Cardinal Explode Late, Win 12-4

Ryan Seawell and Adam Sorgi came through with clutch RBI hits as part of a four-run bottom of the sixth inning to put Stanford in front for good on Sunday night against TCU. The Cardinal then exploded for six runs over the last two frames to win by a final score of 12-4 and move to the final day of the Waco Regional. Nolan Gallagher and Matt Manship each came through with solid relief work on the mound as Stanford recorded their second victory in less than 12 hours.

The bottom of the sixth inning was the key frame offensively for Stanford on Sunday night against the Horned Frogs.  Trailing 3-2, Jed Lowrie started the rally by getting hit by a pitch.  A line drive single into right field from Michael Taylor then put two runners on before John Hester sacrificed each into scoring position with a bunt.  Chris Lewis was up next and the junior got ahold of a 2-0 pitch lofting a deep fly ball into left field that was caught at the edge of the warning track to score Lowrie from third base to tie the game at 3-3.

But Stanford wasn't done.  A walk to Jim Rapoport put runners at the corners and then on a 1-2 offering, DH Ryan Seawell smashed a hard ground ball single into center field plating Taylor to give the Cardinal a lead that they would not relinquish.

After Seawell, the floodgates opened for the Cardinal offense as Sorgi followed with a ringing two-run double off of the wall in right center to make the score 6-3.

After TCU scored a run in the top of the seventh (more on that later), Stanford's John Mayberry, Jr. belted a leadoff home run to left center field pushing the lead back up to three runs.  Mayberry's blast was a shot just over the leaping Austin Adams at the wall as Junior connected for his second home run of the day and eighth of the season.

Then in the bottom of the eighth, the Cardinal broke the game open with five more runs.  Rapoport led off with a walk, stole second, and moved to third when the throw from the catcher bounced into center field.  With one out, Sorgi struck out, but the ball bounced away from the home plate area allowing Rapoport to score and Sorgi to reach first base safely.

An error allowed Minaker to reach base before Mayberry singled into right field scoring another run making the score 9-3.  Then it was Lowrie capping the scoring off with a three-run home run to right center field extending the Cardinal advantage out to the eventual final score of 12-3.

Meanwhile, the top of the seventh inning was key the frame on the mound for Stanford tonight.  Leading 6-3 at the time, Nolan Gallagher, who had already thrown 1 2/3 very effective innings of relief, allowed back-to-back hard hit doubles to score a run.  Keith Conlon then singled to put runners at the corners.  Conlon represented the tying run at first base with still none out as the potential go-ahead run stepped to the plate.

Coach Marquess, deciding to pull out all of the stops, elected to bring in Matt Manship in this situation to pitch.  And the move once again paid off as Manship retired Adams on a pop-out to second (on a magnificent over-the-shoulder catch from Lowrie in shallow right field).  Bo Cogbill then fouled out to third while Matt Carpenter followed with a routine ground out to end the inning.  It was a fabulous pitching performance from Manship as he kept Stanford in front by two runs before the offense exploded in the final two innings.

And for Manship, the domination would continue as the junior right-hander set down the last six batters of the game to close out the victory.

Earlier in the contest, Gallagher had to come through with a clutch effort on the mound to keep Stanford within striking distance.  Starter Mark Romanczuk began the top of the fifth in a 1-1 tie, but a pair of one-out singles, a walk, and a hit by pitch produced a run giving TCU the lead.  Gallagher was then summoned to pitch during the middle of an at-bat as Romanczuk was pulled with a 2-0 count on the batter Adams with the bases loaded.  But the calm Gallagher promptly came in, worked the count full, and then retired Adams on a sacrifice fly to center.  He then struck out Cogbill on three pitches to retire the side.  The inning ended with Stanford trailing 3-1, but it could have been much worse if not for Gallagher's performance.

Romanczuk threw well over the first four innings with just the one run surrendered.  A fielding error on a dropped foul pop-up by Sorgi in the fifth led to the big inning as Romanczuk was unable to pitch through the miscue.  All total, Romanczuk went 4 1/3 innings yielding three runs (one earned) on seven hits.  He walked two and struck out two.

Game Notes:
* It was three more perfect innings for Manship to finish the game out (no hits, no runs, no walks, and three K's).  In the two games today, Manship set down all 17 batters he faced (5 2/3 innings) and recorded a pair of saves.

* Five Stanford players had multi-hit games at the plate: Sorgi (2-for-5, 2B, 3 RBI), Minaker (2-for-5, 2 2B, 2 SB), Mayberry, Jr. (2-for-5, HR, 2 RBI), Taylor (2-for-5, RBI, SB), and Seawell (2-for-4, 2B, RBI).

* Lowrie's home run was his team-leading 13th of the season.  He also now has a team-high 65 RBI in just 58 games.

* Stanford stole five bases tonight.

* Gallagher was credited with the win.  He allowed one run in 1 2/3 innings with two strike outs.

* After recording no runs on one hit in the first three innings, the Cardinal bats erupted for 12 runs on 11 hits over their final five trips to the plate.

Pitching Watch:  (IP/# of pitches)
Saturday afternoon
Jeff Gilmore: 6.0/92
Erik Davis: 2.0/23

Sunday afternoon
Matt Leva: 5.0/93
Blake Holler: 1.1/29
Matt Manship: 2.2/39

Sunday evening
Mark Romanczuk: 4.1/78
Nolan Gallagher: 1.2/31
Matt Manship: 3.0/42


Greg Reynolds: 0
Jeff Stimpson: 0
Pete Duda: 0

TCU        0 1 0  0 2 0  1 0 0   -   4  11   3
Stanford   0 0 0  1 1 4  1 5 x   -  12  12   1

WP: Nolan Gallagher (2-5)
LP: Brad Furnish (5-6)
S: Matt Manship (5)

HR: Stanford - Jed Lowrie (13), John Mayberry, Jr. (8)

Records: Stanford (34-24), TCU (41-20)

* The Cardinal will take on the host Baylor Bears on Monday afternoon starting at 12:00pm (PDT) in the first championship game.  A Baylor victory would clinch the regional title for the Bears.  A Cardinal win would force a second game between the teams just 45 minutes after the completion of the first contest.

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