Pries' Stellar Effort Leads Stanford to 8-6 Win at USC in Series Opener

May 15, 2009

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LOS ANGELES, Calif. - Freshman right-hander Jordan Pries pitched into the ninth inning and shortstop Jake Schlander tied his career high with three hits as visiting Stanford (28-21, 11-11 Pac-10) posted an 8-6 victory at USC (24-26, 10-12) in the opener of a three-game, Pac-10 series at Dedeaux Field.

Stanford ran its season-best winning streak to five games, while the Cardinal is 8-2 in its last 10 contests, 13-5 in its past 18 outings and 24-11 since March 25. The Cardinal has also won three consecutive Pac-10 games to even its conference record at 11-11, while Stanford is a season-high seven games over .500 overall at 28-21.

Pries (4-3) continued his Pac-10 road dominance, improving to 2-1 with an even 3.00 ERA (12er, 36.0ip) in his five conference road starts. The freshman right-hander fell just three outs shy of his first complete game victory, earning the right to take the ball in the ninth after facing the minimum 18 batters after a leadoff homer by USC's Mike O'Neill in the third. That solo shot made the score 6-2, but was the last run the Trojans would score until the ninth. Pries retired 16 of the next 18 batters he faced, while leadoff singles in the fifth and sixth were erased immediately on double play grounders by the ensuing hitters.

Pries' bid to go the distance was stalled by the first three USC hitters in the ninth, as the freshman allowed a single, double and walk to load the bases. Stanford closer Drew Storen relieved Pries and surrendered a grand slam to Anthony Vasquez, but rebounded to strike out the next three batters in succession to end the victory. Pries ended his night working 8.0-plus innings, allowing five runs on nine hits with just the one ninth-inning walk and eight strikeouts.

After getting blanked over the first two innings, Stanford sent 10 men to the plate and scored six runs off Vazquez (4-5) in the third. Schlander opened the inning with a single, and moved to second when Colin Walsh was hit by a pitch. Joey August then laid down a perfect bunt that turned into a single and more when Vazquez threw wildly down the right field line, allowing Schlander to score. Toby Gerhart lined a two-run double to center to put Stanford up 3-1, and touched home himself one batter later when Kellen Kiilsgaard delivered an RBI-single. Zach Jones added a run-scoring single, and Adam Gaylord laid down a perfect suicide squeeze bunt to plate Jeff Whitlow with the final run of the frame.

Stanford tacked on two very important insurance runs in the ninth. Ryan Cabral came on in relief of Vazquez, and Schlander again started a rally with a leadoff single. The Cardinal shortstop stole second to move into scoring position, and August came through with an RBI-single. With two outs and the bases loaded, Stanford scored its final run when Brent Milleville - the runner at second - beat the throw to second on a fielder's choice grounder off the bat of Whitlow, allowing August to come home safely.

The Cardinal double play duo of shortstop Schlander and second baseman Walsh enjoyed quite a night. Schlander logged his sixth career three-hit game, while Walsh reached base safely for the 32nd consecutive game by going 1-for-4 and getting hit by a pitch. The pair also teamed up on two nifty 4-6-3 double plays to stymie USC rallies in the fifth and sixth innings, respectively.

Stanford and USC will square off tomorrow night in the second game of this weekend series, with Cardinal freshman left-hander Brett Mooneyham (5-2, 5.16) opposing Trojans' right-hander Robert Stock (3-3, 2.60). First pitch from Dedeaux Field is set for 6:30 p.m. PT.

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