Card Drop Marathon To ASU

Saturday's nine-inning game at Sunken Diamond checked in at a season-high four hours and 24 minutes. Unfortunately for the Cardinal, it turned out to be a long afternoon. The Arizona State Sun Devils jumped out to a sizable early lead and then held off numerous Stanford rallies to post an 11-7 win. The teams will play the rubber game of the series on Sunday.

Stanford and Arizona State got together Saturday afternoon at Sunken Diamond in what turned out to be a marathon contest.  A day after a very clean Cardinal 7-1 victory, the second game of the series featured an amazing amount of baserunners, pitching changes, and stoppages.  At the end of the afternoon, the Sun Devils had held off numerous Stanford rallies to post an 11-7 win in a game that took four hours and 24 minutes to play.

The two clubs combined for 18 runs and 23 hits on a pleasant afternoon on the Farm.  Where it turned ugly at times were the ten total pitchers used and 21 combined walks.  Add it all up, and you had a game that didn't see it's final out until 5:27 in the afternoon.  The result dropped Stanford's overall record back under .500 (18-19) while they now sit at 4-10 in conference action.

It was a game of missed opportunities for the Cardinal although Arizona State certainly earned the win in a number of different ways.  Left fielder Eric Sogard made a pair of spectacular diving catches to end the third and fourth innings respectively.  Had he not made those plays, Saturday's outcome would have been very different.

In the bottom of the third, with Stanford trailing 6-4, Randy Molina stepped to the plate with runners on second and third and two outs.  The Stanford DH promptly lifted a soft fly ball into shallow left field only to see Sogard completely leave his feet to make the catch.  If that ball falls, the Cardinal would have come all-the-way back from an early 6-1 deficit to tie the game.  Instead, ASU remained in front and then went on to score two more runs of their own in the top of the fourth to maintain the momentum.

Sogard made an even better grab to end the bottom of the fourth to deflate the Cardinal.  With the score 8-4 and with runners on the corners and two down, Chris Minaker crushed a ball to deep left center field.  This time Sogard raced back and again completely left his feet to make a spectacular full-extension diving catch deep in the power alley.  If that ball drops, Stanford scores two runs and Minaker is at least standing at third base with a triple.  Instead, the Sun Devils maintained their four-run cushion as Sogard raced into the Sun Devils dugout where he was greeted by every single one of his teammates.

Stanford's other big opportunities to complete the comeback came in the sixth, seventh, and ninth frames.  Trailing 8-5, Michael Taylor stepped to the plate with the bases loaded and two outs in the bottom of the sixth.  However, relief pitcher Brady Martinez induced Taylor to fly out routinely to center field to keep the Devils in front.

The seventh inning saw pinch-hitter Ryan Seawell deliver a clutch two-out, two-run single through the left side to cut the ASU advantage down to 8-7.  But the rally would end there as Jim Rapoport struck out swinging stranding the potential tying run at second base and the go-ahead run at first.

Arizona State plated three runs in the top of the ninth inning against relievers Erik Davis and David Stringer for some insurance and an 11-7 lead.  Stanford though wouldn't quit.  In the bottom of the frame, a pair of one-out singles from Molina and John Hester started a rally.  After Seawell drew a two-out walk, the Cardinal brought the tying run to the plate in the form of Rapoport.  In an attempt to extend the contest and give Minaker a chance to hit with runners in scoring position, Rapoport tried to drag bunt for a hit.  Unfortunately, he popped the bunt up and pitcher Brett Bordes made the catch to seal the Arizona State victory.

Offensively, the Cardinal will look to the 13 runners left on base has too many missed opportunities.  Stanford though did produce seven runs and 11 hits on the board and nearly came back from an early 6-1 deficit.  Rapoport started the comeback effort when he smoked a triple into the right field corner to score two runs in the bottom of the third.  That was immediately followed by a Minaker single to bring the Cardinal within two runs.

Molina was in the thick of the late-inning rallies as his single in the bottom of the sixth led to a Stanford run.  He then doubled with two outs and nobody on in the bottom of the seventh to start another rally.  Three batters later, Seawell came through with his clutch hit to make the score 8-7.

It was a rough day for the pitchers though as starter Jeremy Bleich didn't get out of the third inning.  The freshman surrendered a pair of tough-luck runs in the top of the second as a passed ball led to an unearned tally.  ASU's second run of the frame came on a two-out, bunt RBI single from Rocky Laguna.  Then after Bleich walked the first two batters of the top of the third, he was removed from the game.

