Card Take Rubber Game From Cal

John Hudgins, Dan Rich, and Darin Naatjes combined to shut down the Cal offense as the Cardinal defeated the Golden Bears 4-2 this afternoon in Berkeley. Hudgins threw six quality innings in his second start of the season while Naatjes picked up his first collegiate save. Jason Cooper hit another home run as Stanford won their sixth straight series to start the year. Read on for a complete recap.

The top ranked Stanford Cardinal claimed their sixth consecutive series win to begin the season with a 4-2 victory over the California Golden Bears this afternoon in Berkeley.  John Hudgins, in just his second start of the season, tossed six quality innings giving up only one run while Dan Rich and Darin Naatjes closed out the win with Naatjes recording his first collegiate save.  Offensively, Jason Cooper hit his third home run of the season while Sam Fuld and Arik VanZandt had two hits apiece.

The Cardinal (14-5) got the scoring started in the top of the first inning as Chris O'Riordan singled and then advanced to third on a single by Fuld.  Ryan Garko then stepped up to the plate and grounded into a 5-4-3 double play, but it allowed O'Riordan to score for a 1-0 Stanford lead.  The Golden Bears (13-9) evened the score in the bottom of the second inning against Hudgins.  Conor Jackson and John Baker led off the inning with consecutive singles and then Jackson scored when the next hitter, Brian Horwitz, singled.  After Horwitz advanced to second on a passed ball, the Bears had runners at second and third base with none out.  But Hudgins was able to get out of jam as he struck out Jeff Dragicevich and then got consecutive fly outs to end the rally and keep the score 1-1.

Stanford went back ahead in the top of the fourth inning as Cooper led off with a walk and after Donny Lucy popped out, Chris Carter hit a ground ball in the hole between first and second.  Cal second baseman Carson White though was unable to make the play cleanly and everybody was safe with Cooper moving to third.  Carlos Quentin then stepped up to the plate and lofted a deep fly ball to right field that was caught at the warning track, but was plenty deep enough to score Cooper and the Card had gone back ahead at 2-1.  Stanford added another run in the sixth inning when Cooper crushed a deep home run to right field for his 4th bomb of the year.  It was Cooper's third homer of the series and his second tape measure shot.

Meanwhile, John Hudgins continued to shut down the Cal offense.  The Bears had some opportunities as they put runners on the corners with one out in the third inning before Hudgins got out of it.  Then in the sixth inning, Hudgins hit the first batter and then walked the next, but again escaped without allowing any runs.

In the top of the seventh, with the score 3-1 Cardinal, Stanford added another run.  Arik VanZandt led off with an infield single and advanced to second when Cal first baseman Conor Jackson couldn't handle the throw.  VanZandt advanced to third on a O'Riordan fly out and then scored on a wild pitch for a 4-1 Stanford lead.  Head Coach Mark Marquess summoned reliever Dan Rich from the bullpen in the seventh inning and the senior lefty got off to a rough start.  David Nicholson led off the seventh with a single and then scored when the following hitter, David Weiner, doubled to left and the Bears had cut the lead to 4-2.  Rich though settled down as he then went on to strike out the next three Cal hitters.  Rich continued to impress in the eighth, retiring the side in order while throwing only six pitches.  The Bears though staged a rally in the bottom of the ninth.  With the score still 4-2, Rich walked Nicholson with one out.  After he struck out Weiner, Rich walked Carson White and the Bears had runners at first and second with two out for their #4 hitter, Conor Jackson.  Coach Marquess had seen enough of Rich as he went to 6'7" righty Darin Naatjes out of the bullpen.  Naatjes quickly got out ahead of Jackson 0-and-2 and then after issuing ball one, he induced Jackson to hit a weak ground ball right back to him to end the game and give Stanford the victory.

Game Notes :
* The save for Naatjes was his first collegiate save.  In four relief appearances, Naatjes has not allowed a run in four innings.

* Jason Cooper went 1-for-3 (HR) today to extend his hitting streak to 11 games.

* Hudgins had another successful start as the sophomore righthander went six innings while giving up six hits and one run.  He walked three and struck out four to improve to 3-0 on the season.

* Not only was this Stanford's sixth straight series win this year, but it was also their eighth consecutive regular season series win dating back to last season.

* The Cardinal did not commit an error in the game today.  It was the first time they haven't committed an error in a game since February 15th versus Fresno State.

Stanford     1 0 0  1 0 1  1 0 0   -    4    8    0
California   0 1 0  0 0 0  1 0 0   -    2    8    2

The Cardinal will not be in action again until March 23rd when they travel down to Los Angeles to take on the USC Trojans in a three-game series.  That Saturday the 23rd is a doubleheader with the first game starting at 1pm while the series concludes on Sunday March 24th at 1pm.  The series will not count in the conference standings.

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