Card Complete Sweep Of Titans

Unranked in the Baseball America preseason poll for the first time ever, the Cardinal baseball team didn't play the part this weekend. On Sunday, it was a 6-3 victory over the 5th ranked Cal State Fullerton Titans to complete the three-game sweep. Two freshmen pitchers excelled in the late innings to perserve the win while a pair of returning hitters each blasted home runs.

The Stanford Cardinal used strong pitching and timely hitting as their recipe for success in Sunday's 6-3 victory over Cal State Fullerton to secure the series sweep.  On a sun-drenched afternoon at Sunken Diamond, it was yet another freshman relief pitcher earning the victory on the mound with Austin Yount picking up the win.  Classmate Jeremy Bleich notched the save while Michael Taylor and Chris Lewis each blasted home runs.  The Cardinal pitching staff held the Titans, ranked fifth in the preseason Baseball America poll, to just nine runs over the three games.

A theme all weekend in this series sweep has certainly been the performances of the freshman class.  Yount provided three extra base hits, including a home run, over the first two games of the series.  On Sunday, it was his chance to show what he could do on the mound.  With the Cardinal leading 6-2, Yount was inserted into the ballgame in the top of the seventh inning with runners on first and second and none out.  His challenge was facing the middle of the Fullerton lineup with clean-up man Brett Pill due up first.  The poised right-hander though certainly didn't look as if he was making his collegiate debut on the mound retiring Pill on a routine fly ball to center, John Curtis on a ground ball to second (which scored a run), and David Cooper via the strike out.

A perfect 1-2-3 eighth inning followed for Yount with a pair of ground outs and a fly out.  In the ninth, Brandon Tripp led off with a single followed by a hit batsman of Justin Turner.  Yount was promptly removed from the contest in favor of Bleich - the talented southpaw who did not allow a hit in 2 1/3 innings on Friday night to earn the win.  It was more of the same for Bleich today as he breezed through the 3-4-5 hitters to record the save.  Preseason All-American Blake Davis flied out to left field before Pill struck out swinging.  Bleich finished the game by inducing Curtis to ground out to first base.  All total, it's now 3 1/3 hitless innings for Bleich over his first two collegiate appearances.  He now has a win and a save on his record.

Early in the game, it was a pair of returning power hitters that gave Stanford the lead.  In the bottom of the first inning, Michael Taylor blasted an 0-1 pitch from Lauren Gagnier over the fence in left field for a solo home run.  The moon shot was Taylor's first round-tripper of the season and it gave the Cardinal a 1-0 lead.

Then in the bottom of the second, frosh Jason Castro lined a single into center field with one out to start a rally.  Chris Lewis, who was hitless in six at-bats coming into the AB, then took a 2-0 pitch from Gagnier and crushed it over the wall in straightaway left field.  The two-run blast pushed Stanford's lead up to 3-0.

Matt Leva kept the Titans off the scoreboard during his four-inning stint on the mound.  The junior right-hander, who is Stanford's most experienced returning starter, worked in-and-out of trouble over the first three innings of the contest.  A leadoff walk and a one-out single in the first inning didn't faze the Texas native as he quickly set down the side on a fly out and a strike out.

In the second, it was a Danny Dorn bloop double with one out followed by a walk to Evan McArthur that set up a rally.  But Leva came back with a double play ground out off the bat of Jared Clark to keep the Cardinal in front.

Then in the third, it was a pair of one-out singles and a two-out walk to Curtis that loaded the bases.  It was at this point that we saw the defensive play of the game as Cooper grounded a ball to the right side that was stopped on a fabulous diving effort by Lewis.  The senior second baseman fielded the ball cleanly and threw out Cooper at first base preserving Stanford's lead at 3-0.

Leva worked a perfect 1-2-3 fourth inning and was then removed from the contest.  A pitch count of 66, a handful of stressful innings, and plenty of available arms in the bullpen led to his departure as Blake Holler was summoned.

Holler labored over his two-plus inning stint on the mound.  The junior lefty allowed three hits and walked two batters.  Two errors were also committed with him on the mound (one of which was Holler's).  The result was the experienced southpaw basically spending his entire afternoon working out of the stretch position.  He threw a whopping 57 pitches during his time on the hill.

To Holler's credit, he avoided the big inning thanks to three key strike outs.  The Titans scored single runs in the fifth and sixth frames against Holler before he was taken out of the game in the seventh with two runners on and none out.

