March 5, 2008
Moraga, Calif. -
A wildly entertaining non-conference contest between Stanford and Saint Mary's that was played on March 5 and halted after nine innings with the score tied 7-7 when darkness fell at Louis Guisto Field has officially been ruled a tie. The teams had originally planned to resume the game on April 23 prior to a regularly scheduled Stanford-Saint Mary's game at Klein Field at Sunken Diamond.
Stanford took an early 4-0 lead in the game before Saint Mary's answered with six straight runs to take a 6-4 lead heading into the ninth. Stanford scored three times in the top of the ninth to take a 7-6 advantage before the Gaels fought back with one run in the bottom of the ninth to tie the contest.
The first three innings of the game were uneventful before Jason Castro put Stanford on the board with a one-out solo shot in the top of the fourth to give Stanford a 1-0 advantage.
The Cardinal added three more runs in the top of the fifth to go ahead, 4-0. Cord Phelps blasted a long ball two batters after Ben Clowe had led off the inning with a single to make it 3-0 in favor of the Cardinal. Sean Ratliff restarted the rally by walking with two outs and then stole second before Castro singled him home.
Saint Mary's started its comeback with single runs in the fifth and sixth frames to close the gap to 4-2.
Cory Miller singled with out for the Gaels in the fifth but the Cardinal missed a chance to get out of the inning unscathed when Cardinal shortstop Jake Schlander booted a routine grounder for his first error of the season on what looked to be an inning-ending double play, leaving Gael runners on first and second base with just one out. The third of eight Stanford pitchers David Stringer (1.0 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 1 SO) came on in relief of Danny Sandbrink (1.1 IP, 1 H, 1 R, 2 BB) and walked Randy Wells to load the bases. Stringer retired Geoff Byrns on a sacrifice fly that brought Miller home with an unearned run before finally getting out of the inning two batters later when he got Anthony Aliotti to hit into a fielder's choice.
The Gaels' sixth inning run was earned but scored in part due to a Cardinal miscue. Back-to-back singles by Scott Schneider and Kenny Fuglerud put runners on first and third with one out for Miller. The run scored on the next play when Miller bunted a ball that bounced just out in front of the plate and was picked up by Castro when he came out from behind the plate to field the ball. Castro looked at Schneider, who had broken halfway home from third on the play, but had no play because Cardinal third baseman Zach Jones
had come in to try to field the bunt and left the third base bag unoccupied. Castro then looked to second base but Fuglerud had been running on the plate and was already almost to the base before throwing late to first in an unsuccessful attempt to retire Miller. When Castro threw to first, Schneider broke for the plate and beat the throw back home from Cardinal first baseman Brent Milleville
. Miller was credited with an RBI bunt single on the strange play.
Saint Mary's took its first lead. 5-4, with a three-run bottom of the seventh and once again was benefitted by a Stanford error although all three runs were earned. The Gaels started the rally with back-to-back leadoff singles to end a relief outing for Tom Stilson (0.2 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 2 ER). Byrns singled through Stilson's legs before pinch-hitter Brian Hawkins beat out a perfectly placed bunt for a single when the ball rolled past Stilson between the mound and first base. Alex Pracher (1.0 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 1 SO) came into the contest but made an error on Aliotti's sacrifice bunt to leave the bases loaded with no outs and the Cardinal clinging to a 4-2 lead. Pracher then walked in a run when he issued a free pass to Joel Staples before giving up an RBI infield single to Schneider that tied the score, 4-4. Pracher finally got the first out of the inning when he threw Aliotti out at the plate trying to score on Fuglerud's squibber in front of the mound. However, Miller put the Gaels in front, 5-4, on the next play with an RBI single but the Cardinal got of the inning when rightfielder Jeff Whitlow fired home to get Schneider trying to score from second and Pracher struck out Mulligan.
The Gaels increased their lead to 6-4 with one more run in the bottom of the eighth. Wells started the inning off with a single and the Gaels' bunting paid off again when Byrns' sacrifice attempt turned into a single after the ball rolled between the cut of the grass and the first base foul line. Pracher tried to pick up the rolling ball and throw to first base but could not come up with the ball cleanly. Cory Bannister (0.2 IP, 1 H) came in and got Ryan Young to foul out on a sacrifice bunt attempt before Aliotti came through with an RBI single through the left side of the infield to plate Wells.
Despite the six unanswered Gael runs from the bottom of the fifth through eighth innings, Stanford rallied for three in the top of the ninth to take a 7-6 advantage. Jones started the rally with a long solo shot down the left field line that stayed just fair to cut the Gael lead to 6-5. Sean Ratliff then drew a walk and Castro came up with his career-high tying fourth hit of the afternoon with a single to end the outing for Alex Jensen (2.1 IP, 2 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 1 BB, 1 SO). The Gaels then brought in closer Anthony Selden, who had earned a save in Saint Mary's victory at Stanford on February 25. But Selden was wild as he issued three walks with the first one coming to Milleville to load the bases with just one out. Whitlow followed with a deep sacrifice fly that scored Ratliff with the tying run before Toby Gerhart walked to reload the sacks and pinch-hitter Brendan Domaracki drew a free pass with the bases loaded to force home Castro with the go-ahead run.
But Saint Mary's was not finished and took advantage of the fourth Cardinal error of the game to tie the contest in the bottom of the ninth. The rally started when the speedy Fuglerud reached after Milleville bobbled his ground ball and threw late to reliever Drew Storen (1.0 IP, 1 H, 1 R, 1 SO) trying to cover the bag at first. Fuglerud promptly stole second and scored on Miller's fourth consecutive single to tie the game. Storen was able to regroup and retire the final two batters with Miller stranded on second base as the winning run.
Miller (4-5, 3 RBI), Byrns (3-4, RBI) and Schneider (3-5, RBI) combined for 10 of the 14 Gael hits.
Castro (4-5, HR, 2 RBI) and Schlander (2-3) had multiple-hit contests for the Cardinal, while Phelps homered and had a pair of RBI and Jones homered.