Card Defeat LBSU 8-4, Advance To Super-Regionals

The Cardinal doubled up the Long Beach State 49ers 8-4 this afternoon at Sunken Diamond to win the Stanford Regional and advance to the Super-Regionals. John Hudgins went the distance on the mound while home runs from Chris Carter, Jason Cooper, and Chris O'Riordan keyed the offensive attack. Here is a recap of all the action.

The Stanford Cardinal continued their winning ways this afternoon with an 8-4 victory over the Long Beach State 49ers to advance to the NCAA Super-Regionals.  Ryan Garko broke a 2-2 tie in the bottom of the fifth with an RBI double and then a Jason Cooper home run put Stanford up 5-2 to which they would never look back.  On the mound, John Hudgins went the distance scattering 11 hits while walking just one and striking out six to improve his record to 9-1.  The Cardinal will now await the winner of the Los Angeles Regional as the USC Trojans and BYU Cougars battle it out tomorrow afternoon.  The Trojans need only one win to advance while the Cougars need two victories to move onto the Super-Regionals.

For the second consecutive day, Stanford went out ahead early as Chris Carter led off the bottom of the first inning with a line drive home run over the fence in right field to put the Card in front 1-0.  In the top of the second inning, Hudgins gave up a one out single, but got Brad Davis to ground into a 5-4-3 double play to end the inning.  But it was not your typical double play as Scott Dragicevich at third had to make a diving stop to his backhand then from the ground fired to second for the force out on the runner and then Chris O'Riordan threw on to first to complete the dazzling double play.

The Cardinal picked up an unearned run in the bottom of the second inning as Carlos Quentin reached second on an error on the third baseman and then Dragicevich promptly singled him home to make the score 2-0.  Hudgins meanwhile continued to cruise as the sophomore righthander through four innings had given up just two singles and walked only one batter.  But the 49ers (39-21) would not stay down for long as in the top of the fifth Nick Covarrubias and Brad Davis led off the inning with consecutive singles.  Chris Wright was the next hitter and he laid down a bunt that Hudgins fielded but then threw wildly past Dragicevich at third base allowing Covarrubias to score to cut the lead in half at 2-1.  Two batters later, Edgar Varela lined a single into right field scoring Davis and all of a sudden the game had been tied at 2-2.  The inning could have been much worse as the Beach had runners on first and third with one out, but the Cardinal defense came up big once again turning a 3-6-3 double play to end the inning.

With the score tied at 2-2, the Cardinal hitters finally got to LBSU starter Josh Alliston in the bottom half of the fifth.  With one out, Sam Fuld singled and then Ryan Garko drove him home with a double off the wall in left-center field.  Jason Cooper was the next hitter and the junior left fielder hit a towering home run to right field increasing the lead to 5-2.  But Stanford wasn't done in the inning.  After an O'Riordan flyout, Carlos Quentin walked and then stole second base.  Dragicevich was the next hitter and he hit a routine ground ball to short only to have LBSU shortstop Kevin Randel throw the ball past first baseman Mike Hofius and into the 49ers dugout to score Quentin for a 6-2 lead.  Dragicevich then came across to score on an Andy Topham bloop single to push the lead up to 7-2.

After Hudgins got through the sixth and seventh innings with ease, Chris O'Riordan led off the bottom of the seventh with a solo home run to left field, his 10th homer of the season, to give Stanford an 8-2 advantage.  Hudgins ran into some trouble in the top of the eighth as he gave up two runs on three hits but got out of the inning by striking out Brad Davis with a runner on base to keep the score 8-4.  Then in the bottom of the ninth with a runner on at first base and two outs, Hudgins struck out Kevin Randel to complete the game and send Stanford into the Super-Regionals.

Game Notes :
* Stanford's home dominance continued this weekend with a 3-0 showing.  The Cardinal are now 27-4 at Sunken Diamond this season which includes seven consecutive home victories and a staggering 14-1 record in their last 15 home contests.

* Three more home runs for Stanford today gives them 82 on the season which is tied for fifth best in school history.

* Sam Fuld had another hit today which vaulted him past Chris O'Riordan's 101 hits from last season and into fifth place on Stanford's single-season hits list.  He needs six more hits to tie the record and seven more to brake it.

* In the three games this weekend, the Cardinal used only four pitchers.  Jeremy Guthrie went the distance on Friday night while John Hudgins did the same today.  Tim Cunningham and Dan Rich both pitched in yesterday's victory over Long Beach State.

* The win today also extended Stanford's season-long winning streak to seven games.

* It doesn't show in the box score, but the defense today from third baseman Scott Dragicevich and shortstop Andy Topham was unbelievable.  The Dragicevich double play was mentioned above and Topham continues to make spectacular plays at shortstop.

Long Beach State     0 0 0  0 2 0  0 2 0   -   4   11   3
Stanford             1 1 0  0 5 0  1 0 x   -   8   11   1

Super-Regional action starts on Friday night as the Cardinal will either play USC or BYU.  Official announcement of the host sites will be made at 12pm tomorrow afternoon and it is expected that Sunken Diamond will be named as one of the hosts.  Game One will be on Friday night at 7pm, Game Two on Saturday at 1pm, and Game Three (if necessary) on Sunday at 1pm.  If Stanford is playing BYU, Game Three would be moved to Monday.

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