Card Rout Wolfpack; Advance To Supers

Stanford appears to be peaking at the right time. Sunday saw the Cardinal pound out 24 hits in a 17-7 victory over N.C. State to claim the Austin Regional championship. Chris Minaker went a perfect 5-for-5 with six runs scored while Michael Taylor smacked a key home run to lead the dominant offensive attack. Stanford now advances to the super regionals where they'll meet Oregon State.

The Stanford Cardinal were given a second life this week and the team took full advantage.  A tumultuous regular season saw the Cardinal post a 30-25 record which included a sub-.500 mark in conference play.  A two-game sweep at the hands of UC Davis the final week of the regular season put any chances of the postseason in serious doubt.  Stanford though managed to sneak into the NCAA Tournament as a #3 seed and the club managed to knock off both Texas and N.C. State en route to a perfect 3-0 record to claim the Austin Regional championship.  The weekend was capped off by a stunning 17-7 victory over the 2nd seeded Wolfpack on Sunday afternoon at Disch-Falk Field.

The day started with N.C. State surprising the host Longhorns by a 6-3 score to end Texas' season.  Ace right-hander Gib Hobson, who was tagged for five runs in less than two innings by Stanford just two days ago, was brilliant on the mound tossing a complete-game to defeat #3 national seed Texas.  That gave the Wolfpack a full complement of relievers for their matchup with the Cardinal.  Unfortunately for them, it wouldn't matter.

Stanford recorded season-high totals of 17 runs and 24 hits against eight different N.C. State pitchers.  Chris Minaker led the attack with a perfect 5-for-5 performance at the plate while Michael Taylor also chipped in four hits and a home run.  The Cardinal finished the afternoon with a whopping ten extra base hits while receiving solid relief work from Austin Yount and Erik Davis in the second half of the contest to seal the victory.  With the win, Stanford advances to the super regionals where they will meet Oregon State - very likely in Corvallis.  Game One of the best-of-three series will be played on Friday or Saturday.

Stanford (the designated visiting team) jumped out to an early 4-0 lead on Sunday through the first 2 1/2 innings only to see the Wolfpack come storming back.  Two runs in the bottom of the fifth inning off of starter Jeremy Bleich knocked the freshman out of the game and tied the score at five apiece.

Then the Stanford bats erupted.  The Cardinal had plated five runs on an impressive total of 11 hits in their first five at-bats this afternoon.  A couple of runners thrown out on the bases plus an untimely double play though prevented any sort of a big inning.  N.C. State had all the momentum heading into the top of the sixth only to see Stanford steal it right back.

Jim Rapoport started the rally with an astroturf, high-chopper infield single.  After Ryan Seawell singled sharply to center field, John Hester struck out.  A four-pitch walk to Minaker loaded the bases setting the table for Taylor.  On an 0-1 pitch, Taylor grounded a ball to deep shortstop that was gloved by Jonathan Diaz, but the fielder had no play on any of the baserunners as Rapoport raced home from the third with the go-ahead tally.  Stanford would never give up the lead.

A fielder's choice ground out off the bat of Chris Lewis scored the second run of the frame before a wild pitch plated Minaker for an 8-5 advantage.

In the seventh, Grant Escue started things with a single, moved to second on a ground out, and scored on Seawell's clutch two-out single into right field.

Austin Yount relieved Bleich in the stressful bottom of the fifth and although he walked a pair of batters to load the bases, the freshman managed to get Diaz to fly out to Taylor in right field ending the threat.  Yount then fired a perfect sixth inning before Aaron Bates' leadoff, solo homer in the seventh.  The round-tripper cut Stanford's lead down to 9-6, but Yount was able to rebound setting down the next three hitters in order to keep the Cardinal in front.

Stanford tacked on two key insurance runs in the top of the eighth when Minaker singled with one out before Taylor blasted a mammoth homer to left.  The slugging right fielder got a first-pitch fastball up in the zone and crushed it well over the fence for his fifth home run of the season.  The moonshot gave the Cardinal an 11-6 lead and set the stage for a dramatic bottom of the eighth.

