This afternoon, the scoring began in the bottom of the second inning when Cardinal third baseman Scott Dragicevich led off with a home run to left field. It was Dragicevich's second homer of the season and is second in as many days. The lead would be short-lived though as the Bears (26-26, 8-13) struck for three runs off Hudgins in the top of the third. With one out, leadoff hitter Nick Medrano homered to left to tie the game at 1-1. Two batters later, the Pac-10 leader in homers, Conor Jackson, belted his 16th bomb of the year putting the Bears ahead 2-1. They wouldn't stop there as the following hitter was John Baker and he promptly doubled and then came home with Cal's third run of the inning on a Brian Horwitz single.
The Cardinal (32-13, 9-6) would bounce right back though with three of their own in the bottom of third to reclaim the lead. Sam Fuld led off with a single, stole second, and then advanced to third on a fly out off the bat of Ryan Garko. After Jason Cooper walked putting two runners on base, Carlos Quentin cleared the bases with a triple to the right-center field gap tying the game at 3-3. Quentin then came home when the following hitter, Brian Hall, flew out to center field for a sacrifice fly.
The see-saw battle continued in the top of the fourth inning when with one out, Justin Nelson homered to left-center field tying the game at 4-4. Hudgins got out of the fourth frame then put up a quick zero in the top of the fifth inning to keep the score tied. Stanford went ahead for good in the bottom of the fifth inning when Fuld led off with home run to right field, his fifth homer of the year. Consecutive walks to Garko and Cooper and then a sacrifice bunt by Quentin put runners at second and third with just one out. Stanford's excellent station-to-station, fundamentaly sound afternoon continued when Brian Hall stepped up and flew out to center field easily scoring Garko from third for a 6-4 Cardinal lead. Scott Dragicevich was the next hitter and Dragicevich grounded a ball to shortstop to his brother, Jeff, who fired the ball low and past first baseman Conor Jackson allowing Cooper to score from second increasing Stanford's lead to 7-4.
Meanwhile, Hudgins worked a perfect sixth inning, but then gave up a leadoff double to Carson White in the seventh inning which ended his afternoon. Darin Naatjes was summoned from the bullpen and Naatjes gave up a RBI single to John Baker cutting the lead to 7-5, but then got out of the inning without allowing any additional runs to score. After Ryan McCally put up a zero in the top of the eighth inning, Stanford added an insurance run in the bottom of the eighth when Arik VanZandt homered to left pushing the lead back up to three runs. McCally went back out in the ninth and needed just ten pitches to retire the Bears hitters and Stanford had completed the sweep.
Game Notes :
* Sam Fuld's hitting tear continued with a 2-for-3 performance this afternoon. Fuld now has multiple-hit games in six consecutive contests and 12 out of the last 13 games. He's hitting .566 (30-for-53) over that span of 13 games and also leads the team in batting average at a .377 clip.
* Hudgins wasn't spectacular on the mound, but pitched well enough to get his team-leading eighth victory of the season. The sophomore right hander went six innings this afternoon yielding five runs on nine hits. He also walked one and struck out four.
* Cal starting pitcher Matt Brown was extremely ineffective on the mound giving up seven runs (six earned) on six hits in his four-plus innings of work. But Bears reliever Matt Payne kept Cal in the game as he gave up only the VanZandt solo homer in his four innings of work.
* Ryan McCally picked-up his sixth save of the season with two scoreless innings out of the bullpen.
* Today's announced crowd of 4,143 was the largest of the season at Sunken Diamond.
* This was Stanford's third series sweep of the season. They had previously swept Cal Poly at home (March 1-3) and USC down in Los Angeles (March 23-24).
0 0 3 1 0 0 1 0 0 - 5
Stanford 0 1 3 0 3 0 0 1 x - 8 7 0
The Cardinal will next be in action on Tuesday evening when they travel down the Highway 101 to battle the Santa Clara Broncos in a single non-conference game. First pitch is scheduled for 6pm.