Card Come Back To Extend Streak

The Stanford Cardinal used an eight-run fifth inning on Tuesday night to rally past Santa Clara, 11-7, at Sunken Diamond. The home team recovered from an early six-run deficit as they extended their winning streak to seven games. Michael Taylor led the offense with a perfect 5-for-5 evening while a pair of home runs from two of his teammates proved to be the damaging blows in the decisive bottom of the fifth.

After 4 1/2 innings Tuesday night, the Cardinal were getting outplayed in all facets of the game by the visiting Santa Clara Broncos.  Stanford was getting handled by a 6-0 score having committed as many errors (three) in the field as hits (three) at the plate.  The Cardinal's winning streak appeared headed for a screeching halt.  But this is the new Stanford.  A team oozing confidence after a convincing road sweep of a talented Washington ballclub last weekend.  And the Cardinal managed to come all the way back scoring 11 of the final 12 runs of the evening for an impressive 11-7 victory.

The win extends Stanford's season-high winning streak to seven games.  They've also won nine out of their last ten games as their overall record now sits at 28-21.  Meanwhile, Santa Clara, who was playing their final regular season game of the year, finishes the '06 campaign with a 28-26 record.

The pivotal inning for the Cardinal was the bottom of the fifth as 11 batters came to the plate with eight of them scoring.  Three consecutive singles from Randy Molina, Joey August, and Jim Rapoport started the rally.  Rapoport's single was a sharp line drive to left that easily scored Molina from third base for Stanford's first run of the evening.

After Ryan Seawell was hit by a pitch to load the bases, John Hester smoked a hard ground ball into left field for a double.  With left fielder Daniel Nava playing off the line, Hester never stopped around first base just making it into second with the hustle two-bagger.  August and Rapoport scored on the play to cut Santa Clara's lead down to 6-3.

For Hester, it was his first game action since May 2nd as the senior catcher missed the last two Pac-10 weekends with an infection in his knee.  The Georgia native though was back in uniform tonight and found himself batting in the #2 spot in the order.

His key fifth-inning double prompted a pitching change as Daniel DeMarco was summoned into the contest.  The first man DeMarco faced was Chris Minaker and the Cardinal shortstop would win the battle.  On a 1-0 pitch, Minaker blasted an offering from the SCU right-hander over the scoreboard in deep left center field for a mammoth three-run homer.  The home run was Minaker's tenth of the year and it tied the score at 6-6.

Stanford though wasn't done.  Michael Taylor restarted the rally when he followed the Minaker home run with a ringing double to deep right field.  After Chris Lewis grounded out, Jason Castro was announced as a pinch-hitter for Brent Milleville to set up a left-handed hitter versus right-handed pitcher matchup.  The percentages would work in favor of the Cardinal in this at-bat as Castro drove an 0-1 pitch from DeMarco over the wall in right field.  The two-run round-tripper scored the seventh and eighth runs of the inning for Stanford giving the home team their first lead of the night.

The Cardinal received solid relief work from David Stringer and Matt Manship over the final four innings to preserve the lead.  Stringer entered the contest to begin the top of the sixth and fired a pair of scoreless frames with one hit and one walk allowed.  Manship, who may be settling into a role as a late-inning reliever, went the last two innings surrendering one run and three hits.  The senior struck out a pair including SCU leading home run hitter Eric Newton to finish the game.

Stanford's final three runs of the evening came in the bottom of the seventh as the Cardinal extended their lead to 11-6.  Taylor started things with a one-out single.  After he moved to second on a wild pitch, Lewis brought home the red-hot right fielder with a double off the fence in left field. 

Later in the inning, a walk to Molina and a hit by pitch of August loaded the bases.  The clutch performance of the Stanford hitters would continue when Rapoport lined a two-out single into left field scoring two more runs. 

While Minaker and Castro delivered the two biggest swings of the bat tonight for Stanford, Taylor came through with the most complete effort at the plate.  The sophomore was perfect against the Broncos finishing the night 5-for-5 with four singles, a double, and two runs scored.  It was the first five-hit game of the year for a Stanford player while Taylor also achieved a personal career-high. 

Even though the Cardinal didn't break-up the shutout until the bottom of the fifth, they had baserunners in every inning Tuesday.  A pair of double plays ended innings early in the contest before the eruption in the fifth.  Every starter, with the exception of Ryan Seawell, recorded at least one basehit (does not include Nolan Gallagher's "start" at DH). 

