Stars Shine In Stanford Win

Randy Molina's one-out single in the bottom of the ninth scored the winning run for Stanford in a dramatic 3-2 victory over Cal. But it was the stars of the team that put forth standout performances to get the Cardinal to that point. Chris Minaker blasted a pair of solo home runs off one of the top pitchers in the country while Greg Reynolds fired a complete-game on the mound. Here is a recap of Friday's thrilling Stanford victory.

In big games, it's the stars of your team that are called upon to lead the way.  Stanford received standout performances from their top hitter and top pitcher Friday night in a thrilling 3-2 series-opening victory over the California Golden Bears at Sunken Diamond.  Chris Minaker blasted a pair of solo home runs off of Cal ace hurler Brandon Morrow before scoring the winning run in the bottom of the ninth inning.  Meanwhile, Greg Reynolds fired a complete-game six-hitter - the second week in a row that he went the distance on the mound.

This game was billed as a fantastic pitching matchup with a pair of hard-throwing right-hander doing battle.  Morrow entered the contest with a conference-best 1.59 ERA while averaging a strikeout per inning pitched.  The junior is a sure-bet for All-American honors and has an excellent chance to be selected with one of the first few picks in next month's draft.

Reynolds may join Morrow in the first round - especially with his incredible late-season surge.  The 6'7" junior tossed a complete-game three-hitter against nationally ranked Arizona State last weekend and was just as impressive tonight. 

The game saw a tremendous amount of major league scouts in attendance - many of which were certainly out to examine these two hurlers.  Even two MLB general managers in Pittsburgh's Dave Littlefield and San Francisco's Brian Sabean made the trek out to Sunken Diamond.  They, along with nearly 2,000 other spectators on the Farm tonight, were not disappointed.

Morrow started the game by retiring the first 11 batters of the night.  Featuring a fastball that regularly sat in the mid-90's and topped out at 98 M.P.H., the Cardinal offense could do very little against the flame-thrower.  The one exception was Minaker.

With Stanford trailing 1-0, Minaker stepped to the plate with two outs in the bottom of the fourth.  On a 1-1 pitch, the senior shortstop went below the zone and launched a ball over the fence in straightaway left field for a solo shot.  The swing of the bat was very impressive considering Morrow's early success tonight as it pulled Stanford into a 1-1 tie.

The next offensive surge against Morrow wouldn't come until Minaker's next trip to the plate.  Now down by a 2-1 margin, Minaker again came up with two outs and nobody on base - this time in the bottom of the sixth.  And on the first pitch, Minaker got ahold of another Morrow offering as he blasted a pitch over the wall in deep left center field to tie the game at 2-2.  It was Minaker's team-leading eighth home run of the year and it electrified the Sunken Diamond crowd.

Morrow maintained his poise though as Stanford wouldn't muster another hit off of the ace until the bottom of the ninth.  Surprise, surprise, it was again Minaker doing the damage.  With the game still tied at 2-2, Minaker led off the bottom of the ninth with a ground ball single through the left side to put the winning run on base.  After Michael Taylor dropped down a perfect sacrifice bunt to move Minaker to second, Randy Molina took a 1-1 pitch from Morrow and grounded it sharply into left field for a single.  Coach Dean Stotz never hesitated to send Minaker around third and the offensive star of the game scored easily with the winning run.

Morrow was the tough-luck loser despite racking up 11 strike outs with no walks in 8 1/3 innings.  He threw 105 pitches.

On the other side, Reynolds matched the Cal ace pitch-for-pitch. The Bears' only runs came in the fourth and sixth frames, but both leads would be temporary thanks to Minaker's heroics.

In the top of the fourth, struggling third baseman Josh Satin belted a one-out, solo home run to left field for a 1-0 lead.  Then in the sixth, a hit by pitch and a bloop single set up a rally for the Bears.  With Satin at the plate, Reynolds then uncorked a fastball over the head of catcher Brian Juhl and back to the screen to score the go-ahead run.  Reynolds though would rebound to set down the next two hitters on groundouts to keep the deficit at one.

