Stanford Can't Complete Sweep, Falls 5-2 at USC in Series Finale
May 17, 2009
LOS ANGELES, Calif. - USC ace right-hander Brad Boxberger struck out eight over 6.0-impressive innings and Grant Green homered as the host Trojans (25-27, 11-13 Pac-10) thwarted Stanford's attempt at a three-game sweep with a 5-2 victory at Dedeaux Field. The loss snapped a season-best six-game winning streak for the Cardinal (29-22, 12-12), which is still 25-12 since March 25.
Boxberger (5-3), pushed back to Sunday from his normal Friday slot, struck out five of the first six batters he faced and limited Stanford to just two runs on four hits and a walk over his 6.0 innings of work. The Cardinal nearly pushed across more against the right-hander, as Brent Milleville drove Boxberger's final pitch to the wall in left-center field. However, USC left fielder Mike O'Neill hauled in Milleville's drive to end the sixth, stranding a pair of runners and preserving a 3-2 Trojans lead.
Stanford did not have a baserunner and trailed 1-0 entering the fourth, when Colin Walsh led off the inning with a single to extend his streak of reaching base safely to 34 consecutive games. With Walsh at second one out later, Toby Gerhart crushed an 0-1 pitch off the batters' eye in straight-away center for a two-run home run. Gerhart's seventh clout of the year put Stanford in front 2-1 and gave the Cardinal left fielder 14 RBI in his last 10 games.
Cardinal right-hander Michael Marshall pitched effectively this afternoon in just his third career start, and first in Pac-10 play. The sophomore yielded a run on the first, but blanked USC over the next three innings until tiring in the fifth. Marshall issued a one-out walk to Brandon Garcia, and Billy Pinkerton followed with a groundball double just inside the third base bag. Alex Sherrod chased Marshall with an RBI-single that tied the game, and O'Neill delivered an RBI-groundout off Stanford reliever Max Fearnow that gave USC a 3-2 lead it would not relinquish.
The Trojans added single runs in the sixth on a two-out single by Pinkerton and in the seventh on Green's two-out, solo homer off Stanford right-hander Drew Storen.
USC right-hander Daniel Cooper worked the final 3.0 innings for his third save, surviving a controversial ninth. Kellen Kiilsgaard led off the frame with his second hit of the day, before switching places with Milleville on the latter's fielder's choice grounder. Jeff Whitlow then hit a slow chopper to short that Green fielded and flipped to second baseman Joe De Pinto. Although De Pinto dropped the throw, he was ruled to have done so in the act of transferring the ball from his glove to hand, thereby resulting in the out - a call that brought Cardinal head coach Mark Marquess out of the dugout in protest. Cooper then retired pinch-hitter Ben Clowe on a groundout and close play at first to end the game.
Stanford will play its final four games of the 2009 regular season at home, beginning this Tuesday evening with a non-conference contest against visiting UC Davis. First pitch from Klein Field at Sunken Diamond is set for 5:00 p.m. PT.