Card Exact Extra Inning Revenge

Stanford and Santa Clara have met twice now this season with both meetings reaching extra frames. Two weeks ago, the Broncos scored five times in the top of the tenth for the win. On Tuesday, Stanford plated four runs in the top of the 15th inning for a dramatic 8-4 victory. Three freshmen proved to be the most unlikely of heroes for Stanford as each provided memorable moments in the extra innings. Here is a complete recap of the marathon contest.

At 11:14 local time, five hours and seven minutes after first pitch, it finally came to an end.  Fortunately for Stanford, they found themselves on a right side of an 8-4 score.  In a 15-inning marathon at Schott Stadium, the Cardinal scored four runs in the top of the 15th to notch a draining victory over the host Santa Clara Broncos.  The triumph, Stanford's fourth in their last five games, improves their overall record to 23-21.  The win also exacted some revenge after the Broncos plated five runs in the top of the tenth inning for a 6-1 victory at Sunken Diamond on April 25th - the first time these teams met in '06.

The first 11 innings of the contest tonight were relatively tame as the clubs battled to a 2-2 tie.  Then things got a little crazy with the most unlikely of players coming through in the clutch for the Cardinal.

In the top of the 12th, Chris Lewis started things with a single to left field before Jason Castro drew a walk.  After a pitching change, Brian Juhl dropped down a perfect sacrifice bunt to move both runners up 90 feet.  DH Austin Yount was up next, but the freshman was 0-for-3 on the night with a pair of strikeouts and a double play ground out.  Despite an extremely thin bench at the time, Coach Marquess decided to make a change.  Who he brought off was the most unlikely of players in fellow freshman Grant Escue.

A native of Illinois, Escue is a left-handed hitting first baseman (who can also pitch).  His only previous experience this season came on March 11th at USC when he singled in a pinch-hitting appearance as part of a 16-7 loss.  Game two of Escue's career came on Tuesday night and he would come through in the biggest of ways.

On an 0-1 pitch from Mark Willinsky, Escue smoked a hard line drive into the left center field gap rolling nearly all the way to the wall for a double.  Both Lewis and Castro scored easily as Stanford jumped in front by a 4-2 margin.  Despite not scoring again the rest of the frame, the Cardinal were in line for a dramatic, Grant Escue-led 12-inning win over their South Bay rivals.

But Santa Clara had other ideas.

Max Fearnow became the fourth Cardinal hurler of the night when he took the mound to begin the bottom of the 12th.  The first man he faced was Matt Long and the SCU center fielder hit a hard ground ball to Castro.  But the first baseman saw the hot shot bounce right off of his glove and through his legs for an error and the Broncos had put the leadoff man on.  After a fly out, Kris Watts stepped to the plate and smoked a double down the right field line moving Long over to third and putting the potential tying run into scoring position.

Dustin Realini followed with a high chopper to Lewis at third base.  The senior made an alert play when he fielded the ground ball cleanly and fired home to nab Long who was trying to score.  The play was significant as it not only recorded out #2 of the inning, but it put the potential tying run (now Realini) out of scoring position.  Realini stood at first base having reached on the fielder's choice with Watts still standing at second.

Needing just one out for the victory though, Fearnow was unable to slam the door albeit because of some bad luck.  SCU's leading home run man Eric Newton (13 HR) was up next and he managed to work the count full.  With runners in motion on the 3-2 offering, Newton popped the pitch up into shallow center field.  Second baseman Cord Phelps raced out and center fielder Ryan Seawell sprinted in, but neither was able to make the grab.  And when the ball bounced away from both fielders, Realini, who was off on the pitch, raced around third base to score the tying run.

Now with Newton, the potential winning run standing at second after the bloop double, it would take just a hit to the outfield from Gabe Alcantar to win the game for the Broncos.  Alcantar came close, but his fly ball to deep left field was caught by Joey August on the warning track and the teams headed to the 13th.

The game remained tied at 4-4 until the 15th when Stanford managed to string some hits together to take the lead for good.  August started the frame with a single before Chris Minaker, who was 0-for-6 on the evening, grounded a single through the left side to put runners on first and second.

Michael Taylor was up next and the Cardinal clean-up man was unsuccessful in his attempt to bunt the runners over before eventually lining out to right.  That set things up for Cord Phelps.  A late-inning replacement for Randy Molina, Phelps stepped to the plate with just a .181 batting average.  The theme of unlikely heroes continued though for the Cardinal as the freshman infielder grounded a sharp single through the right side to score August with the go-ahead tally.

Lewis then followed with a ringing double to deep left center plating both Minaker and Phelps for a 7-4 lead.  Lewis would eventually score on a wild pitch to cap the 15th-inning scoring.

On the pitching side, Fearnow threw brilliantly to notch his second win of the year.  The Omaha native worked a 1-2-3 bottom of the 13th before pitching around a leadoff walk in the 14th (thanks to a double play).  In the 15th, he surrendered a leadoff single, but rebounded to set down the next three hitters on a strikeout, a fly out, and a ground out respectively to seal the victory.  All total, Fearnow fired four innings with three hits and two unearned runs allowed.

