Jason Cooper's 9th-Inning Single Lifts No. 1 Baseball Over Santa Clara, 5-4
Feb. 22, 2002
Stanford, Calif. - Jason Cooper singled home Carlos Quentin with one out in the bottom of the ninth inning to lift No. 1 Stanford (8-3) to a 5-4 comeback victory over Santa Clara (4-7) in a non-conference NCAA baseball game at Sunken Diamond on Friday. The victory extends Stanford's winning streak to 20 straight games over the Broncos dating back to 1997. The victory was also Stanford's fourth in its last five games.
'It felt amazing to come through in a big spot,' said Cooper about his game-winning hit. 'That's the best feeling you can have to come through in that situation. This was a big win for us.'
Stanford had trailed 4-3 before tying the game in the bottom of the eighth inning when Brian Hall raced home on a shallow line drive sacrifice fly by Chris O'Riordan, narrowly beating the throw by Bronco rightfielder Joey Gomes to tie the score at 4-4.
Stanford's Jeremy Guthrie and Santa Clara's Chad Fillinger were locked in a scoreless pitching dual until the Broncos broke through with two runs in the top of the sixth inning. Guthrie retired the first two batters of the inning before Pat Peavey singled off his leg to start the Bronco rally. Guthrie then struck out Gomes for what could have been the third out of the inning but the pitch Gomes struck out on was a wild pitch that allowed him to reach first base and Peavey to move to second. Jack Headley followed with an infield single to deep second base in the shallow outfield grass and Peavey came all the way around to score when O'Riordan threw the ball to first in an attempt to get Headley at first. Peavey appeared to be out at the plate on a bang-bang play but the ball popped loose from Stanford catcher Ryan Garko. Gomes later came around to score on Guthrie's second wild pitch of the inning.
The Cardinal answered right back with two unearned in the bottom of the sixth inning. Quentin led off the inning with a double and moved to third when Bronco centerfielder Ryan Pierpont dropped Garko's fly ball, putting runners on second and third with no outs. Donny Lucy's RBI-groundout scored Quentin with the first Cardinal run of the game and Garko scored when Headley made an error at second base on Chris Carter's two-out groundball.
The Broncos made three errors on the evening, allowing the Cardinal to scored three unearned runs.
Stanford took its first lead of the game in the bottom of the seventh inning at 3-2 when O'Riordan walked with one out and later scored on a two-out RBI-single by Garko.Santa Clara rallied for a 4-3 advantage with a pair of runs in the top of the eighth inning. A.J. LaBarbera drew a walk off Guthrie before the Cardinal starter was removed from the contest. One out later, Gomes doubled off Cardinal reliever John Hudgins before Headley followed with a two-RBI single to score LaBarbera and Gomes.
Santa Clara loaded the bases in the top of the ninth inning before J.D. Willcox, the third Stanford pitcher of the game, forced Gomes into an inning-ending fly ball to end the threat. Willcox (1-0) recorded his first victory of the season.
Santa Clara reliever Grant Feichtmeir (0-2) took the loss, allowing two runs (one earned) and two hits in 1.2 innings after coming into the contest in the seventh inning.
Four Santa Clara players - Bobby Wiginton (2-3, 2B), Headley (2-4, 2 RBI), Jim Wallace (2-4, 2B) and Peavey (2-5) - had two hits each for the Broncos.
Garko (2-4, RBI) was the only Stanford player with more than one hit.
Guthrie (7.0 IP, 6 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 3 BB, 7 SO) and Fillinger (6.0 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 7 SO) both received no-decisions.
The teams will continue their current three-game series at Santa Clara on Saturday (4 pm) before returning to Sunken Diamond for the series finale on Sunday (1 pm).
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