Baseball clobbers Waves, forces deciding game

Less than an hour after their five-run ninth beat UC-Davis, Stanford started right where they left off against Pepperdine, routing the Waves with a four-run first and a six-run fourth. recaps the contest, looks at standout performances and analyzes which Stanford and Pepperdine pitchers might start and provide critical relief Monday afternoon.

Stanford 13, Pepperdine 1

2. Pepperdine (38-20)  000 010 000  1R   6H  0E
1. Stanford  (36-22-2)  410 600 20x 13R 15H 3E

WP: Danny Sandbrink (2-1): 9 IP, 1 R, 6 H, 6 K, 1 BB
LP: Matt Bywater (7-3): 3.2 IP, 7 R, 9 H, 1 K, 0 BB

Key stretch:

Catcher Jason Castro hit a three-run homer before Bywater recorded a single out in the first. Rightfielder Jeff Whitlow's sac fly made it 4-0 through one, and after leftfielder Toby Gerhart's solo homer, it was 5-0 through two.

Second baseman Cord Phelps started the fourth with a solo shot to center. Three batters later, Stanford started the two-out rally of the season: first baseman Brent Milleville RBI single, centerfielder Sean Ratliff RBI single, Whitlow walk, third baseman Zach Jones two-RBI single, shortstop Jake Schlander walk, run-scoring balk. Phelps, mercifully, ended the six-run inning he started with a lineout to left, but the game was effectively over: Stanford led 11-0.

Freshman righty Danny Sandbrink had never thrown a complete game in his life, and probably wouldn't have been asked to in a normal situation. But coach Mark Marquess figured he had little to lose and plenty to gain riding Sandbrink as long as he could given that the Card led by 11 and that Stanford's other arms could use the rest in the fourth of five games over a four-day span.

Sandbrink simply was masterful, with a Matt Aidem solo shot to start the sixth the only run he allowed. The St. Louis product scattered just six hits in a gem.

A Phelps single and a Gerhart double scored Jones and Phelps respectively in the bottom of the seventh for the final margin.

Next up:

Stanford and Pepperdine will decide the Regional at 1 p.m. Monday. Stanford last won a Regional in 2006.

Though he started Friday, allowing four runs over eight innings, Erik Davis (LHP, 7-3, 4.24 ERA) will start Monday and pitch for as long as he's effective, Marquess told in a Sunday night press conference. Pepperdine's Steve Rodriguez says the Waves will start either lefty Scott Alexander (7-4, 4.44 ERA, 71.0 IP, 45 K, 51 BB) or lefty Robert Dickmann (3-5, 5.46 ERA, 62.2 IP, 35 K, 17 BB). Neither have pitched yet in the Regional.

Look for Stanford, in relief, to turn to closer Drew Storen (3-3, 2.76 ERA), middle reliever David Stringer (3-1, 5.27 ERA) or starter Max Fearnow (2-1, 6.09 ERA), depending upon whether Davis can last seven, five or three innings respectively. Storen pitched two scoreless innings against Davis Sunday afternoon, while neither Fearnow nor Stringer have pitched in the postseason.

Because the Waves have played only three games this Regional, and today's contest was a blowout, Pepperdine's bullpen is fresher yet. The Waves' ace closer Nick Gaudi (5-1, 2.68 ERA, 40.1 IP, 33 K, 10 BB) pitched one inning Friday and 1.1 innings Saturday, all scoreless, but got to rest Sunday. In a close late-game situation, expect the Waves to turn to the righty Gaudi and his team-high 15 saves in their quest for their first-ever Regional crown.

Keep an eye on the Cal-State Fullerton-UCLA contest, as the winner will face the Stanford-Pepperdine winner in the Super Regionals. Importantly, Stanford is seeded higher than No. 2 Regional seed UCLA but lower than Cal-State Fullerton, the No. 1 Regional seed and No. 5 seed nationally. So while the NCAA doesn't officially announce Super Regional sites until after Regional play, Stanford would almost certainly host UCLA but visit Fullerton with a win Monday.

For any Booties wishing to cheer for the Bruins, the 8 p.m. Monday contest will be broadcast on ESPNU. The Stanford Alumni Association might revoke your diploma if you join in the UCLA eight-clap though.

The heroes:

Sandbrink's complete-game performance might have won not only this game, but also the Monday grudge match because of the Stanford arms he saved. Think the Cardinal found a freshman pitcher who can perform under pressure?

Gerhart's 4-of-5, three-run, two-RBI day is all the more impressive considering his struggles this season making contact. Marquess raised eyebrows putting him in the two spot over Joey August, but the running back's four hits and three runs made his coach look downright psychic.

Also with multi-hit games were four of Stanford's best five batters: Castro (5-for-5, 3 RBI), Phelps (2-for-4, three runs, two RBI), Molina (2-for-3, two runs) and Ratliff (2-for-4, one run, one RBI). The only missing name? Milleville. Think he gets a pass after his ninth-inning winning homer against Davis just hours earlier.

This year's team has won the most games in Stanford history since the Pac-10 Champion 2004 Cardinal. The Card's three homers tonight also tied a season-best.

Tough day at the ballpark:

Schlander continues to excel defensively (as does Jones), but was the only starter to put up zeroes across the run, hit and RBI columns.

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