June 4, 2006
Austin, Tex. - Stanford (33-25) erupted with a 17-7 victory over North Carolina State (40-23) in the championship game of the NCAA Austin Regional on Sunday at Disch-Falk Field to advance to Super Regional action for the first time since 2003. Stanford will face Oregon State (42-14), winner of the Corvallis Regional, in a best two-of-three series that will begin either next Friday or Saturday. The sites and dates of all eight Super Regionals of the 2006 NCAA Division I Baseball Championships will be announced Monday on ncaasports.com at approximately 8 pm, PT.
Chris Minaker (5-5, 2 2B, 3B, 2 RBI) scored a career-high six of Stanford's season-high 17 runs and had a career-high-tying five of the club's season-high 24 hits to lead the offensive outburst. Michael Taylor (4-4, 2B, HR, 4 RBI) and Ryan Seawell (4-6, 3B, 3 RBI) added four hits each with Taylor's RBI tying a career-best and Seawell posted the first four-hit game of his career. Chris Lewis (2-5, 4 RBI) also drove in four and had pair of hits, while Jason Castro (2-5, 3B) and John Hester (2-6, 2B, RBI, SB) also had a pair of hits each.
"It was a great game for us," said Stanford head coach Mark Marquess. "We really swung the bats well, and we had good pitching performances. I was very pleased with our play in the entire Regional. I don't think we made an error in any of the three games, and we hit the ball well. The thing we did well today was getting hits and baserunners."
Reliever Austin Yount improved to 4-0 by picking up the victory, limiting a potent North Carolina State club to a pair of runs on one hit and three walks with two strikeouts over 3.1 innings of work. Erik Davis (1.1 IP, 3 H, 1 BB, 1 SO) got his second save of the Regional when he came in and closed the door on a potential Wolfpack comeback in the bottom of the eighth inning by inducing potential tying run Jon Still into an inning-ending fielders choice' that left the bases loaded and the Cardinal holding an 11-7 lead.
Aaron Bates (4-4, HR, 3 RBI) and Still (2-5, 2B, HR, 3 RBI) led the North Carolina State offense.
The Wolfpack used eight pitchers in the contest with reliever Chris Engle (1-1) taking the loss when he was charged with the first two Stanford runs in a three-run Cardinal sixth that snapped a 5-5 tie.
Stanford never trailed in the game after picking up the first four runs of the contest.
Minaker doubled off the wall with two outs in the top of the first and moved to third when an error by Wolfpack third baseman Drew Martin kept the inning going for Lewis, who brought home Minaker with an RBI single up the middle.
Stanford scored two more times and knocked out North Carolina State starter Eric Surkamp (2.0 IP, 5 H, 4 R, 3 ER, 1 SO) in the third. Hester singled to start the rally and stole second before Minaker tripled to leftcenter to plate Hester and end Surkamp's brief outing. Taylor greeted reliever Joey Cutler (1.0 IP, 1 H, 1 BB) with an RBI double to bring home Minaker.
North Carolina State got right back in the game in the third when Still closed the gap with a line drive homer to the opposite field over the right field wall. Stanford starter Jeremy Bleich (4.1 IP, 8 H, 5 R, 5 ER, 1 BB, 1 SO) had held the Wolfpack scoreless on just one hit over the first two and a third innings before back-to-back singles by Ramon Corona and Bates set the table for Still.
Stanford extended its lead to 5-3 in the top of the fifth when Minaker, Taylor and Lewis opened the inning with three consecutive singles to knock Matt Payne (1.0 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 1 ER) out of the game. Engle came on to get Castro to hit into a double play and induced Phelps into a bases loaded fielders' choice two batters later to avoid further damage.
The Wolfpack tied the game at 5-5 with two runs in the bottom of the fifth. Bleich gave up a leadoff double to Matt Camp to start the rally and Bates singled him home two batters later. Still then doubled to move Bates to third and end Bleich's day before Ryan Pond brought home Bates with a sacrifice fly off Yount.
Stanford went back in front to stay with a three-run fifth to take an 8-5 lead. Rapoport started the inning when he led off by just beating out a high chopper for an infield hit. Seawell then followed with a single to put Cardinal runners on first and second. Engle struck out Hester before being relieved by Kyle Rutter, who walked Minaker before giving way to Joel Brookens (2.1 IP, 5 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 1 SO), who gave up an RBI infield single to Taylor and an RBI fielders' choice to Seawell, before wild pitching Minaker home with the third and final run of the inning.
The teams traded single runs in the seventh to make the score 9-6.
The Cardinal scored when Grant Escue led off with a single, moved to second on a ground out by Molina and scored two batters later on Seawell's RBI single to right field.
Bates' solo homer to lead off the South Carolina seventh got the Wolfpack the run back.
Taylor made it 11-6 in favor of Stanford in the eighth with a two-run shot that followed a one-out single by Minaker.
North Carolina made things interesting in the bottom of the eighth. Yount got the first two outs before hitting a pair of batters and issuing a walk to load the bases. Davis came on and gave up an RBI single to Bates before getting Still on a fielders' choice to end the threat.
Stanford scored six insurance runs in the top of the ninth. Seawell tripled home the first two runs after Randy Molina was hit by a pitch and Rapoport reached on an error by Wolfpack third baseman Matt Mangini to start the frame. Hester and Minaker followed with back-to-back RBI doubles to plate the next two Cardinal runs, before a sacrifice fly by Lewis and an RBI double by pinch-hitter Brendan Domaracki brought home the final two runs of the contest.