Card Outlast Seminoles in 12 Innings

Tobin Swope's two-out, RBI single in the bottom of the 12th inning propelled Stanford to a 2-1 series opening victory over fourth ranked Florida State on Friday night. The Cardinal struggled all evening with clutch hitting but outstanding pitching held off the Seminoles until Swope finally came through in the bottom of the 12th. Read on for a complete recap of this exciting game.

It took 11 2/3 innings, but a Stanford Cardinal hitter was finally able to get a clutch two-out RBI hit.  Tobin Swope singled home John Mayberry, Jr. with the winning run with two outs to propel Stanford to a 2-1, 12 inning victory over 4th ranked Florida State in front of 1,690 fans on a cold Friday night at Sunken Diamond.  The Cardinal left 16 runners on base and finished a dismal 2-for-16 with runners in scoring position, many of those at-bats coming when there were two outs.  But perseverance and outstanding pitching from John Hudgins and Mark Romanczuk led Stanford to a big series opening win over the Seminoles.

Florida State (3-1) jumped out ahead early in the top of the first inning off the starter Hudgins.  All-American shortstop Stephen Drew led off the game with a high chopping ground ball to second base and beat out the throw from Jonny Ash for an infield hit.  After Drew stole second, #2 hitter Tony McQuade blooped a single into left and despite a strong throw from left fielder Danny Putnam, Drew was able to score for a 1-0 Seminole lead.  Little did they know that would be all they would get.

After the two softly hit singles to start the game, Hudgins began to dominate.  The junior righthander finished the first inning and then retired the side 1-2-3 in the second, third, and fourth innings.  During that stretch, he recorded four strikeouts in a row setting down FSU's #2, #3, #4, and #5 batters.  Through four frames, Hudgins had seven K's and had set down 12 consecutive hitters.  All his pitches were working and all had great movement.

Meanwhile, Marc LaMacchia was throwing well for Florida State although Stanford had some chances early to tie the game.  Brian Hall hit a one-out double in the bottom of the first but was stranded on the base paths.  In the second, the Cardinal left runners on second and third with two outs as Donny Lucy continued his struggles at the plate with a strikeout to leave the runners on.  In the bottom of third, LaMacchia set down the first two hitters, but after delivering the first pitch to the third batter of the inning, Carlos Quentin, the junior righthander had to leave the contest with an apparent injury.  So on came junior, JC transfer, Eddie Cannon and Cannon promptly walked Quentin and gave up a single to Putnam to put two runners on.  But once again, Stanford couldn't come through with the clutch hit as Ryan Garko grounded out to end the threat.

The Seminoles finally touched Hudgins for a hit in the top of the fifth as Derrick Smith led off with a single but he was quickly erased when DH Chris Hart grounded into a double play on the very next pitch.  Hudgins gave up another harmless single in the sixth, but a strikeout of #3 hitter Eddy Martinez-Esteve and pop-out of All-American catcher Tony Richie got him out of that inning.

Stanford put a couple of runners on in the bottom of the sixth against Cannon when Garko was hit by the pitch with one out and Jonny Ash walked with two down.  But Cannon was able to settle down as he struck out Swope looking to keep the score 1-0 in favor of the Seminoles.  Finally in the bottom of the seventh, Stanford broke through to tie the game.  Jed Lowrie, pinch-hitting for Lucy, led off with a bloop double down the left field line.  Sam Fuld then stepped up and lined a double to left easily scoring Lowrie for a 1-1 tie.  The next hitter, Brian Hall, was allowed to swing the bat instead of  bunting but he went down on strikes for the first out.  After an intentional pass to Carlos Quentin, Cannon was removed from the game in favor of lefty Daniel Davidson.  Davidson was called upon to retire Danny Putnam (who was hitting 4th for the first time in his career) but walked Putnam to load the bases with one out.  Davidson was then taken out and replaced by right hander Kevin Lynch.  Lynch worked the count full to Ryan Garko but then induced the slugging catcher to ground into a 6-4-3 double play to end the inning.

Hudgins continued to work on the mound for Stanford and fired an easy 1-2-3 top of the eighth.  He gave up a leadoff single in the top of the ninth but the runner was thrown out trying to steal second moments later.  Meanwhile, in the bottom of the eighth the Cardinal had another opportunity to score a run, but once again, came up empty.  With one out, Ash tripled down the right field line putting the go-ahead run just 90 feet away.  With a 2-0 count on the next batter, Tobin Swope, Coach Marquess put the suicide squeeze play on and Swope laid it down but too close to the plate and the catcher Richie picked the ball up and easily tagged out Ash trying to score.  Stanford had another opportunity in the bottom of the ninth, this time off reliever Trent Peterson, as Hall doubled with one out.  Quentin was again intentionally walked but the double play doomed Stanford once again as Putnam grounded into a 4-6-3 twin killing to send the game into extra innings.

