Bullpen Delivers In Win Over USF

The Stanford pitching staff has, for the most part, struggled on the road this early season. With a long stretch of home games now underway, the time is now for the Cardinal hurlers to get back on the right track. Tuesday night saw relievers Austin Yount and David Stringer fire eight scoreless innings to end the ballgame as Stanford posted a 4-1 victory over the USF Dons.

The first two roadtrips of the season produced subpar results for the Cardinal pitching staff, to say the least.  In six games at Cal State Fullerton and Texas, the pitching staff allowed a total 47 runs resulting in just one victory.  Stanford threw well in their rain-shortened two-game sweep of Fresno State sandwiched between the two trips, but the staff as a whole still brought a lofty 6.85 ERA into Tuesday's game with the San Francisco Dons. 

Now, there's no time like the present for the Cardinal pitchers to get back on the right track.  Starting Tuesday, Stanford plays ten of their next 11 games at Sunken Diamond leading up to their break for final exams.  A number of quality opponents await the Cardinal, but at least the games will be played at the friendly confines on the Farm.  Tuesday's contest versus the Dons was a big step in the right direction as Stanford produced a 4-1 victory to notch their fourth win of the season.

Austin Yount and David Stringer combined to toss eight shutout innings to finish the game while the Cardinal offense scored two runs in the fifth and sixth innings en route to the win.  While questions still remain about whether the trio of starting pitchers (Nolan Gallagher, Jeff Inman, and Jeremy Bleich) can put together a run of quality starts, tonight's non-conference game was an impressive display put on by two hurlers who are expected to throw key innings out of the bullpen in 2007.

Yount entered the contest at the start of the second inning with the Cardinal trailing 1-0 and was in complete control during his entire stint on the mound.  The sophomore went five strong innings allowing just three hits with no runs, no walks, and two strikeouts.  In not one inning did USF manage more than one baserunner against Yount.  The two-way player had started seven of Stanford's first eight games this season (primarily at second base), but was held out of the lineup today with the expectation that he was going to pitch out of the bullpen.  Mark Marquess' original plan was to throw five or six pitchers tonight, but Yount was having the best game of his young career on the mound and with the score tight, the coaching staff didn't want to make a move.

The five innings pitched by Yount was a career-high.  The Arizona native had thrown just one innings spanning two appearances this season prior to tonight's action.  Last year, Yount led the Cardinal pitching staff with a 2.84 ERA in 16 outings out of the bullpen.

The Stanford offense could do very little against Dons starting pitcher Mitchell Bialosky until the bottom of the fifth inning.  Bialosky surrendered just one hit (a Brendan Domaracki second-inning double) in the first four frames before running into trouble in the fifth.

After two quick outs, Joey August stepped to the plate and grounded a single through the right side of the diamond.  Then in perhaps the key at-bat of the night, Cord Phelps stepped up and lined a ball into right field.  At the very worst for USF, the play should have resulted in a single.  But right fielder Luke Sommer tried to make the spectacular diving play and the ball bounced in front of his glove and rolled well behind the outfielder.  With the ball headed toward the warning track, August raced all the way around to score and Phelps cruised into third base with a triple.

But Stanford wasn't done in the fifth inning as the hot bat of Adam Gaylord then stepped in and the freshman connected for a sharp single into left field plating Phelps for a 2-1 Stanford lead.

The Cardinal again used some two-out magic to score two more runs in the sixth.  With one out, Sean Ratliff reached on an error which was followed by a walk to Brent Milleville.  After a pitching change brought lefty Cole Stipovich into the game, pinch-hitter Brian Juhl popped out.  Then August, who figures to garner significant playing time in left field with the arm injury of Toby Gerhart, lined a ball into the right field corner for a double scoring both runners.  When the dust had settled, Stanford had jumped in front by a 4-1 score.

That would be more than enough for David Stringer as the junior right-hander entered the game to begin the seventh.  Stringer, who picked up a save two weekends ago versus Fresno State with three scoreless innings, accomplished the same feat tonight.  The local product allowed just two hits with no walks and two K's in the final three frames to secure the Cardinal victory.  Like with Yount, USF never put more that one runner on in an inning versus Stringer and thus never had the potential tying run at the plate toward the end of the contest.

Tom Stilson earned his first career start and threw a hefty amount of pitches in a stressful first inning.  The Dons picked up an unearned run against Stilson as the southpaw aided a rally when he bobbled a sacrifice bunt attempt off the bat of #2 hitter Tavo Hall.  Leadoff man Joey Railey, who started the contest with a single, eventually scored on a fielder's choice groundout from Jonathan Norfolk.  Stilson was pulled after one inning with the plan of throwing multiple pitchers the remainder of the contest.  But then Yount had other ideas.