He was hardly the only pitching star of the game for Stanford though.  Erik Davis put forth the best long relief outing of his season when the sophomore worked five shutout frames from the 7th through the 11th.  The sophomore right-hander allowed just one hit (a harmless single) with one walk and four strikeouts.  It was a spectacular effort from Davis as he's quickly becoming the go-to arm out of this bullpen.

Nolan Gallagher made the start on the mound and worked three scoreless innings.  The sophomore was able to pitch in-and-out of trouble during his brief stint stranding five runners (including the bases loaded in the first).  Lefty Sean Ratliff tossed the next three innings with two runs allowed.  Both came in the bottom of the fifth with one of the unearned variety.  Ratliff displayed excellent stuff as he fanned four Santa Clara hitters compared to no walks.

The game saw Stanford use 17 position players with the only missing from action (of those who have played this year) being injured catcher John Hester and the outfielder Ratliff (who obviously saw time on the mound instead).

Stan. 0 0 0  1 1 0  0 0 0  0 0 2  0 0 4  -  8 16  3
SCU   0 0 0  0 2 0  0 0 0  0 0 2  0 0 0  -  4 12  0

Stanford             POS   AB   R   H  RBI    BB  SO
Ryan Seawell          CF    6   0   0   0      1   2
Jim Rapoport          LF    4   0   0   0      0   0
 Joey August         PH/LF  3   1   2   0      0   0
Chris Minaker         SS    7   1   1   0      0   1
Michael Taylor        RF    7   1   1   0      0   2
Randy Molina          3B    4   0   3   1      0   0
 J.J. Jelmini         PR    0   0   0   0      0   0
 Cord Phelps          2B    3   1   2   1      0   0
Chris Lewis          2B/3B  7   2   3   2      0   0
Jason Castro          C/1B  6   2   2   0      1   1
Brent Milleville      1B    3   0   1   0      0   1
 Brendan Domaracki    PH    0   0   0   0      0   0
 Brian Juhl            C    1   0   0   0      1   1
Greg Reynolds         DH    0   0   0   0      0   0
 Austin Yount        PH/DH  3   0   0   0      1   2
 Grant Escue          PH    1   0   1   2      0   0
 Jeff Whitlow         PR    0   0   0   0      0   0
 Stephen Brown       PH/DH  2   0   0   0      0   1

2B: Lewis 2, Taylor, Escue
E: Milleville 2, Castro

                        IP   H   R  ER  BB  SO
Nolan Gallagher        3.0   4   0   0   1   1
Sean Ratliff           3.0   4   2   1   0   4
Erik Davis             5.0   1   0   0   1   4
Max Fearnow (W)        4.0   3   2   0   1   2

Santa Clara           POS   AB   R   H  RBI    BB  SO
Kevin Drever           2B    7   1   1   0      0   1
Matt Long             CF/RF  6   1   2   0      1   0
Daniel Nava           LF/RF  6   0   1   1      1   1
Kris Watts              C    6   1   3   1      1   0
Dustin Realini         1B    6   1   1   0      0   0
Eric Newton            3B    7   0   1   2      0   3
Donald Brandt          DH    5   0   1   0      0   3
 Gabe Alcantar        PR/DH  2   0   0   0      0   0
Michael Lange          SS    6   0   0   0      0   0
Kyle Hartz             RF    3   0   2   0      0   1
 Jason Matteucci       PH    0   0   0   0      0   0
 Juan Parra           PR/CF  0   0   0   0      0   0
 Brady Fuerst          PH    1   0   0   0      0   1
 Kevin Madden          LF    1   0   0   0      0   1

2B: Watts, Newton, Hartz
CS: Parra

                        IP   H   R  ER  BB  SO
Chris Stansbury        6.0   5   2   2   1   3
Jeff Lombard           5.0   4   0   0   0   5
Daniel DeMarco         0.0   1   2   2   1   0
Mark Willinsky (L)     3.1   6   4   4   1   3
Deke Dormer            0.2   0   0   0   1   0

WP: Max Fearnow (2-0)
LP: Mark Willinsky (2-4)

Records: Stanford (23-21), Santa Clara (26-23)

* The teams combined for 113 at-bats (Stanford 57, Santa Clara 56) this evening.

* Molina and Lewis each led the Cardinal offense with three-hit games.  Molina received just four plate appearances (singling in three of them) before leaving the contest in the ninth for a pinch-runner.  Lewis recorded all three of his hits in the extra innings: a single in the 12th, a double in the 14th, and the crucial two-run double in the 15th.

* The 15 innings and five hour, seven minute totals were both season-highs for the Cardinal.

* All three errors were committed by first basemen: two from Milleville and one by Castro.  All three were fielding miscues and led to three unearned runs.

* All total, the quartet of Cardinal hurlers allowed just one earned run and three walks in 15 innings pitched tonight.

* Stanford evened the season-series with the Broncos at a game apiece.  The final contest scheduled between the teams is next Tuesday, May 16th at Sunken Diamond.

* The Cardinal have little time to rest as they hop right back on the bus for a single non-conference game tomorrow at Sacramento State.  First pitch at Hornet Field is scheduled for 2:30 P.M.  Pitchers David Stringer (2-4, 4.93 ERA), Austin Yount (2-0, 2.13 ERA), and Blake Holler (1-0, 8.47 ERA) have seen little-to-no action on the mound over the last five days and figure to see most of the time in this contest.

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