No. 7 Stanford Pitches Past No. 2 Baseball With 4-2 Victory.

March 24, 2003

TEMPE, Ariz. ( -- Senior catcher Ryan Garko went 4-for-4 including a tie-breaking two-run home run in the top of the eighth inning and freshman pitcher Mark Romanczuk threw a complete-game five-hitter to lead the No. 7 Stanford Cardinal to a 4-2 victory over the No. 2 Arizona State Sun Devils Monday afternoon in front of 3,397 at Packard Stadium.

With the victory the Cardinal secured the Pac-10 series win after defeating ASU 9-8 in 10 innings in Sunday's tilt. Stanford improved to 16-8 with the win and now lead the all-time series against the Sun Devils 78-77. For the first time this season the Devils lost consecutive games, dropping to 32-5 on the year and 1-2 in Pac-10 play. The three-game series between the two schools featured a pair of extra-inning one-run games, with Stanford outscoring ASU 19-17 in the series.

Romanczuk (Newark, Del.), who was a fifth-round draft choice of the Tampa Bay Devil Rays last June, tossed his first career complete game in only his third career start. He limited the Sun Devils to a season-low five hits and struck out five. He retired the Sun Devils 1-2-3 in the ninth inning, striking out the last two batters he faced and ended with 130 total pitches.

In addition to Garko's big game, junior center fielder Sam Fuld was also 4-for-5 with a pair of triples. Fuld, a two-time member of the USA Baseball National team, went 8-for-11 (.727) in the last two games of the series. The Cardinal also received two hits from shortstop Tobin Swope and had the leadoff batter reach base in eight of the nine innings.

ASU senior starter Ben Thurmond (Hopkins, S.C.) recorded the no-decision behind his best pitching performance of the year. The transfer from Winthrop scattered nine hits and gave up two runs in six and two-thirds innings. Reliever Mark Sopko (Joliet, Ill.) took the loss giving up a single and the Garko home run without recording an out to fall to 3-2 on the year.

'This is the first time we've lost two games in a row and a series this year and we just didn't play up to the intensity that we've had all season,' said ASU head coach Pat Murphy. 'You have to give a lot of credit to Stanford because they played great defense and executed at the plate. We were just a few pitches and a couple of line drives away from going 3-0 in the series, but the Pac-10 is tough and sometimes things don't go your way.'

The Cardinal jumped on the scoreboard first with a single tally in the top of the third. Center fielder Sam Fuld led off the inning with a triple to the right field gap and scored on a two-out single by Garko.

ASU tied the game with a two-out double off the bat of center fielder Andre Ethier. Senior third baseman Dennis Wyrick led off the inning by reaching base on a hit-by-pitch and moved to second on a wild pitch before scoring on Ethier's double down the right field line. The Devils then took their first lead of the series in the fifth when Rod Allen tripled to the left field gap and scored on a sacrifice fly by catcher Tuffy Gosewisch.

Stanford designated hitter Jed Lowrie led off the top of the seventh with a double down the left field line, but Thurmond bounced back by getting a groundout and strikeout before being replaced by left-handed reliever Bryce Kartler. Kartler had the tough task of facing Fuld, who responded by hitting his second triple of the game on a 3-2 curve ball to score Lowrie with the tying run. Kartler then got Brian Hall to ground out to third base to preserve the 2-2 tie.

The Sun Devils were limited to five hits, with Dustin Pedroia, Dennis Wyrick, Steve Garrabrants, Ethier and Allen all collecting hits. Pedroia tabbed his 23rd double of the season.

Arizona State returns to Pac-10 play next weekend with a three-game series at USC starting Friday at 6 p.m. at Dedeaux Field. Stanford opens its home portion of the Pac-10 schedule with a three-game series against No. 24 Washington.

Stanford 4, Arizona State 2 (Mar 24, 2003 at Tempe, Ariz.)----------------------------------------------------------------------Stanford............ 001 000 120  -  4 13  0      (16-8, 2-1 PAC-10)Arizona State....... 000 110 000  -  2  5  1      (32-5, 1-2 PAC-10)----------------------------------------------------------------------Pitchers: Stanford - Romanczuk.Arizona State - Thurmond; Kartler(7); Sopko(8); Bordes(8); Arguello(8).Win-Romanczuk(6-0)  Loss-Sopko(3-2)  T-2:43  A-3397HR STAN - Garko (5).

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