Card Throw Game Away

Austin Yount's throwing error in the bottom of the ninth inning scored the winning run for California in a dramatic 7-6 affair on Friday afternoon. Yount's miscue was one of three costly throwing errors for the Cardinal infield during the series-opener. On a positive note, Stanford did rally in the ninth inning to extend the game while two hitters continue to emerge offensively as go-to players in the Cardinal lineup.

The ninth inning at Evans Diamond certainly didn't lack for drama on Friday afternoon.  In the opener of a non-conference series, the Cardinal dramatically plated three runs in the top of the frame to overcome a 6-3 deficit.  But California stormed back with a single run in the bottom of the ninth - with the winning run scoring on Stanford's third error of the day - to post a 7-6 victory.  The loss drops Stanford's overall record to 9-5.

Trailing by three runs, the Cardinal went to work in the top of the ninth inning when Joey August drew a leadoff walk - the fourth time the freshman left fielder reached base safely on the day.  After Jim Rapoport popped out, Cal head coach David Esquer brought in closer Alex Trafton (1.29 ERA, two saves) to pitch.  Trafton would immediately have some difficulties as senior shortstop Chris Minaker laced a single into left field - his fourth hit of the afternoon.  Michael Taylor then stepped to the plate and grounded a ball sharply up the middle to score August with Stanford's fourth run of the day.

After John Hester flied out, Coach Marquess sent up a pinch-hitter for Jason Castro.  Castro was 0-for-4 with a pair of strike outs on the afternoon and with Marquess wanting to still have a left-handed bat in this situation, sophomore Randy Molina got the call. 

Molina though didn't have to take the bat off of his shoulder as he drew a four-pitch walk to load the bases setting the table for Brendan Domaracki.  Domaracki, who earned his second consecutive "start" at DH, continued his impressive hitting at the plate.  Working the count full, Domaracki proceeded to foul off three straight pitches to build suspense.  Finally on the ninth pitch of the AB, the sophomore lined a ball into left center field, over the head of the leaping shortstop Allen Craig, for a two-run single and a tie game.  The comeback was certainly impressive as it came against one of the better pitching staffs in the conference, on their home field, and versus one of the most experienced Pac-10 relievers.

Stanford easily could have taken the lead when the next batter, Austin Yount, ripped a ball into the right center field gap.  A sinking line drive that appeared ticketed for another hit and at least one more run, Preseason All-American center fielder Brennan Boesch raced in and made a spectacular, full-extension diving catch to keep the score tied.  Unfortunately for Yount, the worst was still to come.

In the bottom of the ninth, Erik Davis issued a full-count leadoff walk to Josh Satin to start the rally.  Davis had been throwing the ball very well in long relief, but with the winning run now on base, and the talented left-handed hitting Boesch stepping to the plate, Marquess went to the bullpen summoning left-handed closer Jeremy Bleich.

Bleich promptly surrendered a line drive single to Boesch to put runners on first and second before rebounding with a very impressive strikeout of Preseason All-American Chris Errecart.  Then things came apart for the Cardinal.  Pinch-hitter Ryan Hanlon drew a five-pitch walk to load the bases setting the table for veteran catcher Garrett Bussiere.

On a 1-0 pitch, Bussiere hit a high chopper to Yount at third base.  The freshman took a step to his right, fielded the ball cleanly, and had plenty of time to make a throw home to cut down the lead runner.  But Hester never had a chance as Yount airmailed the throw well over the catcher's head and Satin easily scored with the game's final run.  It seemed unlikely that Stanford would have been able to turn a 5-2-3 double play because the ball wasn't hit particularly hard, but to not even record the out at home makes this a very difficult loss for Stanford to take.

Poor infield defense and inopportune wildness were a theme on Friday for the Cardinal.  In the bottom of the second, two consecutive Chris Lewis throwing errors resulted in a pair of California runs for a 2-1 Bears lead.  Two routine throws for the senior came nowhere close to Castro at the bag - one bouncing in the dirt with the second sailing way over his head. 

With Stanford ahead 3-2, Reynolds promptly hit three batters with pitches in the bottom of the fifth inning to lead to the tying run.  Then in the bottom of the sixth, Reynolds walked the leadoff batter in the inning to start a three-run rally. 

With the game still tied at 3-3 in that sixth frame, Reynolds also surrendered a one-out, tough-luck infield single to Jordan Karnofsky to put a pair of runners on.  That ended Reynolds' afternoon as Nolan Gallagher was brought into pitch.  And it would be a quick, but eventful outing for the sophomore right-hander.  On a 3-2 pitch, Gallagher served up a three-run homer to Craig - a blast to deep left center field - giving California a 6-3 lead.  The advantage would hold until Stanford rallied in the top of the ninth.

Stanford had some success against Cal ace Brandon Morrow on Friday.  Morrow, who had allowed just two earned runs in his first three starts this season, was regularly clocked in the mid-90's this afternoon.  Stanford took an early 1-0 lead in the top of the first when Minaker singled home August with one out.  Then in the fifth, it was an August leadoff double to deep left field followed two batters later by a Minaker single which produced a run.  Stanford scored their second run of the inning on a Bussiere throwing error.

