Hudgins Dominates In 4-1 Stanford Win

John Hudgins is taking his game to another level. The junior righthander, on the heels of his nine inning, one run allowed outing versus highly rated Florida State last weekend, took a no-hitter into the eighth inning tonight. Hudgins combined with Mark Romanczuk on a three-hitter in this evening's victory over Fresno State while three freshmen hitters keyed the offensive attack.

John Hudgins put on another pitching clinic at Sunken Diamond to lead the Stanford Cardinal to a 4-1 win on a cool Friday night.  Hudgins took a no-hitter into the eighth inning and ended up going eight full frames yielding one run on three hits.  Mark Romanczuk came on in the ninth to record his first collegiate save while John Mayberry, Jr. belted his second home run of the season.

The game began with the Cardinal putting runners on base but as has been the case for most of the year, they were unable to get that clutch hit.  Carlos Quentin singled with two out in the bottom of the first, stole second, but was stranded when Ryan Garko grounded out.  In the second, Jed Lowrie reached with a two-out single.  Tobin Swope then walked but Chris Lewis flew out to deep center field to end that threat.  In the bottom of the third though the Card broke through against Fresno State starter Josh Glynn.  Sam Fuld led off with a double and moved to third on a Brian Hall fly out to right field.  Quentin then stepped up a blooped a single into left scoring Fuld for a 1-0 Stanford lead.

Meanwhile, John Hudgins was easily setting down the Bulldog hitters.  He threw perfect 1-2-3 first and third innings and worked around a leadoff walk in the second.  In the fourth, Casey McGehee walked with one out but was quickly erased when he was thrown out by Ryan Garko in an attempt to steal second.  Hudgins then struck out clean-up hitter Cody Smith to end the inning.

Stanford put a couple of runners on in the fourth when Mayberry, Jr. lined a single up the middle with one out, stole second and then Lowrie followed with a walk.  But Junior was thrown out trying to steal third and Swope struck out swinging to end that threat.  In the bottom of the fifth, Sam Fuld clubbed a double to the wall in right-center but was thrown out at third trying to stretch it into a triple.  In the sixth, Garko singled to right-center with one out, but like Fuld was thrown out trying to take the extra base.

Despite not scoring many runs, the Card though still held onto the lead thanks to the great pitching by Hudgins.  The junior righthander retired the side in order in the fifth and seventh innings while the Bulldogs had one runner reach base safely in the sixth on a Tobin Swope fielding error.  Through seven, Hudgins had given up no hits while walking only two.  All three of his pitches were working and I thought his slider was especially effective tonight as a strikeout pitch.  It had a nasty bite to it and combined with his usual outstanding change-up and well placed fastball, you could see why the Fresno State hitters were having a tough time figuring him out.

With the score still 1-0 Stanford, the Cardinal pushed across two insurance runs in the bottom of the seventh.  Jed Lowrie led off with a double to right-center that one-hopped the wall.  Tobin Swope then laid down a bunt to which the new relief pitcher, Chad Edwards, fielded and threw to third to try to nail the lead runner.  The throw though was late and everyone was safe.  Chris Lewis was up next and the freshman second baseman delivered with an infield single in between short and third.  It was certainly not a hard hit ball but Lewis had basically been robbed his first two times up when he crushed a deep fly ball to center that may have carried out in the daytime at Sunken and also hit a scorching ground ball to third that was fielded nicely by FSU third baseman Casey McGehee.  So, despite not hitting this ball in the seventh inning well, it was enough to get the job done and Stanford had a 2-0 advantage.  The Cardinal weren't done though as they benefited from some poor defense by Fresno State catcher Brandon Marcelli to score their third run of the game.  With Fuld at the plate, a passed ball moved Swope to third and Lewis to second.  After Fuld struck out, Brian Hall stepped in but didn't have to do anything to get that third run home, as once again, Marcelli mishandled an Edwards pitch and Swope scored easily for a 3-0 lead.

Hudgins went back out for the eighth inning and made quick work of the leadoff hitter, Brandon Esparza, on a slow hit ground ball to second.  The no-hit bid would end there though as Tory Davis stepped up and ripped a clean single up the middle.  Hudgins rebounded to strike out pinch hitter Kyle Atrat for the second out of the inning, but then ran into some trouble.  Pinch hitter Aaron Kempster singled to right putting runners at the corners and then leadoff hitter Ryan Haag sliced a double down the left field line scoring Davis cutting the Stanford lead to 3-1.  But with the tying run at second, Hudgins bore down retiring Chris Patrick on a 3-2 breaking ball that Patrick took for a called strike three.

The Cardinal scored their final run of the game in the bottom of the eighth when John Mayberry, Jr. connected for his first career Sunken Diamond homer and his second bomb of the year.

Freshman Mark Romanczuk relieved Hudgins to start the ninth and worked a perfect 1-2-3 inning recording one strike out that was sandwiched between two ground outs.

Game Notes :
* Hudgins' final line : 8 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 9 SO.  He lowered his ERA to 2.17 and now has 28 strikeouts compared to just three walks in 29 innings pitched this season.

* Romanczuk picked up his first career save and has now worked 6 1/3 scoreless innings (with just one hit allowed and nine strikeouts) in his first three outings of the season.

* Although they scored only four runs, the Cardinal offense showed some signs of breaking out of their early season hitting slump.  They did record 10 hits and could have had a few more scores had four Stanford base runners not been thrown out on the base paths.  A lot more hard hit balls tonight then in previous games.

* Freshmen Jed Lowrie and Chris Lewis played very well in their second career starts.  Lowrie, who got the start at third base (Hall moved to left, Putnam to DH, Lucy to the bench) went 2-for-3 with a double and a walk.  He also played great defense at third showcasing some nifty glove work and also displaying his great arm.  This guy looks like the shortstop of the future.  Chris Lewis, meanwhile, got the start at second in place of the struggling Jonny Ash.  Lewis came through with the clutch single in the bottom of the seventh and made all the plays defensively as well.

* Other multi-hit games for Stanford today came from Sam Fuld (2-for-4, 2 2B, hitting .385 since 0-for-14 start), Carlos Quentin (2-for-4, RBI, SB), and John Mayberry, Jr. (2-for-4, HR, RBI, SB).

Fresno State     0 0 0  0 0 0  0 1 0   -   1   3   0
Stanford         0 0 1  0 0 0  2 1 x   -   4  10   1

WP: John Hudgins (2-0)
LP: Josh Glynn (0-2)
S: Mark Romanczuk (1)

HR: Stanford - John Mayberry, Jr. (2)

Records: Fresno State (1-4), #11 Stanford (4-5)

* These two teams will continue their three-game series tomorrow with a 1:00pm start.  Tim Cunningham (1-2, 4.20) will be on the mound for the Cardinal while the Bulldogs are expected to counter with Matt Garza (1-1, 15.75).

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