Stanford 4 – @ UCLA 1
@ Cal 10 – Washington 5
@ Arizona 7 – WSU 6 (12 innings)
@ UCSB 6 – USC 4
(Los Angeles, CA) – No. 10 Stanford (20-11-2, 7-3 Pac-10) ran its win streak to a season-high five games with a 4-1 victory over UCLA (18-15, 3-4 Pac-10) in the opener of a three-game Pac-10 series at Jackie Robinson Stadium on Friday. The victory combined with Arizona State’s 6-4 loss to Oregon State in Tempe moved the Cardinal into sole possession of first place in the Pac-10.
Stanford scored three runs in the bottom of the first inning before the Bruins could record an out and then rode the pitching trio of Austin Yount, David Stringer and Drew Storen to the victory.
“That’s a great way to win a game,” said Stanford head coach Mark Marquess. “We are playing good baseball right now and just need to keep it going.”
“It’s great to be in first place in the standings, but it’s a lot more important to be there at the end of the year than right now,” added Marquess.
Jason Castro’s RBI single and a two-run double by Brent Milleville plated the three runs in the Cardinal first after losing pitcher Tim Murphy (5.0 IP, 5 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 7 BB, 4 SO) walked Cord Phelps and Toby Gerhart back-to-back to start the inning.
“We wanted to try to get some momentum early in the game, because the last couple of Fridays we haven’t been able to accomplish that,” said Phelps. “We wanted to be patient and get good pitches to hit and today we got some help from their starting pitcher. It was a good first inning.”
Phelps (2-2, 2B, 3 BB) reached base in all five of his plate appearances and walked a career-high three times. Milleville (2-5, 2 2B, 2 RBI) joined Phelps with a multiple-hit game for the Cardinal, while Gerhart also drew a career-high-tying three of Stanford’s nine walks.
Yount (4.2 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 1 BB) held the Bruins scoreless for the first four innings in just his second Pac-10 start on the mound before the Bruins picked up an unearned run in the bottom of the fifth. Ryan Babineau reached safely when Zach Jones booted his grounder to the Cardinal third baseman and then moved into scoring position by stealing second base. Yount got Brady Dolan to pop-up to Phelps at second base for the first out but a subsequent bunt single by Niko Gallego put Bruins on first and third. The lone UCLA run of the game came on the next play when Alden Carrithers narrowly beat out a potential inning-ending double play for an RBI fielder’s choice. Yount then hit Jermaine Curtis to put runners on first and second before Stringer came on to get the Cardinal out of the jam by retiring Brandon Crawford on a grounder to Phelps.
Stringer tossed 2.1 innings of scoreless two-hit relief and struck out a season-high-tying four to earn the victory before Drew Storen (2.0 IP, 2 SO) got the final six outs to notch his team-leading fourth save of the campaign.
“This was a big step for us to get a Friday night win,” said Storen. “It was great to be in that situation to try to close out the game tonight. I just wanted to throw strikes and let guys up the middle take care of me like they have all year.”
Stanford and UCLA continue the series Saturday (2 pm, PT) before concluding the three-game set Sunday (1 pm, PT). The Cardinal will go with RHP Erik Davis (5-1, 4.37) on the hill Saturday to square off with UCLA RHP Charles Brewer (4-3, 5.43). Sunday’s scheduled pitching matchup features Stanford RHP Jeffrey Inman (5-0, 1.49) and UCLA LHP Gavin Brooks (3-2, 4.97).
(Berkeley, CA) – Led by the hitting of Blake Smith and David Cooper, and solid pitching from starter Tyson Ross and closer Matt Gorgen, the No. 8-ranked California baseball team topped Washington, 10-5, Saturday afternoon in a Pac-10 contest at Evans Diamond. Sophomore right fielder Smith was 2-for-2 with a two-run homer in the third inning and ended the game with a career-high four RBI. Junior first baseman Cooper finished the day 3-for-5 and had a two-run homer in the fourth inning. On the mound, Ross improved his record to 6-1 (7.0 innings, nine hits, four runs, three walks, five strikeouts), while Gorgen earned his Pac-10 leading seventh save (1.2 innings, no hits, no runs, no walks, two strikeouts). The Golden Bears improved to 25-9-2 and 6-4 in league play. The Huskies fell to 23-13 and 3-4 in the conference.
Cal scored two runs in the second inning off of UW starter Cam Nobles (3-2, 5.2 innings, seven hits, eight runs, four walks, three strikeouts) when sophomore third baseman Jeff Kobernus hit a ball up the middle with the bases loaded and two outs. Kobernus drove in Josh Satin with his ball that was fielded by Husky second baseman Bradley Boyer, whose only play was to attempt a backhand flip to force out Smith at second base. Boyer’s flip was errant, allowing sophomore catcher Dylan Tonneson to score as well.
The Bears added three more runs in the third inning when Cooper led-off with a double and scored on Tonneson’s RBI single to left field. Smith then knocked in Tonneson with his seventh home run of the year in the third inning for a 5-0 Cal advantage. Washington scored its first run off of Ross in the top of the fourth on Brian Pearl’s RBI single, but the Bears came right back with two more runs in the bottom of the fourth on Cooper’s Pac-10 leading 16th homer, a two-run shot to right field, for a 7-1 lead.
