California Squeezes By No. 1 Baseball, 2-1, To Even Series

March 9, 2002

Berkeley, Calif. - California (13-8) scored a pair of runs in the bottom of the fifth inning and held on for a 2-1 upset victory over No. 1 Stanford (13-5) on Saturday at Evans Diamond to even a three-game non-conference series after the Cardinal won the opener, 15-4, on Friday. The teams will play the rubber game of the series on Sunday (1 pm) with the Cardinal needing a victory to extend its regular season series win streak to eight. California was the last team to beat the Cardinal in a three-game series, winning two-of-three in Berkeley last year (April 27-29, 2001). Stanford had its five-game win streak snapped with the loss, while California has now won nine of its last 11.

'We've had a lot of close games with California and today was no different,' said Stanford head coach Mark Marquess.

Brian Montalbo (2-3) held Stanford to one run on five hits through the first 7.1 innings to earn the victory and Matt Brown held the Cardinal scoreless on one hit over the final 1.2 innings to pick up his third save.

Ben Conley (2-2, 2B, SB) had two of California's five hits.

Tim Cunningham (4-1) had his 10-game win streak snapped, losing for the first time since May 28, 2000, despite holding the Golden Bears to two runs (one earned) and four hits over the first 7.0 innings.

'Cunningham pitched well as he's done his last four or five starts,' added Marquess.

Chris O'Riordan (2-3) was the only Stanford player with more than one hit.

The game was scoreless until California plated its only two runs in the bottom of the fifth inning. Jeff Dragicevich singled with one out and stole second base to begin the rally before moving to third on a single by Conley. Dragicevich then scored when Nick Medrano was credited with an RBI after reaching on an error by O'Riordan on a ground ball to second base. The Golden Bears scored their second run of the inning when Medrano was picked off first base but was able to get caught in a long rundown before being put out, enabling Conley to race home from third base.

Stanford scored its only run of the contest in the top of the sixth inning. Arik VanZandt led off the inning with a single, moved to second on a wild pitch and to third on a single by O'Riordan. VanZandt scored on a wild pitch but Montalbo retired Sam Fuld, Ryan Garko and Jason Cooper to get out of the inning without any further damage.

The Cardinal put the tying run on base and the winning run at the plate in both the eighth and ninth innings before Brown ended both rallies.

Scott Dragicevich led off the eighth with a single before he was erased on a fielders choice by pinch-hitter Jonny Ash. Brown then relieved Montalbo and retired O'Riordan and Fuld to end the threat.

Chris Carter gave the Cardinal hope in the top of the ninth with a two-out single before Brown got Carlos Quentin to foul out for the final out of the game.

Cooper did pick up a second inning single to extend his career-best hit streak to 10 games but Garko was 0-for-4 as his season-high hit streak was snapped at 10 games.

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