inning heartbreaker to Washington.  ASU has lost four games in a row.

Arizona     0 1 0  2 0 0  1 0 0   -   4   8   1
Stanford    0 1 0  0 3 0  0 0 1   -   5   8   0

WP: Greg Reynolds (2-2)
LP: Eric Berger (6-1)

HR: Stanford - Chris Lewis (6); Arizona - Nick Hundley (14), Jordan Brown (12)

Records: Stanford (31-20, 11-9), #8 Arizona (35-17, 15-5)

* The Cardinal and Wildcats will play the rubber game of this series on Sunday afternoon at Sunken Diamond.  First pitch is scheduled for 1:00 P.M. as Stanford will play their final regular season home game of the season.  Matt Leva (4-2, 4.30) is slated to start on the mound for the Cardinal while Arizona is expected to counter with Sean Rierson (3-2, 5.70).

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