Bats Go Quiet In 2-1 Loss To Cal

The top ranked Cardinal baseball squad came out on the short end of a 2-1 decision this afternoon in Berkeley. Cal's Brian Montalbo and Matt Brown combined to six-hit the Stanford offense as the Cardinal recorded season-lows in runs scored and hits. Read on for a complete recap of today's action.

With this year's potent Stanford offense you would expect that when the pitching staff gives up only two runs, the Cardinal will come away victorious.  That was not the case this afternoon as the California Golden Bears nipped the top ranked Stanford Cardinal 2-1 on a cool Saturday afternoon at Evans Diamond.  Brian Montalbo and Matt Brown combined to six-hit the Cardinal as Stanford recorded season-lows in runs and hits on the afternoon.

The game began much like yesterday's contest with the two starting pitchers dueling it out.  Stanford (13-5) sent lefty Tim Cunningham to the mound while California (13-8) countered with the sophomore righthander Montalbo.  Through four innings neither team had mustered much offense as the Cardinal complied only two singles through four frames while the Bears had just one double off Cunningham.  After Montalbo retired the side in order in the top of the fifth inning, the Cal hitters finally got to Cunningham.  With one out, Jeff Dragicevich singled and then stole second base.  A Ben Conley single moved Dragicevich to third and then Conley stole second to put two runners in scoring position with only one out.  #9 hitter Nick Medrano then stepped up to the plate and hit a routine ground ball to Chris O'Riordan at second.  The Cardinal infield was playing back, so the run easily came home to score, but O'Riordan bobbled the ball which allowed Medrano to reach first base safely.  With runners on the corners and one out, Cunningham picked-off Medrano at first base.  Medrano though did the smart base running move and got into a run-down in the hopes of allowing Conley to score from third.  It was successful as it took Stanford three throws to finally get Medrano out and in that time Conley was able to score giving Cal the 2-0 lead.

The Cardinal finally got a run in the sixth inning, but it could have been more had it not been for some outstanding Cal defense.  Arik VanZandt led off the inning with a single and advanced to second on a Montalbo wild pitch.  O'Riordan then stepped up to the plate and grounded a ball in the hole at shortstop and although Jeff Dragicevich made a diving stop, it was not enough to get O'Riordan at first and Stanford had their first serious threat of the afternoon with runners at first and third base with none out.  Stanford would get their first (and only) run of the game on another Montalbo wild pitch as VanZandt scored and O'Riordan moved to second.  After Sam Fuld popped out, Ryan Garko belted a deep fly ball to center field.  California center fielder Nick Medrano kept drifting back and made a spectacular catch crashing into the wall robbing Garko of extra bases.  Montalbo got out of the inning when he induced Jason Cooper to ground out to second base and the Cardinal were only able to come away with one run.

Montalbo set down the Cardinal 1-2-3 in the seventh inning throwing just seven pitches in the process.  In the eighth, Scott Dragicevich led off with a single giving Stanford some hope.  Pinch-hitter Jonny Ash then stepped up to the plate and grounded into a fielder's choice.  With the top of the order coming up, Head Coach David Esquer summoned closer Matt Brown from the bullpen and Brown got the job done getting O'Riordan to pop out and then getting pinch-hitter Danny Putnam to foul out.  In the ninth, the Cardinal staged a mini rally as Chris Carter singled with two out, but got no farther as Carlos Quentin popped out to end the game and give Cal the 2-1 victory.

Chris O'Riordan was the only Stanford hitter to record a multiple-hit game going 2-for-3 with two singles.  Tim Cunningham was the hard-luck loser going seven innings while giving up four hits and two runs (one earned).  Cunningham's ten-game winning streak came to an end as he fell to 4-1 on the season.

Game Notes :
* Ryan Garko finished the afternoon 0-for-4 and saw his 10-game hitting streak come to an end.  Jason Cooper went 1-for-4 and extended his hitting streak to a career-high ten games.

* Brian Montalbo was absolutely outstanding this afternoon.  The sophomore righthander threw 7 1/3 innings and gave up only one run on five hits.

* First baseman Donny Lucy did not play today because of the flu.

* Stanford's season-long five-game winning streak was snapped with the loss today.  But with a win tomorrow they can still take their six consecutive series to start the year and their eighth straight regular season series dating back to last season.

Stanford     0 0 0  0 0 1  0 0 0    -    1   6   2
California   0 0 0  0 2 0  0 0 x    -    2   5   0

The Cardinal and Golden Bears will conclude their series tomorrow afternoon at 1pm.  Stanford is scheduled to start John Hudgins (2-0, 4.50) on the hill while California has not announced a starting pitcher.

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