Relief Pitching Leads Stanford To Victory

For the second consecutive day, strong pitching propelled the Cardinal to victory. Relievers David O'Hagan, Kodiak Quick, and Mark Romanczuk combined to shutout the Fresno State hitters over the final 6 2/3 innings while Stanford came through with some timely hits in today's 5-2 win. Read on for a complete recap.

It's becoming quite clear here ten games into the season that Stanford has a much deeper pitching staff when compared to last year.  After Tim Cunningham was knocked out of the game in the third inning with the Cardinal trailing 2-0, David O'Hagan came on and fired 4 1/3 scoreless innings as the Stanford offense caught up with and then passed Fresno State en route to a 5-2 win.  Freshman Kodiak Quick came on to record a key out in the top of the seventh while Mark Romanczuk continued his dominance of opposing hitters with two scoreless frames to record the save.

Stanford starter Tim Cunningham worked a perfect 1-2-3 top of the first but ran into some trouble in the second.  Consecutive singles by Brian Pierce and Tory Davis to lead off the inning but two runners on with nobody out.  Aaron Kempster was up next and the Bulldog left fielder hit a slow rolling ground ball to third and while third baseman Jed Lowrie made the play to throw out Kempster at first, the play worked like a sacrifice as the runners moved up to second and third.  Brandon Marcelli then stepped up and flew out to right, but it was plenty deep enough to score Pierce from third to give Fresno State the early 1-0 lead.

Cunningham got himself into another jam in the top of third but this time primarily because of his control.  With one out, the senior lefty walked Chris Patrick and Ryan Haag to put two runners on.  #3 hitter Casey McGehee then lined a ball into center field to which Sam Fuld raced in but was unable to make the sliding (almost falling over) catch.  Patrick scored, Haag moved to third and McGehee reached second on the double.  Cunningham then fell behind the next hitter, Brian Pierce, 2-0 and was promptly taken out of the game.

Coach Marquess summoned junior David O'Hagan from the bullpen and O'Hagan quickly threw two balls to Pierce to complete the walk and load the bases with one out.  But the right hander settled down getting Davis to strike out looking for the second out and then Kempster flew out to center to end the threat.

The Cardinal hitters were easily set down in the first two innings without getting a hit, but they starting making some noise in the last half of the third.  Tobin Swope led things off with an infield single and then Chris Lewis belted a triple to the right center gap scoring Swope to cut the lead to 2-1.  After Sam Fuld grounded out, Brian Hall came through with a sacrifice fly to center scoring Lewis for a 2-2 tie.

After getting out of third, O'Hagan put it into cruise control in the middle innings.  He struck out the side in the fourth and then worked a perfect 1-2-3 fifth inning (one strikeout and two pop outs).  He had to work around a one-out and a two-out walk in the sixth, but got pinch-hitter Kyle Atrat to fly out to right to end that inning.

With the score still tied 2-2, the Cardinal offense put together a nice two-out rally in the bottom of the sixth.  With two outs, Danny Putnam and John Mayberry, Jr. each singled to put runners on at first and second.  Freshman Jed Lowrie then came through with the clutch hit lining a single into left field scoring Putnam to give Stanford their first lead of the game at 3-2.

In the top of the seventh, the Bulldogs put the first two runners on when O'Hagan walked the leadoff batter Cody Smith and then Chris Patrick singled.  O'Hagan quickly came back though to strike out Ryan Haag and got Casey McGehee to fly out to center.  But just when it looked like he was going to get out of the inning, O'Hagan plunked Brian Pierce with a pitch to load the bases for #5 hitter Tory Davis.  That would end O'Hagan's afternoon as Kodiak Quick was brought into the game.  Quick worked the count full to Davis but came in to strike him out swinging to end the inning and keep Stanford in the lead.

After Mark Romanczuk came on in the eighth and quickly set down the Bulldogs (leadoff walk but the runner was thrown out trying to steal second), Stanford added two insurance runs in the bottom half of the inning.  Carlos Quentin led off by lining a ball into center that Cody Smith was unable to handle while sprinting in and trying to make a knee-high catch.  The error was costly as Ryan Garko then stepped up and lined a home run over the fence in left increasing Stanford's lead to 5-2.

Romanczuk went back out in the ninth and surrendered a one-out single to Patrick but retired Haag and McGehee on consecutive fly outs to end the game and give Stanford the series victory.

Game Notes :
* The story of this game was the relief pitching of David O'Hagan.  Fresh off his eight strikeout performance in 3 2/3 innings against Florida State last Sunday, O'Hagan fired 4 1/3 scoreless innings today.  He gave up just one hit while walking three and striking out six to pick up the victory, his first ever at Stanford.

* Mark Romanczuk recorded his second save in as many days throwing two shutout innings while giving up just one hit.  He now has thrown 8 1/3 scoreless innings (just two hits allowed and 10 K's) this season.

* The home run by Ryan Garko was his second of the season tying Danny Putnam and John Mayberry, Jr. for the team lead.

* Putnam (2-for-4) and Mayberry, Jr. (2-for-3, BB) had multi-hit games for the Cardinal.  The top three spots in the order (Fuld, Hall, Quentin) went a combined 0-for-11, but the other six starters had at least one hit including Jed Lowrie and Chris Lewis who once started in place of Donny Lucy and Jonny Ash.

* Fresno State starting pitcher Cody Smith took the loss going 5 2/3 innings yielding three runs on six hits.

Fresno State    0 1 1  0 0 0  0 0 0    -    2   5   1
Stanford        0 0 2  0 0 1  0 2 x    -    5   8   0

WP: David O'Hagan (1-0)
LP: Cody Smith (0-1)
S: Mark Romanczuk (2)

HR: Stanford - Ryan Garko (2)

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

* The Cardinal and Bulldogs will conclude their three-game series tomorrow afternoon with a 1:00pm start time.  Ryan McCally (0-1, 4.85) is expected to start for Stanford while Fresno State has yet to announce a starter.

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