May 22, 2007
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Stanford, Calif. -
Sean Ratliff's bunt single with two outs in the bottom of the 13th inning scored pinch-runner J.J. Jelmini with the game-winning run to lift Stanford (25-28) to a 4-3 non-conference victory over UC Davis (22-31) on a warm Tuesday evening at Sunken Diamond. David Stringer (2-2) earned the victory for the Cardinal with 5.2 innings of scoreless three-hit relief and struck out a season-high six in the final home game of the 2007 season. The 13-inning affair was Stanford's longest of the season in both innings and time played as the contest lasted four hours and 13 minutes.
Ratilff (2-6, HR, 2 RBI) also hit his team-leading 12th homer in the contest, while Michael Taylor (2-4) and Adam Sorgi (2-6, 2B, RBI) each added two-hit games.
Brian Juhl drew a leadoff walk to start the bottom of the 13th for the Cardinal before being pinch-ran for by Jelmini. Ryan Seawell moved Jelmini to second on a sacrifice bunt in the senior's final career plate appearance at Sunken Diamond. Joey August then hit a grounder up the middle that Aggie shortstop Matt Dempsey fielded cleanly on the run to his left but threw up the line in an attempt to retire August at first. August was originally ruled out on a tag by UC Davis first baseman Grant Hirneise, but the call was later changed to safe after Stanford head coach Mark Marquess argued and the umpires conferred, leaving Stanford with runners on first and third with one out. Toby Gerhart went down swinging for the second out of the inning before Ratliff bunted an 0-1 pitch by Aggie reliever and losing pitcher Nik Aurora to the right side of the infield. UC Davis second baseman Brandon Oliver fielded the ball on the run and tried to flip it out of his glove but Ratliff dove into first base ahead of the throw to start a celebration.
"They were not expecting me to do anything like that," said Ratliff. "We had talked about it in the ninth inning when they intentionally walked me and said that if we got in the same situation again, we would do it. He put the sign down, and we got it done. We knew that if I got that bunt down, I would have a pretty good chance of beating it out."
"There's just no way they're going to get him if he gets it by the pitcher," said Marquess about the decision to have Ratliff lay down the bunt. "I just thought it was worth the chance, and it worked out really well."
Aurora (0-3) took the loss despite limiting the Cardinal to just two runs (one earned) while scattering five hits and five walks with five strikeouts over 5.2 frames.
Daniel Descalso (3-5, 2B, RBI) and Aaron Hanke (2-6, HR, 2 RBI) had multiple-hit games for an Aggie team that edged Stanford in hits by an 11-10 count.
Both teams had scoring opportunities late in the game before the Cardinal finally broke through with its game-winning bottom of the 13th.
The Aggies loaded the bases in the top of the 13th with just one out on back-to-back leadoff singles by Descalso and Hanke, a sacrifice bunt from Hirneise and an intentional walk to Jacob Jeffries but Stringer got out of the jam unscathed by striking out Ryan Royster and getting Kevin James to ground out to Sorgi at second base.
"I just didn't want to get beat with something that wasn't my best pitch in that situation," said Stringer.
Stanford left the bases loaded for the second time in the contest in the 12th when Cord Phelps grounded into an inning-ending 3-2-3 double play after a one-out Taylor single, followed by a Sorgi double and an intentional walk to Jason Castro had loaded the bags.
Stanford tied the game at 3-3 with two outs in the bottom of the ninth when pinch-runner Jeff Whitlow scampered home on Aurora's bases loaded wild pitch but also left the bases loaded with a chance to win the game prior to the contest going into extra innings. Pinch-hitter Brendan Domaracki started the rally with a one-out walk before being pinch-run for by Whitlow, who moved to third when August kept the inning alive with a two-out single. Gerhart was then hit by a pitch for the third time in the game to load the bases before Aurora uncorked the wild pitch that tied the contest. Aurora then intentionally walked Ratliff to load the bases but Taylor swung at the first pitch in the next at bat and fouled out to Jeffries near the backstop behind the plate to send the game into extra frames.
The game had been scoreless through the first three innings as starters Austin Yount (5.2 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 1 ER, 1 SO) of Stanford and Jeff Reekers (6.0 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 3 SO) were engaged in a pitchers' dual.
Stanford got on the board first with a run in the bottom of the fourth frame to take a 1-0 lead. Gerhart was hit by a pitch to start the inning before moving to third on a Taylor single and scoring when Sorgi was credited with an RBI fielder's choice after Oliver's throw from second was off target on the tail end of a potential inning-ending double play ball.
UC Davis tied the game at 1-1 in the top of the fifth when Hanke led off the inning with his sixth long ball of the season over the left field wall.
The Aggies took a 2-1 lead in the sixth when Descalso doubled home Oliver, who had singled with two outs and moved to second on Brent Milleville's passed ball.
Stanford tied the game on a long Ratliff solo homer over the rightcenter field fence with one out in the bottom of the sixth.
UC Davis broke a 2-2 tie in the top of the eighth inning when Michael Jacobellis scored on an RBI groundout by Hanke. Jacobellis had started the rally with a leadoff single and the Aggies had runners on first and second with no outs when a well-placed sacrifice bunt attempt by Dempsey to the first base side of the mound turned into a bunt single. Oliver then moved the runners to second and third with a sacrifice bunt before Descalso was walked intentionally to load the bases. Hanke followed with a comebacker up the middle that Stringer managed to get a glove on before it squirted away towards the left side of the infield. Phelps rushed in from shortstop and was able to get Hanke at first base on a fantastic fielding play but not without Jacobellis coming home to give the Aggies a 3-2 lead.
"I just view my job to keep us in the game as long as possible and give us every chance to win," offered Stringer. "I just tried to limit the damage and get out of the situation, and then every inning from there on I tried to shut them down. We pulled it out in the end, so I'll take it."
"It was good to go out on winning note like this," added Stringer about the team's final home game of the season. "But, it's sad to leave this place every year."
"This was a good win for us," summarized Marquess.
Stanford's victory helped the Cardinal avenge the Aggies' two-game home-and-home sweep of the Cardinal in 2006.
The win also kept Stanford's hopes alive of avoiding its first losing campaign since 1993. The Cardinal can still finish an even .500 (28-28) on the season with a three-game sweep at USC (26-26, 9-13 Pac-10) in its final action of the 2007 season this Friday-Sunday, May 25-27 (7 pm, 1:30 pm, 1 pm, PT).
"We have a chance to get back to .500 and kind of salvage the season," explained Ratliff. "That would be huge for us to win so many games late in the season to get back there."