USC Takes Rubber Game Over Stanford, 7-2

March 12, 2006

Los Angeles, Calif. - USC (12-10) won the rubber game of a non-conference series over No. 16 Stanford (11-7) by a score of 7-2, scoring seven unanswered runs after the Cardinal took an early 2-0 lead. Baron Frost's suicide squeeze with one out in the sixth inning snapped a 2-2 tie and gave USC its first lead of the game, while Darin Vieira capped the USC comeback with a bases loaded three RBI double in the bottom of the eighth.

Three USC pitchers retired the final 15 Stanford batters in a row. Tommy Milone (5-0) remained unbeaten despite a shaky start, retiring the final nine batters he faced after giving up a pair of runs on six hits and a walk before hitting his stride. Reliever John Dunn and Paul Koss retired the side in order in the eighth and ninth innings with Koss striking out the side.

Brent Milleville hit his first career home run for the Cardinal with a solo shot in the fourth, while Ryan Seawell (3-4, SB) tied a career-high with three hits and Chris Minaker extended his season-high hit streak to 11 games with an RBI single in the second that scored Jim Rapoport.

Matt Cusick (3-4, RBI) and Darin Viera (2-4, 2B, 3 RBI) led the Trojan offense.

Stanford starter David Stringer (2-2) took the loss despite an effective outing, limiting a powerful Trojan offense to three runs on five hits and a walk with seven strikeouts over the first a career-best 6.0 innings. Stringer shutout USC on just a hit and a walk through the first four frames before giving up one run in the fifth and two more in the sixth.

Cardinal relievers Jeremy Bleich (1.0 IP, 3 H, 3 R, 2 ER, 1 BB) and Erik Davis (1.0 IP, 1 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 1 SO) gave up the final four USC runs.

Stanford got on the board first in the top of the third inning, taking a 1-0 lead when Rapoport led off with a walk, moved to second on a bunt single by Seawell and scored when Minaker bounced an RBI single through the left side. Milone wild pitched Seawell to third and Minaker to second before striking out Randy Molina to get out of the inning with minimal damage.

Milleville made it 2-0 when he skied his one-out solo homer just over the wall in centerfield.

USC took advantage of a pair two Stringer miscues to score its first run in the fifth when Vieira singled with one out, moved to second and third on a balk and a wild pitch, before Josh Fogel's sacrifice fly brought him home.

Milone came back out and retired the Cardinal on just five pitches in the top of the sixth before USC scored a pair of runs in the sixth to go ahead, 3-2. Cusick and Sharpe started the Trojan rally with back-to-back singles before the Cardinal just missed a golden opportunity to thwart the rally when Hankerd barely beat a potential double play ball at first base, keeping the Trojans in business with runners on first and third with one out. Lucas Duda made the Cardinal play with an RBI single to tie the game at 2-2 before Frost dropped his suicide squeeze with two strikes to score Hankerd.

USC added an insurance run in the eighth seventh when Fogel singled with one out and Cusick came through two batters later with a two-out RBI single to plate pinch-runner Spencer Pabst.

The Trojans finished the scoring in the ninth on Vieira's three-run double. Hankered and Duda started the rally with a single and a walk off Bleich before Davis came on in relief. Johnny Bowden moved the runners to second and third on a sacrifice bunt before Davis walked Daniel Perales intentionally to load the bags and set the stage for Vieira's capper.

Stanford will be out of action for 12 days due to its annual finals break before returning to action by hosting Washington State in its Pac-10 opening series Saturday-Monday, March 25-27 (1 pm, 1 pm, 11 am, PT).

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