Stanford's other three runs today all came in the bottom of the fifth inning.  It was two more freshmen again right in the middle of everything as third baseman Cord Phelps singled to left before left fielder Joey August singled sharply to right.  Jim Rapoport brought home Phelps with a double to deep right center field with the final two runs eventually scoring on sacrifice flies (from frosh pinch-hitter Sean Ratliff and Taylor).  Taylor's sac fly was a pop-up caught just past the infield dirt by the shortstop Davis.  Davis though was playing in given the current situation and thus made the catch with his back to the infield.  The speedy Rapoport took advantage as he raced home and the bang-bang play saw the catcher Curtis drop the ball.  The run gave Stanford a 6-1 lead.

CS Fullerton   0 0 0  0 1 1  1 0 0   -   3   8   0
Stanford       1 2 0  0 3 0  0 0 X   -   6   7   2

CS Fullerton        POS   AB   R   H  RBI    BB  SO
Brandon Tripp        CF    4   1   2   0     1   2
Justin Turner        2B    4   1   2   0     0   1
Blake Davis          SS    4   0   2   0     0   1
Brett Pill           1B    4   0   0   0     1   1
John Curtis           C    3   1   0   1     2   1
Wes Roemer           DH    0   0   0   0     0   0
 David Cooper      PH/DH   4   0   1   0     0   1
Danny Dorn           LF    4   0   1   0     0   0
Evan McArthur        3B    2   0   0   1     1   0
 Clark Hardman       PH    1   0   0   0     0   0
 Bryan Harris        3B    0   0   0   0     0   0
Jared Clark          RF    3   0   0   0     0   1
 Cory Vanderhook     PH    1   0   0   0     0   0
 Joe Turgeon         RF    0   0   0   0     0   0

2B: Dorn
SB: Tripp
CS: Pill

                    IP   H   R  ER  BB  SO
Lauren Gagnier (L)  6.0  6   6   6   1   6
Dustin Miller       1.0  0   0   0   0   0
Ryan Paul           0.1  0   0   0   0   0
Vinnie Pestano      0.2  1   0   0   0   0

Stanford            POS   AB   R   H  RBI    BB  SO
Jim Rapoport         CF    4   1   1   1      0   0
Matt Manship         DH    0   0   0   0      0   0
 Brendan Domaracki PH/DH   2   0   0   0      0   2
 Sean Ratliff        PH    0   0   0   1      0   0
 Brent Milleville    PH    1   0   0   0      0   0
Michael Taylor       RF    3   1   2   2      0   0
John Hester           C    4   0   0   0      0   2
Chris Minaker        SS    4   0   0   0      0   0
Jason Castro         1B    3   1   1   0      0   0
Chris Lewis          2B    3   1   1   2      0   1
Cord Phelps          3B    3   1   1   0      0   1
Joey August          LF    2   1   1   0      1   0
 Ryan Seawell        LF    0   0   0   0      0   0

2B: Rapoport
HR: Taylor, Lewis

                    IP   H   R  ER  BB  SO
Matt Leva           4.0  4   0   0   3   3
Blake Holler        2.0  3   3   1   2   3
Austin Yount (W)    2.0  1   0   0   0   1
Jeremy Bleich (S)   1.0  0   0   0   0   1

* Stanford swept their season-opening series for the fourth consecutive year (2003: vs./at Santa Clara, 2004: vs. CS Fullerton, 2005: vs. Fresno State).

* Fullerton head coach George Horton is a remarkable 1-14 at Sunken Diamond since taking over the team in 1997.

* Stanford swept the series despite the three senior hitters (Hester, Lewis, and Minaker) batting a combined .152 (5-for-33).

* Phelps and August both earned their first collegiate starts this afternoon.  Phelps at third base for Yount - who was out of the starting lineup because of his scheduled appearance out of the bullpen.  Meanwhile, August started in left field for Seawell - who would make a late-inning defensive appearance.  Both Phelps and August supplied singles to start the key three-run, fifth-inning rally.

* Stanford pitchers compiled a 2.25 ERA this weekend.  Eight different hurlers saw time on the hill: Greg Reynolds, Jeremy Bleich, Matt Manship, Nolan Gallagher, Sean Ratliff, Matt Leva, Blake Holler, and Austin Yount.

* Yount (.429, 3-for-7, 2B, 3B, HR, 4 RBI, 1.286 SLG) and Taylor (.364, 4-for-11, 3B, HR, 2 RBI, .818 SLG) were the top hitters of the weekend.

* The Cardinal return to action on Friday night when they open a three-game home series against the Kansas Jayhawks.  First pitch at Sunken Diamond is scheduled for 5:00 P.M.  The Jayhawks took 4-of-5 games from host Hawaii-Hilo in their season-opening series this weekend.

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