Baseball Win Streak Reaches Seven

The Cardinal baseball team continues to excel in close games as Stanford edged California 5-4 on Saturday afternoon. The home team mustered a pair of runs in the bottom of the seventh inning to erase a slight Bears lead with the bullpen then slamming the door in the final frames. The win marked Stanford's seventh straight victory while the Cardinal look for the three-game sweep Sunday afternoon.

These one-run games are becoming a habit for Stanford.  The Cardinal won their third straight one-run affair with an exciting 5-4 victory over the visiting California Golden Bears on Saturday afternoon in game two of their three-game, non-conference series.  The win was Stanford's seventh in a row and improved their overall record to 9-5.

The pivotal inning Saturday was the seventh as the Cal hitters finally got to Cardinal starting pitcher Jeremy Bleich to take their first lead of the game.  Bleich began the seventh with a 3-0 lead, but the left-hander retired just one batter in the frame as four Bears came home to score.  Ryan Hanlon led off by drawing a walk and then moved to second when Josh Satin singled through the right side.  Michael Capbarat was up next and the Bears outfielder went down on strikes when he was unable to put a bunt attempt into fair play with two strikes.

Freshman Blake Smith followed with a single to load bases setting the stage for Michael Brady.  Brady singled in his first two at-bats this afternoon and continued his good fortune against Bleich in the seventh when he took a 1-0 pitch and drove a line drive into left center field.  The hit went for a double and scored all three runners tying the game at 3-3.

The sudden change in the score forced a pitching change as freshman Brandt Walker was summoned from the bullpen to face pinch-hitter Mike Van Winden.  Van Winden delivered with a big hit when he singled into right field plating Brady for a 4-3 California lead.

Walker managed to get the second out of the inning while sophomore Tom Stilson retired the dangerous David Cooper on a groundout to retire the side and keep the deficit at one run.

The Stanford bats though would have an answer.  Facing Cooper, who had moved from first base to pitcher to begin the frame, Sean Ratliff started the rally with a one-out walk.  After Jason Castro drew a walk putting runners on first and second, Michael Taylor stepped to the plate with a chance to even the score.  Bears head coach David Esquer elected to leave the left-handed throwing Cooper in the game to face the power right-handed bat of Taylor and the move would not pay off.  Taylor got a pitch he could handle and hammered a hard ground ball down the left field line for a double scoring Ratliff and moving Castro to third.  Joey August was up next and the Cardinal left fielder brought home the go-ahead run when he grounded out to second base. 

At that point, Esquer made the move to the bullpen bringing in right-hander closer Matt Gorgen, but it would be two batters too late.

Three pitchers were required for Stanford to get out of the eighth inning with the lead intact.  Closer David Stringer started the frame by allowing a single to Hanlon and a walk to Satin as the Bears appeared poised to tie, or even re-take the lead.  Charlie Cutler then stepped to the plate and attempted to move the runners over with a sacrifice, but was unsuccessful as he was called out for interference on the slow, rolling bunt up the first base line.

That proved to be a change in momentum as with the left-handed Smith next at bat, lefty Blake Hancock was brought into pitch and the southpaw recorded a huge strikeout for out #2 in the frame.  Marquess then continued to play the matchups as the right-hander Max Fearnow was called into action to face the right-handed swinging Brady.  Marquess' moves continued to pay off as Fearnow set down Brady on strikes to retire the side.  It was the first time in four at-bats this afternoon that Brady did not record a hit.

In the ninth, Fearnow worked around a two-out walk of Jordan Karnofsky to put away the Bears.  Stanford received a fortunate bounce of the ball to end the game as with two outs and a runner at first, Cooper grounded a ball to the shortstop Adam Gaylord.  Gaylord, while moving to his left, got a tricky hop and the ball bounced off of his glove and rolled away.  But the rolling ball found its way to a hustling Cord Phelps and the Cardinal second baseman picked it up and made the quick dive to the second base bag just ahead of the sliding Karnofsky to end the game.

Fearnow was credited with his second save of the season as the sophomore right-hander went the last 1 1/3 innings without allowing a hit.

Bleich pitched much better than his final line would indicate.  The lefty allowed just two hits (a pair of singles from Brady) in six shutout innings to start the game.  Bleich set down the Bears 1-2-3 in the first, second, fourth, and sixth innings.  Combined with last night's performances from Jeffrey Inman and Stringer, the Cardinal pitching staff held California scoreless for the first 15 innings of the series.

Stanford jumped on the board early with a single run in the bottom of the first as Ratliff led off with a triple and immediately scored on a Castro sacrifice fly.  In the third, Ryan Seawell started things off with a double and scored three batters later on a Castro single.  Ratliff scored the second run of the frame as the center fielder reached safely on an error from catcher Brett Thomas when the backstop uncorked a wild throw to first base on a dropped third strike.  Ratliff then scored on a throwing error from Thomas when the catcher threw wildly to third on an attempt to nail Ratliff on the front-end of a double steal.