Morrow finished the afternoon with three runs allowed (two earned) on seven hits in 7 1/3 innings.  He had allowed just nine hits total spanning his first three starts of the year (17 1/3 IP).  Morrow walked five and struck out seven during his 126-pitch outing.

Reynolds was officially tagged for five runs, but just three earned, over 5 1/3 innings.  He walked a pair, struck out two, and also allowed five hits.  Gallagher, Davis, and Bleich all saw time out of the bullpen.

Stanford     1 0 0  0 2 0  0 0 3   -   6  10   3
California   0 2 0  0 1 3  0 0 1   -   7   8   2

Stanford           POS   AB   R   H  RBI    BB  SO
Joey August         LF    2   3   1   0      3   1
Jim Rapoport        CF    3   0   0   0      0   0
Chris Minaker       SS    5   1   4   2      0   0
Michael Taylor      RF    2   2   2   1      2   0
John Hester          C    5   0   1   0      0   0
Jason Castro        1B    4   0   0   0      0   2
 Randy Molina       PH    0   0   0   0      1   0
 Jeff Whitlow       PR    0   0   0   0      0   0
 Brent Milleville   1B    0   0   0   0      0   0
Tom Stilson         DH    0   0   0   0      0   0
 Brendan Domaracki PH/DH  4   0   2   2      1   2
Austin Yount        3B    5   0   0   0      0   1
Chris Lewis         2B    3   0   0   0      0   1
 Sean Ratliff       PH    1   0   0   0      0   1
 J.J. Jelmini       2B    0   0   0   0      0   0

2B: August
SB: Minaker, Castro
E: Lewis 2, Yount

                    IP   H   R  ER  BB  SO
Greg Reynolds      5.1   5   5   3   2   2
Nolan Gallagher    0.0   1   1   1   0   0
Erik Davis (L)     2.2   1   1   0   1   3
Jeremy Bleich      0.1   1   0   0   1   1

California         POS   AB   R   H  RBI    BB  SO
Allen Craig         SS    5   1   2   3      0   0
Brett Munster       2B    3   0   1   0      0   1
Josh Satin          3B    3   1   1   0      1   0
Brennan Boesch      CF    5   0   2   1      0   0
Chris Errecart      LF    4   1   1   0      0   2
Mike Van Winden     1B    3   1   0   0      0   0
 Ryan Hanlon        PH    0   0   0   0      1   0
Garrett Bussiere     C    3   1   0   1      2   1
Charlie Cutler      RF    3   0   0   0      0   1
Michael Cooper      DH    0   0   0   0      0   0
 Jordan Karnofsky  PH/DH  2   1   1   0      0   1
 Taylor Grigsby    PR/DH  1   1   0   0      0   0

2B: Craig
HR: Craig
CS: Munster, Errecart
E: Bussiere 2

                    IP   H   R  ER  BB  SO
Brandon Morrow     7.1   7   3   2   5   7
Jeremy Burchett    1.0   0   1   1   1   1
Alex Trafton       0.1   3   2   2   1   0
Matt Gorgen (W)    0.1   0   0   0   0   0

WP: Matt Gorgen (1-0)
LP: Erik Davis (0-1)

Records: #19 Stanford (9-5), California (7-5)

* Davis relieved Gallagher immediately following the Craig three-run homer.  The sophomore right-hander finished the sixth before putting up a pair of zeros in the seventh and eighth.  Davis was charged with the loss after his leadoff walk in the bottom of the ninth eventually came home to score.

* Stanford left 11 runners on base (seven in scoring position).  The ten total hits did give the Cardinal their fourth consecutive double-digit hit total.

* Minaker had a huge game finishing 4-for-5 with four hard-hit singles and two RBI.  Even his only out was a blast when he smoked a fly ball to deep left center field that was caught on the run by Boesch.  Minaker has hit safely in seven straight games and now boasts a .362 batting average.

* Taylor reached base safely in all five of his plate appearances (two singles, two walks, and an HBP).  Taylor currently owns an eight-game hitting streak while his season average sits at .367.

* August had a very successful game in the leadoff spot with his double and three walks.  The freshman started all three of Stanford's run-scoring rallies.

* Domaracki his picked up three hits (in seven at-bats) in his last two games as the "starting" DH.  He's 4-for-11 (.364) for the season.

* Lewis has now committed six errors in the first 14 games (equaling last year's second baseman, Jed Lowrie's, error total for the entire season).  He also went 0-for-3 at the plate to drop his batting average to .170.  Lewis was lifted for a pinch-hitter in the top of the eighth inning.

* This series will continue on Saturday afternoon with first pitch at Evans Diamond scheduled for 1:00 P.M.  Matt Manship (0-1, 5.40 ERA) is slated to start on the mound for the Cardinal while California is expected to counter with Michael Cooper (1-1, 4.15 ERA).

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