Offense Explodes Late In 11-3 Victory

Stanford exploded for 11 runs over the final four innings to defeat the Washington State Cougars 11-3 on Saturday afternoon at Sunken Diamond. It was a balanced offensive attack today with every spot in the starting lineup getting at least one hit while John Hudgins had a solid outing on the mound. Read on for a recap plus a look at where the Card stand in the conference race with now just one game remaining.

It took a few innings, but once the Stanford bats finally got going there was no stopping them in an 11-3 rout of the Washington State Cougars on Saturday afternoon at Sunken Diamond.  Sam Fuld (2-for-4, 2B, 2 RBI), Chris O'Riordan (2-for-3, 2B), and Andy Topham (2-for-3, RBI) all had big days offensively as the Cardinal improved their overall record to 39-16 on the season.  Unfortunately for Stanford though, they didn't get any help elsewhere around the conference as once again both USC and Washington were winners.  The Trojans remain in first place with a 16-7 conference record while the Cardinal and Huskies are still a game back with identical 15-8 league marks.

The Cougars (21-32, 6-17) got on the scoreboard first off Stanford starter John Hudgins when Jeffrey LaRue hit a solo homer to left field in the top of the second inning.  Hudgins though would settle down after that homer as he put up zeros in each of the third, fourth, and fifth innings.  Good control was the key for Hudgins as he went the first five frames without walking a single batter and the Cougars never really mounted a serious threat off of him.

Meanwhile, WSU starter Brandon Hundt was having an easy time of it against the Stanford hitters through the first four frames.  The Cardinal mustered only three hits (all singles) and grounded into two double plays in the those four innings.  Finally Stanford broke through with a single run in the bottom of the fifth with some help from the Washington State defense.  With runners on at first and second and two out, Sam Fuld popped a ball up in foul territory on the third base side, but WSU catcher Jon Baeder and third baseman Jeffrey LaRue collided and neither was able to come up with the ball as Fuld had another life.  The sophomore centerfielder would capitalize as he singled to center field scoring Topham to tie the game at 1-1.

After Hudgins pitched a scoreless sixth, the Cardinal offense went back to work off Hundt in the bottom half of the inning.  Jason Cooper led off with a walk and then Chris O'Riordan doubled to right moving Cooper to third.  After Carlos Quentin popped out for the first out of the inning, Scott Dragicevich singled home Cooper and then Andy Topham flew out to left field scoring O'Riordan which pushed the lead to 3-1.  Hudgins went back out to the mound in the seventh and he walked the leadoff hitter and was then pulled in favor of Dan Rich.  Rich got off to a rough start as the first pitch he delivered was hit over the fence in left field by Tyson Boston to tie the game at 3-3.  Rich was able to get out of the inning without any more runs scoring, but the damage had already been done.

But at this point the Cardinal offense was rolling as they exploded for six runs in the bottom of the seventh to take control of the game.  Chris Carter led off with a single and then Fuld doubled off the base of the wall in left field scoring Carter all the way from first to put Stanford ahead 4-3.  Ryan Garko was the next hitter and he singled moving Fuld to third and then Jason Cooper flew out to deep right field scoring Fuld from third for a 5-3 lead.  After O'Riordan was hit by the pitch and Quentin walked to load the bases, Scott Dragicevich had yet another Stanford sacrifice fly as he flew out to right field scoring Garko extending the lead to 6-3.  Brian Hall then delivered the big hit with a two-run double to center field scoring both O'Riordan and Quentin and then Hall scored on an Andy Topham single to cap the inning off as Stanford all of a sudden had a commanding 9-3 advantage.

Rich came back out in the top of the eighth and did not allow a run and then Arik VanZandt added two more insurance runs in the bottom half of the inning with a two-run home run to left field.  Drew Ehrlich relieved Rich in the ninth and pitched a quick 1-2-3 inning and Stanford had the victory.

Game Notes :
* It was a solid outing for John Hudgins today as the sophomore went six innings yielding two runs on five hits.  He walked only one and struck out one, but received a no-decision.

* The multiple-hit game for Fuld today was his 20th in the last 23 contests.  Over that span of 23 games he is hitting .515 (51-for-99) and has raised his team-leading batting average to .392.  He also now has 96 hits on the season which is puts him in a tie for eighth in the single-season Stanford record book.  The Cardinal record is 108 hits (postseason statistics do count toward your overall numbers for the year).

* The Cardinal have scored in double figures now in three consecutive games and in five out of the last six contests.

* The victory today also assured Stanford of yet another regular season without a series loss at home.  They've now won 22 consecutive regular season series' at Sunken Diamond dating back to April of 1999.

Washington State    0 1 0  0 0 0  2 0 0   -   3   7   2
Stanford            0 0 0  0 1 2  6 2 x   -  11  13   2

The Cardinal will conclude the regular season tomorrow afternoon when they take on the Cougars once again at 1pm.  Tim Cunningham (7-2, 3.96) will be on the hill for Stanford while Washington State is expected to go with Bryce Chamberlin (0-1, 7.60).

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