Reynolds Pitches Cardinal To Victory

The Stanford Cardinal have found their ace. Greg Reynolds put the finishing touches on a spectacular first month of the season with a dominant performance on Friday night in Fresno. The towering right-hander fired 7 2/3 innings with just one run allowed and a career-high 11 strike outs to lead Stanford to a 3-2 victory over the Bulldogs. Here is a full recap of the series-opener.

His margin for error has been razer-thin all season.  Fortunately, Greg Reynolds was near perfect on Friday night in pitching the Stanford Cardinal past the Fresno State Bulldogs 3-2 in the series-opener at Beiden Field.  Reynolds fired 7 2/3 dominant innings with just one run allowed while racking up a career-high 11 strike outs.  The junior right-hander used a fastball that consistently sat in the low 90's complemented with his vastly improved breaking ball to put away the Bulldogs.

Reynolds has now garnered just nine runs of offensive support through his first four starts as the Cardinal hitters have struggled to produce.  Friday was more of the same for a Reynolds start except this time the Stanford ace was too dominant. 

His 104-pitch outing saw Reynolds not a walk a single Fresno State hitter tonight.  He worked through a minor jam in the bottom of the first inning when the Bulldogs put two runners on with one out.  Reynolds responded though with a strike out of clean-up hitter Beau Mills and a pop-out off the bat of Christian Vitters.

Reynolds faced the minimum nine batters over the second, third, and fourth frames racking up three strike outs in the process.  Reynolds spent the entire night working from ahead in the count and was lethal in two-strike situations.

The Stanford offense threatened against Fresno State ace Doug Fister in the first four innings, but was unable to crack the scoreboard leaving six runners on base.  Fister was drafted in the sixth round last June by the New York Yankees, but instead decide to return for his senior year.  He was the highest drafted player to return to school among the college ranks while Baseball America named him the top senior pitching prospect in the entire country.

Fister pitched well on Friday, but it wasn't enough to match the dominant Reynolds.  The third trip through the order saw the Cardinal strike for two runs against the experienced right-hander to take the lead.  Leadoff hitter Joey August started the top of the fifth with a single.  Jim Rapoport was then asked to bunt, but fouled off the first pitch from Fister.  Coach Marquess at this point elected to take the bunt sign off and the move worked as Rapoport drove the 0-1 offering off the fence in deep left center field for an RBI double.

Chris Minaker followed with an excellent situational at-bat grounding out to second base moving Rapoport up 90 feet.  Then Michael Taylor continued his red-hot hitting with a line drive single into right field scoring Rapoport with the second run of the inning.

Facing relief pitcher Brandon Burke, Stanford scored their third and final run of the contest in the top of the seventh.  Rapoport and Taylor were again right in the middle of the rally as the Cardinal center fielder led off with a bunt single.  Taylor singled two batters later on a well-executed hit-and-run before Rapoport eventually scored on a wild pitch with one out.

The only run allowed by Reynolds on the evening was a Steve Susdorf leadoff blast on the first pitch of the bottom of the fifth.  It was Susdorf's team-leading fifth homer of the year to cut Stanford's lead in half.  The Cardinal pushed their advantage up to 3-1 with their seventh inning tally before the Bulldogs threatened seriously in their final two plate appearances.

After Reynolds recorded three strike outs in the bottom of the seventh, the towering right-hander struck out Erik Wetzel looking to lead off the eighth for his career-best 11th K.  With two down, Loren Storey reached base safely on a perfect bunt single before Kent Sakamoto ripped a double to deep left center field putting a pair of runners in scoring position.

With the left-handed hitting Mills due up and the potential tying run at second base, Marquess went to the bullpen summoming closer Jeremy Bleich into the game.  Mills smacked 22 home runs last year as a freshman and is one of the most dangerous power hitters in the country.  That didn't faze Bleich though as the cool freshman induced the slugger to ground out harmlessly to first base to retire the side.

In the bottom of the ninth, Ozzie Lewis smacked a triple with one out before Frank Lo Nigro lifted a sacrifice fly to center field making the score 3-2.  It was Bleich's first run allowed this season over 11 innings pitched.

