No. 1 Stanford Opens Series With 10-2 Win At USC
March 5, 2004
Los Angeles, Calif. - No. 1 Stanford (14-2) rolled to its fifth straight victory overall and its sixth in a row versus USC (4-8) dating back to last season with a 10-2 victory over the Trojans in the opener of a three-game non-conference series at Dedeaux Field on Friday. Mark Romanczuk (4-1) pitched a season-high-tying 7.0 scoreless innings, scattering seven hits and striking out seven to earn the victory. Donny Lucy (3-4, SB) led the Cardinal offense with three hits and three runs scored, while Brian Hall's two-run homer in the top of the ninth was the only extra-base hit for either team. Jed Lowrie and Sam Fuld also drove in a pair of runs each for the Cardinal.
'This was a solid victory for us on the road,' said Stanford head coach Mark Marquess as the Cardinal won for the 20th time in its last 21 road contests. 'Mark Romanczuk pitched very well for us tonight, and it was a good all-around effort by our team.'
'A point of emphasis for me tonight was to get the leadoff hitter out,' explained Romanczuk, who retired six of the seven batters that led off an inning with the only exception one batter that reached on a Cardinal error. 'That's something I really wanted to do. It makes it a lot easier to just need two more outs at that point rather than three. I had all pretty good command of all four of my pitches also.'
USC's Baron Frost (3-4) had a three-hit game for the Trojans, while Daniel Perales (2-4, RBI) and Joey Metropoulos (2-4) picked up two hits each. USC equaled Stanford's nine hits and did not go down in order the entire game.
USC starter Bobby Paschal (1-3), the first of seven Trojan pitchers, suffered the loss by allowing four runs on five hits with four walks and three strikeouts over the first 3.2 innings.
Stanford broke a scoreless tie and what looked to be shaping into a pitchers dual between Romanczuk and Paschal with a four-run top of the fourth. Putnam legged out an infield single to lead off the inning before a single by Lucy put Cardinal runners on first and second base with no outs. Hall moved the runners up to second and third with a sacrifice bunt. Chris Minaker then hit a ground ball to Trojan shortstop Blake Sharpe that scored Putnam. The Trojans did not record an out on the play when Sharpe failed in an attempt to throw Lucy out at third base as Minaker was credited with an RBI fielders choice on the play. Chris Lewis then walked to load the bases and Fuld followed with a clutch two-RBI single to plate Minaker and Lucy. Jonny Ash then drew a walk to reload the bases before Lowrie hit his team-leading fifth sacrifice fly of the season to score Lewis.
The Cardinal added another run in the top of the fifth without a hit to increase its lead to 5-0. Lucy was hit by a pitch with one out and then scored on the next play when he stole second before moving to third on a throwing error by USC catcher Jeff Clement and scoring when Perales threw the ball into the dugout from centerfield trying to throw Lucy out at third base.
In the sixth, Stanford scored two more runs to extend its lead to 7-0. Ben Summerhays led off the inning with a pinch-hit single for the first hit of his collegiate career and Fuld walked before Ash moved the runners to second and third with a sacrifice bunt. Lowrie brought Summerhays home with an RBI groundout before Fuld scored an unearned run when Trojan third baseman Michael Moon was unable to come up with a hard-hit ground ball by John Mayberry, Jr.
Stanford scored another run in the top of the eighth to make the score 8-0. Pinch-hitter Ryan Seawell led off the rally with a pinch-hit single before walks to Fuld and Lowrie loaded the bases with one out. Mayberry brought home Seawell with a deep sacrifice fly to center field.USC got on the scoreboard in the bottom of the eighth versus Cardinal reliever Jonny Dyer, who came into the game to being the inning. Sharpe and Frost started the inning with back-to-back singles before moving to second and third on a balk by Dyer. Both runners would later score on back-to-back RBI groundouts from Perales and Billy Hart with a wild pitch by Dyer contributing to the second run by moving Frost from second to third.
Hall's two-run shot off the scoreboard over the right field fence in the top of the ninth also scored Lucy, who had led off the inning with a single off the glove of reliever Richard Aguilar, to end the game's scoring.
Ash extended his hit streak to a career-high-tying 11 games with a third-inning single up the middle, while Lowrie's career-high 11-game hit streak came to an end as he was 0-for-2 with a sacrifice fly and two walks. Fuld also walked twice to increase his team-high total to 19.
Stanford had a three-game errorless string snapped when Mayberry committed his first miscue of the season on a ground ball to the first baseman off the bat of Sharpe to lead off the bottom of the fourth, but the Cardinal managed to maintain its .978 fielding percentage that is one point better than the school record of .977 set by the 2001 club. USC made three errors and allowed two unearned runs in the contest.
Stanford has now won by three or more runs in 13 of its 14 victories this season.
USC stranded 11 runners, while the Cardinal left 10 on base.
Stanford struck out a season-high 10 times in the contest.
Romanczuk improved his all-time record at Stanford to 16-3 with the victory for an .842 winning percentage that ranks eighth on Stanford's career list, while Fuld had four official at bats to increase his career total to 881 and move up one spot to sixth on Stanford's all-time list in the category.
Stanford, which is still scheduled to play 11 of its next 14 games on the road, will continue its current series on Saturday and Sunday with starts each day scheduled for 1 pm, PT. Stanford is scheduled to start RHP Jeff Gilmore (3-1, 4.40) versus USC RHP Ian Kennedy (2-0, 1.06) on Saturday. The Cardinal is slated to go with LHP Blake Holler (2-0, 1.89) on Sunday, while the Trojans have not announced a starting pitcher.
In addition to its current six-game win streak versus the Trojans, the Cardinal has also won four consecutive season series against USC (2000-03) since the teams split six games in 1999. In fact, USC has not won a season series against the Cardinal since the Trojans swept all six games between the clubs in 1996. Stanford has also won four straight series overall versus the Trojans.
Stanford needs just one victory in the final two games of the series to extend its series win streak to 10 in a row. The Cardinal has swept five of the nine series during its current series win streak.
After the USC series, the Cardinal will take a 15-day break for finals before returning with a non-conference game at Saint Mary's on Tuesday, March 23 (2 pm). Stanford does not return home to Sunken Diamond until hosting Cal Poly for a three-game set from March 26-28 (6 pm, 1 pm, 1 pm, PT). Tickets are available for all 2004 regular season Stanford Baseball home games online at gostanford.com or by calling 1-800-STANFORD.