Hitting Slump Continues as Card Lose Again

For the second consecutive weekend, the Stanford baseball team has dropped a series as they fell to the Oregon State Beavers 4-3 this afternoon in Corvallis. The Cardinal were only able to produce seven hits in the game and have now scored just four runs on 11 hits in the series. Read on for a recap.

The hitting slump for the Stanford Cardinal continued again this afternoon as the Oregon State Beavers won game two by a score of 4-3.  The Cardinal mustered only seven hits, after getting only four yesterday, and drop under .500 in Pacific-10 Conference play.  Stanford (28-12, 5-6) is now 4 1/2 games behind USC in the Pac-10 race and will now likely have to go unbeaten to have a chance to win the conference title.

The scoring began in the bottom of the first inning as the Beavers (27-14, 6-5) put across a single run off Tim Cunningham.  With one out, #3 hitter Brian Barden singled home leadoff hitter Tom Creighton, who had earlier singled, for a 1-0 lead.  The Cardinal answered back with a run in the top of the third as Andy Topham led off with a double and then scored two batters later when Sam Fuld singled him home.  Stanford went ahead in the top of the fourth inning on a sacrifice fly off the bat of Danny Putnam scoring Ryan Garko who had earlier singled.

Meanwhile, Tim Cunningham was dealing on the mound as he had retired ten consecutive hitters since the Barden single in the first inning.  But left fielder Seth Pietsch broke the streak with two outs in the bottom of the fourth with a solo home run to left field tying the game at 2-2.  The Beavers would go ahead in the bottom of the sixth inning when with one out, Barden reached on an infield single, stole second, advanced to third on a wild pitch, and then scored on a double off the bat of Pietsch.  Cunningham would get out of the sixth and then work a 1-2-3 seventh inning to complete his afternoon.  The junior lefthander, in his seven innings of work, gave up three runs on five hits while walking one and striking out seven.

With the score still 3-2 Beavers heading into the top of the eighth, the Cardinal hitters went to work in an attempt to tie the game.  Tobin Swope, who was hitting leadoff for the first time this season, singled and then Sam Fuld singled putting two runners on base with none out.  Chris O'Riordan was the next hitter and he sacrificed them over to second and third with one out.  Garko then stepped to the plate and he flew out to right field, but it was deep enough to score Swope from third tying the game at 3-3.  After Carlos Quentin was intentionally walked, Chris Carter was asked to pinch-hit for Brian Hall and the freshman lefthander grounded out to second to end the inning.

Dan Rich was brought out to pitch the bottom of the eighth inning with the score tied and the senior lefty did his job, but didn't get any help from his defenders.  With one out, Aaron Mathews walked and then advanced to second on a Brian Barden single.  J.R. Runyon was the next hitter and he struck out for the second out of the inning, but on the strike three pitch, the ball got away from the catcher Garko and the runners moved up to second and third.  Garko though threw down to second to get Barden who was trying to advance and he threw the ball into centerfield allowing Mathews to score from third giving OSU the 4-3 lead.  After an intentional walk to the next hitter, Rich got out of the inning, but the damage had already been done.

Stanford staged a mini-rally in the top of the ninth as with two outs Andy Topham singled and then stole second base.  But Tobin Swope could not come through in the clutch as he struck out on a 3-2 pitch from Beavers closer Jared Sanders to end the game.

Game Notes :
* Stanford has scored just 23 runs in their last six games (3.8 per game) as they've gone 2-4 in that stretch.  In those four losses, the Card have only scored eight runs.

* Slumping hitters ... Chris O'Riordan (1 hit in last 12 at-bats), Brian Hall (3 hits in last 21 at-bats), Danny Putnam (3 hits in last 25 at-bats), Jason Cooper (0 hits in last 11 at-bats), Arik VanZandt (4 hits in last 19 at-bats).

* Pitching hasn't been the problem in this recent six-game losing stretch for the Cardinal.  In those six games, the pitching staff has a 3.51 ERA.  The problem is the Cardinal hitters have hit just .264 (but just .186 as a team in the four losses).

* With two errors today, catcher Ryan Garko now co-leads the team with seven errors.  He also has 11 passed balls behind the plate.

Stanford       0 0 1  1 0 0  0 1 0   -   3   7   2
Oregon State   1 0 0  1 0 1  0 1 x   -   4   8   0

Stanford will try to avoid being swept for the first time since the 1997 season when the teams meet tomorrow in the series finale at 1pm.  John Hudgins (6-0, 4.63) is on the mound for the Cardinal while the Beavers are expected to counter with lefty Mark McLemore (2-2, 4.35).

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