Baseball: swept in Seattle, win two in Calif.

Seattle continued its strangehold over Stanford sports, with the city where sunshine goes to die seeing Stanford's Pac-10 title hopes all but evaporate. 4-2, then 8-1, then 4-3 in 15: the Huskies beat the Card in games lopsided and tight, high- and low-scoring alike, to drop the Card to 10-8 in the Pac-10. Stanford beat Santa Clara and SJSU during the week though, and now look to Long Beach St.


Friday: Washington 4, Stanford 2

A Pierce Rankin two-run home run in the first, a successful squeeze play in the fourth, and an RBI groundout in the fifth is all the Huskies needed to defeat No. 18 Stanford, despite a great performance by Brett Mooneyham on the mound.

Mooneyham threw eight innings, allowed four runs (two earned) on four hits, while striking out 13 and walking two. First baseman Jonathan Kaskow dropped a pop-up in foul territory with two outs, allowing Rankin to deliver a homer to left field. In the fourth, Doug Cherry executed a squeeze play perfectly, allowing Caleb Brown to score from third base. In the fifth, David Bentrott drove in Aaron Russell with a ground out to second baseman Colin Walsh.

The Cardinal's only two runs came in the fifth on Stephen Piscotty's two-run double down the left-field line.

Washington lefty Geoff Brown allowed two earned in 4.1 innings, despite walking four batters. Righties Forrest Snow and Jacob Clem threw the final 4.2 innings, allowing only one hit and striking out six.

Saturday: Washington 8, Stanford 1

Sophomore righty Andrew Kittredge pitched a solid 7.1 innings, allowing one earned run on six hits, while striking out eight and walking one, as the Huskies scored three unearned runs on four Stanford errors, a deficit the suddenly reeling Stanford offense could not overcome.

Pierce Rankin drove in Doug Cherry with a single in the first inning. Then, Jonathan Kaskow's throwing error allowed Jacob Lamb to score. In the fourth, Cherry brought in David Bentrott on a soft ground out to the pitcher. Bentrott had stolen second base and reached third on a failed pickoff attempt by catcher Zach Jones. The Huskies added a sacrifice fly in the fifth and scored two more in the eighth on a Cherry single and Jacob Lamb RBI ground out.

The Cardinal's only run came on a Zach Jones RBI single to right field, which scored Jonathan Kaskow.

Stanford's Jordan Pries allowed six runs (three earned) on five hits, while striking out two and walking three. It was the second straight start in which he didn't pitch into the fifth inning. Prior to his last two starts, Pries had reached the fifth inning in 12 consecutive outings. Sophomore lefty Chris Reed allowed one hit in 1.2 innings and freshman righty Chris Jenkins allowed two earned on two hits in two innings to finish the game.

Freshman righty Adam Cimber allowed one hit and struck out three in the final 1.2 innings for the Huskies.

The game was played in front of 2,258 fans at Safeco Field, the home of the Seattle Mariners.

"We got there really early and got an hour to tour around the ballpark," said Stanford outfielder Dave Giuliani. "We're usually used to playing in front of a couple hundred fans in a college ballpark, but this was a totally different experience," he added.

Sunday: Washington 4, Stanford 3 (15)

In a wild game, Washington's (24-19, 8-7 Pac-10) Jacob Lamb scored the game-winning run on Alex Pracher's wild pitch with two outs in the bottom of the 15th, completing the three-game sweep of the Cardinal. Lamb went 5-for-7, with his last hit the leadoff single in the 15th. Pinch runner Sean Meehan came around to score following a Miles Kizer sacrifice bunt, an Eric Patterson groundout which allowed Meehan to advance to third, and Pracher's wild pitch.

Pracher tossed a career-high 7.2 innings and allowed only that one earned run on three hits, while striking out five and walking five. Pracher came into the game in the eighth after a Pierce Rankin leadoff double with the score tied 3-3. He struck out Andy Bethel and, after walking Caleb Brown, induced a double-play ball from Troy Scott to end the inning.

Stanford scored two runs in the first, both with two outs, after a fielding error by shortstop David Bentrott and dropped pop fly by second baseman Doug Cherry. The Huskies tied it in the third with RBI singles from Chase Anselment and Caleb Brown. Stanford scored in the fifth on a bases-loaded walk by Jonathan Kaskow, but Washington responded in the bottom of the inning when Cherry scored on Lamb's RBI double down the left field line.

After two-out singles by Jake Stewart and Tyler Gaffney in the ninth, Colin Walsh hit a deep drive to right field that was caught at the warning track.

In the 13th, center fielder Stewart fired home to throw out Lamb, trying to score from second base on Kizer's hit up the middle.

Righties Jacob Clem and Adam Cimber combined to throw a scoreless 10.2 innings for the Huskies, allowing seven hits. Righty Forrest Snow started the game and allowed three runs (one earned) on three hits, while striking out five and walking two in 4.1 innings.

For Stanford, righty Brian Busick allowed three earned on eight hits in 4.2 innings. Lefty Scott Snodgress allowed one hit in the next 2.1 innings before Pracher finished the game. Overall, Pracher threw 97 pitches.

