Stanford Battles For a 12-9, Comeback Victory at Washington State

May 2, 2009

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PULLMAN, Wash. - A day after he was robbed of a potential game-tying hit in the ninth, Stanford shortstop Jake Schlander delivered a tie-breaking, RBI-single to highlight a four-run ninth as the Cardinal (21-19, 9-11) rallied for a wild, 12-9 victory at Washington State (22-19, 11-6) on a rainy and cold Saturday afternoon. After jumping out to a 3-0 lead, Stanford evened the Pac-10 series at a game apiece by rallying from a 7-3, fourth-inning deficit and an 8-7, eighth-inning hole. The game was played in a stiff wind during the first four innings, and a driving rain over the final five frames.

Washington native Kellen Kiilsgaard reached base safely five times for Stanford, going 3-for-4 with two walks and an RBI in front of family and friends. Brent Milleville drove in three Cardinal runs and also drew three walks, while Joey August went 3-for-6 as part of Stanford's 13-hit day. Colin Walsh walked three times from the leadoff spot, while Toby Gerhart scored four runs and drove in another.

Tied 8-8 entering the ninth, Stanford's winning rally was started when Adam Gaylord drilled a one-out double to the left-center field gap off Washington State reliever Connor Lambert (1-1). Schlander then scorched a line drive off the glove of Cougar first baseman Ryan Peterson and into right field for a RBI-single, plating pinch-runner Jeff Whitlow with the go-ahead run. The Cardinal would go on to take a 12-8 lead in a fashion befitting the rainy conditions, parlaying a wild pitch, a balk and two Washington State errors into three more runs. Kiilsgaard also delivered an RBI-single in the inning.

Stanford's comeback, however, would not have been possible without the stellar relief work of right-handers Max Fearnow and Drew Storen. Fearnow replaced starter Brett Mooneyham with the Cardinal trailing 5-3, a runner on and nobody out in the fourth. Despite pitching during some of the day's heaviest rain, the senior worked 4.2-effective innings, yielding two runs on four hits with three walks and three strikeouts.

With the score tied 8-8 in the bottom of the eighth, Fearnow issued a two-out walk and gave way to Storen. Stanford's closer got cleanup hitter Jared Prince to hit a groundball on the infield, however, a throwing error placed runners at second and third. Indicative of the way Stanford's players battled and picked each other up throughout the day, Storen bounced back to strike out Derek Jones - the Cougars' top home run threat - on a nasty 2-2 pitch. Storen (5-1) allowed a run in the ninth, but closed the door to earn his team-leading fifth victory.

After Stanford scored a first-inning run on a passed ball, Milleville gave the Cardinal a 3-0 lead with a two-run single in the third. However, Mooneyham was done in by wildness and the wind in the bottom of the frame. The Stanford left-hander walked three batters during Washington State's five-run uprising, and Cougar hitters lofted a pair of seemingly routine fly balls to right that carried in the strong wind for extra-base hits. The home club added two more runs in the fourth for a 7-3 lead.

Stanford crept within 7-4 in the fifth on an RBI-single by Ben Clowe, and tied the game with a three-run sixth that featured an RBI-groundout by Gerhart and two runners crossing the plate after a wild pitch and passed ball, respectively.

After Washington State retook the lead with a single run in the sixth, Stanford tied the game by manufacturing a score in the eighth. Gerhart was hit by a pitch to lead off the inning, moved to second on a wild pitch and advanced to third on a deep fly to center by Kiilsgaard. Milleville then brought home the tying run with a sacrifice fly - giving the senior first baseman 22 RBI in his last 17 games.

Stanford and Washington State will square off tomorrow afternoon in the rubber game of this Pac-10 series, with Cardinal right-hander Jeffrey Inman opposing Cougars' lefty David Stilley. First pitch from Bailey-Brayton Field is set for 12:00 p.m. PT.

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