Yount continued to mow down the N.C. State hitters when a fly out and a strike out started the home half of the eighth.  But a lapse in control then did in the freshman when a pair of hit by pitches followed by a walk loaded the bases.  With Bates due up and the potential tying run in the on-deck circle, Coach Marquess went to the bullpen summoning Erik Davis into pitch.  Davis worked 2 1/3 hitless innings to finish the Texas game just a day earlier which seems to have made him the go-to pitcher in late inning situations.

Davis promptly allowed a sharp single to right field off the bat of Bates to bring home N.C. State's seventh run of the day.  The bases remained loaded after the hit as clean-up man Jon Still stepped to the plate.  Still blasted a home run off of Bleich earlier in today's game after a key longball in the victory over Texas many hours earlier.  Representing the tying run, Still quickly fell behind in the count 0-2 before Davis missed with his third pitch.  The next offering saw Still ground a ball sharply up the middle that was deflected by the reaching Davis over to Lewis near second base.  The deflection allowed Lewis to easily make a play on the ball as he gloved it cleanly and stepped on the bag for the force out and the end of the rally.  That would be the closest N.C. State would come in the late innings.

Stanford broke open the contest in the top of the ninth when they sent ten men to the plate with six of them coming across to score.  With runners on first and second and none out, Seawell delivered the first big hit of the inning when he smacked a triple into the right field corner plating both runners.  Seawell recorded hits in each of his last four at-bats to finish the day 4-for-6.

Stanford though was hardly done.  A Hester double followed the Seawell hit to score another run.  Then Minaker doubled down the left field line scoring Hester for a 15-7 lead.  A groundout from Taylor followed by a sacrifice fly from Lewis scored Minaker with the fifth run of the inning.  Then a Jason Castro triple restarted the rally before pinch-hitter Brendan Domaracki brought him home with a double into left.  The Domaracki hit ended the scoring for Stanford on this day with the final tally registering an amazing 17 runs.

Davis worked a scoreless bottom of the ninth inning to seal the victory for the Cardinal.  The sophomore right-hander was officially credited with his second save of the Austin Regional and fourth of the season.

Bleich went the first 4 1/3 innings on the mound yielding five runs (all earned) on eight hits.  The lefty didn't allow a run in the first two innings before Still struck with a three-run homer in the bottom of the third.  After a perfect fourth, Bleich was unable to get out of the fifth surrendering hits to three of the first four batters he faced.  Two of them scored with the bases eventually left loaded thanks to the relief work of Yount.

It was a banner afternoon for Minaker as the senior shortstop reached base safely in all six of his plate appearances.  He ended the day a home run shy of the cycle while also scoring runs in all six of his times reached base.  Taylor and Lewis, batting fourth and fifth in the order respectively, combined for eight RBI.

Stanford scored at least one run in every inning except the top of the fourth.  The leadoff hitter also reached base in seven of their nine at-bats.

Stanford     1 1 2  0 1 3  1 2 6    -   17  24   0
N.C. State   0 0 3  0 2 0  1 1 0    -    7  12   2

Stanford           POS   AB   R   H  RBI     BB  SO
Ryan Seawell        CF    6   2   4   3       0   1
John Hester          C    6   2   2   1       0   1
Chris Minaker       SS    5   6   5   2       1   0
Michael Taylor      RF    6   1   4   4       0   0
Chris Lewis         2B    5   0   2   4       0   0
Jason Castro        1B    5   1   2   0       1   1
Nolan Gallagher     DH    0   0   0   0       0   0
 Brent Milleville   PH    1   1   1   0       0   0
 Grant Escue       PH/DH  3   1   1   0       1   0
 Brendan Domaracki  PH    1   0   1   1       0   0
Cord Phelps         3B    2   0   1   0       0   0
 Randy Molina       3B    2   1   0   0       0   0
Jim Rapoport        LF    4   2   1   1       0   0

2B: Minaker 2, Hester, Taylor, Milleville, Domaracki
3B: Seawell, Minaker, Castro
HR: Taylor (5th)
SB: Hester