From there, Cal scored single runs in the fifth (sacrifice fly by Smith), seventh (sacrifice fly by Smith) and eighth (RBI single by junior left fielder Charlie Cutler) innings. The Huskies keep the game interesting by scoring single runs from the fourth through the eighth innings for the final 10-5 score.
Cooper’s home run Friday was his 28th in a little more than a year and a half as a Bear after transferring from Cal State Fullerton in 2007, and already places him ninth on the Bears’ all-time career home run list. Cooper’s 16 home runs in 2008 is now 10th on the Cal single-season HR list. Gorgen’s save was his 18th career save, which places him tied for third with Bobby Kahlon (1993-94) on the Bears’ all-time career save list.
Cal will next host Washington in the second game of the three-game Pac-10 series, beginning Saturday, Apr. 19 at 1 p.m. at Evans Diamond.
Cal: Smith, two-run homer in the third inning. Cooper, two-run homer in the fourth inning.
(Tucson, AZ) – Rafael Valenzuela had a pinch hit double to left center in the bottom of the 12th inning on Friday night that brought home Brad Glenn for the game winning run. Valenzuela was down (0-2) in the count with two outs.
(Santa Barbara, CA) – Mike Ford pitched the first complete game of his young career, leading UC Santa Barbara (25-11) past University of Southern California (19-17), 6-4 Friday afternoon at Casesar Uyesaka Stadium. Ford (5-2) allowed four runs on seven hits, while striking out eight and walking only two en route to the first complete game of any Gaucho starter this year. Mike Zuanich’s RBI triple in the bottom of the seventh broke a 4-4 tie, and the Gauchos would not look back from there.
Both starters were on early as the first hit of the ballgame came in the bottom of the third inning when second baseman Steve Cook led off the inning with a triple into the right center field gap. Right fielder Brian Gump followed by grounding a ball to Trojan first baseman Derek Perren. Perren fielded the ball a foot away from the first base, but decided to make a play at the plate, as Steve Cook broke from third on the grounder. Perren’s throw sailed over the head of Trojan catcher Robert Stock, as Cook scored for the first Gaucho run of the game.
USC countered in the top of the fourth, as shortstop Grant Green’s leadoff home run to right center tied the game, 1-1. After winning Pac-10 Player of the Week honors last week, Green continued his hot streak, hitting his second home run in the last three games, and fourth in the last five. Hector Rabago followed with a two-run shot of his own, launching a home run over the left field wall to give the Trojans a 3-1 lead after three and a half.
UCSB scored a run in the bottom of the fourth courtesy of Gunnar Terhune’s RBI double down the left field line. Terhune’s double scored Shane Carlson from second to bring the Gauchos within one, 3-2. With runners on second and third and two down, Trojan starter Tommy Milone induced Cook to pop up to short to get of the jam.
Milone (5-2) went six innings, allowing four runs on six hits, while striking out six and walking four.
The Trojans refused to succumb to the Gaucho push, scoring another run in the top half of the sixth inning. After singling up the middle to leadoff the inning, Green advanced to second on Perren’s infield groundout. With one out, Green stole third base and scored on an overthrow from Gaucho catcher Chris McMurray to put the Trojans ahead, 4-2.
Ford would not allow another run the rest of the way, facing only one batter of the minimum over the final three frames.
The Gauchos scored a pair of runs in the bottom of the sixth to knot things up. With the bases loaded and one out, Cook grounded a ball to Trojan third baseman Billy Pinkerton. Pinkerton threw to second for the force out, but the turn to first was late, as Carlson scored on the play. The Gauchos tied the game in the following at-bat as Gump singled to right field, scoring McMurray from third. It would be all the Gauchos could muster, as Milone stranded the go-ahead run on third, inducing Fox to fly out to right to end the threat. After six innings of play, the Gauchos and Trojans were tied, 4-4.
The tie wouldn’t last long as the Gauchos scored twice in the bottom of the seventh off Trojan reliever Daniel Cooper. Left fielder Mike Zuanich continued his torrid hitting streak, pounding an RBI tie-breaking triple to deep center field, scoring Eric Oliver all the way from first. Carlson’s sacrifice fly to center in the ensuing at-bat scored Zuanich from third to put the Gauchos ahead, 6-4.
UCSB would not relinquish the lead as Ford willed his way to the win. After walking the first batter he faced in the top of the ninth, the Gaucho coaching staff showed their faith in Ford, allowing the sophomore to finish what he started. Ford induced Roskopf to ground into a fielders choice for the first out of the inning. With a runner on first and one down, the Scottsdale, Ariz., native struck out Hector Rabago for the second out of the inning. Ford then got Stock to fly out to center to end the game. With the ball tightly secured in center fielder Chris Fox’s glove, Ford pumped his fist in elation, having successfully pitched his first complete game.
Ford lowered his ERA to 2.79 while improving his impressive strikeout-to-walk ratio to a perfect two-to-one, 54-27. Ford has now pitched at least six innings in eight of his nine starts, and eight or more innings in three of his starts.
Gump led the Gauchos with a 2-for-5, two RBI effort. A game after hitting three home runs, Zuanich went 1-for-4 with one run scored and a crucial tie-breaking RBI. Carlson went 1-for-2 with two runs scored and one RBI.
The Gauchos resume play tomorrow as they travel to Los Angeles, Calif., to play game two of the three game series against USC at 2:00 p.m. at Dedeaux Field.