April 27, 2008
STANFORD, Calif. -
The No. 5 Stanford baseball team could not complete its first three-game sweep of a Pac-10 foe Sunday afternoon, dropping a 10-9 decision to USC at Klein Field. A three-run Cardinal rally in the bottom of the ninth fell just short with the game's tying run just 90 feet from home plate as the Trojans were able to avert the sweep.
The Cardinal will return to action Monday at 5 p.m. with a nationally-televised contest at Santa Clara. The game will be televised on CBS College Sports Network.
With pinch-runner Wande Olabisi on third in the bottom of the ninth, pinch-hitter Brent Milleville grounded out to USC closer Robert Stock, whose throw was taken on a short hop by first baseman Derek Perren, to end the game.
Jason Castro went 2-for-5 at the plate with three RBI and his ninth home run of the season for Stanford, and Austin Yount also drove in a pair of runs for the Cardinal. Joey August, Cord Phelps, and Sean Ratliff had two hits apiece for the Cardinal Sunday.
Perren led the Trojans on the day with a 2-for-3 effort at the plate, driving in a game-high five runs and hitting his eighth home run of the season to go with a double. Grant Green and Mike Roskopf also homered for USC.
Trojan starter Ryan Cook improved to 5-3 after a seven-inning outing in which he allowed six runs on eight hits while striking out five.
USC got on the board first for the second straight day, getting a pair of runs in the first off of Cardinal starter Jeffrey Inman, then adding another in the second to chase Inman from the contest. Inman took just his second loss of the season after giving up three runs on four hits while lasting just one inning.
A two-out, two-run homer off the bat of Perren gave the Trojans the early 2-0 lead after one, and they added their third run with Roskopf's blast to left-center leading off the second inning. Hector Rabago's single following Roskopf's home run signaled the end of Inman's day, but Stanford reliever Kyle Stringer was able to close out the inning without further damage.
Stanford would get a pair back in just three at-bats in its half of the second. Randy Molina drew a walk to start things off, and scored on Ratliff's triple to center. Ratliff was then driven in by Yount's sacrifice fly to center, cutting the USC lead to one at 3-2.
The Trojans would build itself a five-run cushion, though, with four runs in the fourth inning. Rabago started things off by reaching base on a Stanford fielding error, followed by a walk to Stock and a single by Joe De Pinto that loaded the bases. At this point, Alex Pracher relieved Stringer, and set Roberto Lopez down on strikes for the inning's first out.
But Pracher would issue a bases-loaded walk to Nick Buss, scoring Rabago. After Green's fielder's choice resulted in Stock being forced out at home for the second out, Stanford had the chance to escape a bases-loaded jam with only one run given up. But Perren once again hurt the Cardinal with his bat, lashing a bases-clearing double to right to give USC a 7-2 lead.
The Cardinal managed to cut the deficit to two at 7-5 over the fourth and fifth innings. Molina led the fourth off with a double, then scored two batters later on Yount's base hit to right-center. The following inning, Phelps led off with a walk, and after Cook struck out the next two Cardinal batters, Castro sent a rocket over the right-field fence to make it a 7-5 contest.
The teams traded runs in the seventh, with USC's Gerald Green hitting his eighth home run of the season in the top half, and Stanford answering in the bottom half on Joey August's RBI single.
Stanford had a chance to capitalize in that at-bat, as a single from Jake Schlander and a walk to Cord Phelps put two on with no outs. But Brendan Domaracki's hard-hit ball went right to Green, who turned the 4-6-3 double play to stunt the Cardinal rally. August, though, would see that Stanford came away with a run, singling to right to bring Schlander home and make it 8-6.
The hole got bigger for Stanford in the ninth, as USC got a two-out double from Anthony Vasquez to make it 10-6. The Cardinal caught a break to end the inning, as Vasquez was thrown out trying to score on Vinnie St. John's single after St. John got hung up between first and second.
Vasquez, who came on in relief of Cook to start the eighth, got two quick outs to start the ninth before Stanford staged its rally. Phelps started it with a drive through the left side just past the glove of the diving De Pinto at third, and pinch-hitter Jeff Whitlow followed with a line-drive single that hit Vasquez and caromed away. Colin Walsh's pinch-hit single up the middle plated Phelps, then Castro added a single of his own to score Whitlow, making it 10-8 with runners at the corners and two away.
Stock came on at this point to face the pinch-hitting Milleville. But his second pitch was in the dirt and got past new catcher Sebastian Salinas, hopping to the backstop. This scored Walsh with Stanford's ninth run, and the speedy Olabisi took advantage of Salinas' hesitation in retrieving the errant pitch to go from first to third. But one pitch later, Milleville grounded out to Stock to end the contest and give Stock his third save of the year.