Cardinal Escape With a Victory

The top ranked Stanford Cardinal baseball team withstood a late Cal Poly rally to take game one of the series, 8-6. Jeremy Guthrie threw eight quality innings giving up only two runs while Jason Cooper and Sam Fuld fueled the offensive attack. Read on for a full recap.

The top ranked Stanford Baseball squad opened up the weekend with an 8-6 victory over the Cal Poly Mustangs this evening at Sunken Diamond.  The Cardinal jumped out to a 6-0 lead after three innings and then got eight quality innings from Jeremy Guthrie to improve their record to 10-4.  The Mustangs (9-12-1) made the game more interesting with four runs in the top of the ninth inning off the Cardinal bullpen, but it wasn't enough as they dropped their eighth contest in their last nine games.

The Cardinal opened the scoring off Cal Poly starter Tyler Fitch in the bottom of the first inning.  Chris O'Riordan led it off with a walk and then advanced to second on a single by Sam Fuld.  After Ryan Garko popped out, Jason Cooper singled home O'Riordan giving Stanford the 1-0 lead.  The next hitter, Donny Lucy, continued his torrid RBI pace with a single threw the left side scoring Fuld.  Lucy has now recorded at least one RBI in all 11 of his starts this season (20 total).  The Cardinal added another run in the bottom of the second inning as O'Riordan doubled and would later score on a wild pitch extending the lead to 3-0.  Stanford then put across three more scores in the bottom of the third inning to increase the lead to 6-0.  Brian Hall doubled with one out and came across to score on a groundout by Scott Dragicevich.  After consecutive walks to Andy Topham and O'Riordan put two runners on, Sam Fuld knocked them both in with a double and the Cardinal had a commanding lead.

Guthrie mowed through the Mustang hitters through the first three innings.  He gave up two singles to start the game, but then picked one of them off and then retired the next eight Cal Poly hitters, six of which with the groundball.  Finally the Mustangs got to Guthrie in the fourth inning with some help from the Cardinal defense.  Bryan Gant led the inning off with a single, was balked to second, and then advanced to third on a wild pitch.  Tony Alcantar then hit a ground ball to O'Riordan at second who booted it and although the run would have scored anyway, Alcantar was safe at first.  Kyle Wilson then stepped to the plate and grounded a ball to Topham at third who also booted the ball and the Mustangs had runners at first and second with none out thanks to two Stanford errors.  Guthrie walked the next hitter, but then did a great job getting out of the jam.  The second run of the inning came home on a sacrifice fly for the first out and then Guthrie struck out the next two hitters keeping the score at 6-2 Stanford.

The Cardinal would be held off the scoreboard until the bottom of the sixth inning.  With two out, Garko singled and then scored on a double to deep center field off the bat of Jason Cooper.  Stanford then extended their lead to 8-2 in the eighth inning on another RBI hit by Cooper, this time scoring O'Riordan who had earlier walked.  Meanwhile, Guthrie was dominating on the hill.  He put up zeros in the fifth, sixth, seventh, and eighth innings and the Mustangs never had a serious rally.  Guthrie turned the ball over to J.D. Willcox in the ninth with an 8-2 lead.  Willcox though struggled as the Mustangs mounted a rally and gave Stanford a scare.  With one out, Willcox walked pinch-hitter Nick Snow and then gave up three consecutive singles to cut the lead to 8-3 and the Mustangs had the bases loaded with still one only out.  Coach Marquess brought in Ryan McCally and he didn't fare much better.  Pinch-hitter Alex Chavarria was McCally's first hitter and Chavarria promptly doubled to the left-center gap clearing the bases and bringing the tying run to the plate.  McCally then walked Bryan Gant putting runners at first and second for #3 hitter Tony Alcantar.  With Alcantar at the plate, McCally uncorked a wild pitch and Chavarria easily took third base, but Gant at first got a late break and catcher Ryan Garko alertly threw to second nailing Gant for the second out of the inning.  McCally then got Alcantar to line out to left field to end the game and give Stanford game one of the series.

Top offensive games for the Cardinal came from Cooper (3-for-4, 2B, 3 RBI) and Fuld (3-for-4, 2B, 2 RBI).  Guthrie went eight innings giving up five hits and two runs (one earned).  He walked only one and struck out eight to improve to 4-0 on the season.  McCally picked up his team-leading third save.

Game Notes :
* O'Riordan extended his hitting to 11 games tying a career-high.  He went 1-for-2 on the evening with three walks and four runs scored.

* With the win, Guthrie won his ninth consecutive decision dating back to May of last year.  The school and Pac-10 record is held by Justin Wayne with 16 straight wins (Washington State's John Olerud also had 16 consecutive victories).

* This was eighth time this season that the Cardinal has scored at least eight runs in a game.  It took them a mere 14 games to do it, while last year it took Stanford 22 games to accomplish the same feat.

Cal Poly      0 0 0  2 0 0  0 0 4   -   6   9   0
Stanford      2 1 3  0 0 1  0 1 x   -   8  11   2

The Cardinal and Mustangs will continue their three-game series tomorrow afternoon at 1pm.  Tim Cunningham (3-0, 2.81) is scheduled to start on the hill for Stanford while Cal Poly is expected to go with Nick Doan (0-2, 7.53).


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