Card Shutout Broncos 5-0; Nearly Throw No-Hitter

While most people were watching the first quarter of a typically dull Super Bowl, Tim Cunningham and Matt Manship were one out from throwing the first nine inning no-hitter for Stanford since 1994. Even though it didn't happen, a one hit performance along with good hitting and solid defense propelled the Cardinal to their second win of the year. Read on for more details.

For the second consecutive day, the Stanford Cardinal won a game that seemed like it should have been played in Mid-April. Besides the beautiful weather, the Cardinal managed to play virtually flawless baseball. Tim Cunningham and freshman Matt Manship combined on a one hitter, going 8 2/3 innings before Eric Newton doubled to left-center off Manship to break it up in the ninth. Stanford played its second errorless game, while taking advantage of opportunities and scoring five runs on route to a 5-0 victory.

The game started ominously. In previous years, Cunningham's biggest test was always the first inning. When Santa Clara's leadoff hitter Jason Matteucci took three balls to start the game, it looked as if Stanford was in for a long Sunday afternoon. But Cunningham settled down to get Matteucci on a 3-2 groundout and worked a perfect 1-2-3 inning.

At the plate, Stanford would go quietly in the first. Using the same lineup as yesterday but with Lucy catching and Garko at DH, Stanford's offense kick-started in the 2nd. Ryan Garko ripped a ball of Santa Clara starter Matt Travis up the middle. The Broncos shaded Garko to the opposite field, and the ball rolled almost to the wall for a 2B. After a Travis balk, John Mayberry, Jr. grounded to third, holding Garko at third. But a batter later, Donny Lucy's ground out to short drove home Garko with the first gun of the game. Three pitches later, Danny Putnam launched his 2nd HR in as many games; a long, high blast to right-center. The inning would end with a 2-0 Stanford lead.

The score remained 2-0 until the 5th, when Putman doubled to deep left-center. For Putnam, the hit was his 5th in 7 AB and his 3rd extra base hit. Moved to third base after a single by Brian Hall to left field, Jonny Ash's fielder's choice would bring home Putnam. After five, Stanford led 3-0.

Meanwhile, Tim Cunningham was cruising. In the second, Cunningham struck out freshman Michael Thompson, but allowed a walk to Scott Dierks, the DH. On the next pitch, Donny Lucy gunned down Dierks attemping to steal. Jonny Ash's outstanding tag after a short-hop pickup was key to the putout. In the third, Cunningham walked to leadoff hitter Shawn Epidendio, who advanced to third after a sacrifice bunt and a wild pitch. But Cunningham struck out the #9 hitter Michael Lange and got Jason Matteucci on a groundout to first. John Mayberry, Jr. continued to impress, but this time with his defense.

In both the 4th and 5th innings, Cunningham walked the third batter of the inning, but the runner got no further than 1st base. Finally, after two more walks in the 6th, bringing his walk total to 6, Cunningham was pulled in favor of freshman Matt Manship, who got a fielder's choice groundout to end the inning. Cunningham's final line: 5.2 IP, 0 runs, 0 hits, 6 BB, 4 K, and 2 wild pitches.

Leading 3-0, Stanford tacked on two runs in the 7th facing relievers John Redmond and Patrick Overholt. Lucy led off with a single, reached second on a wild pitch and was sacrificed to third by the hot hitting Putnam. Brian Hall hit a rocket at third that was fielded cleanly by Thompson. Lucy sprinted for home on contact, and Thompson's throw home sailed over the head of Broncos' catcher Wallace, allowing Lucy to score and moving Hall to second. Hall stole third and scored Stanford's 5th run when Tobin Swope bunted for a base hit, capping Stanford's scoring.

After finishing the 6th, Manship worked two perfect innings in the 7th and 8th. Still, Santa Clara remained hitless. The few remaining in the 9th saw Matt Manship take the mound, trying to complete Stanford's first no-hitter (9 inning) since Jason Middlebrook did it against UCLA on May 8, 1994

On one pitch, Manship retired A.J. LaBarbera on a groundout to Swope at short. Falling behind the second hitter Wallace 3-0, Manship came back and got him on a groundout to third.

Only one out away from history, Eric Newton, who came in as a defensive replacement for Michael Thompson in the bottom of the 8th, came to the plate. In his first college plate appearance, Newton ripped a ball over the head of Sam Fuld in center, and trotted into second with a double, breaking up the no-hitter. With the pressure of a potential no-hitter over, Manship struck out Carl Bacon for the save and Stanford was victorious for the second day in a row.

Notes:

* Sam Fuld went 0-4. He is now 0-9 to start the season in 2003, coming off a 2002 in which he set the all time single season mark for hits in a season at Stanford with 110.

* Donny Lucy took the place of Ryan Garko at catcher today. Talking to Coach Marquess, this alternating system at catcher seemed as if it may continue in the future. Lucy threw out a runner at second in the 2nd inning, getting help from Jonny Ash, who dug his throw out of the dirt.

* Top 4 today in the lineup (Swope, Fuld, Quentin, Garko): 1-16, with the only hit belonging to Garko (2B in the 2nd).

* Cunningham's 2 wild pitches today means that Stanford has thrown 5 wild pitches in 2 games.

* Matt Manship garnered his first save with a very effective performance: 3.1 IP, 1 hit, 0 R, 2 Ks. He looks like he will be an impact player out of the bullpen. If Manship, Romanzcuk, and Quick can emerge as bullpen stalwarts, that may allow Coach Marques to start McCally on Sundays.

Santa Clara         0 0 0  0 0 0  0 0 0   -   0   1   2
Stanford            0 2 0  0 1 0  2 0 x   -   5   8   0

WP: Tim Cunningham (1-0)
LP: Matt Travis (0-1)
S: Matt Manship (1)

Records: Stanford 2-0, Santa Clara 0-2

* Stanford's next opponent is Cal St. Fullerton at Goodwin Field in Southern California. Friday night's game will be the Titans season opener. Opening with a #13 ranking, the Titans key player is their ace, junior Wes Littleton, who matched up against Jeremy Guthrie in 2002's epic playoff performance. The games will be carried live on KZSU, starting at 6:45 PM on Friday night.


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