No. 1 Stanford's Rally Falls Short At USC, 11-8

March 7, 2004

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    Los Angeles, Calif. - A ninth inning rally by No. 1 Stanford (15-3) fell short at USC (5-9) as the Trojans held on for an 11-8 victory over the Cardinal on Sunday at Dedeaux Field to avoid a three-game non-conference sweep. Stanford trailed by four runs heading into the bottom of the ninth but was able to score a run and bring the tying run to the plate before Sam Fuld's line drive was snared by USC first baseman Joey Metropoulos to end the game. The Cardinal had rallied from a four-run ninth inning deficit on Saturday for an 8-7 victory over the Trojans in 13 innings and has come from behind in nine of its 15 wins this season. Sunday's loss snapped three Stanford win streaks as the Cardinal had captured six consecutive games overall, seven in a row on the road and seven straight against the Trojans.

    'We just couldn't match USC today,' said Stanford head coach Mark Marquess. 'The difference in the game was that when they had guys on base, they usually brought them in and we didn't. They just beat us in the big spots, both hitting and pitching. They did a better job than us today.'

    Blake Sharpe (3-4, 2B, SB) and Jeff Clement (3-5) had three hits each for the Trojans, while Baron Frost (2-4, 2B, RBI, SB) and Michael Moon (2-5, 2B, 2 RBI) had two apiece. Billy Hart drove in a pair of runs for the Trojans. USC stole six bases in the games, including two steals of home.

    Brian Hall (3-5, 2B, RBI), John Mayberry, Jr. (3-5, 2B) and Fuld (3-6, RBI) had three hits each for Stanford, while Chris Carter (2-2, RBI) had a pair of hits and Jed Lowrie's two-run homer in the third inning was the only long ball of the game, tying him with Mayberry for the team lead with four. Fuld now has 308 career hits, moving past A.J. Hinch (305, 1993-96) into sole possession of third-place on Stanford's all-time hit list. Mayberry now has 20 hits (20-42, .476) all-time versus USC.

    Jonny Ash had his career-high 12-game hit streak snapped by going 0-for-3 with a walk and a sacrifice bunt.

    USC reliever Cole Ganser (1-0) was credited with the victory after limiting Stanford to two runs and two hits with one strikeout over 3.1 innings of middle relief, while Michael Friedman earned his first collegiate save by recording the final out of the game.

    Stanford starter Blake Holler (2-1) suffered his first collegiate loss, lasting just 2.2 innings while allowing seven runs (six earned) on seven hits with a pair of walks and a hit batsmen.

    Stanford has still won 21 of its last 23 road games dating back to last season and is 7-2 in its first nine road contests this year.

    Both teams used five pitchers in the game. Marc Jecmen (2.1 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 1 SO), Drew Ehrlich (1.1 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB), (0.2 IP, 2 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 1 BB) and Kodiak Quick (1.0 IP) joined Holler on the mound for the Cardinal. Josh Rummonds (3.0 IP, 7 H, 4 R, 4 ER) was USC's starter, while Austin Miller (2.0 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 3 BB, 1 SO) and Brandon Buxbaum (0.1 IP, 1 BB) joined Ganser and Friedman out of the Trojan bullpen.

    Stanford struck first with a single run in the top of the second. Mayberry started the rally with a leadoff double that short-hopped the left field wall before moving to third when Hall beat out a two-out chopper for an infield single and scored when Chris Minaker was credited with an RBI single after he reached safely on a ball deep in the hole at short that bounced off Sharpe's glove.

    USC would keep the lead for good after erupting for five runs in the bottom of the second to take a 5-1 lead. Moon provided the key blow with a two-out, two-RBI double to plate Hector Estrella and Hart as Jon Brewster also scored from on the play when the ball squirted off the glove of Cardinal leftfielder Danny Putnam. Clement started the inning with a leadoff single and moved to third on a double by Sharpe. Daniel Perales followed with an RBI single through the right side to score Clement with the first run of the inning. Estrella then attempted a safety squeeze but Holler fielded his bunt and cut down Sharpe trying to score from third, leaving Trojans at first and second with one out. Holler then walked Hart to load the bases before Perales stole home on an 0-2 pitch to Brewster, who eventually drew a walk to reload the bases and set up Moon's clutch double.

    Stanford cut USC's lead to 5-4 with three runs in the fourth. Fuld singled to lead off the inning and scored two batters later when Lowrie blasted his team co-leading fourth homer of the season over the wall in rightcenter field. Mayberry followed Lowrie's homer with a single to restart the rally before moving to third on Putnam's double off the wall in leftcenter field and scoring on a sacrifice fly from Donny Lucy.

    USC came back with two runs in the bottom of the third to extend its lead to 7-4 when Hart came through with a clutch two-out, two-RBI single to score Frost and Perales. Clement started the rally again with his second leadoff single in as many bats before a single by Sharpe put Trojans on first and second base with no outs. Frost reached on a fielders choice before Perales was hit by a pitch to load the bases. Holler got the second out when he forced Estrella into a fielders choice to retire Clement at the plate before giving up Hart's big hit.USC stole home for the second time in the game in the bottom of the fifth to take an 8-4 lead. Frost led off the inning with a single before moving to third on a pair of groundball outs and scoring when he took off from third on a 1-2 pitch from Jecmen that bounced in front of Lucy behind the plate.

    Stanford came up with two runs in the top of the sixth to cut USC's advantage to 8-6 but left the bases loaded when Mayberry and Putnam popped out on back-to-back pitches by Ganser. The Cardinal scored both of its run in the inning before USC could record an out. Hall started the rally with a double down the right field line and Minaker walked before a wild pitch by Miller moved the runners to second and third base. Pinch-hitter Ben Summerhays and Fuld then came through with back-to-back RBI singles to score Hall and Minaker. Ash moved the runners to second and third base and Lowrie walked to load the bases before Ganser came on to end the threat by getting Mayberry and Putnam.

    USC got one run back in the seventh when Sharpe scored on a bases loaded safety squeeze by pinch-hitter Darin Vieira. Sharpe had singled with one out and moved to second on a double by Frost before Perales was intentionally walked by Jecmen to the load the bases in an attempt to set up a double play ball.

    The added two more runs in the bottom of the eighth. Moon singled up the middle to lead off the inning before stealing second, moving to third on a passed ball on Lucy and scoring on a double by Metropolous. Clement moved Metropoulos to third with a groundout before Frost brought him home with a sacrifice fly.

    Stanford stranded 11 runners, while the Trojans left eight on base. USC had a pair of double plays, while the Cardinal turned one.

    Stanford's 15-hit effort marked the 13th time this season that Stanford has posted a double-digit hit game.

    The 11 runs allowed by the Cardinal were the most it has given up this year.

    Despite Sunday's loss, Stanford won two-of-three games in the series to extend it series win streak to 10.

    Stanford will take a 15-day break for finals before returning with back-to-back non-conference games at Saint Mary's on Tuesday, March 23 (2 pm, PT) and Santa Clara on Wednesday, March 24 (6 pm, PT). Stanford returns home to Sunken Diamond for the first time in nearly five weeks when the Cardinal hosts Cal Poly for a three-game non-conference 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.

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