STANFORD, Calif. - The Stanford bats stayed red-hot Sunday night, as following a five-run outburst in the ninth inning of the afternoon's 8-4 win over UC Davis, the Cardinal put up 11 runs over the first four innings of the first regional title game on the way to a 13-1 rout of Pepperdine Sunday night at Klein Field at Sunken Diamond. Jason Castro, Toby Gerhart, and Cord Phelps all hit home runs and Dan Sandbrink posted his first career complete game as the Cardinal (36-22-2) dealt the Waves (38-20) their first loss of the regional.
Stanford and Pepperdine return to the diamond for the deciding game of the Stanford Regional Monday afternoon at 1 p.m., with a Super Regional berth awaiting the winner. The Cardinal will be going for its seventh Super Regional appearance Monday, with the last appearance coming in 2006, when the Cardinal visited Corvallis, Ore. to battle Oregon State.
Sandbrink went the distance in a key start for the Cardinal, allowing only one run and scattering six hits while striking out a career-high six batters. His stellar outing garnered him his second win of the year and allowed Stanford to preserve its bullpen for Monday's deciding contest.
Gerhart had a career-best four hits in the contest, among them three doubles and his sixth home run of the year. He also drove in a pair of runs in the game. Castro went 3-for-5 with his 12th home run and three RBI, while Phelps had a pair of hits and RBI, one of those hits being his 13th home run of the season.
Zach Jones had a two-RBI single in the contest, while Sean Ratliff went 2-for-3 with a double and an RBI, and Randy Molina went 2-for-3 and scored twice.
The Cardinal wasted no time jumping all over the Waves, scoring its first three runs within its first three at-bats of the game. Phelps was hit by a pitch to lead things off, Gerhart doubled down the left-field line, then Castro crushed a three-run homer over the wall in right field. Stanford never trailed again in the contest.
Two batters later, Molina singled to center, Ratliff doubled to right-center, and Jeff Whitlow brought Molina home with a sacrifice fly to center to make it 4-0 Stanford after one.
Gerhart's long ball to left in the second added another run to Stanford's tally, then two innings later, the game was broken wide open as the Cardinal exploded for six runs to build an insurmountable 11-0 lead.
That fourth inning started innocently with a popout to first. But the Stanford tide began to swell as Phelps belted a solo shot off the batter's eye in center to make it 6-0, then Gerhart followed with a double to left center. Despite Castro flying out to right for the second out, that spelled the end of the day for Pepperdine starter Matt Bywater, who was touched up for seven runs on nine hits over three and two-thirds innings in taking his third loss of the year.
Brent Milleville welcomed reliever Doug Konoske to the game with an RBI single up the middle, then advanced to second on a wild pitch by Konoske. Molina walked, and Ratliff singled to drive in Milleville for Stanford's eighth run. Whitlow walked to load the bases, and Jones' single to right-center plated Molina and Milleville for the double-digit advantage. Whitlow would cap the inning's scoring by coming across after a balk by Konoske.
Sandbrink, meanwhile, cruised through the first five innings with his comfortable lead, allowing only two hits, and four baserunners total due to a pair of Cardinal fielding errors. It wasn't until the sixth when he ran into his first minor spot of trouble, as Matt Aidem led the inning off with a home run to left-center. Ryan Heroy's double and a walk to Chase d'Arnaud, followed by a wild pitch would put runners on second and third with none out, but Sandbrink kept his cool, striking out the next three batters in succession to get out of the inning.
Pepperdine would load the bases with two out in the seventh, but Sandbrink closed the door again by inducing d'Arnaud to ground into an inning-ending fielder's choice. From there, Sandbrink retired the final six batters he faced over the eighth and ninth innings.
Stanford tallied its final two runs in the seventh, as Jones led off with a walk, advanced to second on Schlander's groundout, then scored the first run on Phelps' base hit to left. Gerhart then wasted no time bringing Phelps home with his third double of the game, this one to right-center field.