Things started well for the Cardinal (35-15) as they scored four runs in the top of the first inning to take the early lead. Chris O'Riordan led off with a double and then scored when the following hitter, Sam Fuld, singled. Ryan Garko was then hit by the pitch but the struggling Jason Cooper then grounded into a 4-6-3 double play erasing Garko on the base paths. After a walk to Carlos Quentin, Nevada starting pitcher George Moran then balked home Fuld extending the lead to 2-0. Brian Hall was then hit by the pitch and he and Quentin would later score on a two-out single off the bat of Scott Dragicevich.
The Wolf Pack (22-29, 7-17 in WAC play) would answer back though with two runs of their own in the bottom of the first inning. Starting pitcher Darin Naatjes walked the leadoff hitter Chris Dickerson and then the next hitter, Taylor Pullins, doubled, scoring Dickerson all the way from first base. After a ground out for the first out of the inning, clean-up hitter Tony Cappuccilli doubled scoring Pullins which cut the lead to 4-2. Naatjes then walked #5 hitter Mike Hass and just like that his afternoon was done as J.D. Willcox was summoned from the bullpen. Willcox got out of the first inning without any further damage but struggled in the bottom of the second. With two outs, Dickerson singled and then Pullins homered to tie the game at 4-4. The next three batters would then reach base on a walk, double, and a walk which forced another pitching change as Drew Ehrlich was brought in to pitch. Ehrlich got out of the bases loaded jam inducing Craig Markel to ground into a fielder's choice, but the sophomore righthander would struggle mightily in the bottom of the third.
Meanwhile, the Stanford offense went back to work in the top of the third inning off Moran. With two outs, Carlos Quentin homered to left field, his 10th home run of the season, putting the Cardinal back ahead at 5-4. Consecutive walks to Hall and Dragicevich put two runners on base for Andy Topham and the Cardinal shortstop came through with a double scoring both runners which extended the lead to 7-4. The lead would be short-lived though as the Wolf Pack hitters continued to feast off the Stanford bullpen. Drew Ehrlich went back out to the mound in the bottom of the third inning and he had a real tough time. With runners on second and third and two outs, Pullins reached on an infield single scoring one run, but then the second runner came across when Andy Topham's throw to first was wild. The next hitter was Mike Gillies and Gillies put the Wolf Pack ahead for the first time with a home run to left field and then the Wolf Pack would another run off Ehrlich before he was pulled in favor of Mark Jecmen. Jecmen got out of the inning, but the damage had already been done with Nevada leading now 9-7.
In the top of the fourth, O'Riordan led off with a double, advanced to third on a Fuld single and then Garko walked to load the bases. But Jason Cooper grounded into another 4-6-3 double play and although it scored O'Riordan cutting the lead to 9-8, any hopes of a big inning were dashed. In the bottom of the fourth, Nevada put across two runs off Jecmen when Jeff Tolotti hit a two-run homer pushing the lead up to 11-8.
Stanford went quietly in the fifth inning, but managed to score two runs in the top of the sixth to reduce the lead back down to one run. Arik VanZandt led the inning off with a home run while the second run of the frame scored on a Quentin fielder's choice scoring Fuld who had earlier singled. Meanwhile, lefty Dan Rich came on in the fifth inning and shut down the Wolf Pack hitters putting up zeros in both the fifth and sixth innings to keep Stanford close. Then in the top of the seventh, Scott Dragicevich led off with a home run, his third of the season, tying the game at 11-11.
Rich was done after his two scoreless innings as Ryan McCally was then summoned from the bullpen. With two outs and nobody on in the seventh, McCally walked Cappuccilli and then gave up the home run to Hass which put the Wolf Pack back out in front. The Cardinal mounted a rally in the top of the ninth as they put across one run on an Arik VanZandt sacrifice fly scoring Dragicevich who had earlier doubled. But the game ended with Chris O'Riordan, who represented the go-ahead run, flying out to the warning track in the left field.
Game Notes :
* Naatjes, Willcox, Ehrlich, and Jecmen combined to throw four innings while giving up 11 runs on 12 hits. Dan Rich pitched two scoreless frames and then McCally took the loss when he gave up two runs in his two innings of work.
* Sam Fuld's hitting tear continued as the sophomore centerfielder went 3-for-5 this afternoon. Fuld now has 16 multi-hit games in the last 18 contests.
* Other offensive stars for the Cardinal today included Scott Dragicevich (3-for-4, 2B, HR, 3 RBI), Arik VanZandt (3-for-4, HR, 2 RBI), and Chris O'Riordan (2-for-6, 2 2B).
* The teams combined for seven home runs this afternoon with Stanford hitting three (all solo homers) and Nevada hitting four (all two-run homers).
0 3 1 0 2 1 0 1 - 12 14
Nevada 2 2 5 2 0 0 2 0 x - 13 16 0
The Cardinal will next be in action this weekend as they travel down to Los Angeles to take on the UCLA Bruins in a crucial three-game series. First pitch on Friday is scheduled for 6pm while the games will begin at 1pm on Saturday and Sunday.