No. 7 Baseball Holds On For 8-6 Win At USF

May 9, 2001

San Francisco, Calif. - No. 7 Stanford (37-13) jumped out to an early 5-0 lead and held on for an 8-6 victory at USF (26-25) in the club's final non-conference regular season game Wednesday at Benedetti Diamond. The Cardinal won for the fourth time in its last five games and avenged a 5-4 loss earlier in the season to the Dons on April 17 at Sunken Diamond. Ryan Garko's first career triple drove in a pair of runs and highlighted a four-run Stanford third inning in a game the Cardinal led from wire-to-wire. Stanford starter Tim Cunningham (5-0) picked up the victory by scattering six hits and three runs (two earned). Ryan McCally picked up his third save of the season by forcing USF pinch-hitter Nick Tarbat into a game-ending double play in the bottom of the ninth inning.

'This was another tough win for us,' said Stanford head coach Mark Marquess. 'Winning these types of games is important for us as we prepare for the final stretch of the Pac-10 schedule. Offensively, we are beginning to swing the bats about as well as we have all season.'

Garko (2-5, 3B, 2 RBI) extended his career-high hitting streak to nine games and was one of five Cardinal players with two hits each as Stanford totaled 13 hits. Sam Fuld (2-4, 2B, RBI), Scott Dragicevich (2-4), Carlos Quentin (2-4) and Chris O'Riordan (2-5, 2B) also picked up a pair of hits for the Cardinal. Jason Cooper had a pair of RBI for Stanford.

'The middle of our lineup is starting to drive in runs,' said Garko. 'The top of the order is doing a good job of getting on base for us and giving us RBI opportunities.'

Jason Howard (2-4, HR, 3 RBI) led the USF offense, hitting a three-run homer in the bottom of the sixth inning that pulled USF to within 7-6. Jared Carvalho (2-3) was the only other USF player with more than one hit.

Stanford jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the first inning and never trailed. O'Riordan and Fuld singled back-to-back to open the game and moved to second and third base on a wild pitch by USF starter Chris Gossert. O'Riordan later scored on an RBI groundout by Cooper.

Stanford added four more runs in the top of the third inning to establish a 5-0 lead and chase Gossert (4-2), who allowed six hits and five runs in 2.1 innings of a losing effort. Fuld doubled home Andy Topham before Garko hit his two-run triple to score O'Riordan and Fuld. The Cardinal picked up its final run of the inning on a sacrifice fly by Cooper.

USF scored its first run in the bottom of the third inning when Cunningham balked with the bases loaded.

Stanford increased its lead to 7-1 with two runs in the top of the fifth inning on back-to-back RBI singles by Arik VanZandt and Topham.

USF scored the game's next five runs to cut Stanford's lead to 7-6. The Dons scored both of their runs in the bottom of the fifth inning on an RBI infield single by Chad Soares with the second running scoring on a throwing error by Topham at third base on the play. Howard's three-run homer on a 3-2 pitch with two outs in the bottom of the sixth inning allowed three unearned runs to score off Cardinal reliever John Hudgins. The Dons' inning had been kept alive on a two-out error by Dragicevich on a ground ball to shortstop.

The Cardinal added an unearned insurance run in the top of the seventh inning on an RBI single by Jonny Ash.

Stanford, currently 1.0 game behind USC in the Pac-10 standings with six conference games remaining for both teams, will return to Pac-10 action by hosting Arizona in a three-game series at Sunken Diamond this Friday-Sunday, May 11-13 (6 pm, 1 pm, 1 pm). Friday's game will be followed by the 3rd Annual Stanford Baseball Fireworks Show presented by the Palo Alto Town & Country Village. Sunday's regular season home finale will double as Fan Appreciation Day and Little League Day.

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