Card Edge UOP With Ninth-Inning Run

Chris Minaker drove home John Hester with a single in the bottom of the ninth inning propelling the Stanford Cardinal to a 2-1 victory over the Pacific Tigers. On a cool Monday evening at Sunken Diamond, Stanford took advantage of poor UOP defense to score single runs in the seventh and ninth innings for the win. On the pitching side, three Cardinal hurlers combined on a dominant, 13-strikeout performance.

On the heels of their most complete offensive performance of the season, the Stanford Cardinal relied this time solely on strong pitching and poor Pacific Tigers defense to record another win.  On a cool Monday evening at Sunken Diamond, Stanford scored single runs in the seventh and ninth innings to post a dramatic 2-1 victory over the Tigers in non-conference action.  With the win, the Cardinal improved their overall record to 15-11. 

Last Saturday, Stanford knocked out 13 runs on 18 hits in their convincing ten-run victory at San Jose State.  The Cardinal mustered nine more hits in tonight's game, but left 13 runners on base and needed help from the Tigers infield to rally for the come-from-behind win. 

Trailing 1-0, Stanford finally cracked the scoreboard in the bottom of the seventh.  With one out, Cord Phelps singled sharply through the right side.  A Joey August single put runners on first and second forcing a UOP pitching change.  Right-hander Jason Haar was summoned into the contest to face the right-handed bat of John Hester needing a double play ground out to get out of the inning.

To Haar's credit, he got exactly what he was looking for.  On a 2-2 pitch, Hester smoked a hard-hit ground ball to shortstop that was ticketed for a 6-4-3 twin-killing.  Fortunately for the Cardinal, shortstop Alex Zanini was unable to handle the ground ball cleanly as it bounced off of his glove and rolled out into shallow center field.  Phelps never stopped running on the play as he raced home to score the tying run for Stanford.

Certainly a theme of the evening for the Cardinal were all of the missed opportunities.  Another came in that seventh inning as with runners on second and third and one out, Chris Minaker popped out weakly to third base preventing the go-ahead run from scoring.  After Michael Taylor walked, Randy Molina couldn't deliver the clutch two-out, RBI hit when he struck out swinging on a 3-2 offering.

In the eighth, Stanford again threatened as Chris Lewis doubled with one out while Phelps drew a two-out walk.  But August flied out to shallow left field stranding two more Cardinal baserunners.

Stanford though managed to take their first and only lead of the game when it mattered most.  Facing standout closer Eric Stolp (1.83 ERA, four saves, .136 opponents average), Hester started the bottom of the ninth inning by chopping a ground ball to third base.  Third baseman Justin Baum had plenty of time to make the play, but he bounced the throw into first base as it rolled well past the bag and into foul territory giving Hester second base.

Stolp followed with a wild pitch moving Hester to third base putting the winning run just 90 feet away with nobody out.  Pacific head coach Ed Sprague then elected to bring his center fielder Anthony Jackson into the infield to make it harder for the batter, Minaker, to find a hole for what would be the game-winning hit.  Jackson was placed in front of second base - just to the shortstop side.  That gave the Tigers three infielders on the left side - all of which were playing in on the grass.  Minaker though, on the eighth pitch of the at-bat, was able to find a hole on that left side when he bounced a ball in between short and third for the game-winning single.  Hester scored easily from third and the Cardinal had a dramatic 2-1 victory.

On the pitching side, Stanford received three stellar performances from the likes of Matt Manship, David Stringer, and Jeremy Bleich.  Manship, who will probably start the series finale at Oregon State on Saturday, needed work since the Cardinal played just one game last weekend (a game started by ace Greg Reynolds).  Manship was on top of his game showcasing a fantastic breaking ball that allowed him to strike out a career-high seven batters in just 4 1/3 innings. 

The senior right-hander allowed just a single unearned run in the top of the second inning when Ramon Glasgow scored from second base with two outs on a Minaker throwing error.  Manship scattered six hits with just one walk during his 66-pitch outing. 