It looked as if Bleich would quickly get out of the inning when the next man up, Brian Lapin grounded a ball softly to Minaker at shortstop.  But the senior hurried his throw across the diamond and it bounced past Jason Castro for a two-base error.  But Bleich remained calm.  With the tying run at second, Bleich quickly retired Wetzel on a ground out to shortstop sealing the Cardinal victory.

Stanford      0 0 0  0 2 0  1 0 0   -   3  11   3
Fresno State  0 0 0  0 0 1  0 0 1   -   2   6   2

Stanford            POS   AB   R   H  RBI   BB  SO
Joey August          LF    5   1   1   0     0   0
 Ryan Seawell        LF    0   0   0   0     0   0
Jim Rapoport         CF    5   2   2   1     0   1
Chris Minaker        SS    5   0   1   0     0   0
Michael Taylor       RF    5   0   3   1     0   0
Jason Castro         1B    5   0   1   0     0   1
John Hester           C    3   0   0   0     1   1
Austin Yount         3B    2   0   0   0     0   2
 Cord Phelps        PH/3B  1   0   1   0     0   0
Matt Leva            DH    0   0   0   0     0   0
 Randy Molina       PH/DH  4   0   1   0     0   1
Chris Lewis          2B    4   0   1   0     0   0

2B: Rapoport, Castro, Molina
E: Minaker 2, Hester

                     IP   H   R  ER  BB  SO
Greg Reynolds (W)   7.2   5   1   1   0  11
Jeremy Bleich (S)   1.1   1   1   1   0   1

Fresno State        POS   AB   R   H  RBI   BB  SO
Steve Susdorf        LF    4   1   1   1     0   0
Loren Storey        RF/CF  4   0   2   0     0   0
Kent Sakamoto        1B    3   0   1   0     0   1
Beau Mills           DH    4   0   0   0     0   2
Christian Vitters    SS    4   0   0   0     0   2
Nick Moresi          CF    1   0   0   0     0   1
 Ozzie Lewis        PH/RF  3   1   1   0     0   0
Frank Lo Nigro        C    3   0   1   1     0   1
Todd Sandell         3B    1   0   0   0     0   1
 Gavin Hedstrom      3B    1   0   0   0     0   1
 Justin Wilson       PH    1   0   0   0     0   1
 Antonio O'Daniel    3B    0   0   0   0     0   0
 Brian Lapin         PH    1   0   0   0     0   0
Erik Wetzel          2B    4   0   0   0     0   2

2B: Sakamoto
3B: Lewis
HR: Susdorf (5th)
SB: Storey
E: Vitters, Hedstrom

                     IP   H   R  ER  BB  SO
Doug Fister (L)     6.0   7   2   2   1   5
Brandon Burke       3.0   4   1   1   0   1

WP: Greg Reynolds (1-1)
LP: Doug Fister (1-3)
S: Jeremy Bleich (5)

Records: Stanford (8-3), Fresno State (6-7)

* Reynolds' surpassed his previous career-high of strike outs with 11 tonight (10 - at Baylor, 2005 Waco Regional).

* Reynolds has now struck out 29 batters in just 26 1/3 innings.  He's issued just two free passes for a mind-boggling 14.5-to-1 strikeout-to-walk ratio.  His season ERA sits at 2.39.

* Bleich has now appeared in seven of Stanford's first 11 games this season (0.79 ERA).

* With 12 strike outs and no walks tonight, the Cardinal pitching staff has a very impressive 3.96-to-1 strikeout-to-walk ratio as a team this season (100 IP, 24 BB, 95 SO).

* Taylor led the Stanford offense with a three-hit output.  He's now hit safely in five consecutive games (.474 AVG, 9-for-19, 9 RBI).

* The Cardinal have now won a season-high four-games in a row (matches their season-high win streak from 2005).

* Stanford out-hit Fresno State by an 11-6 margin.  11 runners left of base limited the Cardinal to just three runs.

 * The second game of this series is scheduled for Saturday afternoon at Beiden Field with first pitch at 1:05 P.M.  Matt Manship (0-1, 6.55 ERA) is slated to start on the mound for the Cardinal while Fresno State is expected to counter with lefty Eddie Romero (2-1, 4.37 ERA).

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