O'Riordan's Heroics Lead Stanford To Victory

Trailing 6-1 heading into the bottom of the ninth inning, things didn't look good for the Cardinal this evening. But Stanford staged a ferocious rally capped by Chris O'Riordan's game-tying grand slam with two outs in the ninth to send the game into extra innings. The Cardinal would eventually prevail as Jonny Ash's RBI single in the bottom of tenth gave Stanford the 7-6 win. Read on for a complete recap of today's thrilling win.

In what will certainly go down as one of the best Stanford games of the season, the Cardinal stormed back from a 6-1 deficit in the bottom of the ninth inning to rally and eventually beat the Texas Longhorns 7-6 in ten innings.  Trailing 6-2 in the ninth and with the bases loaded and two out, Chris O'Riordan belted a grand slam home run to deep left field that just stayed fair down the line which sent the game into extra innings.  In the bottom of the tenth, Jonny Ash delivered the game-winning hit scoring Brian Hall with two out to give Stanford a miraculous 7-6 come-from-behind victory.

The game began as a pitcher's duel between Stanford's Jeremy Guthrie and Texas' Brad Halsey.  The Longhorns (24-7) scored the first run of the game in the top of second inning and did so without the benefit of a hit.  Dustin Majewski reached second base on an error by Arik VanZandt at first and would later score on a sacrifice fly off the bat of Jeff Ontiveros.  In fact, the Longhorns didn't get their first hit of the game until Ontiveros doubled with one out in the fifth inning.

Meanwhile, Halsey was shutting down the vaunted Cardinal offense.  Through four innings, the junior lefty had given up just two singles as the Stanford offense never really put together a serious threat.  In the top of the fifth, Texas extended their lead to 2-0 on an RBI single by Michael Hollimon knocking home Ontiveros.  Finally in the bottom of the fifth, Stanford broke through against Halsey.  Andy Topham led off the inning with a deep fly ball to right field and Texas right fielder Joe Ferin was unable to make the catch as he went crashing into the wall.  It was ruled a two-base error, but nevertheless, Stanford had a runner in scoring position with none out.  Scott Dragicevich was the next hitter and he walked which brought up Arik VanZandt who sacrificed Topham and Dragicevich to third and second base respectively.  Chris O'Riordan followed the bunt with a groundout to third base, but with infield playing back, Topham easily scored from third and the Cardinal were on the scoreboard.  Halsey though would get out of the inning without any further damage as he got Sam Fuld to fly out to keep the score at 2-1 in favor of the Longhorns.

Texas added another run in the sixth inning as Brandon Fahey clubbed a solo home run to right field to extend the lead to 3-1.  Then in the eighth inning, with Guthrie tiring on the mound, Texas put across three more runs to put themselves ahead 6-1.  The Longhorns certainly had help from the Stanford defense in that inning as the Cardinal committed two errors, one on a wild pickoff attempt by Guthrie and the other on a dropped fly ball by Fuld in center.  Guthrie was pulled with one out in the eighth in favor of J.D. Willcox and Willcox did his job retiring the only batter he faced for the second out of the inning.  Coach Marquess then brought in David O'Hagan and the sophomore righthander got the third out, but the damage had already been done as Texas had a commanding 6-1 lead.

Halsey continued to dominate through the sixth, seventh, and eighth innings.  Through eight innings, Stanford had mustered only four hits and one run (it was unearned) and with the exception of the fifth inning, did not mount any serious rallies.  Then came the bottom of the ninth.  In a bold move by Coach Marquess, Tobin Swope pinch-hit for the Pac-10's leading hitter in Jason Cooper.  Swope responded with a hard hit single through the left side and the Cardinal showed that they weren't finished yet.  Carlos Quentin then stepped to the plate and singled to left field and then Donny Lucy singled to right field scoring Swope and cutting the Texas lead to 6-2.  That ended Halsey's evening as the Longhorns brought in righthander Alan Bomar into pitch.  Bomar started strong striking out pinch-hitter Jonny Ash and then retiring pinch-hitter Danny Putnam for outs #1 and #2 of the inning.  Chris Carter was then asked to pinch-hit for Arik VanZandt and Carter worked out a walk to load the bases for O'Riordan.  Representing the tying run, O'Riordan delivered in the best way possible.  On a a 1-0 pitch, the senior second baseman crushed a ball down the left field line.  The only question was fair or foul?  Luckily for Stanford, the ball just stayed fair and all of a sudden, the game was tied 6-6.

The Longhorns though wouldn't quit as they staged a rally in the tenth inning off relievers David O'Hagan and Darin Naatjes.  After easily retiring the first two hitters, O'Hagan gave up a double to Omar Quintanilla.  That ended O'Hagan's day as Naatjes was summoned from the bullpen.  The 6'7" right hander promptly walked Dustin Majewski to bring up catcher and #5 hitter Ryan Hubele.  On a 1-1 pitch, Hubele crushed a ball to deep left center field, but Sam Fuld robbed him of a hit and a Texas lead as the sophomore centerfield made a spectacular catch up against the wall going over into the gap to keep the score tied 6-6.

So, up came the Cardinal in the bottom of the tenth inning needing just one run to win the game.  Ryan Garko led off the inning by hitting a routine groundball to the third baseman Quintanilla.  But he was unable to make the play cleanly and Garko reached first base safely.  Coach Marquess then sent in Brian Hall to pinch-run for Garko in a move that would pay off later in the inning.  Tobin Swope was the next hitter and Swope laid down a perfect sacrifice bunt moving Hall to second.  After Lucy struck out, it was Jonny Ash's turn to play the role of the hero.  Ash lined a ball to the right side of the infield as Texas first baseman Jeff Ontiveros made a diving attempt to stop the ball.  He just got the end of his glove on it though and the ball caromed into shallow centerfield.  Texas 2nd baseman Tim Moss had gone over toward the foul line to try to make a play on the line drive, so the ball rolled into a vacated area.  And it was more than enough time for Brian Hall to score from second base as he never hesitated around third and easily scored giving Stanford the win.

Game Notes :
* The grand slam by O'Riordan in the ninth inning was Stanford's first slam of the season.

* Guthrie picked up a no-decision as the junior righthander threw 7 1/3 innings giving up six runs (only three earned) while walking two and striking out five.

* Texas starter Brad Halsey was outstanding on the mound going eight innings and giving up four runs (three earned) while recording seven strikeouts.

* Jason Cooper extended his career-high hitting streak to 15 games with a single in the fourth inning.  He finished the evening 1-for-3.

* Darin Naatjes picked up the win in relief as it was the first in his Stanford career.

Texas      0 1 0  0 1 1  0 3 0  0   -    6   8   2
Stanford   0 0 0  0 1 0  0 0 5  1   -    7   9   4

Stanford and Texas will continue their three-game series tomorrow at 6pm.  Tim Cunningham (4-1, 3.43) is scheduled to start on the hill while Texas is expected to counter with Justin Simmons (7-0, 2.01 ERA).


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