The Pacifica native seemed to get stronger as the game progressed working perfect 1-2-3 seventh and eighth innings.  Reynolds needed just six pitches to set down the side in the top of the eighth, however, the ninth would be a different story.

After Brennan Boesch singled into center to start the frame, Satin dropped down a sacrifice bunt to move the potential go-ahead tally into scoring position.  Mike Van Winden then struck out looking on a beautiful curve ball before Travis Howell drew a five-pitch walk.

That brought pitching coach Tom Kunis to the mound with Matt Manship ready in the bullpen if needed.  But Reynolds would be allowed to remain in the ballgame and he would come through with the defensive play of the night.  Garrett Bussiere was up next and on Reynolds' 140th pitch of the evening, the Cal catcher smoked a line drive right back to the mound.  Reynolds stuck up his glove though and made the amazing catch to prevent a potential RBI single and keep the game tied.  Fortunately for the Cardinal, it would be the last pitch thrown by a Stanford hurler tonight as the home team rallied for the game-winning run in the bottom of the frame.

California    0 0 0  1 0 1  0 0 0   -   2   6   1
Stanford      0 0 0  1 0 1  0 0 1   -   3   6   1

California           POS   AB   R   H  RBI    BB  SO
Rob Nesbitt           RF    3   0   0   0      0   1
Allen Craig           SS    4   0   2   0      0   0
Chris Errecart        LF    3   1   0   0      0   0
Brennan Boesch        CF    4   0   3   0      0   0
Josh Satin            3B    2   1   1   1      0   0
Mike Van Winden       1B    3   0   0   0      0   1
Travis Howell         DH    3   0   0   0      1   2
Garrett Bussiere       C    4   0   0   0      0   0
Kyle Spraker          2B    2   0   0   0      1   0

HR: Satin (2nd)
CS: Craig
E: Craig

                          IP   H   R  ER  BB  SO
Brandon Morrow (L)       8.1   6   3   3   0  11

Stanford              POS   AB   R   H  RBI    BB  SO
Joey August            DH    4   0   0   0      0   2
Jim Rapoport           LF    4   0   0   0      0   2
Chris Minaker          SS    4   3   3   2      0   0
Michael Taylor         RF    3   0   1   0      0   0
Randy Molina           3B    4   0   1   1      0   2
Chris Lewis            2B    3   0   1   0      0   0
Jason Castro          1B/C   2   0   0   0      0   1
Brian Juhl              C    2   0   0   0      0   2
 Brent Milleville     PH/1B  1   0   0   0      0   1
Ryan Seawell           CF    3   0   0   0      0   1

HR: Minaker 2 (7th, 8th)
E: Reynolds

                          IP   H   R  ER  BB  SO
Greg Reynolds (W)        9.0   6   2   2   2   4

WP: Greg Reynolds (5-3)
LP: Brandon Morrow (7-3)

Records: Stanford (21-20, 6-10), California (23-23, 8-11)

* Reynolds notched his team-leading fifth win of the year while also lowering his ERA to 3.49.  Over his last two starts, he's surrendered just three runs and nine hits spanning 18 innings.

* Minaker extended his hitting streak to 11 games with his fourth-inning home run.  The shortstop raised his season batting average to .363 while he's also driven home 48 runs (in just 41 games).

* Reynolds was throwing as hard as ever with a fastball topping out at 94 M.P.H.  He showed no signs of tiring in the ninth as his heater still sat at 92 while facing the final two batters of the frame.

* The sacrifice bunt from Taylor in the bottom of the ninth was his first of the year.  The game featured six total sacrifice bunts (two from Stanford, four by Cal).

* Stanford evened the season-series with California at 2-2.  All four games have been decided by one run.

* Senior catcher John Hester did not play due to an infection in his knee.  He's listed as day-to-day.  Juhl started in his place behind the dish.

* These two teams will play the second game of this series Saturday afternoon at Sunken Diamond.  First pitch is scheduled for 4:00 P.M. with the game to be televised live on Fox Sports Net (Fox Sports Bay Area locally).  Matt Leva (2-0, 3.60) is slated to start on the mound for Stanford while California will counter with freshman right-hander Tyson Ross (4-4, 3.78 ERA).

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