Max Fearnow made the start on the mound for Stanford - his second of the year.  That initial starting appearance was an impressive one as the freshman fired 4 1/3 quality innings with just one run and three hits allowed versus San Francisco on April 17th.  Unfortunately, the Omaha native would not enjoy similar results against the Broncos.

Fearnow faced just the first four batters of the game allowing a walk and a pair of singles with all three runs eventually coming across to score.  A pair of errors in the field - both fielding miscues (Molina on a throw from Hester on a stolen base attempt and Taylor on a ground ball single) - didn't help his cause. 

Sean Ratliff allowed just one unearned run on two hits over his 2 2/3 innings in relief of Fearnow.  The freshman appeared to come unraveled in the top of the second though when a two-out single and a Millevile fielding error opened the door for a run-scoring inning.  After Ratliff hit Nava with a pitch, he went on to issue a four-pitch walk to Kris Watts to force home a run.  The southpaw did recover to induce Dustin Realini to fly out leaving the bases loaded before a perfect 1-2-3 third inning.

Erik Davis was in next to begin the fourth as he would struggle initially allowing a leadoff home run to Carl Bacon.  A second run in the inning would later score on a Nava RBI single.  That basehit gave SCU a 6-0 lead.  Davis managed a perfect top of the fifth before the Cardinal bats came to life in the bottom of the frame.

Santa Clara    3 1 0  2 0 0  0 1 0   -   7  11   0
Stanford       0 0 0  0 8 0  3 0 X   -  11  14   3

Santa Clara          POS   AB   R   H  RBI    BB  SO
Kevin Drever          SS    4   3   4   0      1   0
Matt Long             RF    4   0   0   1      0   0
Daniel Nava           LF    4   1   2   1      0   1
Kris Watts            1B    4   1   2   2      1   0
Dustin Realini        3B    5   0   0   0      0   0
Jason Matteucci       CF    4   0   1   1      1   0
Eric Newton           2B    5   0   0   0      0   1
Donald Brandt         DH    4   0   0   0      0   2
Carl Bacon             C    4   2   2   1      0   0

2B: Drever, Watts, Bacon
HR: Bacon (2nd)
SB: Drever, Nava

                         IP   H   R  ER  BB  SO
Sean O'Neill            2.0   2   0   0   1   0
Justin Kuehn            1.0   0   0   0   1   1
Jeff Lombard            1.0   5   5   5   0   1
Daniel DeMarco (L)      2.1   5   5   5   0   0
Deke Dormer             0.2   1   1   1   1   1
Mark Willinsky          1.0   1   0   0   0   0



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

2B: Hester, Taylor, Lewis
HR: Minaker (10th), Castro (3rd)
SB: Rapoport
E: Taylor, Milleville, Molina

                          IP   H   R  ER  BB  SO
Max Fearnow              0.1   2   3   2   1   0
Sean Ratliff             2.2   2   1   0   1   1
Erik Davis (W)           2.0   3   2   2   0   1
David Stringer           2.0   1   0   0   1   0
Matt Manship             2.0   3   1   1   0   2



WP: Erik Davis (1-1)
LP: Daniel DeMarco (5-4)

Records: Stanford (28-21), Santa Clara (28-26)


Notes:
* Taylor extended his career-high hitting streak to nine games with his banner performance at the plate.  Taylor is batting at a .439 clip (18-for-41) during the streak while he's also contributed four straight multi-hit games.  His season average has climbed all the way up to .326.

* Stanford scored in double figures for the third straight game.  That is the first time they've accomplished that feat this season.  The Cardinal have also hit two or more homers in three consecutive games (they are 10-0 in such games this season).

* The six-run margin was the largest deficit the Cardinal have come-from-behind to win a game this year.

* Stanford is hitting .364 as a team (10.0 runs/game) in their last four contests.

* Hester's return to the lineup saw the senior finish with one hit in five at-bats.

* With tonight's win, Stanford claimed the season-series over the Broncos by a 2-1 margin.

* The Cardinal return to action on Friday evening when they take on UCLA in the first game of a crucial three-game series.  First pitch at Jackie Robinson Stadium is scheduled for 6:00 P.M.  It will be Stanford's final Pac-10 series of the year.  The Cardinal's lone remaining home game is on Friday, May 26th versus UC Davis (6:00 P.M.).

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