Offense Explodes In 18-4 Rout Of USC

The Cardinal baseball team recorded their second consecutive series win over a ranked team after Sunday's 18-4 thrashing of the USC Trojans. This game had it all from lots of home runs, good pitching, and even a triple play. Read on for a complete recap of all the action.

Today was the kind of day for Stanford where everything just clicks together.  The Cardinal offense clubbed five homers en route to an 18-run output.  A pair of freshman pitchers held the opponent to four runs on eight hits while the defense was perfect committing no errors.  And to top if off, it happened against arguably Stanford's biggest rival in baseball, the USC Trojans, to win a series.

Neither team scored in the first two innings of today's contest.  Stanford lefty Mark Romanczuk put up a zero in the first but ran into a little trouble in the second.  He walked Michael Moon and Jeff Clement to lead off the inning but got out of the jam thanks to a triple play.  David Gordon was at the plate and with the runners in motion, Gordon hit a soft line drive to Tobin Swope at shortstop.  Swope made the easy catch, flipped to Chris Lewis at second who tagged the bag for the second out (Moon), and then Lewis fired to first to easily record the third out on Clement.

After not recording a hit in the first two innings off freshman pitcher Bobby Paschal, the Cardinal broke through with a single run in the bottom of the third.  Swope led off with a bloop double down the right field line and then advanced to third on a wild pitch.  After Jed Lowrie grounded out, Brian Hall came up and smoked a line drive up the middle. SC second baseman Jon Brewster made the diving stop but threw wildly to first allowing Swope, who was holding at third because it was a line drive, to score.

Romanczuk threw a scoreless third, but struggled in the fourth.  Anthony Lunetta led off with a single and was balked to second.  Romanczuk looked as if he may get out of the inning as he got a fly out and a strikeout for two quick outs, but a walk to Clement, and a hit by pitch of Gordon loaded the bases.  Freshman Darin Vieira, who was making his first career start, made Romanczuk pay with a single scoring two runs to put USC ahead 2-1.

The Cardinal would be quick to answer back though as in the bottom of the fourth, Ryan Garko led off by reaching on a fielding error by SC third baseman Michael Moon.  John Mayberry, Jr. then stepped up and tripled off the wall in center to score Garko.  Danny Putnam was up next and the sophomore DH singled to right to score Mayberry to put Stanford back in the lead.

The Trojans would come right back with two runs of their own in the top of the fifth.  With one out, Travis McAndrews singled and then Anthony Lunetta blasted a home run to left field putting USC in front, 4-3.  But that's when the Cardinal offensive onslaught would begin.  With two outs and nobody on base in the bottom of the fifth, Sam Fuld doubled down the left field line.  After stealing third, Carlos Quentin walked to put two runners on.  Garko was up next and the senior catcher hit a high fly ball to shallow right field.  Right fielder David Gordon raced in at full speed but overran the ball as it fell harmlessly right behind him which allowed Fuld and Quentin to score while Garko was safe at second on what was scored a double.  Mayberry, Jr. followed that up by walking and then Danny Putnam smoked a home run to right field putting Stanford ahead 8-4.

After Romanczuk worked a 1-2-3 sixth inning while throwing just five pitches in the process, and the Cardinal went down quietly in the bottom half of the inning, the Trojans tried to put something together against the freshman southpaw.  Spencer Gordon led off the top of the seventh with a single and then Romanczuk fell behind the next hitter, Jon Brewster, 2-and-0.  That would end his day as fellow freshman Matt Manship was summoned from the bullpen.  Manship came in and shut the door striking out Brewster on three pitches and eventually retiring the side on another strikeout and lazy fly ball to right.

USC starter Bobby Paschal was removed from the game after six innings as reliever Bret Butler came on to face the 2-3-4 hitters in the Stanford lineup in the bottom of the seventh.  And in about a matter of three minutes, Butler had surrendered five runs on five hits and the rout was on.  Fuld and Quentin led off with consecutive singles to left. Garko then blasted a double to score Fuld and move Quentin to third.  Mayberry, Jr. came up and singled to score Quentin, and then Danny Putnam homered for the second straight at-bat to put Stanford ahead 13-4.  That ended Butler's afternoon as the sophomore righthander threw only seven pitches to the five batters he faced.  

Stanford wasn't done though as after Chris Lewis was retired, Tobin Swope singled and two batters later, Brian Hall crushed a home run to left increasing the lead to 15-4.  In the bottom of the eighth with two outs and nobody on base, Mayberry, Jr. hit a scorching line drive that just barely cleared the fence in left center for a 12-run Stanford lead.  After pinch-hitter Chris Minaker walked, Lewis completed the scoring with a two-run home run to right center field.

Reliever Matt Manship had no trouble with the USC hitters as he gave up a leadoff single in the eighth but quickly retired the side and then worked a perfect 1-2-3 ninth inning to seal the victory.

Game Notes:
* The 18 runs scored was easily Stanford's season-high.  Their previous high was 11 runs in the first game of the Texas doubleheader.  Also season-highs were runs in an inning (seven in the seventh inning) and the five home runs hit.

* Plenty of offensive stars today for the Cardinal.  Danny Putnam led the way with a 3-for-4, 2 HR, 7 RBI performance.  Other big days came from John Mayberry, Jr. (3-for-4, 3B, HR, 3 RBI), Ryan Garko (2-for-5, 2 2B, 3 RBI), Brian Hall (2-for-4, HR, 2 RBI), and Sam Fuld (2-for-5, 2B).

* Mark Romanczuk picked up the win going six-plus innings yielding four runs on seven hits.  He walked three and struck out four while improving his record to 4-0.  Matt Manship recorded the save, his team-leading third of the season, with three shutout innings (1 hit, 1 walk, 4 strikeouts) to end the game.

* Stanford left only two runners on base this afternoon.

* Stanford's team batting average is now all the way up to .299.  Putnam continues to lead the team at .397 while Quentin (.365) and Mayberry, Jr. (.355) are not far behind.

* Today's attendance was a season-high 2,780.

USC        0 0 0  2 2 0  0 0 0   -   4   8   2
Stanford   0 0 1  2 5 0  7 3 x   -  18  16   0

WP: Mark Romanczuk (4-0)
LP: Bobby Paschal (0-3)
S: Matt Manship (3)

HR: USC - Lunetta (3), Stanford - Putnam 2 (3, 4), Hall (3), Mayberry, Jr. (3), Lewis (1).

Records: #16 USC (7-8), #9 Stanford (11-7)

* The Cardinal are back in action this upcoming weekend with a three-game series at Sunken Diamond against the California Golden Bears.  First pitch is scheduled for 6:00pm on Friday and 1:00pm on Saturday and Sunday.  The games will not count in the conference standings.

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