Big Inning Leads To Series Win

Jim Rapoport's inside-the-park grand slam capped an eight-run fifth inning for Stanford Cardinal in their 11-4 victory over Arizona State Sunday. The win gives Stanford an impressive series win over the #16 team in the country. The Cardinal rapped out 12 hits while Matt Manship provided five solid innings of relief work in the victory.

It's often been a difficult season for junior outfielder Jim Rapoport.  Slotted into the leadoff spot in the lineup in place of injured Adam Sorgi, Rapoport suffered from bouts of inconsistency at the plate throughout the first month of the season.  The last few weeks have seen Rapoport's struggles increase with the veteran now often finding himself hitting toward the bottom of the order.  Defensive struggles have also forced Coach Marquess to move Rapoport from the all-important center field position over to left.  With his average dropping closer to .220 though, the speedster has come through with a pair of excellent hitting performances in a row.

Saturday saw Rapoport contribute three hits (including a triple) with three RBI in Stanford's 11-7 loss.  He would save his best though for Sunday in the most exciting single play at Sunken Diamond yet this season.

As part of an eight-run fifth inning, Rapoport provided the home town fans with a thrill when he smacked an inside-the-park grand slam.  The big hit propelled the Cardinal to an impressive 11-4 victory over the 16th ranked Arizona State Sun Devils as Stanford notched their first series win in over two months.

Trailing 3-0, the Cardinal went on to score 11 unanswered runs against a trio of ASU hurlers to take control of the game.  After managing just one hit in the first three innings against talented frosh lefty Jeff Urlaub, Stanford produced a pair of runs in the bottom of the fourth to close within one.  With one out, consecutive singles from Chris Minaker and Michael Taylor started the rally.  John Hester then stepped to the plate and the senior catcher promptly blasted a 2-1 pitch from Urlaub off the fence in deep left center field for a double.  The extra base hit scored both runners cutting the ASU advantage down to 3-2.

Then came the pivotal bottom of the fifth.  Rapoport actually started things by drawing a full-count walk before Randy Molina also walked to put a pair of runners on.  Ryan Seawell was up next and the Cardinal leadoff man was trying to sacrifice both runners over with a bunt, but Urlaub plunked him with a 1-0 pitch to load the bases.

That forced ASU head coach Pat Murphy to make a change as side-winding righty Brett Bruneel was summoned into pitch.  Bruneel initially started strong by inducing Chris Lewis to pop-up to shallow center field for the first out.  But then Minaker took a 1-0 pitch and lined it sharply to third base.  Third baseman Frank Mesa got his glove on the hot shot, but was unable to corral it cleanly and thus Minaker reached on the infield single.

With the game now tied, Taylor put the Cardinal in front for good when he grounded a single through the middle scoring both Molina and Seawell for a 5-3 Stanford lead.  Two batters later, Jason Castro scored another run on a sacrifice fly to make it 6-3.

Pinch-hitter Brendan Domaracki then reached on an infield single to deep shortstop to load the bases setting the table for Rapoport.  The man who started the rally also finished it as he took a 1-1 pitch and lined it to deep left center field.  Center fielder Colin Curtis raced over and tried to make a spectacular, full-extension diving catch, but was unable to make the play.  And with nobody backing-up, the ball rolled all the way to the wall and Rapoport was off to the races. 

The fastest player on the Cardinal squad got the green light from third base coach Dean Stotz and scored with a feet-first slide - just ahead of the throw.  When the dust had settled (literally), Stanford found themselves in front by a commanding 10-3 margin.

Matt Manship earned the victory with five outstanding innings out of the bullpen.  After 11 starts, it was Manship's first relief appearance of the season.  The senior right-hander relieved starter Matt Leva at the beginning of the fifth inning and went on to finish the contest.  The first four innings of his stint on the mound saw Manship yield just four hits and no runs in a performance similar to what Cardinal fans have seen from the Texas native out of the bullpen the previous three seasons.  ASU did get to Manship for a single run on three hits in the top of the ninth, but it wasn't nearly enough to mount a serious comeback.

Leva made his first weekend start since late-February (ironically, the last time Stanford won a series) and worked four solid innings.  The junior had a dominant first three frames with only one hit surrendered before the Sun Devils struck for three runs (two earned) in the top of the fourth. 

Arizona State    0 0 0  3 0 0  0 0 1   -   4  12   0
Stanford         0 0 0  2 8 0  0 1 X   -  11  12   1

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

2B: Davis, Wallace, Fox
3B: Mesa
HR: Wallace (3rd)

                          IP   H   R  ER  BB  SO
Jeff Urlaub (L)          4.0   4   5   5   2   2
Brett Bruneel            0.1   2   3   3   0   0
Daryl Arreola            3.1   5   3   3   0   1
Ryan Sontag              0.1   1   0   0   0   0

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

2B: Minaker, Hester, Domaracki
HR: Rapoport (2nd)
SB: Hester
E: Milleville

                          IP   H   R  ER  BB  SO
Matt Leva                4.0   5   3   2   2   3
Matt Manship (W)         5.0   7   1   1   0   4

WP: Matt Manship (2-5)
LP: Jeff Urlaub (5-2)

Records: Stanford (19-19, 5-10), #16 Arizona State (29-16, 8-7)

* The 3-4-5 trio of Minaker, Taylor, and Hester combined to go 7-for-13 with six RBI.

* Minaker extended his hitting streak to eight games with his 3-for-5 performance at the plate.  The senior shortstop leads the club in batting average (.352), doubles (13), home runs (5), RBI (43), and stolen bases (5).

* Stanford scored 25 runs in the three games - their highest total in a three-game series this season.

* The Cardinal snapped a five-series losing streak with today's win.

* Rapoport tied a career-high with four RBI.

* Stanford's eight-run fifth inning was their second highest scoring inning of the season (nine runs vs. Texas, February 20th).

* The Cardinal are still in last place in the Pac-10 with a 5-10 record, but they are now just one game behind Arizona (6-9) for the eighth spot.  A bunched Pac-10 has Stanford just 3 1/2 games behind second-place USC (10-8) and 3 games behind third-place Arizona State, UCLA, and Washington (identical 8-7 records).

* Stanford's busy stretch of games continues on Monday afternoon when they travel across the bay for a single non-conference matchup versus the California Golden Bears.  First pitch at Evans Diamond is scheduled for 2:30 P.M.  The Cardinal have not officially announced a starting pitcher.  California took two-of-three games from visiting UCLA this weekend to improve their overall record to 21-22 (8-10 in the Pac-10).

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