Behind two walk-off wins, baseball sweeps Cal

Friday: Stanford 3, Cal 2. Saturday: 15-12, Card. Sunday: 11-10, Card. Kenny Diekroeger comes through with two clutch at-bats Friday and Sunday as Stanford sweeps its archrivals and moves within one game of the Pac-10 lead. A 9-3 loss to Santa Clara Monday may have dampened the mood, but it doesn't affect the Pac-10 standings -- or the events of the three days prior.

Friday
Stanford 3, California 2

Stanford lefty Brett Mooneyham and California righty Erik Johnson each put together strong starts on the mound, but pinch runner Ben Clowe scored the game-winning run in the bottom of the ninth on a Kenny Diekroeger sacrifice fly, giving Stanford a 3-2 victory.

Mooneyham was on target for most of the game, using the strikeout to escape from potential rallies. He went 7.1 innings and allowed two runs, one earned, on four hits, as he struck out 10 and walked three on 117 pitches. In the top of the third, he gave up a leadoff double to number nine hitter Marcus Semien, who moved to third on leadoff man Danny Oh's sacrifice bunt. Semien scored on second batter Brian Guinn's groundout to second base. In the eighth, Semien once again double down the left field line. Oh laid down a bunt, which Mooneyham fielded and threw down the right field line, allowing Semien to score. After that play, closer Alex Pracher threw the final 1.2 innings and allowed only one hit, while striking out three.

Stanford scored its only two runs off of Johnson in the bottom of the fourth. Number two batter Colin Walsh reached on first baseman Mark Canha's fielding error. After a Stephen Piscotty single and Jonathan Kaskow groundout, number five hitter Jake Schlander grounded out to the shortstop, Semien, bringing in Walsh from third. Piscotty next scored on a wild pitch, giving Stanford the one-run lead. Johnson pitched eight innings, allowed six hits, struck out six, and walked three on 108 pitches.

Cal failed to threaten in the top of the ninth, opening the door for Stanford in the bottom half. Kaskow led off the inning with a double down the right field line on a 2-0 pitch by righty Matt Flemer. Clowe pinch ran for Kaskow and Jake Schlander struck out swinging after trying to lay down a bunt. Clowe then advanced to third on a balk, allowing Diekroeger to hit a sacrifice fly to left field, as there was never a chance for left fielder Chad Bunting to throw out Clowe at the plate. The result moved Stanford's record to 7-1 in one-run games.

Saturday
Stanford 15, California 12

A potential pitchers' duel turned into an offensive outburst, with a combined 27 runs on 34 hits. Stanford's first three hitters, Tyler Gaffney, Colin Walsh, and Jonathan Kaskow, went a combined 9-for-16 with Walsh driving in five runs, including a two-run homer in the seventh. Kenny Diekroeger, the fifth batter, went three-for-five and the seventh hitter, Zach Jones, went two-for-three with two walks. Overall, six Cardinal had multi-hit games, as they jumped out to a 13-4 lead through the first five innings.

Cardinal starter Jordan Pries had one of his worst outings this year, as he pitched 3.2 innings and gave up four runs (three earned) on six hits on 69 pitches. The righty allowed a leadoff home run to seventh hitter Jimmy Bosco in the third and, propelled by a Jake Schlander throwing error, Cal scored two more in the inning.

Stanford scored six in the bottom half of the third, sending 11 to the plate. In the fifth, the Cardinal sent another 12 to the plate, finally chasing starting pitcher Justin Jones from the game. The reigning Pac-10 Pitcher of the Week, Jones pitched four-plus innings and gave up 10 runs, seven earned, on 10 hits. Lefty Chris Petrini replaced him, but also struggled in one-third of an inning, allowing three runs, one earned, on two hits. The Cal defense committed four errors in the game, two of them by first baseman Mark Canha, leading to five unearned runs.

For Stanford, Dean McArdle replaced Pries in the fourth and allowed three earned runs on three hits in two innings. Danny Sandbrink struggled in one-third of an inning, yielding two hits and an earned run. Scott Snodgress then allowed four earned runs on three hits in two innings. Sweet relief finally came in the ninth, as Mark Appel recorded the final three outs and was the only Stanford pitcher to not allow a run.

The Cardinal scored a season-high 15 runs and tied a season-high with 19 hits. They ensured their second-straight Pac-10 series win.

Sunday
Stanford 11, California 10

With the game tied and one out in the bottom of the ninth, sixth hitter Kenny Diekroeger hit an RBI double to left center which scored pinch runner Ben Clowe, capping a three-run inning, a comeback victory, and a series sweep for Stanford (21-13, 10-5 Pac-10) over California (23-14, 8-7 Pac-10). As a team, the Cardinal had 14 hits and got off to a 5-0 lead in the first inning. Tyler Gaffney and Colin Walsh each led the team with three hits, while Diekroeger and Jonathan Kaskow each had two hits and drove in two.

Brian Busick was shaky on the mound, allowing four earned on five hits in three innings, while only striking out one. A Chadd Krist homer followed by a Chad Butning single in the fourth forced Alex Pracher to enter the game. But he also struggled, allowing three earned on three hits in three innings.

Cal tied the game in the seventh off reliever Mark Appel after a Tony Renda single and Chadd Krist double. Then, they took the lead in the eighth on a squeeze play. Mark Canha bunted the ball in front of the plate as Marcus Semien, who had doubled to lead off the inning, scored. Brian Guinn then scored on a Renda sacrifice fly.

Down by two in the bottom of the ninth and facing righty Matt Flemer, consecutive doubles by Gaffney and Walsh cut the deficit to two. Then, Kaskow walked, and Ben Clowe pinch ran for Kaskow. Jake Schlander's single to left field allowed Walsh to score and advanced Clowe to second, setting the stage for Diekroeger's heroics. On a 2-2 pitch, the freshman drove a pitch to left center to win the game.

For Cal, starter Dixon Anderson only lasted two-thirds of an inning as he allowed five earned runs on three hits. Righty Kevin Miller allowed three runs, two earned, in the next three innings, after which lefty Chris Petrini pitched a scoreless 1.1 innings. Flemer pitched the final 3.1 innings and allowed three earned on five hits.

Monday
Santa Clara 9, Stanford 3

In a stark contrast from their meeting on April 13, when Stanford scored 14 runs and shutout Santa Clara, the Broncos scored nine runs in their final three innings, while their pitching held a hot Stanford offense to three runs. Stanford starter Danny Sandbrink threw well over five-plus innings, as he allowed three runs, two earned, on three hits.

The Broncos tallied 13 hits as four hitters had multiple-hit games, including right fielder Tommy Medica and second baseman Blake Leyva. Medica and catcher Geoff Klein hit back-to-back homers in the seventh off Chris Jenkins and Dean McArdle. For Stanford, Jonathan Kaskow, Kenny Diekroeger, and Tyler Gaffney each had two hits, while sophomore Scott Colton, in only his second at-bat of the year, hit a three-run homer in the ninth, his first of the year, to end the shutout.

On Friday, Stanford, trailing Arizona State (33-5, 11-4) by one game for first place in the Pac-10, starts a three-game series at Washington (20-18, 5-7 Pac-10).


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