Fall Ball: 10/28 Notes

Michael Taylor's grand slam in the second inning helped lead the Veterans to a 10-4 victory over the Freshmen on Friday afternoon at Sunken Diamond. With Fall Ball nearing a close, the Cardinal are playing three games featuring the returnees versus the newcomers beginning on Friday. Read on for a complete game report from the opener.

Friday, October 28th  --  Game One
Veterans  0 5 0  1 0 0  0 1 2  1   -   10  15   2
Freshmen  0 1 0  0 0 0  1 0 0  2   -    4   6   2

Veterans        POS   AB   R   H  RBI    BB  SO
Adam Sorgi      3B/SS  5   3   3   1      1   0
Chris Minaker   SS/3B  5   1   2   1      1   0
Michael Taylor   RF    6   2   2   4      0   2
John Hester     C/DH   4   0   3   2      2   1
Ryan Seawell     CF    5   1   2   0      0   0
Chris Lewis      2B    5   0   0   0      0   1
Brian Juhl      DH/C   3   2   1   2      2   0
Jeff Boes        LF    5   0   1   0      0   0
Randy Molina     1B    5   1   1   0      0   0

2B: Seawell
HR: Taylor (2nd inning, 3 on, 2 out)
SB: Sorgi

Freshmen        POS   AB   R   H  RBI    BB  SO
J.J. Jelmini    2B/SS  4   0   0   0      0   0
Cord Phelps     SS/2B  3   0   0   0      1   0
Jason Castro    1B/C   4   1   0   0      0   0
Brent Milleville C/1B  4   2   3   2      0   0
Joey August      LF    3   1   0   0      1   0
Austin Yount     3B    4   0   1   0      0   0
Sean Ratliff     RF    4   0   0   1      0   2
Jeff Whitlow     CF    4   0   1   1      0   0
Stephen Brown    DH    4   0   0   0      0   2
Jeremy Bleich    DH    3   0   1   0      0   1

2B: Milleville, Whitlow
HR: Milleville (2nd inning, 0 on, 0 out)

Pitchers        IP   H   R  ER  BB  SO
David Stringer  6.0  2   0   0   0   6
Grant Escue     4.0  8   7   7   5   0

Rex Petrill     5.0  4   3   2   1   1
Blake Hancock   5.0  7   4   4   2   3

Michael Taylor's grand slam keyed a five-run second inning for the Veterans en route to a convincing 10-4 victory over the Freshmen on Friday afternoon at Sunken Diamond.  With official fall practice concluding on Monday, the Cardinal are playing three games starting this afternoon featuring the returning players versus the newcomers.  The pitchers throwing on a given day are not assigned to a particular team as they'll face both veterans and freshmen during their stint on the mound.

The Veterans jumped on the scoreboard early and often on Friday.  Facing frosh lefty Grant Escue (who doubles as a first baseman), Brian Juhl started the rally with a one-out walk.  With two down, Randy Molina drove a single to left before leadoff hitter Adam Sorgi drew a walk to load the bases.  Chris Minaker then stepped to the plate and had arguably the at-bat of the game.  The senior shortstop quickly fell behind in the count 0-and-2 before fouling off countless pitches from Escue to remain in the AB.  He eventually worked the count full before fouling off three more 3-and-2 offerings.  Finally, on what had to be pitch #14 or 15 of the plate appearance, Minaker took ball four to force home a run.  It's at-bats like these that should make Minaker a successful #2 hitter for the Cardinal this season.

Taylor was up next and he also fell behind quickly 0-and-2.  Escue then threw a breaking ball well below the zone only to see Taylor reach down and line the offering over the fence in straightaway left field for the grand slam and a 5-0 lead.  It's at-bats like these that could lead to a breakout 2006 season for the sophomore from Florida.

Other big run-scoring hits for the Veterans on Friday came from John Hester and Juhl.  The senior catcher delivered a two-out infield single to deep shortstop in the fourth inning to drive home Sorgi who had earlier singled.  In their ninth at-bat, Juhl stepped to the plate with runners on second and third and two outs and promptly ripped a hard ground ball through the right side against Rex Petrill to score a pair of runs.  Hester capped the scoring for the Veterans with a two-out single to left field against Blake Hancock in the tenth.

Hester had a productive afternoon at the plate with three singles, two walks, and two RBI.  He continues to lead the club in RBI, by a large margin, during the fall practice season.  Sorgi reached base safely on four occasions and also stole a base.  Seawell earned the start in center field and delivered a pair of hits including a ringing double to deep right center field late in the contest.  The previously struggling utility player, Seawell started in center as Jim Rapoport missed the game (along with Brendan Domaracki) due to their required attendance at a class on campus.  Had Rapoport been present, he likely would have started in center with Seawell moving to first base (and Domaracki in left).

On the Freshman side, it was a one-man show with the slugging Brent Milleville leading the offensive attack.  In his first at-bat of the day, Milleville drove a pitch from Escue high over the trees just to the left of the scoreboard for a towering solo blast.  He later added a double off the fence in left center and a single up the middle.  Jeff Whitlow also supplied a big RBI hit when he crushed a double to deep right center field in the final inning.

Of note, Whitlow, August, and Ratliff rotated between the three outfield positions all afternoon.  Yount also saw some time at second base.

On the mound, the story of the day was the masterful performance of David Stringer.  A sophomore, the walk-on Stringer did not appear in a game last season as a pitcher but has shown enough positive signs during the fall that this will change in '06.  Stringer has had a number of solid performances during fall ball, but took it up a notch on Friday. 

The Palo Alto native, Stringer was in complete control during his entire lengthy stint on the hill.  The right-hander looked very confident and was attacking hitters all afternoon.  On numerous occasions, Stringer, who doesn't necessarily overpower hitters, would retire batters on three pitches or less.  Toward the end of his day, he started racking up strike outs with some regularity as he finished the afternoon with six K's. 

Stringer's emergence is similar to what we saw from Jeff Gilmore at the start of his sophomore campaign.  Will Stringer become a starter this year and an eventual All-Conference pitcher?  Probably not.  But the second-year player has shown tremendous improvement from last year and has a chance to see some innings out of the bullpen this season.

The Cardinal will play Game Two of this series on Sunday afternoon at Sunken Diamond.

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