Card Defeat Bulldogs To Win Series

A pair of sixth inning solo home runs from Chris Minaker and John Hester propelled the Stanford Cardinal to a 6-3 victory over Fresno State on Sunday afternoon. In the rubber game of the series, the Cardinal also received a standout pitching performance out of the bullpen from David Stringer en route to the win. Here is a complete game recap.

David Stringer is starting to make a name for himself.  The sophomore, who has come out of nowhere this season, fired five scoreless innings to finish the game on Sunday as the Stanford Cardinal defeated the Fresno State Bulldogs 6-3 in the rubber contest of the series.  Stringer relieved starter Matt Leva to start the bottom of the fifth with the Cardinal trailing 3-2 and went on to completely shut down the Fresno State hitters over the remainder of the game.  Meanwhile, Stanford connected for a pair of solo home runs in the sixth inning to take the lead before scoring a pair of runs late for some insurance.

Stringer made his first collegiate start last Tuesday at home against Nevada tossing 5 1/3 effective innings with just one earned run allowed, no walks, and seven strike outs.  At one point in that game, Stringer set down 14 consecutive Wolf Pack batters.

Needing a lift on Sunday, Coach Marquess turned to Stringer and the Palo Alto product turned in an even better performance.  The right-hander scattered four hits during his stint on the mound with just one walk (his first of the season) and a career-high eight strike outs.  Leading 5-3, the pivotal inning for Stringer came in the bottom of the eighth.  Beau Mills started the frame with a double which was immediately followed by a full-count walk to Christian Vitters.  After Ozzie Lewis sacrificed both runners into scoring position, Stringer bore down and calmly retired the next two hitters to keep Stanford in front.  First it was a three-pitch strike out of Ryan Overland before Jared Halpert grounded out routinely to shortstop.

Stringer allowed a leadoff single in the bottom of the ninth, but rebounded to retire the 1-2-3 hitters in the Fresno State lineup on a pair of strike outs and a groundout to finish the game.  It was Stringer's second win of the season - the first Cardinal pitcher to reach that mark in 2006.

The Stanford offense had a successful afternoon against Bulldogs starting pitcher Andy Underwood.  Underwood, the reigning California JC Player of the Year, brought a sizzling 1.99 ERA over his first four starts (7 ER/31.2 IP) entering today's game.  But on Sunday, it was Stanford tagging Underwood for five runs (all earned) on eight hits over 7 1/3 innings.

Trailing 1-0, the Cardinal plated two runs in the top of the third inning when Chris Lewis and Cord Phelps each singled with one out.  After Sean Ratliff flied out, Jim Rapoport came through with a clutch hit when he doubled home both runners for a 2-1 Stanford lead.

Then after Fresno State went in front by a 3-2 margin, Stanford used the longball against Underwood in the top of the sixth to move back ahead.  Chris Minaker got things started when he lined a 1-0 offering from Underwood over the fence in left field for a solo shot.  Then with two down, John Hester smacked a solo homer to left to give the Cardinal a lead that they would not relinquish.

Stanford knocked Underwood out of the game in the top of the eighth when Rapoport led off with a single.  After Minaker flied out, Fresno State went to the bullpen bringing in Brandon Burke.  The first man he faced was Michael Taylor and the slugging outfielder produced an 11-pitch at-bat before ripping a double off the fence in left field to put runners on second and third.  After Jason Castro was intentionally walked to load the bases, Hester drove a ball to deep right field for a sacrifice fly and a 5-3 Cardinal advantage.

After Stringer worked his magic in the bottom of the eighth, Stanford added another tally in the ninth for a three-run cushion.  Ryan Seawell, who entered the contest for Ratliff in the seventh inning for defensive purposes, doubled with two down.  Rapoport then drew a walk before Minaker continued his big day with a single to drive home Seawell.

Stanford finished the afternoon with 11 hits - their third straight double-digit hit total in a game.

Leva labored through four innings as the junior right-hander was charged with three runs on four hits.  The damaging blows were a pair of solo home runs - one from Kent Sakamoto in the third inning and another from Adam O'Daniel in the fourth.  Leva continued to have some difficulties (at least more than usual from him) with his control walking three batters.  He did strike out five, but was removed from the game at the start of the bottom of the fifth in favor of Stringer.

