May 25, 2008
SEATTLE, Wash. -
The No. 16 Stanford Cardinal could not complete the sweep Sunday afternoon in Seattle, falling 7-4 to the Washington Huskies in the 2008 regular season finale. Despite a 4-0 Stanford lead little over halfway through the contest, a Cardinal error in the sixth inning led to a six-run Husky outburst that paced Washington (33-22, 11-13 Pac-10) to the victory over Stanford (33-21, 14-10 Pac-10).
The Cardinal, which was announced Sunday afternoon as one of the 16 teams that will host an NCAA Regional next weekend, returns home to await word of which three teams will join it in making up the Stanford Regional. Regional action at Stanford will begin Friday, May 30, with games at 1 p.m. and 5 p.m. PT. The 64-team NCAA Tournament field, including the eight national seeds, will be announced Monday morning, May 26, at 9:30 a.m. on ESPN.
Toby Gerhart provided the biggest of Stanford's four hits Sunday, slamming a two-run homer, his fifth of the season, to the opposite field in right-center. Sean Ratliff also drove in a pair of runs with a fourth-inning single.
Jeremy Bleich made his first start for the Cardinal since March 28, striking out three batters and allowing three hits in two and a third scoreless innings.
Bleich and reliever Jeffrey Inman matched zeroes on the scoreboard with Washington counterpart Nick Haughian through the first three innings of the contest until the Stanford offense drew first blood. Cord Phelps, who drew a pair of walks and scored twice, walked to lead things off, and two batters later, Jason Castro was hit by a pitch to put two on with just one out.
After Brent Milleville's groundout to second moved the runners up a bag, Ratliff lined Stanford's first base hit of the game to left that plated the game's first two runs.
Two innings later, another leadoff walk to Phelps led to two more Cardinal runs, as Gerhart immediately came up and drilled his fifth home run of the year over the wall in right-center to give Stanford the 4-0 lead.
But the Huskies would finally get to Stanford's pitching, enabled by a Cardinal error in the sixth. With two outs and Ty Rasmussen on first after a single, Troy Scott lifted a fly ball that drifted toward the foul line just past the cut behind first base. Phelps, on the run, had the ball go off of his glove while trying to make the catch in foul territory, giving Scott an extra life which he cashed in to the tune of a two-run home run to left, halving the Stanford lead.
The inning would continue as Inman issued walks to the next two Husky batters, prompting Blake Hancock to come on in relief. Hancock would fare no better, though, being greeted with an RBI double down the right-field line by Andy Lentz, then a two-run single to left by Bradley Boyer that gave the Huskies a 5-4 lead that they would not relinquish. Aaron Russell's ensuing single chased Hancock, who failed to record an out while allowing two runs of his own on three hits and was dealt his third loss of the season.
Inman was charged with four unearned runs while allowing just three hits and striking out three. But he also issued five walks over his three and a third innings of work.
David Stringer came on in place of Hancock, but allowed an RBI single to Kyle Conley before getting Rasmussen to fly to center for the inning's third out. Washington's six hits in the frame was half of its game total as it outhit the Cardinal 12-4 in the contest.
The Huskies would tack on another run with two away in the seventh. Bentrott singled and stole second base, then scored on Michael Burgher's RBI single into no man's land deep in the hole between first and second.
Stanford would strand a runner on base in both the eighth and the ninth innings to close out the contest.