Looking Back at the Keys to the Series

After getting back on track in the two previous Pac-10 series versus Oregon State and California, the Stanford offense scored six runs in three games, after averaging 6.63 per game before the series began. First baseman Jonathan Kaskow went 1-for-11 with three walks, Stephen Piscotty went 1-for-13, and Colin Walsh went 2-for-12 with four walks. Stanford's designated hitters, Justin Ringo, Adam Gaylord, and Eric Smith, went a combined 1-for-16, with Ringo going 1-for-13. The main bright spot for the offense was Kenny Diekroeger, who went 8-for-15 in the series.

Stanford's offense has run into various cold streaks throughout the year, this weekend representing yet another. Washington's pitching staff, which had the worse earned run average in the Pac-10 and had easily given up the most hits in the conference, kept the lineup off-balance. They recorded 26 strikeouts to 11 walks and held Stanford to 23 hits.

In essence, the top of the lineup, which has been a huge reason for Stanford's success in recent weeks, struggled against a statistically inferior Washington pitching staff.

Monday: Stanford 8, Santa Clara 3

Junior Dave Giuliani hit his first career home run as the Cardinal snapped a four-game losing streak against the Broncos (18-24).

Giuliani homered to right field on a 3-2 pitch after a fielding error by second baseman Drew Ozanne. All four runs in the inning were unearned.

The Cardinal scored three in the second inning on a Jake Stewart RBI single and Tyler Gaffney two-RBI single.

Freshman Dean McArdle, in his first career start, allowed two earned runs on five hits in four innings. Fellow freshman Mark Appel threw the final five innings, allowing one earned run on four hits.

Gaffney, Walsh, and Ben Clowe, who started at catcher to give Zach Jones a break (he caught all 15 innings the previous night), each had two hits.

Stanford leads the season series with Santa Clara 2-1, with one more match-up Monday.

Tuesday: Stanford 10, San Jose State 7

Left fielder Dave Giuliani hit his second home run in as many days, a towering fly ball that hit off of the right field scoreboard, as Danny Sandbrink and Scott Snodgress combined for the victory on the mound.

"It's been a combination of more playing time and better focus. I'm focusing more when I go to the plate," said the junior, who went 2-for-3 with two runs batted-in in his second straight start.

The Cardinal (23-17, 10-8 Pac-10) had a comfortable lead until the top of the sixth, when left fielder Kerry Jenkins hit a line-drive, two-run homer off of Scott Snodgress that hit the batter's eye in center field at Sunken Diamond, cutting the deficit to one run. But Stanford responded in the bottom of the seventh when Ben Clowe, who pinch ran for Jonathan Kaskow, scored on a wild pitch, and Kenny Diekroeger scored on a fielding error by second baseman Karson Klauer. Snodgress settled down to get the save as he pitched 3.2 innings and allowed an earned run on four hits. Sandbrink got the win, pitching 5.1 innings and allowing six earned on eight hits.

The Spartans (17-26, 5-7 WAC) took the lead in the fourth inning, but their relief pitching, which entering the game was shaky at best, could not hold the Stanford offense. Five of their starters got two hits and third baseman Corey Valine went 2-for-3 with a homer and three runs batted in.

Long Beach State

Tied for third place in the Pac-10 with Oregon and trailing Arizona State by four games, the Cardinal now travel to Long Beach State to take on the Dirtbags (20-21) in a three-game series.

The Dirtbags play in the Big West Conference, against Cal State-Fullerton, Pacific, UC-Santa Barbara, and UC-Davis, among other teams. The are currently at the middle of pack in the league, with a 7-8 record, most recently losing two of three against Cal Poly. However, they beat UCLA on April 20, took two of three against Oregon State in late March, and beat Arizona twice in late February. They did lose two of three to Washington in early March.

Keep an eye on Dirtbags pitcher Jake Thompson, a good prospect in the 2010 MLB Draft. On the year, he is 5-2 with a 5.22 earned run average, though he sports a 3.74 fielding independent pitching (FIP). In 70.2 innings, he's given up 80 hits, struck out 59, and walked 19. He's only given up one homer this year.

All of a sudden, Jordan Pries is a cause for concern in the Stanford starting pitching rotation. The righty leads all Stanford starters with a 3.58 earned run average, but has a 5.42 FIP. Lefty Brett Mooneyham, who now has a whopping 67 strikeouts in 54.1 innings, leads the team with a 3.25 FIP.

Friday – 6:30 p.m. at Long Beach State
LHP Brett Mooneyham (1-5, 5.30 ERA) vs. RHP Andrew Gagnon (5-4, 2.82 ERA)

Saturday – 2:00 p.m.
RHP Jordan Pries (3-2, 3.58 ERA) vs. RHP Jake Thompson (5-2, 5.22 ERA)

Sunday – 1:00 p.m.
RHP Brian Busick (4-1, 4.12 ERA) or LHP Scott Snodgress (0-2, 6.00 ERA) vs. RHP Bradon Pinder (3-5, 4.05 ERA)

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