June 17, 2003
Box Score |
Post-Game Audio | Post-Game Video
By ERIC OLSON
Associated Press Writer
OMAHA, Neb. - Stanford's Danny Putnam said he just wanted a couple of hits in Tuesday's elimination game against South Carolina at the College World Series.
He did a lot better than that.
Putnam went 4-for-5 with a homer, double and five RBIs as the Cardinal stayed alive with a 13-6 victory.
"On those little questionnaires of what's your best baseball experience, this might go down as one of them," Putnam said.
The Cardinal (48-16) will play unbeaten Cal State Fullerton on Wednesday.
The Gamecocks (45-22), who lost to Texas in last year's national championship game, were eliminated after going 1-2 at the CWS.
Stanford had 17 hits, the most allowed by the Gamecocks this season.
Putnam drove in a run with a first-inning single, another with a third-inning double, two more with a seventh-inning homer and yet another with a single in the eighth.
Jonny Ash was 3-for-5 with a triple and three RBIs and Carlos Quentin 3-for-3 with two RBIs as Stanford faced four South Carolina pitchers.
Putnam, batting .363, said he has benefited all season from hitting behind Carlos Quentin (.391) and Ryan Garko (.411).
"Those guys are a couple of the best in the country," Putnam said.
Putnam also had a big day with his glove. The sophomore left fielder made a tough catch on a ball hit by Justin Harris in the third inning and took a hit away from Steve Tolleson to end the sixth.
Putnam's work went a long way to support Stanford starter Ryan McCally, who pitched six shutout innings and gave up one run before leaving after the seventh. McCally allowed six hits, walked four and struck out two in his first start since pitching a complete-game victory against Illinois-Chicago on May 30 in the NCAA regionals.
"He was fantastic today," Stanford coach Mark Marquess
said. "For not pitching for two weeks, he had great stuff."
McCally wouldn't necessarily agree.
"That was one of the toughest wins I've ever gotten," he said. "I was fighting my control, which is usually my strong point. I didn't have a real go-to pitch. A lot of times, I just said to myself, 'That one worked last time. I'll throw it again.' "
The Gamecocks left nine runners on base through the first five innings, largely because of the strong defense backing McCally.
The biggest defensive play was by shortstop Tobin Swope with Stanford leading 1-0 in the second inning. South Carolina loaded the bases with one out when Steven Tolleson sent a grounder to Swope's left. Swope bobbled the ball while fielding it, then flipped to second baseman Jed Lowrie, who relayed to first for a double play.
"We hit 12 or 14 balls right on the screws, but they came up with the plays to keep us off the board," Gamecocks coach Ray Tanner said. "I wish we could have pushed a few across early. We had our opportunities. They pushed them across, we didn't."
Stanford opened a 4-0 lead in the third against starter Chris Hernandez (5-5). Ash and Quentin led off with singles. Putnam doubled in Ash, then Quentin and Putnam scored on Chris Carter's single up the middle.
Stanford made it 7-0 in the fourth on Ash's two-run triple and Quentin's sacrifice fly, and it was 9-0 in the seventh after Putnam's two-run homer.
In the seventh, South Carolina's Brian Buscher drove a pitch over the right-center field wall, but the Cardinal scored four more times in the eighth to make it a 12-run game.
"We really felt good about mounting a rally," Tanner said, "but once it got to an eight- or nine-run game, that stretched us out too far."
South Carolina scored four runs in the eighth against Jonny Dyer, who took over for McCally. David O'Hagan finished, allowing one run and one hit and striking out two.
The Gamecocks had come into the CWS with a team ERA of 3.27 that ranked eighth in the nation and the school's best in 21 years. Opponents were batting just .252 against them.
But South Carolina had a 10.04 ERA in three CWS games as opponents scored 29 earned runs, 31 overall, and batted .373.
"We didn't pitch as well as we're capable," Tanner said, "and we met some opponents who can swing the bats. That's going to happen sometimes when you get to this point. Some people didn't think we were a great team, but we reached the final six for the second year in a row. I'm proud of what we accomplished."