WSU wins 2 of 3; teams tied for 3rd in Pac-10

Stanford's offense rallied just in time and Alex Pracher got the save in a 8-7 win Friday, but it was WSU who rallied to take the series with a 4-2 Saturday win and a 9-3 victory Sunday after beating up Pracher late. This week, the Cardinal will square off against Hawai'i (26-23) on Tuesday, followed by the season's penultimate conference series: at Arizona (31-17, 10-10) starting on Friday.

Friday
Stanford 8, Washington State 7

Down 7-3 in the bottom of the eighth, the No. 25 Cardinal scored five runs, while Alex Pracher got the save in the ninth as the team improved to 11-2 in one-run games. In the big eighth inning, Colin Walsh led off with his 35th walk of the season, chasing starter Chad Arnold from the game. After Stephen Piscotty walked and Jonathan Kaskow flied out, Kenny Diekroeger tripled down the left field line on a 1-2 pitch, scoring both Walsh and Piscotty. Then, Jake Schlander drove in Diekroeger by singling through the left side. After Zach Jones flied out and Ben Clowe, who pinch hit for Dave Giuliani, singled, pinch-hitter Eric Smith drove in Schlander with a single. Tyler Gaffney reached on a throwing error by second baseman Cody Bartlett, allowing Clowe to score the go-ahead run. Overall, the Cardinal scored five runs on four hits and two walks in the inning.

In the top of the eighth, Washington State leadoff batter Garry Kuykendall drove in two runs on a RBI single, chasing reliever Chris Reed from the game. Stanford freshman Sahil Bloom, on his second pitch, induced a double-play groundball from Bartlett to end the inning, setting himself up to earn his first career win.

The Cardinal scored three runs in the fourth off Arnold, who allowed four earned runs on four hits while striking out four and walking three in seven-plus innings. However, most of the damage in the eighth was done off of lefty Paris Shewey, who allowed four runs (three earned) on three hits in two-thirds of an inning. He got the loss in the game.

Stanford starter Brett Mooneyham allowed five earned runs on eight hits in 6.2 innings. He struck out seven and walked two. The lefty was chased from the game in the seventh inning after he allowed one run on two hits and a hit-by-pitch. Brian Busick allowed two hits, scoring two more Cougars, both charged to Mooneyham. Pracher, who had been shaky in recent outings, allowed a double to designated hitter Matt Fanelli, who was thrown out at second after taking a wide turn. It was a close play, and the aftermath resulted in Washington head coach Donnie Marbut getting ejected.

Diekroeger extended his hitting streak to 19 with the triple, while Schlander had two hits and four runs batted-in. For Washington State, Fanelli had three hits, while Kuykendall, Shea Vucinich, Kyle Johnson, and Jay Ponciano each had two hits. The Cougars had 14 hits overall to Stanford's eight.

Saturday
Washington State 4, Stanford 2

Washington State righty James Wise pitched eight shutout innings while allowing only four hits and striking out eight, as three Cougar relievers stopped a ninth-inning rally from the Cardinal to even the series. Wise, who had by no means been dominant this season, entered the game with a 5.23 earned run average in 32.2 innings. However, he stifled the Stanford hitters by pounding the strike zone and allowing the batters to put the ball in play.

Colin Walsh was the only Stanford hitter with more than one hit, going 2-for-3 with a run scored. Kenny Diekroeger led off the fifth inning with a single, extending his hitting streak to 20 games.

The Cougars scored two runs in the third inning on Matt Fanelli's two-run home run to center field. Then in the fourth, Cody Bartlett drove in Jay Ponciano on a single through the left side. Ponciano homered to right field in the sixth to give the Cougars a 4-0 lead. Overall, the Cougars offense generated only eight hits, but the two home runs were huge run producers.

All four runs were given up by Stanford starter Jordan Pries, although only three of them were earned. He allowed seven hits, struck out five and walked five on 125 pitches in 5.2 innings. He did not have his usual control, as evidenced by the five walks, and he has now given up a team-high 10 home runs in 79 innings.

Stanford made a valiant comeback effort in the ninth after Wise was replaced by righty Seth Harvey. After walking Walsh and allowing a single to Stephen Piscotty, lefty Paris Shewey allowed a single to pinch-hitter Ben Clowe, a RBI sacrifice fly to Diekroeger, and a RBI single to Jake Schlander. The Cougars finally resorted to bringing in their closer, Adam Conley, to try and record the final two outs. After allowing a single to Zach Jones, Conley induced a double-play groundball from pinch-hitter Adam Gaylord to end the game. Conley got his 10th save of the year, while Wise earned his second win and Pries got his third loss.

Sunday
Washington State 9, Stanford 3

With Stanford (27-20, 11-10 Pac-10) up 3-2 in the top of the ninth, Washington State (28-18, 11-10 Pac-10) scored seven runs in the inning to steal the series and tie the Cardinal for third place in the Pac-10 standings.

Stanford closer Alex Pracher, who came into the game in the top of the seventh, allowed five straight batsmen to reach base in the ninth. First, Matt Fanelli, who went 8-for-13 in the series, singled to right field. Then, Derek Jones reached on a fielding error by second baseman Colin Walsh, who couldn't make the play moving to his right. Shea Vucinich brought in both runners on a triple to right-center field, giving the Cougars the 4-3 lead. Two batters later, Matt Argyropoulos scored Vucinich on a single to right field. Later in the inning, Michael Weber hit a grand slam to center field, chasing Pracher from the game.

Up to the ninth inning, the only offense for the Cougars was a two-run homer by Weber in the sixth inning. They'd been quiet most of the game against freshman Dean McArdle, who allowed two earned runs on three hits while striking out six in 5.2 innings. After Brian Busick and Scott Snodgress provided one out altogether, Pracher was brought in to attempt the three-inning save. The righty did not allow a hit until Fanelli's single in the ninth and could not stop the rally after Walsh's error. The Stanford closer did not necessarily put himself in bad situations, as he continued to throw strikes, but the Cougars, who are extremely aggressive at the plate (look at their season walk totals), made a lot of good contact. Unfortunately, most of those hit balls found holes in the defense. Still, Pracher's struggles continue, as Stanford's back end of the bullpen may now be in question.

After getting the save on Saturday, lefty Adam Conley got a rare start on the mound and pitched well. It was a late-season type of move for the Cougars, who are right in the thick of things in the Pac-10. Conley allowed three runs (two earned) on eight hits in seven innings. He struck out two and did not walk a batter. Righty Connor Lambert pitched two hitless innings in relief to get the win.

In the first inning, Stephen Piscotty doubled, followed by a Kenny Diekroeger singled and Weber's fielding error, allowing Piscotty to score. Piscotty homered for the third time this season in the fourth, a no-doubter to left field. In the fifth, Tyler Gaffney hit his first collegiate home run to give Stanford a 3-0 lead. Diekroeger had two hits in the game, extending his hitting streak to 21.


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