Stringer, who will likely start the Friday game in Corvallis, also needed some work after not appearing in the contest at San Jose State.  With one fewer day of rest, it wasn't expected that Stringer would pitch as much as Manship.  That would be the case, but the sophomore right-hander certainly made the most of his outing.

Stringer relieved Manship in the top of the fifth with runners on first and second and one out.  He promptly retired the clean-up man Glasgow on a pop out and then struck out Baum to retire the side.

Stringer followed with three consecutive 1-2-3 frames over the sixth, seventh, and eighth innings.  The Palo Alto product retired all 11 batters he faced on Monday night with four strike outs mixed in.  His 43-pitch outing saw Stringer throw just ten balls.

With the game tied at 1-1, closer Jeremy Bleich entered the contest in the top of the ninth inning.  Bleich hit the first batter he faced with a pitch.  After a sacrifice bunt, Bleich responded with a pair of strike outs to keep the score tied.

Pacific     0 1 0  0 0 0  0 0 0   -   1   6   2
Stanford    0 0 0  0 0 0  1 0 1   -   2   9   1

Pacific             POS   AB   R   H  RBI   BB  SO
Adam Ching           2B    4   0   0   0     0   0
Anthony Jackson      CF    4   0   1   0     0   2
Matt Berezay         LF    3   0   1   0     1   1
Ramon Glasgow        RF    4   1   2   0     0   1
Justin Baum          3B    4   0   0   0     0   3
Brett Manning        DH    3   0   0   0     0   2
 Jake Ross           PR    0   0   0   0     0   0
John Devany          1B    3   0   0   0     0   2
Alex Zanini          SS    4   0   1   0     0   1
Joe Oliveira          C    4   0   1   0     0   1

2B: Glasgow
E: Baum, Zanini

                     IP   H   R  ER  BB  SO
Jake Wild           5.0   4   0   0   2   4
Curtis Pasma        1.1   3   1   0   0   3
Jason Haar          1.2   1   0   0   2   2
Eric Stolp (L)      0.0   1   1   0   0   0

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

2B: Lewis
E: Minaker

                     IP   H   R  ER  BB  SO
Matt Manship        4.1   6   1   0   1   7
David Stringer      3.2   0   0   0   0   4
Jeremy Bleich (W)   1.0   0   0   0   0   2

WP: Jeremy Bleich (2-1)
LP: Eric Stolp (3-2)

Records: Stanford (15-11), Pacific (19-12)

* The three Stanford pitchers combined for one walk and 13 strike outs.

* The Cardinal lowered their season ERA to 4.11 with tonight's performance.

* All three runs scored tonight were unearned.

* In 29 innings pitched this year, Stringer now has struck out 33 batters compared to just four walks (3.41 ERA).

* Minaker and Taylor were the lone Cardinal players to record multi-hit games.  The senior shortstop increased his batting average to .345 while he's now driven in a team-best 32 runs (in just 26 games).  The sophomore right fielder reached base safely in all four plate appearances this evening - two singles and two walks.

* Stanford had a baserunner in every inning except the bottom of the third.

* Monday's paid attendance at Sunken Diamond checked in at just 1,265 (second smallest home crowd of the year).  The Cardinal were originally scheduled to play tonight at Santa Clara, but the Broncos were forced to stay in Spokane to play Gonzaga for one more game on Monday after their Sunday series finale was rained out.  There is no word yet if the Stanford-Santa Clara to be played at Schott Stadium will be rescheduled.

* The Cardinal return to action on Tuesday afternoon for a single non-conference game against the red-hot San Francisco Dons.  First pitch at Sunken Diamond is scheduled for 4:00 P.M. (not 6:00 P.M. as was originally scheduled).  The Dons have won 16 out of their last 19 games and are coming off a road series win at nationally ranked Pepperdine last weekend.  Stanford has yet to officially announce a starting pitcher for the game.

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