Baseball goes 2-1, but hitting streak snapped

If baseball were tennis, Stanford would have won its weekend series over Arizona 3-1, 8-9, 8-4. As is, the Card stand alone in fourth in the conference at 13-11, with the possibility of finishing below .500 or climbing to third in the league in the balance as Arizona State is on-deck this weekend.

Friday
Stanford 3, Arizona 1

Behind a strong start from Brett Mooneyham, Colin Walsh's three RBI were all the Cardinal needed to win the opener against No. 26 Arizona. Mooneyham allowed one earned run on eight hits in 7.2 innings while striking out four and walking two. While improving his record to 3-5 on the season, the sophomore lefty lowered his earned run average to below five for the first time all season.

Left fielder and leadoff batter Joey Rickard was Arizona's key player of the game. In the first inning, the righty hit Mooneyham's first pitch of the game over the left-field fence to put the Wildcats on the board early. After Colin Walsh hit a two-run homer to left field in the fourth followed by an RBI double in the fifth, the Wildcats loaded the bases in the bottom of the fifth. With Rickard at the plate with two outs and the tying run on second base, Mooneyham got the righty to pop out to the catcher. In the seventh, with Bobby Rinard and Alex Mejia on first and third respectively, Mooneyham got Rickard to fly out to center field on a 2-0 fastball.

Mooneyham was almost perfect in the second, third, and fourth innings, struggled in the fifth, pitched an easy sixth, got out of a jam in the seventh, and was replaced by Alex Pracher in the eighth after he hit Steve Selsky with a pitch. Of the eight hits he allowed, seven were singles and, overall, nine of the Wildcats' ten hits were singles.

Pracher allowed a single to Robert Refsnyder before getting Cole Frenzel to ground out to shortstop Jake Schlander to end the eighth. In the ninth, Pracher allowed a two out single to Bobby Brown, then got Rickard to ground out to Stephen Piscotty at first base to end the game.

Wildcats starting pitcher Kurt Heyer allowed three earned runs on eight hits in seven innings, striking out seven and walking one on 127 pitches. He allowed two hits through the first three innings He lost for only the third time this year, then allowed a Tyler Gaffney single in the fourth, followed by Walsh's two-run, opposite field home run. Walsh put a technically sound swing on a 3-1 fastball that was located middle-away. (Hitting a home run to the opposite field is also a display of good power, something that's given Walsh good potential for the upcoming MLB Draft, which starts on June 7.) In the fifth, Walsh pulled a 3-2 fastball to right-center field, scoring Gaffney and giving the Cardinal a 3-1 lead. Heyer was replaced at the beginning of the eighth by freshman righty Stephen Manthei, who allowed only a single to Eric Smith in two innings of work. Of Stanford's nine hits, seven were singles. Walsh had the only two extra-base hits.

For the Cardinal, Gaffney, Walsh, and left fielder Dave Giuliani each had two hits, while Kenny Diekroeger, who was batting fourth in the lineup, extended his hitting streak to 23 games with an infield single down the third base line in the second inning. Seven different Wildcats had hits, as Rickard and Mejia each had two.

Saturday
Arizona 9, Stanford 8

With Stanford up 8-7 in the bottom of the eighth and two out, righty Mark Appel allowed a two-out, two-RBI double to cleanup hitter Steve Selsky, giving the Wildcats the 9-8 lead. Lefty Bryce Bandilla pitched a perfect ninth inning, allowing Arizona to even the series at one game a piece.

Stanford starting pitcher Jordan Pries gave up six earned runs on seven hits in four-plus innings, striking out one and walking three. He threw 83 pitches and raised his earned run average to 4.01. After Pries got roughed up at Safeco Field on May 1, he pitched two pretty good games, but then struggled again on Saturday. He allowed a first inning home run to second baseman Rafael "Failo" Valenzuela down the right field line, then, in the second, got Joey Rickard to fly out with runners on second and third. In the third, he allowed a leadoff single to Valenzuela who, after advancing to third base on two ground outs, scored on a wild pitch. Pries pitched a perfect inning in the fourth before facing four batters without recording an out in the fifth. Rickard walked, Valenzuela singled, and third hitter Jett Bandy drove everybody in with a three-run homer to left field. After Steve Selsky walked, Brian Busick was called on to stop the rally. However, two more runs scored after Seth Mejias-Brean singled to left field and an error by left fielder Stephen Piscotty allowed Selsky and Cole Frenzel to score. The Wildcats didn't score again until the Seksly's double in the eighth.