California    0 0 0  0 0 0  4 0 0   -   4   8   3
Stanford      1 0 2  0 0 0  2 0 X   -   5   6   1

California         POS  AB   R   H  RBI  BB  SO
Jeff Kobernus     DH/CF  5   0   0   0    0   2
Brett Munster       SS   4   0   1   0    0   0
 Matt Gorgen         P   0   0   0   0    0   0
 Jordan Karnofsky   PH   0   0   0   0    1   0
 Rich Gorman        PR   0   0   0   0    0   0
David Cooper       1B/P  5   0   0   0    0   1
Ryan Hanlon         LF   3   1   1   0    1   0
Josh Satin          2B   3   1   1   0    1   0
Taylor Grigsby      CF   2   0   0   0    0   0
 Michael Capbarat   RF   1   0   0   0    0   1
 Charlie Cutler      C   1   0   0   0    0   0
Blake Smith        RF/P  4   1   1   0    0   1
Michael Brady     3B/SS  4   1   3   3    0   1
Brett Thomas         C   0   0   0   0    0   0
 Dylan Tonneson      C   1   0   0   0    0   0
 Mike Van Winden  PH/1B  1   0   1   1    0   0
 Stephen Carlson    3B   1   0   0   0    0   1

E: Thomas 2, Brady
2B: Brady

                        IP   H   R  ER  BB  SO
Greg Redig             1.0   1   1   1   0   0
Mike Cassady           1.0   0   0   0   0   0
Travis Erickson        1.0   2   2   1   0   2
Dane Ferguson          1.0   1   0   0   1   0
Nick Nunez             1.0   1   0   0   1   1
Blake Smith            1.0   0   0   0   1   0
David Cooper (L)       0.2   1   2   2   2   1
Matt Gorgen            1.1   0   0   0   0   2

Stanford           POS  AB   R   H  RBI  BB  SO   AVG
Sean Ratliff        CF   3   3   1   0    1   1  .268
Jason Castro        DH   2   1   1   2    1   0  .143
Michael Taylor      RF   4   0   2   1    0   1  .250
Joey August         LF   3   0   0   1    1   0  .250
Brent Milleville    1B   4   0   0   0    0   1  .258
Brian Juhl           C   4   0   1   0    0   1  .341
Cord Phelps         2B   2   0   0   0    2   0  .273
Ryan Seawell        3B   4   1   1   0    0   0  .333
Adam Gaylord        SS   4   0   0   0    0   2  .319

E: Gaylord
2B: Taylor 2, Seawell
3B: Ratliff
SB: Ratliff, Castro, Seawell

                        IP   H   R  ER  BB  SO   ERA
Jeremy Bleich          6.1   5   4   4   1   3  5.79
Brandt Walker          0.1   2   0   0   0   1  0.00
Tom Stilson (W)        0.1   0   0   0   0   0  6.23
David Stringer         0.1   1   0   0   1   0  1.98
Blake Hancock          0.1   0   0   0   0   1  9.00
Max Fearnow (S)        1.1   0   0   0   1   2  3.24

WP: Tom Stilson (1-0)
LP: David Cooper (0-1)
S: Max Fearnow (2)

Records: Stanford (9-5), California (7-9)

* Esquer employed a Tuesday-game strategy with his pitchers this afternoon as eight different hurlers saw time on the hill.  In a pre-arranged rotation, the starter Redig worked just the first inning with a new hurler entering the contest for every frame until the eighth.  The right fielder Smith and the first baseman Cooper also saw time on the hill - the first pitching appearances of the season for both.

* Marquess used a fair number of pitchers as well with six hurlers seeing action today.  Although unlike Esquer, Marquess played a more standard weekend game with the starter (Bleich) throwing until he ran into serious trouble while the relievers were brought into the contest based on matchups.

* The win guaranteed another series victory over the Golden Bears at Sunken Diamond.  Stanford has not lost a three-game, home series to California since 1995.

* Stanford also won seven games in a row last year accomplishing the feat in May during their push for the postseason.  The last eight-game winning streak for the Cardinal came in 2004 (March 23-April 3) - a team that spent a portion of the year ranked #1 in the country.

* Taylor and Juhl both extended modest five-game hitting streaks.

* Stilson, who only faced one batter this afternoon, recorded his first career collegiate victory.

The Cardinal will look for the sweep of the Golden Bears Sunday afternoon with first pitch at Sunken Diamond scheduled for 1:00 P.M.  Stanford has not yet officially announced a starting pitcher, but the most likely scenario would be Nolan Gallagher (1-2, 6.87 ERA) getting the ball.  Meanwhile, California will counter with right-hander Alex Rollin (3-0, 3.98 ERA).

A win tomorrow would be the 2,500th victory in Stanford Baseball history (114th season).  Only four teams have accomplished that feat in college baseball: Fordham, Texas, USC, and Michigan.

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