Stanford      0 0 2  0 0 2  0 1 1   -   6  11   0
Fresno State  0 1 1  1 0 0  0 0 0   -   3   8   1

Stanford            POS   AB   R   H  RBI   BB  SO
Sean Ratliff         LF    4   0   0   0     0   2
 Ryan Seawell        LF    1   1   1   0     0   0
Jim Rapoport         CF    4   1   2   2     1   0
Chris Minaker        SS    5   1   2   2     0   0
Michael Taylor       RF    5   0   2   0     0   1
Jason Castro         1B    3   0   0   0     1   1
John Hester           C    3   1   1   2     0   1
Matt Manship         DH    0   0   0   0     0   0
 Brendan Domaracki  PH/DH  3   0   1   0     0   0
 Brent Milleville    PH    1   0   0   0     0   1
Chris Lewis          2B    4   1   1   0     0   0
Cord Phelps          3B    4   1   1   0     0   1

2B: Taylor 2, Seawell, Rapoport
HR: Minaker (3rd), Hester (1st)

                     IP   H   R  ER  BB  SO
Matt Leva           4.0   4   3   3   3   5
David Stringer (W)  5.0   4   0   0   1   8



Fresno State         POS   AB   R   H  RBI   BB  SO
Steve Susdorf         LF    5   0   0   0     0   4
Loren Storey          CF    5   0   1   0     0   2
Kent Sakamoto         1B    5   1   1   1     0   2
Beau Mills            DH    4   0   1   0     0   2
Christian Vitters     SS    3   1   1   0     1   2
Ozzie Lewis           RF    3   0   1   0     0   0
Frank Lo Nigro         C    2   0   1   0     1   0
 Ryan Overland       PH/C   1   0   0   0     0   1
Adam O'Daniel         3B    2   1   1   2     0   0
 Jared Halpert        PH    1   0   0   0     0   0
 Gavin Hedstrom       3B    0   0   0   0     0   0
Erik Wetzel           2B    2   0   1   0     2   0

2B: Mills, Lewis
HR: Sakamoto (2nd), O'Daniel (1st)

                      IP   H   R  ER  BB  SO
Andy Underwood (L)   7.1   8   5   5   0   5
Brandon Burke        0.1   1   0   0   1   0
Justin Wilson        0.1   0   0   0   0   1
Jason Breckley       0.2   2   1   1   1   0
Tanner Scheppers     0.1   0   0   0   0   1


WP: David Stringer (2-1)
LP: Andy Underwood (2-2)

Records: Stanford (9-4), Fresno State (7-8)


Notes:
* Stringer lowered his season ERA to 1.46 (2 ER/12.1 IP) with today's five-inning performance.  He's walked just one batter compared to a whopping 17 strike outs.  Stringer struck out the first four batters he faced on Sunday - the 2-3-4-5 hitters in the FSU lineup.

* Taylor extended his career-best hitting streak to seven games with his 2-for-5, 2 2B effort.  Minaker has also hit safely in six straight games.

* The four doubles hit by the Cardinal was a season-high.

* Ratliff earned his first start of the season in the field.  The freshman played in left field and went 0-for-4 with a pair of strike outs at the plate.  Meanwhile, the sophomore Domaracki made just his second "start" of the season (both "starts" have been at DH).  He finished 1-for-3 singling with two down and a runner in scoring position.  He also lined out sharply back to the pitcher.

* Minaker now leads the Cardinal with three home runs.  He hit three all of last season.  Hester's round-tripper was his first of the year.

* Leva has compiled a 9.95 ERA (7 ER/6.1 IP) in his last two starts after a 1.86 ERA (2 ER/9.2 IP) in his first two starts.  Leva has now walked the same amount of hitters as he has struck out this year (11).

* Stanford pitchers struck out 13 batters this afternoon.  As a staff, the Cardinal now have 116 strike outs (30 BB) in 117 innings this season.  Their ERA as a club is a remarkable 3.38.

* Stanford has now won seven consecutive series' from the Bulldogs (1999).

* The Cardinal return to action on Friday afternoon when they begin a three-game, non-conference series at California.  First pitch at Evans Diamond is scheduled for 2:00 P.M.  The games on Saturday and Sunday are each slated to begin at 1:00 P.M.

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