Card Outlast Trojans In Ten Innings

In another edge-of-your-seat, nail-biting game at Sunken Diamond, the Cardinal edged the USC Trojans 6-5 in ten innings on Friday night. Stanford had to battle back once again to send the game into extra innings, but that was only half the fun. In a rollercoaster tenth inning, the Cardinal prevailed over the Trojans to claim game one of the series. Read on for a complete recap.

In a game filled with many twists and turns, the 2nd ranked Stanford Cardinal eventually prevailed over the USC Trojans 6-5 in ten innings on Friday evening at Sunken Diamond.  The Cardinal (24-7, 3-1) battled back from 4-1 down to tie the game at 4-4 and send it to extras.  After USC (19-15, 5-2) scored a run in the top of the tenth, Stanford answered back with two tallies in the bottom of the inning to win the game.  Sam Fuld delivered the game-winning hit with an RBI single to left field with the bases loaded in the tenth making a winner of Ryan McCally on the mound.  But that doesn't tell half the story.

The scoring started in the top of the first inning when the Trojans put across two runs off Stanford starting pitcher Jeremy Guthrie.  USC got some help from the Cardinal in the inning as Guthrie uncorked two wild pitches and Chris Carter made a costly error at first base allowing a run to score.  In the bottom of the second, Stanford got on the scoreboard when freshman Danny Putnam hit his first career home run cutting the lead in half at 2-1.  Both starting pitchers, Guthrie and Anthony Reyes, settled down after those early struggles and it looked like this game was headed for a pitcher's duel.  But in the top of the fifth, with the score still 2-1 Trojans, USC pushed across two more runs.  With two outs, Michael Morales singled and stole second base.  Brian Barre then doubled home Morales while the next hitter, Michael Moon, singled, scoring Barre and all of a sudden the lead was up to 4-1 in favor of USC.

So it appeared for Stanford to win this game it would require another comeback and that's exactly what they did.  Chris O'Riordan led off the bottom of the sixth with a home run to left-center field making the score 4-2.  Then in the bottom of the seventh Chris Carter blasted his second home run of the year cutting the Trojan lead to one run.  The Cardinal would threaten to score more runs in that seventh inning as they loaded the bases with two out for Ryan Garko.  On a 2-2 pitch, Garko hit a high pop-up in foul territory on the first base side.  But USC first baseman Bill Peavey dropped the routine pop-up just a couple of feet in foul ground and Garko had another life.  Unfortunately for Stanford fans though, Garko was unable to come through as Trojan reliever Brett Bannister struck him out on the next pitch and the score remained 4-3 heading into the eighth.

After Guthrie worked a perfect 1-2-3 inning in the top of eighth, the Cardinal bats went to work in the bottom half of the inning.  Jason Cooper led off with a hard-hit double down the right field line and then was bunted over to third by Carlos Quentin.  Danny Putnam then came through in the clutch with a single to left field scoring Cooper tying the game at 4-4.  Pitcher Jon Williams though was able to get out of the inning without any further damage getting Arik VanZandt to ground out with two on to retire the side.

After another 1-2-3 inning for Guthrie in the top of the ninth, Stanford came to the plate in the last half of the ninth with a chance to win it.  O'Riordan and Fuld were easily retired to start the inning but consecutive singles by Garko and Donny Lucy (who entered the game in the top of the inning) brought Carlos Quentin to the plate needing only a single to win the game.  This is where it got interesting from a coaching standpoint as Coach Marquess elected to pinch-run for Garko at second base.  What made the move interesting was because Donny Lucy, the back-up catcher, was already in the game, and the bench was already very thin from early substitutions.  So Coach Marquess sent out relief pitcher J.D. Willcox to run at second base, but it was a mute point as Quentin struck out to end the inning sending the game into extra innings.

In the tenth, Ryan McCally relieved Guthrie on the hill.  In other defense changes, Lucy moved from DH to catcher forcing McCally to have to bat in the #3 spot in the lineup.  In that top half of the inning, McCally easily set down the first two hitters of the inning and then Brian Barre hit a soft roller out in front of the plate in what seemed to be the final out of the inning.  But Lucy sailed his throw to first base and Barre was safe prolonging the inning.  Michael Moon then stepped up and blooped a single to center moving Barre to third and then Joey Metropoulos walked loading the bases for #4 hitter Bill Peavey.  On a 1-0 pitch, Peavey crushed a ball to deep right field that was hooking toward the foul line.  The only question was fair or foul as the ball was way over the fence.  Fortunately for Stanford, the ball just hooked foul and the score remained tied, for now.  After Peavey worked the count full, he drew a walk forcing home a run which gave USC back the lead at 5-4.  McCally settled down after that retiring Alberto Concepcion on a ground out and Stanford had one more chance to stay alive.

Danny Putnam led off the bottom of the tenth with a bloop fly ball to shallow left field that fell in when USC leftfielder Michael Morales got a bad break on the ball and then was unable to make the catch.  It went for an error and the Cardinal had a runner at second base with none out.  Coach Marquess then elected not to bunt Chris Carter and Carter was unable to come through as he fouled out for the first out of the inning.  That brought Andy Topham to the plate and Topham grounded a ball to the left side of the infield and legged it out for an infield hit.  Putnam remained at second putting runners at first and second with one out.  Brian Hall was then asked to pinch-hit for VanZandt and Hall hit a slow roller to the first-base side of the pitchers mound.  Pitcher Jon Williams went over to field it but so did Peavey the first baseman.  With his great speed, Hall was going to beat it out but Williams inexplicably tried to throw out Hall at first and fired the ball wide of the bag and down the first base line.  Before the Trojans were able to recover it, Putnam had scored the tying run, Topham had advanced to third and Hall was standing on second.  USC coach Mike Gillespie then elected to intentionally walk O'Riordan which loaded the bases for Sam Fuld.  With the count 1-and-2, Fuld lined a ball down the left field line for a single scoring Topham from third and giving Stanford a thrilling 6-5, ten inning win.

Game Notes :
* Had Fuld not been able to get the game-winning run home in the tenth, Ryan McCally would have been forced to hit with the bases loaded and two out.

* With the win, Stanford moved to within a half game of USC.  Arizona State vaulted into first place in the conference after defeating UCLA.  The Sun Devils are now 7-3, USC is a 1/2 game back at 5-2, while the Card are a full game back at 3-1 (but two games ahead in the loss column).

* Guthrie went nine full innings on the mound giving up six hits and four runs (three earned).  He walked two and struck out eight.

USC        2 0 0  0 2 0  0 0 0  1   -   5   7   3
Stanford   0 1 0  0 0 1  1 1 0  2   -   6  13   3

The Cardinal and Trojans will continue their series tomorrow afternoon at Sunken Diamond with first pitch scheduled for 1pm.  Tim Cunningham (5-1, 2.67) will start on the mound for Stanford while USC is expected to send out Matt Chico (4-3, 5.24).

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