Stanford has been looking to energize its slumping season with a big pitching performance. In taking their last-place (0-6) Pac-10 record into this weekend's series against first-place (6-0) Arizona, the Cardinal should have known what they would get against Wildcats, who entered Friday with a 14-game winning streak. The golden arm Friday evening at Sunken Diamond belonged to the visitors, with Arizona sophomore Preston Guilmet throwing one of the great performances of the conference in 2007.
Guilmet tossed a complete game five-hitter and hog-tied Cardinal batters from start to finish. He notched 15 strikeouts, including all three outs in the first inning. Guilmet walked only one Stanford batter among the 36 he faced, throwing 101 strikes of the Herculean 145 pitches he threw.
"Obviously he had great stuff. We couldn't come close to touching him," says Stanford head coach Mark Marquess of the Arizona hurler. "He's 7-0 and has pitched three or four complete games, with an ERA under 2.00 in college baseball, which is amazing. Yeah, he just really dominated us. Other than the one home run, there was never really a chance to get anything going. He overwhelmed us."
Stanford's one run scored came from the bat of junior Brian Juhl, with a solo home run in the bottom of the second inning. Guilmet did not make a mistake, throwing the pitch low and inside. Juhl somehow reached down and tight, golfing the ball barely over the wall and a leaping Wildcat glove in right field.
Stanford did not record another hit until the sixth inning. Only twice during the evening did the Cardinal threaten on the basepath, both times involving an Arizona miscue. In the bottom of the fifth, Stanford put men on second and third after freshman Toby Gerhart walked, freshman Adam Gaylord was hit by a pitch and both advanced on a wild pitch. Redshirt junior Adam Sorgi struck out looking at a pitch called on the outside corner with a full count to end the inning. Guilmet punched out all three Cardinal hitters in the inning.
In the bottom of the ninth, Gerhart again made his way onto the basepath though he finished with an 0-for-3 night. He reached on an error this time and moved over to second base with a single by sophomore Cord Phelps. Sophomore Austin Yount pinch hit next and ended the game, however, with a 6-4-3 double play.
The impotence of Stanford's bats, aside from two hits from Phelps and the golfed homer by Juhl, was disappointing after the Cardinal on Tuesday had rapped 13 hits and scored in six different innings at Nevada. For Stanford to dig out of its current hole, they needed Friday night to follow with some continued success at the plate. Tuesday's performance now appears to be the product of hitting against a weak opponent.
"You're facing a much tougher pitcher," Marquess offers. "You have a little bit better opportunity during a Tuesday game because the pitching isn't going to be quite as good as what you are going to see on the first game of a three-game series. We have to give [Guilmet] credit. He did a really good job of dominating us."
The Cardinal also failed on the mound in this 8-1 loss, with sophomore Jeremy Bleich dropping to a 1-6 record after being hit hard by the Wildcats. He lasted 6 2/3 innings and gave up six earned runs, but the big statistic was seven of his nine hits going for extra bases. Arizona knocked five doubles, a triple and a huge home run against Bleich, due in large part to the Stanford southpaw's inability to keep the ball down in the strike zone.
"Obviously they swing the bat well, so you have to give them a little credit. But I think he was up with a lot of those pitches," Marquess assesses. "That gives the hitter a good look at it up, and they hit it up. I think it was more his being up with his stuff, but they also hit a couple good pitches, too. They did a good job."
The biggest damage came in the top of the fourth, giving up two doubles, a triple and a single. Arizona scored three runs in that frame and broke up the game, which had previously been tied 1-1 on the two team's respective home runs. The red-hot Wildcats never looked back, adding a run in the fifth (two doubles), seventh (HBP, single) and two in the ninth (single, home run).
Bleich settled down somewhat after yielding five extra-base hits in the fourth and fifth innings. He induced a handful of fly balls in the sixth and seventh innings. Bleich finally received the hook for a mistake other than the hanging pitches that had served up Arizona so heartily. Instead, it was a balk with two outs in the seven that advanced a Wildcat to second base. The game was 5-1 at that point, and Cardinal head coach Mark Marquess immediately made the move to the bullpen for sophomore Max Fearnow with a runner now in scoring position.