                      IP   H   R  ER  BB  SO
Jeremy Bleich        4.1   8   5   5   1   1
Austin Yount (W)     3.1   1   2   2   3   2
Erik Davis (S)       1.1   3   0   0   1   1



N.C. State          POS   AB   R   H  RBI     BB  SO
Matt Camp            CF    5   1   1   0       0   0
Ramon Corona         2B    4   1   1   0       1   0
Aaron Bates          1B    4   3   4   3       1   0
Jon Still            DH    5   1   2   3       0   0
Ryan Pond            LF    3   0   1   1       0   1
 Aaron Cone          PH    1   0   0   0       0   1
Brian Aragon         RF    4   0   1   0       1   1
Caleb Mangum          C    4   0   1   0       1   0
Jonathan Diaz        SS    4   0   0   0       1   1
Drew Martin          3B    2   0   0   0       0   0
 Matt Mangini       PH/3B  2   1   1   0       0   0

2B: Still, Pond, Mangum
HR: Bates (10th), Still (8th)
SB: Aragon
E: Martin, Mangini

                       IP   H   R  ER  BB  SO
Eric Surkamp          2.0   5   4   3   0   1
Joey Cutler           1.0   1   0   0   1   0
Matt Payne            1.0   5   1   1   0   0
Chris Engle (L)       1.1   2   2   2   1   1
Kyle Rutter           0.0   0   1   1   1   0
Joel Brookens         2.1   5   3   3   0   1
Branden Knapp         0.1   1   2   1   0   0
Travis High           1.0   5   4   2   0   0


WP: Austin Yount (4-0)
LP: Chris Engle (1-1)
S: Erik Davis (4)

Records: Stanford (33-25), N.C. State (40-23)


Notes:
* Minaker was named the Most Outstanding Player of the Austin Regional.  He finished 9-for-14 (.643) with seven runs scored, three doubles, one triple, and four RBI.

* Reynolds (9 IP, 2 ER, 2 BB, 7 SO), Hester (6-for-15, .400, grand slam, 2B, 6 RBI), Lewis (5-for-14, .357, 4 RBI), Molina (4-for-10, .400, RBI), and Taylor (8-for-14, .571, 2B, HR, 6 RBI) joined Minaker on the All-Tournament Team.

* Stanford scored 36 runs on 54 hits in the three games this weekend.  Their batting average has climbed to a season-high .289.

* The 17 runs and 24 hits in this afternoon's contest were both season-highs.  The Cardinal hit .522 (24-for-46) as a team.

* The 24 hits were the most in a game since a 26-hit output at Arizona in April, 2002 (W 19-1).

* Minaker scored a career-high six runs while the five hits matched the most he's ever had in a Stanford uniform.

* Seawell set a career-high with four hits.

* The Cardinal have now played six straight games without committing an error.  Prior to the streak, Stanford had gone consecutive games without an error just once this year (first two games of the season versus CS Fullerton).

* Yount earned the victory on the mound after allowing just one hit in his 3 1/3 innings.  He was officially charged with two runs.

* Stanford advances to the super regionals for the sixth time in the last eight years but its first since 2003.


On Deck:
The Cardinal will face a familiar opponent in the super regionals when they match-up with Pac-10 champion Oregon State (42-14) in a best-of-three game set.  The Beavers are expected to host the super regional with that announcement to be made official (along with the dates and game times) on Monday evening.  Oregon State swept through their sub-regional having defeated Wright State (5-3), Kansas (11-3), and Hawaii (12-3).  The super regional versus the Beavers will begin either on Friday or Saturday with the winner advancing to the College World Series.


Super Regional Matchups:
Regional play concludes on Monday

Stanford vs. Oregon State
Mississippi vs. Miami
South Carolina/Evansville vs. #7 Georgia/Florida State
#2 Rice/Baylor vs. Oklahoma/Wichita State

#1 Clemson vs. Oral Roberts
#8 Georgia Tech vs. College of Charleston
#5 CS Fullerton/Fresno State vs. Pepperdine/Missouri
#4 Alabama vs. North Carolina

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