How baseball returned to its winning ways

The Cardinal continued its hot streak this weekend, taking two of three from UCLA and crushing rival Cal 14-4 Monday night. The three victories boosted Stanford's record to 14-13—the first time the Card has seen the better side of .500 since it stood 2-1. Stanford now has eight wins in its last 10 games as the halfway point of the season arrives today at Santa Clara.

Possibly even more encouraging than the winning record for Stanford baseball is the emergence of senior first baseman Brent Milleville over the weekend. The right-handed slugger crushed three home runs in the final two UCLA games to match his season total up to that point, and was 7-for-17 over the last four games. Milleville had been expected to anchor the heart of the Cardinal order, but got off to an extremely slow start. The strong weekend lifted his batting average to .282, and regained him a place in top-five of the batting order.

But Milleville wasn't the only Stanford player to have a big weekend. Sophomore closer Drew Storen picked up a win and a save—looking nearly un-hittable while doing it—and freshman starter Brett Mooneyham matched a career-high with 10 strikeouts. Sophomore right fielder Kellen Kiilsgaard continued to crush the ball, knocking his team-leading seventh home run and raising his batting average north of .300. Senior Max Fearnow also got a win out of the bullpen on Monday, working three excellent innings in what was a very close game against the Golden Bears when he entered.

Next up (after Santa Clara today) is Arizona State, ranked in the top-seven of all three major polls. The Sun Devils are 25-8 overall, and 17-3 at home. However, Stanford took two of three at Sunken Diamond from ASU last season. A full preview of that series will appear later this week, only on The Bootleg.

Thursday, April 9: Stanford 4. UCLA 3 (10 innings)
In the series opener, Gerrit Cole, the UCLA freshman, was striking out Stanford batters at will. The right-handed starter allowed a pair of singles in the first inning, but after that was nearly unhittable. Over the next five innings, Cole allowed just a lone double by junior Toby Gerhart, and racked up six strikeouts. No Stanford hitter looked comfortable at the plate, and the Cardinal were sent down in order in four of the first six frames.
The Stanford starter, junior Jeffery Inman, held his own over six innings, allowing just three runs (two earned) to UCLA on six hits, while striking out seven. But it looked like it would be all Bruins until Kiilsgaard smashed a double to lead off the seventh. The game snowballed from there, as a balk by Cole preceded RBI hits from Milleville and junior third baseman Adam Gaylord that evened the game at 3-3. Sophomores Danny Sandbrink and Storen shut down UCLA over the next four innings, and sophomore catcher Zach Jones knocked in the winning run in the bottom of the tenth.

Friday, April 10: UCLA 8, Stanford 5
UCLA bounced back in the second game on the back of senior first baseman Cody Decker. Decker, who already had 10 home runs coming into the series, blasted a pair of two-run homers to carry the Bruins to victory. The second came in the seventh inning to give UCLA the lead after Stanford had rallied with a pair of runs in the fifth to momentarily take a 5-3 lead.
Freshman starter pitcher Jordan Pries, one of the nicest surprises for Stanford so far this year, struggled early—allowing three runs on seven hits and throwing two wild pitches—but battled to nearly go five innings. Trevor Bauer got the win for UCLA, but wasn't particularly impressive, allowing five runs (four earned) on eight hits over six innings. Junior leftfielder Toby Gerhart came to the plate with two outs in the bottom of the ninth as the tying run, but he struck out swinging to end the game.

Saturday, April 11: Stanford 7, UCLA 2
One day after Decker stole the show for UCLA, Brent Milleville delivered a pair of homers of his own to clinch the series for Stanford. A two-run shot in the second gave the Card an early lead, and a solo bomb in the eighth extended the lead to five, effectively icing the game.
Starter Brett Mooneyham was wild early—he walked the first two men he faced—but settled in to fan 10 over his six innings of work. The lefthander allowed just two runs and four hits to pick up his third win of the season. Charles Brewer pitched a good game as well for UCLA, but picked up the loss after allowing three runs on six hits over six innings. Kiilsgaard added a home run for Stanford, and Storen pitched the final three innings—allowing just one hit—to earn the save.

Monday, April 13: Stanford 14, Cal 4
Kevin Miller left the game for Cal in the sixth inning with a 4-1 lead and a runner a second with one out. But by the time this game was over, it was difficult to remember how well he had pitched for the Golden Bears.
The Cal bullpen imploded—allowing 12 runs, plus the inherited runner from Miller in just 2.2 innings—and the game, quite frankly, became painful to watch. Stanford piled on the runs, despite not hitting a home run, and Kiilsgaard finished the day with six RBI on a single, double and triple. Jones and Gaylord each scored three runs, and the Cardinal got at least a run or RBI from every spot in the batting order. Stanford finished with 14 hits, 10 of them singles.
Max Fearnow picked up the win by working three nearly perfect innings—just one hit allowed while striking out five—to finish out the game. Michael Bugary got the loss for Cal after allowing two earned runs and getting just one out in the sixth.

Stanford will look to continue its climb when it travels to Santa Clara tonight and Arizona State this weekend. Keep it locked to as a full preview of the ASU series will follow soon.

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