Freshman lefty Mark Romanczuk, fresh off his 2 1/3 innings of scoreless relief last Sunday in his collegiate debut, was called upon in the top of the tenth and he did not disappoint as he set down the side 1-2-3 recording two strikeouts in the process.  In the bottom of the tenth, for the first time tonight, Stanford was retired in order.  Florida State in the top of the 11th had a golden opportunity to take the lead, but were unable to do so.  #9 hitter Bryan Zech led off by drawing a four pitch walk and he was then balked to second.  Stephen Drew then laid down a bunt to which Romanczuk fielded and fired to third to try to cut down the lead run.  It was going to be a close play at third, but Brian Hall dropped the ball and everybody was safe (Hall was given an error, the only Stanford error of the ball game).  Tony McQuade was up next and the FSU right fielder hit a slow grounder right back to Romanczuk to which the freshman threw home to easily put out Zech.  So with runners on first and third and one out, Romanczuk had his work cut out for him with FSU frosh phenom and #3 hitter Eddy Martinez-Esteve at the plate.  What ensued was a classic pitcher vs. batter showdown and finally on the 12th pitch of the at-bat, Romanczuk threw strike three past Martinez-Esteve for the second out of the inning.  Cleanup hitter and All-American Tony Richie was up next and on the first pitch, Richie hit a hard grounder right to Mayberry, Jr. at first.  The ball though deflected off Mayberry's glove and through his legs and it looked as if Florida State was going to take the lead.  But second baseman Jonny Ash, playing solid fundamental baseball, was going over to back-up Mayberry and was able to field the ball and throw out Richie at first (with Mayberry covering).  So we went to the bottom of the 11th, still tied 1-1.

In that bottom of the 11th, the Cardinal put runners on first and second with one out chasing Peterson from the game.  Head Coach Mike Martin summoned Rhett James, FSU's sixth pitcher of the contest, and James put out the fire striking out Hall and getting Quentin to fly out to left.  Romanczuk didn't have quite as stressful a 12th inning but still walked the leadoff hitter and hit a batter with two outs.  But showing great poise, the freshman worked through it getting Zech to ground out to short to end that threat.

Finally in the bottom of the 12th, Stanford would get that winning run.  With James still pitching and two outs and nobody on, Mayberry, Jr. blooped a single into left field.  On the first pitch to the next hitter, Jonny Ash, Mayberry took off for second and made it in safely on a very close call to which Coach Martin went out and protested.  After Martin returned to the dugout, he decided to intentionally walk the lefty Ash (despite an 0-1 count) and get the righty Swope up at the plate to face the righty hurler James.  But the move backfired, as on an 0-1 pitch, Swope lined a ball into left field, easily scoring Mayberry, Jr. from second to give Stanford the 2-1 victory.

Game Notes :
* This was Stanford's 11th consecutive home victory dating back to May of last season.

* The Cardinal went just 2-for-16 with runners in scoring position and left 16 runners on base, 11 in scoring position.

* John Hudgins had an outstanding evening on the mound tossing nine very quality inning yielding only one run and six hits.  He didn't walk anybody while recording a career-high ten strikeouts.  In 21 innings pitched now this season, Hudgins has walked only one while picking-up 19 K's.

* Mark Romanczuk notched his first career victory tonight with three no-hit innings out of the bullpen.  Romanczuk walked two and struck out four.  The quality relief outing also allowed Coach Marquess to not use Ryan McCally (who never got up in the bullpen tonight) who he will almost assuredly now start on Sunday.

* Top hitting performances for Stanford tonight came from Brian Hall (3-for-6, 2 2B) and Tobin Swope (3-for-6, RBI).  No other Stanford player had a multi-hit game.

Florida State    1 0 0  0 0 0  0 0 0  0 0 0   -   1   6   2
Stanford         0 0 0  0 0 0  1 0 0  0 0 1   -   2  11   1

WP: Mark Romanczuk (1-0)
LP: Rhett James (0-1)

HR: none

Records: #3 Stanford 3-3, #4 Florida State 3-1

* The series continues tomorrow afternoon with a 1:00pm first pitch time.  A pair of senior lefties are expected to start on the hill with Tim Cunningham (1-1, 3.97) going for Stanford and Matt Lynch (1-0, 7.20) throwing for Florida State.

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