April 23, 2008
STANFORD, Calif. -
Comeback victories and big hits from Brent Milleville appear to be the theme for No. 5 Stanford (23-12-2) so far this week. The junior first baseman lined a bases-clearing, two-out double to right-center in the bottom of the eighth to complete Stanford's comeback from a three-run deficit en route to a 7-4 win over Saint Mary's (20-17-1) Wednesday night at Klein Field.
Milleville drove in four runs for the second consecutive game, going 2-for-5 from the plate with the game-winning double. Jason Castro reached base in all five plate appearances, singling three times, walking, and being hit by a pitch. Brendan Domaracki and Zach Jones each singled to account for the remaining Cardinal hits Wednesday night.
Alex Pracher (1-1) was dominant in five scoreless innings in relief of starter Max Fearnow, picking up his first victory of the season while also striking out five and walking none.
Fearnow struck out four batters in four innings of work, while receiving a no-decision after giving up four runs on seven hits.
For the second time in two games this week, Stanford fell behind early on, as Saint Mary's got out to a quick 3-0 lead over the first two innings. With one out in the first, SMC's Ryan Mulligan bunted on, followed by a Randy Wells single to center. Fearnow regrouped briefly to strike out Gael cleanup batter Kyle Jensen, but then issued a walk to Kenny Fuglerud that loaded the bases. Gael starter Anthony Aliotti took the opportunity to help himself, singling to left-center to plate Mulligan and Wells for the game's first two runs.
The Gaels added another run with a two-out rally in the second. Fearnow made quick work of the inning's first two batters thanks to a pair of strikeouts, but got in trouble after walking Cory Miller then getting touched for a single by Mulligan, who led the Gaels Wednesday with a 4-for-5 effort from the dish.
Fearnow, while battling Wells, had one get away from him in the at-bat, allowing Miller to score from third to put the Gaels up by three.
The Cardinal bats showed some life in the bottom of the third, as Phelps led things off with a walk, followed two batters later by consecutive singles from Castro and Milleville, the second plating Phelps with Stanford's first run. Castro then advanced to third on Randy Molina's deep flyout to center, and accepted the return of a favor from the Gaels as Aliotti's wild pitch allowed Molina to score and cut the deficit to one at 3-2.
The Gaels got that run back their next time up, using another two-out rally to increase the lead to 4-2. After Fearnow again retired the inning's first two batters, Saint Mary's scratched out a run after Miller singled, advanced a bag on another wild pitch, and scored on Mulligan's looping line drive that just cleared Cardinal shortstop Jake Schlander's outstretched glove for an RBI single to left-center.
Stanford needed only two innings, though, the knot things up. Castro welcomed Saint Mary's reliever Taylor Reid to the contest in the bottom half of the fifth with his second single of the game, and two batters later, Molina drew a walk to put two on with one out. After Sean Ratliff's flyout to center moved Castro to third, the Cardinal caught another break as Joey August's swinging third strike, which should have ended the inning, was in the dirt and unable to be corralled by Mulligan, allowing August to reach base safely, Molina to advance to third, and Castro to score. Jones followed up with an RBI single to left-center to plate Molina with the equalizer.
Neither team could manage any runs over the next two innings, until Stanford used a two-out rally of its own to go ahead for good in the eighth. Schlander's base on balls was sandwiched by Jones' groundout to third to open the inning, and Phelps' flyout to right. Yet Domaracki kept things alive with a walk of his own, and the Gaels elected to then intentionally walk Castro to load the bags for Milleville. On a 1-0 pitch, Milleville drove a line drive into the right-centerfield gap for the game's only extra-base hit, clearing the bases in the process.
Reid, who allowed five runs on four hits and four walks over four innings, took the loss, his first of the season. Aliotti worked the first four innings of the game, giving up two runs on three hits, but not factoring into the decision.
Pracher's excellent work on the mound preserved the victory, culminating with two on and two out in the ninth, and the Gaels' best hitter, Kyle Jensen, at the plate representing the tying run. But Pracher got Jensen to fly harmlessly to right to end the game and wrap up another come-from-behind effort by the Cardinal.
Stanford closes out the four-game homestand this weekend, resuming Pac-10 play against the USC Trojans in a three-game series. First pitch for Friday night's opener is set for 6 p.m., followed by 1 p.m. starts to Saturday and Sunday's contests.