Baseball: Stanford Hands Horns First Loss of '04

The Cardinal offense scored four unearned runs and starter Mark Romanczuk struck out eight over seven frames during a 116-pitch performance as No. 1 Texas (10-1) lost its first game of the 2004 campaign by a score of 7-4 to No. 3 Stanford (9-1) in front of a crowd of 1,967 at Sunken Diamond on Friday, Feb. 20.

A leadoff walk combined with two Longhorns throwing errors, an RBI-triple from John Mayberry, Jr. and a wild pitch to yield three unearned scores and produced a 3-0 Stanford lead in the bottom of the first. Texas immediately responded in the top of the second with two runs of its own to make it a 3-2 game by taking advantage of two Cardinal errors following a single from Seth Johnston (Boerne, Texas/Boerne) to begin the inning and utilizing a run-scoring groundout from David Maroul (Benbrook, Texas/Western Hills/Grayson CC) and an RBI-walk with the bases loaded from Nathan Warrick (Belton, Texas/Belton). UT then received a two-run home run off the bat of J.D. Reininger (Spring Branch, Texas/Smithson Valley) in the top of the third to grab a 4-3 advantage.

Looking to respond, Stanford would load the bases on a hit batter, a single and walk with none out in the bottom of the third before receiving consecutive two-out hits from Donny Lucy and Brian Hall to plate three runs and regain the lead at 6-4. The Cardinal then tacked on another unearned run in the fifth to push in front 7-4 as Mayberry, Jr. again came through with an RBI-base hit following a walk and an error during a pickoff attempt.

Now trailing by three, the Longhorns, after being held in check from the fourth through eighth, attempted to rally in the top of the ninth as Michael Hollimon (Dallas, Texas/Jesuit College Prep.) led off with a base hit to right, but reliever David O'Hagan, who entered the game in the eighth, struck out the next two batters he faced to account for two of his five strikeouts and then retired his next batter on a fly ball to give Stanford a three-run victory in the series opener and earn his second save. While UT starter J.P. Howell (Sacramento, Calif./Jesuit/USC), who struck out three over 4.1 innings, shouldered his first loss of the year, Romanczuk, who allowed only two earned runs on four hits over seven frames, improved to 3-1 on the season with the win.

Pacing the Texas offense on the evening were Reininger, who belted his second home run of the season to account for two of UT's four runs, and Johnston, who extended his current hit streak to six games with a single in the second inning. Stanford's attack, meanwhile, was headed by Mayberry, Jr., who went 2-for-4 with a triple, one run scored and two RBI, and Lucy, who singled in two runs on the night. Another notable for the Horns was reliever Kyle Yates (Kerrville, Texas/Kerrville Tivy/Midland College), who retired eight of the 10 batters he faced over 2.2 scoreless innings while fanning four.

The Longhorns and Cardinal tangle in Game #2 of this three-game series at Sunken Diamond on Saturday, Feb. 21 at 3 p.m. Central.

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