Fearnow gave up an RBI single to the first batter he faced. He was also tagged for the hard-hit two-run home run in the ninth, though he did a better job with his control that his predecessor. Fearnow struck out four Arizona batters in the final two innings and surrendered no walks.
In the third phase of the game, Stanford did not suffer on of its characteristically awful performances in the field. For the first time in its last seven games and just the fifth time in the 2007 season, the Cardinal did not commit an error. That is what the official scorecard says, though it certainly appeared that Gaylord made a bad play on a ball hit to him in the top of the ninth. The play was officially recorded as a single, though Gaylord put his glove on the ball without hardly moving.
Stanford now drops to 0-7 in Pac-10 play, the worst start in the school's history since the conference formed.
"We just need to put a game together," Marquess maintains. "We've played a little bit better defensively. We were playing very poor defense there for five or six games in the UCLA series and at Arizona State. We've settled that down a little bit, so hopefully we can maintain that and pick up a little bit with the pitching and hitting. We're just not doing much to score, but again, tonight I thought we faced a really tough pitcher who hasn't given up runs to anybody."
- After finishing the game 0-for-4, Adam Sorgi has broken his 12-game hitting streak and sees his average drop from .396 all the way to .368.
- The top of the order stalled for Stanford Friday night, with lead-off sophomore Sean Ratliff 0-for-4 ahead of Sorgi in the #2 spot. Both struck out three times. Ratliff went down twice on three pitches, and another time on four pitches. The one ball in Ratliff's four at-bats was the first pitch of the game from Preston Guilmet.
- Guilmet struck out eight of Stanford's nine starting hitters, the lone exception being Brian Juhl.
- Guilmet has thrown 9.0 innings now in four straight starts.
- Though Bleich was hit hard, and Stanford pitching was touched for eight runs in the game, the most disappointing part of losing 8-1 to Arizona is allowing the Wildcats' starter to go the distance. Arizona's one great liability lies in the bullpen, with their one good closer currently injured and not on the travel roster this weekend.
- Counting the two-game home-and-home series against Sacramento State, Stanford has now dropped five straight opening games of weekend series. Four of those losses have come at home.
- Arizona's 15-game winning streak is the longest in the nation.
Arizona 0 1 0 3 1 0
1 0 2 - 8 13 2
Stanford 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 - 1 5 0
POS AB R H RBI BB SO
Sean Ratliff CF 4 0 0 0 0 3
Adam Sorgi 2B 4 0 0 0 0 3
Michael Taylor RF 3 0 1 0 0 1
Joey August LF 4 0 1 0 0 2
Brent Milleville 1B 4 0 0 0 0 3
Jason Castro 1B 0 0 0 0 0 0
Brian Juhl C 3 1 1 1 0 0
Randy Molina PH 1 0 0 0 0 0
Jeffrey Inman DH 0 0 0 0 0 0
Toby Gerhart PH/DH 3 0 0 0 1 1
Cord Phelps 3B 4 0 2 0 0 1
Adam Gaylord SS 2 0 0 0 0 1
Austin Yount PH 1 0 0 0 0 0
HBP: Taylor, Gaylord
IP H R ER BB SO
Jeremy Bleich (L) 6.2 9 6 6 3 4
Max Fearnow 2.1 4 2 2 0 4
POS AB R H RBI BB SO
Diallo Fon LF 4 0 1 0 1 1
Colt Sedbrook 2B/3B 5 2 3 0 0 0
C.J. Ziegler 1B 5 1 3 3 0 1
Brad Glenn 3B 5 1 2 0 0 0
Mike Weldon 2B 0 0 0 0 0 0
Jon Gaston RF 3 2 0 0 1 1
T.J. Steele CF 5 2 3 4 0 0
Travis Peep DH 3 0 0 0 0 2
Erik Castro PH 1 0 0 0 0 1
Dwight Childs C 3 0 1 1 1 1
Robert Abel SS 4 0 0 0 0 1
2B: Sedbrook, Ziegler 2, Glenn, Steele
HR: Ziegler, Steele
SB: Glenn, Steele
IP H R ER BB SO
Preston Guilmet (W) 9.0 5 1 1 1 15
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