Kiilsgaard's RBI-Single, Storen's Pitching Lead Stanford Past Santa Clara, 6-5
April 1, 2009
STANFORD, Calif. - Stanford right fielder Kellen Kiilsgaard delivered a tie-breaking, RBI-single with two outs and two strikes in the bottom of the eighth to lift the host Cardinal (9-11) past visiting Santa Clara (10-13) this evening in a non-conference game from Klein Field at Sunken Diamond. Right-hander Drew Storen, Stanford's closer, struck out five of the six batters he faced in 2.0-perfect innings for the relief win.
With tonight's victory, Stanford has won a season-best three consecutive games. The Cardinal has also won five of its last six contests and six of its last eight outings.
Kiilsgaard's heroics came with two outs and runners at the corners in the eighth. Stanford's RBI leader fell behind 0-2, took a ball, then grounded a single through the right side of the infield to plate Jake Schlander with the winning run. Schlander started the winning rally when he beat out an infield single with one out, capping a night in which he tied his career high for hits by going 3-for-3 with a double and a sacrifice bunt. Colin Walsh followed by drawing his second walk of the game (he also added a single), and pinch-hitter Jonathan Kaskow reached on a fielder's choice. Kiilsgaard then dealt a loss to Santa Clara reliever J.R. Graham (0-1), who allowed just the one run in his 3.0 innings of work.
Storen (2-0) entered in the top of the eighth with the game tied at 5-5, and proceeded to dominate over the next 2.0 innings. The sophomore right-hander matched his career high with his second consecutive five-strikeout performance, and his fourth such effort of the year. Storen struck out the side in the top of the eighth and fanned the first two batters of the ninth - including an epic, 12-pitch battle with Santa Clara leadoff hitter Matt Long that resulted in a called third strike. Storen then closed out the ballgame by retiring Lucas Herbst on a shallow fly to left field.
With tonight's outing, Storen has now compiled 24 strikeouts against just one walk in 12.1 innings this season - an average of 17.51 punchouts per 9.0 innings pitched.
Santa Clara actually jumped out to a 2-0 lead tonight, scoring twice in the first without a hit. Stanford answered with two runs of its own in the second. Zach Jones opened the inning with a triple off the left field wall, and scored on an RBI-single by Adam Gaylord. The second Cardinal run came home on a two-out error by Broncos shortstop Jon Karcich.
Trailing 3-2 entering the bottom of the fifth, Stanford played longball to score three runs. Joey August led off the inning with his third home run in four games, a solo shot to right. After Jones was hit by a pitch with one out, Brent Milleville hit a monstrous, two-run homer that cleared the trees beyond the left field wall. The two homers gave Stanford a 5-3 lead it would hold until the seventh, when Santa Clara tied the game with a pair of two-out runs.
Stanford resumes Pac-10 play this week against Oregon, which has resurrected its baseball program after a 28-year absence. The Cardinal will play in Eugene for the first time since 1974, taking on the Ducks in a three-game weekend series. First pitch on Friday, April 3 is set for 3:00 p.m. PT from Oregon's PK Park.