Arizona starter Kyle Simon allowed seven earned runs on 14 hits in 6.2 innings, while striking out two and walking one on 108 pitches. He allowed three singles through the first two innings without allowing a run. After a Colin Walsh single in the third, Piscotty hit an RBI double to right center field, putting Stanford on the board. After Kenny Diekroeger walked, designated hitter Eric Smith singled to right field, driving in Piscotty. Then, catcher Ben Clowe, who played for the first time since May 16, doubled, allowing Diekroeger to score. Jonathan Kaskow drove in Eric Smith from third base to give Stanford a 4-1 lead. In the fourth, Piscotty drove in his second run with a single, bringing in Tyler Gaffney. After the Cardinal loaded the bases, Smith lined out sharply to center field.

Simon allowed two more runs in the seventh when Clowe drove a pitch over the left field fence to tie the game at 7-7. Lefty Vincent Littleman replaced Simon and struck out Jake Stewart to end the inning. In the eighth inning, righty Nick Cunningham, who replaced Littleman, walked Schlander and, after Gaffney popped out a bunt, was replaced by Bandilla. The lefty walked Walsh, setting up Piscotty's single through the middle to give the Cardinal an 8-7 lead. Bandilla recorded the next two important outs, keeping the deficit at one run.

Busick was returned to the mound in the eighth inning after having pitched well in the sixth and seventh innings. After recording two quick outs, he hit Valenzuela and walked Bandy. Appel only faced one batter, allowing the go-ahead double to Selsky. Scott Snodgress struck out the final batter in the eighth.

Kenny Diekroger's 23-game hitting streak was snapped, as he went 0-for-4, but the Cardinal registered 15 hits, 14 of them off of Simon. Piscotty went 5-for-5 with three RBIs, while Walsh and Clowe each had three hits. The Wildcats recorded 11 hits, as Valenzuela had three of them. Bandy went 2-for-2 with two walks and three RBIs.

Sunday
Stanford 8, Arizona 4

Stanford (30-21, 13-11 Pac-10) built an 8-0 lead after the fourth inning with second and fourth inning rallies and a strong pitching performance by Dean McArdle, taking the Wildcats (32-20, 11-13 Pac-10) out of the game early and moving into sole possession of fourth place in the Pac-10.

The Cardinal scored three in the second inning off of Arizona starter Daniel Workman, who allowed seven earned runs on five hits on 84 pitches in 3.1 innings. After designated hitter Eric Smith was hit by a pitch and Jonathan Kaskow reached on a single, Jake Schlander drove in both with a triple down the right field line on a 2-1 fastball. Then, Jake Stewart scored Schlander on a sacrifice fly. In the third inning, Smith drove in Stephen Piscotty on a triple to left field. Stanford scored one run off of Workman in the fourth when Ben Clowe drove in Schlander with a single to right-center field. Righty Stephen Manthei was then brought on to replace Workman, but he allowed an RBI single to Colin Walsh and an RBI fly out to Kenny Diekroeger.

McArdle allowed three earned runs on six hits in five-plus innings, striking out three and walking none on an efficient 82 pitches. He began to fatigue somewhat in the fifth, when he allowed an RBI single from Joey Rickard and a sacrifice fly to Rafael Valenzuela. Steve Selsky hit a solo homer leading off the sixth, which was McArdle's final batter. Danny Sandbrink pitched the next 3.1 innings, only allowing an RBI single from Alex Mejia in the eighth. Alex Pracher got the final two outs, but walked one batter.

Diekroeger went 3-for-5 with two RBIs from the number-four slot while Schlander, who improved his average to .258, went 2-for-3 with two runs, two RBIs, and one walk. For Arizona, Jett Bandy went 3-for-5 while Bobby Brown and Mejia each had two hits.

Tuesday
UC-Davis at Stanford was cancelled due to rain.

This Weekend
Stanford will play its final series versus Arizona State (45-7, 18-6 Pac-10) this weekend with a chance for third place in the conference. Up next will be a preview of this weekend's series and Stanford's postseason prospects.


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