San Francisco   1 0 0  0 0 0  0 0 0   -   1   7   1
Stanford        0 0 0  0 2 2  0 0 X   -   4   6   1

San Francisco      POS  AB   R   H  RBI  BB  SO
Joey Railey         2B   4   1   2   0    0   1
Tavo Hall           SS   3   0   0   0    0   0
Luke Sommer         RF   4   0   1   0    0   1
Derek Poppert       DH   3   0   1   0    0   0
 Mitchell Bialosky P/DH  1   0   0   0    0   1
Jonathan Norfolk     C   1   0   0   1    0   0
 Zach Kim           PH   1   0   0   0    0   0
 Daniel Morales      C   2   0   0   0    0   1
Brian Chavez        3B   4   0   1   0    0   0
Lucas DeLong        CF   4   0   0   0    0   1
Chris Bacigalupi    1B   3   0   1   0    0   0
 Bobby Ethel        PR   0   0   0   0    0   0
 Blake Nelson       1B   1   0   0   0    0   0
Jonnie Knoble       LF   3   0   1   0    0   0

E: Hall
SB: Sommer, Knoble

                        IP   H   R  ER  BB  SO
Mitchell Bialosky (L)  5.1   4   4   2   1   5
Cole Stipovich         0.1   1   0   0   1   0
Brian Anderson         2.1   1   0   0   1   2

Stanford           POS  AB   R   H  RBI  BB  SO   AVG
Michael Taylor      RF   4   0   0   0    0   2  .216
Ryan Seawell        3B   4   0   1   0    0   1  .263
Sean Ratliff        CF   3   1   0   0    1   2  .308
Brent Milleville     C   3   1   0   0    1   0  .278
Brendan Domaracki   DH   2   0   1   0    0   1  .300
 Brian Juhl         PH   1   0   0   0    0   0  .321
 Randy Molina       PH   1   0   0   0    0   0  .250
Jason Castro        1B   3   0   0   0    1   0  .083
Joey August         LF   4   1   2   1    0   0  .313
Cord Phelps         2B   3   1   1   1    0   0  .310
Adam Gaylord        SS   3   0   1   1    0   1  .355

E: Stilson
2B: Domaracki, August
3B: Phelps
SB: Ratliff

                        IP   H   R  ER  BB  SO   ERA
Tom Stilson            1.0   2   1   0   0   1  6.75
Austin Yount (W)       5.0   3   0   0   0   2  3.00
David Stringer (S)     3.0   2   0   0   0   2  3.12

WP: Austin Yount (1-0)
LP: Mitchell Bialosky (0-2)
S: David Stringer (2)

Records: Stanford (4-5), San Francisco (5-5)

* The three Stanford pitchers tonight combined for zero earned runs and zero walks. 

* Stringer has already recorded two saves this season after only one in 2006.

* In a batting order shake-up, Michael Taylor found his name at the top of the lineup card tonight.  Taylor had a horrific first two games in Texas last weekend going 0-for-8 with five strikeouts.  He rebounded with three hits in Stanford's 10-8 win on Sunday while still batting in his customary #3 spot in the order.  Tuesday, Taylor went 0-for-4 with two strikeouts and saw his batting average drop to .216 (8-for-37).

* Stanford has struggled on the road against nationally ranked opponents this season (1-5), but they've managed to take care of business at home.  With tonight's win, the Cardinal are now 3-0 at Sunken Diamond with all three wins coming against teams that participated in the 2006 NCAA Tournament (Fresno State and San Francisco).  Stanford's next opponent, the Kansas Jayhawks, also reached the postseason last year.

* After catching all three games last weekend, Brian Juhl was held out of the starting lineup tonight for the first time this year.  Juhl was inserted into the game in the sixth inning as a pinch-hitter.  The Cardinal have outstanding depth at catcher this season as sophomores Brent Milleville and Jason Castro are also talented enough offensively and defensively to be seeing all of the action behind the dish.  Tonight, it was Milleville getting the call at catcher with Castro at his usual spot of first base.  Through nine games, now only Taylor, Sean Ratliff, and Adam Gaylord have started each contest this season.

* With some help from the USF defense, Cord Phelps notched his team-leading second triple of the season tonight.  Phelps, who didn't record an extra base hit in 92 at-bats last season, also paces the club with five doubles (three ahead of the next closest player - Jeff Whitlow).

* Gaylord extended his hitting streak to seven games with his fifth-inning single.  Gaylord continues to lead the team in batting average (.355, 11-for-31).

The Cardinal continue their season-long seven-game homestand this weekend when they welcome the Kansas Jayhawks to town.  The three-game series will begin on Friday evening with first pitch scheduled for 5:00 P.M.  The game on Saturday will get underway at 1:00 P.M. while the Sunday contest is slated for an 11:00 A.M. start.  Kansas is currently 7-1 on the season with all of their games coming against the likes of cupcakes Hawaii-Hilo and South Dakota State.

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