Cardinal Bats Pound Out 26-5 Victory Over Trojans

April 26, 2008

Box Score

STANFORD, Calif. - No. 5 Stanford's counter-punch proved to be pretty potent Saturday afternoon as the Cardinal, after spotting USC three runs in the top of the first, responded with 26 consecutive runs to clinch its ninth weekend series of the season with the 26-5 victory over the Trojans. The 26 runs scored by the Cardinal mark a season high, and, in records dating back to 1959, is the second-most runs scored in a single-game by the Cardinal since a 28-3 victory over San Francisco on Jan. 31, 1983.

The Cardinal will go for the sweep Sunday afternoon at 1 p.m. at Klein Field. RHP Jeff Inman (5-1, 2.79) will take the hill for Stanford, opposite RHP Ryan Cook (4-3, 4.90) for USC.

Every Stanford starter in the lineup managed at least one hit Saturday afternoon, as the Cardinal offense combined for 24 hits. Jason Castro led the way for the starting nine with four hits in six at-bats, tripling and driving in four runs, while Zach Jones went 3-for-4, doubling twice and driving in three runs. Toby Gerhart, a mid-game substitute, made the most of his two at-bats, smashing a pair of home runs and driving in a team-high five runs.

Cord Phelps, Sean Ratliff, Jake Schlander, Jeff Whitlow, and Austin Yount each recorded a pair of hits in the contest, with Phelps also scoring five runs and drawing three walks, and Yount driving in three runs. Joey August, Ben Clowe, Brendan Domaracki, Randy Molina, and Wande Olabisi all had one hit Saturday afternoon as well.

The contest got off to a start that did not at all foretell the eventual result. USC had a 3-0 lead within its first three batters of the game, as Grant Green hit his seventh home run of the season after Roberto Lopez walked to lead off the game and Nick Buss reached on an error.

But Cardinal starter Erik Davis, the reigning Pac-10 Pitcher of the Week, would settle down from this point on, retiring 17 of the next 20 batters he faced over a six-inning effort in which he allowed only four hits and struck out nine batters to earn his seventh win of the season.

The Stanford comeback began as soon as the team stepped to the plate in the bottom of the first. Phelps and Domaracki walked to start things, August singled to left to load the bases, and Castro followed with his own hit to left that plated Phelps. Domaracki would then score as Molina drew a bases-loaded walk to make it 3-2.

USC starter Brad Boxberger would settle down and strike out the next three Cardinall batters, though, to end the threat. But that would be the easiest it got for Boxberger, as in the second, a Schlander single, Phelps double, followed by Boxberger hitting Domaracki with a pitch loaded the sacks for August, who tied the game by plating Schlander with a sacrifice fly to center. Castro's ensuing two-run triple down the right-field line would put Stanford ahead for good at 5-3, and end the day for Boxberger, who took his third loss of the season after giving up five runs on five hits and walking three over an inning and a third.

Although Trojan reliever Kevin Couture ended the inning with a pair of quick outs, he likewise did not escape unscathed in the third inning, being touched for three hits and six runs before being lifted with two out in the inning. Four of those runs were unearned, as the Cardinal took advantage of a Trojan fielding error.

After Yount grounded out to start the inning, the Cardinal surge began with Jones' double down the left-field line. Schlander's ground ball to shortstop was booted by Green, allowing him to advance to second and Jones to score Stanford's sixth run. Phelps drew a walk, then Domaracki laced a triple into right-center field that drove in the pair. August was hit by a pitch, then two batters later, with two away, Castro doubled to right center, and advanced to third when the carom off the wall was misplayed by the USC outfield, driving in Schlander and Phelps. This signaled the end of Couture's day, and reliever Chris Mezger was greeted with an RBI single from Sean Ratliff before getting out of the inning with the Cardinal now in possession of an 11-3 lead.

As Davis continued to cruise on the hill, the Cardinal piled on more runs in support of their hurler in the fifth. With two out and Castro and Ratliff on base with singles, Yount's double down the left-field line drove in Castro, followed by Jones' base hit to center plating Ratliff and Yount for the 14-3 Stanford lead.

A double by Phelps off of new USC reliever Danny Beck was followed by Whitlow walking and Gerhart being hit by a pitch to load the bases in the bottom of the sixth. Castro's sacrifice fly to center scored Phelps, then Beck beaned Molina to re-load the bases. With two out, Yount drove in a pair with a single to center, followed by Jones's second double, which scored Molina and ended Beck's day.

The scoring didn't stop there, as in the seventh, Gerhart hit his first home run of the day, smashing a Jordan Hershiser offering the opposite way to right-center. He would repeat the feat the following inning with two on and two out, sending a Chris McCaffery pitch over the left-centerfield fence.

The eighth had started with Wande Olabisi's first hit of the season as the sophomore made the first plate appearances of his career. Colin Walsh would reach base on an error with one out, then he and Olabisi would advance a bag on a wild pitch. Olabisi would score on Schlander's single up the middle, and Walsh on a fielder's choice by Phelps. Gerhart hit his third home run after Whitlow's single, and Castro would score Stanford's final run of the contest after singling, advancing to second on a wild pitch, going to third on a balk, then scoring on pinch-hitter Clowe's single to right-center to make it 26-5.

Stanford reliever Danny Sandbrink earned his first save of the season after striking out three batters over the final three innings, allowing only a pair of unearned runs in the ninth.

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