Nolan Gallagher's recent struggles continued as the sophomore right-hander faced four batters in that third inning - three of which reached base via the hit (two singles and a double).  Max Fearnow had to be called into pitch to get out of the jam, but by that time, Arizona State had built their 6-1 advantage.

Certainly a bright spot on the mound was the performance put forth by the sophomore Davis.  He relieved Fearnow after a leadoff single in the top of the fifth and went on to not allow a hit in the fifth, sixth, seventh, and eighth innings.  His fantastic relief work allowed the Cardinal to stay in the game as Stanford tried to draw even in the later frames.

Davis allowed a pair of one-out singles in the top of the ninth before he was taken out in favor of Stringer.  Stringer allowed both of those runs to score plus one of his own as Arizona State regained the momentum in this see-saw affair.

Arizona State    0 2 4  2 0 0  0 0 3   -   11  12   0
Stanford         1 0 3  0 0 1  2 0 0   -    7  11   2

Arizona State          POS   AB   R   H  RBI   BB  SO
Willy Fox               1B    3   0   0   0     0   3
 Brett Wallace          1B    2   0   1   2     1   0
Seth Dhaenens           2B    3   2   0   0     2   0
 Joe Persichina         2B    0   0   0   0     1   0
Eric Sogard             LF    4   1   0   1     1   2
Colin Curtis            CF    3   2   1   0     3   0
Ike Davis               DH    6   2   2   3     0   0
Preston Paramore         C    5   1   2   1     0   2
C.J. Retherford         3B    5   1   2   2     0   1
Andrew Romine           SS    5   1   3   0     0   1
Rocky Laguna            RF    3   1   1   1     2   2

2B: Wallace, Retherford
SB: Romine

                          IP   H   R  ER  BB  SO
Zechry Zinicola          2.0   4   4   4   3   1
Tony Barnette (W)        3.2   2   1   1   3   5
Daryl Arreola            0.0   1   0   0   1   0
Brady Martinez           1.0   1   2   2   1   0
Brett Bordes (S)         2.1   3   0   0   3   1

Stanford               POS   AB   R   H  RBI   BB  SO
Joey August             LF    1   2   1   0     3   0
 Ryan Seawell         PH/CF   1   0   1   2     1   0
Jim Rapoport          CF/LF   6   1   3   3     0   2
Chris Minaker           SS    4   0   1   1     1   0
Michael Taylor          RF    2   0   0   1     2   0
Jason Castro            1B    4   0   1   0     0   1
Chris Lewis             3B    5   0   0   0     0   3
Randy Molina            DH    5   2   3   0     0   0
John Hester              C    4   1   1   0     1   1
Cord Phelps             2B    1   1   0   0     2   0
 Austin Yount           PH    0   0   0   0     0   0
 Brian Juhl             PH    0   0   0   0     1   0
 J.J. Jelmini         PR/2B   0   0   0   0     0   0
 Brent Milleville       PH    1   0   0   0     0   0

2B: Molina
3B: Rapoport
CS: Castro
E: Castro, Hester

                          IP   H   R  ER  BB  SO
Jeremy Bleich (L)        2.0   4   4   3   2   4
Nolan Gallagher          0.1   3   2   2   0   0
Max Fearnow              1.2   2   2   0   2   2
Erik Davis               4.1   2   2   2   3   5
David Stringer           0.2   1   1   1   3   0

WP: Tony Barnette (2-1)
LP: Jeremy Bleich (2-4)
S: Brett Bordes (3)

Records: Stanford (18-19, 4-10), Arizona State (29-15, 8-6)

* Minaker extended his hitting streak to seven games with his third inning single.

* The leadoff spot in the lineup occupied by August (three walks, one single) and Seawell (one walk, one single) reached base all six trips to the plate.

* Stanford left nine runners in scoring position.

* Molina (.355) moved past Minaker (.344) for the team lead in batting average.

* The 4:24 gametime was easily the longest for a nine-inning contest this season surpassing the 3:28 mark at USC March 10th (7-6 win).  Stanford's previous longest game was a three hour, 54 minute affair versus the Trojans at Sunken Diamond on April 1st (12 innings, game two of doubleheader, 3-2 loss).

* The Cardinal and Sun Devils will play the rubber game of this series on Sunday afternoon.  First pitch at Sunken Diamond is scheduled for 1:00 P.M.  Neither team has announced a starting pitcher.  Stanford will be looking to snap their five-series losing streak.

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