February 17, 2003
After losing their first series at home since 1999 against Florida St. last weekend, the Cardinal made a statement this weekend against Fresno St., defeating the Bulldogs in three straight for the season's first three game sweep. However, before traveling to Austin, TX to play the defending national champion Texas Longhorns, the Cardinal had to play their only mid-week game of the first half of the season, against the Nevada Wolf Pack. Gary Powers' club came into town after a three game series against St. Mary's, defeating the Gaels in two out of three.
The mid-week game can be a trap. Mid-week games for Stanford generally are played against lesser (nonranked) competition. However, the games, particularly against Nevada, traditionally aren't blowouts. Stanford has struggled with Nevada lately, losing the Wolfpack in 2000 and 2002, last year by a score of 13-12.
The Cardinal started Drew Ehrlich on the hill, opposing Nevada's Travis Sutton. Ehrlich retired the first two batters he faced on a strikeout and a groundout. Facing Erick Streelman, Nevada's #3 hitter who came into today hitting at a .478 clip, Ehrlich looked to be out of the inning, inducing a line drive off Steelman's bat at Jed Lowrie. Lowrie, reaching to his right, couldn't hang on to the ball and was charged with an error. Two pitches later, Nevada's Jacob Butler made the Cardinal and Ehrlich pay by blasting a 2-run HR over the left-center field wall and put the Wolf Pack up by a score of 2-0.
The top of the Stanford order went 1-2-3 in the first. The Cardinal haven't scored early this year, putting up only 2 runs in the first inning all year. In the second for Nevada, Kevin Kouzmanoff grounded out to 2B to start the inning, but DH Tony Capuccilli hit his 3rd HR of the year, a solo shot to left field to give Nevada a 3-0 lead. After Ehrlich gave up a single to Taylor Pullins, Matt Manship entered the game on the hill for Stanford. Ahead in the count 1-2 to Robert Marcial, Manship got him to hit into a 1-6-3 double play and the inning was over, but Nevada still had a 3-0 lead.
Stanford immediately responded. With one out, John Mayberry, Jr. hit a grounder to Pullins at 2B that he couldn't handle, allowing Junior to reach. Jed Lowrie, who had a nice series against Fresno St. (5-11), doubled to left-center moving Mayberry to third. Lowrie had proven quite adept at going the other way from both sides of the plate, and has really played well over the last four games. With runners on 2nd and 3rd, Nevada starter Travis Sutton balked, scoring Mayberry to make the score 3-1 and moving Lowrie to third. He later scored on a groundout by Chris Lewis to make the score 3-2.
Manship pitched a scoreless third inning, and the Cardinal took the lead for the first time in the bottom of the third. Sam Fuld led off with a hard-hit single up the middle. After Brian Hall flied to center, Ryan Garko hit his team leading 3rd HR of the year to deep left-center. Garko didn't homer in the first 7 games of the year but now has homered in three of five. Quentin and Mayberry would fly out but the third inning ended with a 4-3 Stanford lead.
After a 13-12 game last season (at Reno) and an early 4-3 start, the game seemed to be another offensive contest. However, the pitching settled down and dominated most of the rest of the game. Matt Manship for Stanford would work 3.2 scoreless innings, allowing only one hit. Manship put two runners on base in the fourth inning but got out of the inning, and with two outs and a runner on third in the 5th, Manship struck out the cleanup hitter Jacob Butler.
In the fourth, Nevada's Gary Powers brought on Scott Gilbertson in place of Travis Sutton. Pitching a scoreless fourth, Gilbertson got into trouble in the 5th after hitting Ryan Garko and walking Carlos Quentin. He was replaced by Brandon Gottier, who retired John Mayberry on a fielder's choice groundout (6-5) to end the inning.
In the top of the sixth, Kodiak Quick came into the game for Matt Manship. Manship's final line: 3.2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 2 K. Quick got into trouble with one out, giving up hits to Kouzmanoff and Cappuccilli. But Quick settled down, striking out Pullins and Marcial, the 8-9 hitters to end the inning.
The Cardinal failed to score in the sixth and Nevada went scoreless in the 7th.. In the bottom of the 7th, Donny Lucy broke out of a 0-15 slump with a double to right-center. After striking out 11 consecutive times, Lucy can finally forget about the slump and move on with the season. Moving to third on a SAC bunt by Sam Fuld, Lucy sprinted home on a dribbler in front of the plate hit by Brian Hall. Catcher Brett Hayes fielded the bunt and tagged Lucy, and Stanford's threat was quashed, but the Cardinal still lead 4-3.
After two scoreless innings, Kodiak Quick surrendered a HR to Kevin Kouzmanoff in the 8th inning to tie the game at 4. Quick got a ground out for the second out but his day was done: 2.2 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 0 BB, 3 K. Although he gave up a homer to tie the game, Quick's appearance was a positive as he didn't walk anyone and looked devastating at times. Mark Romanczuk came in and retired the final batter of the inning on one pitch.
Tied at 4 in the bottom of the 8th, Zachary Basch came into the game on the hill for the Wolf Pack. In four previous appearances, Basch had yet to surrender a run in six innings. He quickly retired Garko and Quentin, but John Mayberrry ripped a ball down the RF line. Mayberry's long strides enabled him to slide into third just ahead of the throw and with two outs the Cardinal had a chance to take the lead. Jed Lowrie walked on 4 pitches, and Chris Lewis was due up, but Danny Putnam had a bat in hand in the on-deck circle. Gary Powers trekked to the mound and the thought was he would bring in the lefty Bryan Johnson to face the likely PH Putnam, who had yet to be announced. Powers elected to stay with Basch, and Marquess countered with Putnam. With runners on first and third and a 2-2 count, Putnam delivered a PH single through the right side, even though 2B Carlos Madrid was playing to pull. Stanford led 5-4 into the 9th.
With their new closer on the hi