No. 8 Stanford Takes Rubber Game Of Series From No. 3 Arizona State, 4-2

March 24, 2003

Tempe, Ariz. - Ryan Garko (4-4, HR, 3 RBI) and Sam Fuld (4-5, 2 3B, RBI) had four hits each to lift No. 8 Stanford (16-8, 2-1 Pac-10) to a key 4-2 victory over No. 3 Arizona State (32-5, 1-2 Pac-10) in the rubber game of a three-game series before 3397 fans at Packard Stadium on Monday. Garko blasted a key two-run homer in the top of the eighth inning to break a 2-2 tie one inning after Fuld had driven home the tying run with a two-out triple off the right field wall. Mark Romanczuk pitched the first complete game of his career to run his record to 6-0, giving up just five and two runs while striking out five.

'Mark Romanczuk did an unbelievable job,' said Stanford head coach Mark Marquess. 'This was the biggest game that he has pitched in this year. I knew he would be good, but I didn't think he would be this good this early.'

'This game humbles you so quickly, so you can't get too up or too down,' said Garko, who was 0-for-9 in the first two games of the series. 'I was able to get the barrel on the homer and just hit it hard.'

Garko's homer was his team-high fifth of the season and the first by a Stanford player in the three-game series at Arizona State. He now leads the Cardinal with 28 RBI and has driven in 20 runs in the last 13 games.

Stanford's victory gives the Cardinal a share of first-place along with Arizona and California after the first weekend of Pac-10 action and was its 13th in the last 16 games. The Cardinal also won its fifth straight series and handed Arizona State its first series loss of the season.

'It's big for us to win two-of-three at Arizona State after the type of start they have had this season,' explained Garko. 'We feel that we're right there with the top teams in the Pac-10.'

Fuld's four-hit game was his second in a row, third of the season and 13th of his career. He also tripled twice for the first time in his career, extended his hit streak to eight games. Fuld is 21-for-39 (.538) over the stretch to raise his batting average to a season-high .333.

'I feel as good as I ever have right now swinging the bat,' said Fuld. 'I wish I knew what it was and could explain it. I wish I could have figured it out earlier in the year but better late than never.'

Tobin Swope (2-4, 2B) added a pair of hits for the Cardinal.

Carlos Quentin extended his hit streak to 12 games with a single to lead off the top of the eighth inning before scoring on Garko's two-run homer. John Mayberry, Jr's 16-game hit streak and a seven-game hit streak by Brian Hall both ended.

The Sun Devils did not have a player with more than one hit.

Arizona State reliever Mark Sopko (3-2) suffered the loss, giving up Quentin's single and Garko's homer in the top of the eighth without recording an out. Sun Devil starter Ben Thurmond gave up just two runs and nine hits over the first 6.2 innings.

Stanford got on the scoreboard in the top of the third when Fuld tripled to lead off the inning before scoring on a two-out RBI single by Garko.

Arizona State tied the score 1-1 with a run in the bottom of the fourth when Dennis Wyrick was hit by a pitch to lead off the inning, moved to second on a wild pitch, third on a ground ball and scored on a two-out RBI double by Andre Either.

Arizona State took a 2-1 lead in the bottom of the fifth inning when Rod Allen tripled with one out and scored on a sacrifice fly by Tuffy Gosewisch.

Fuld tied the game at 2-2 with his two-out seventh inning triple that scored Swope, who had doubled to lead off the inning.

Stanford recorded 13 hits to mark the eighth straight game the Cardinal has posted double-digit hits.

The victory gave Stanford a 78-77 all-time lead in the series.

Stanford will return to Sunken Diamond to host #24 Washington (16-7, 0-0 Pac-10) next Friday-Sunday, March 28-30 (6 pm, 1 pm, 1 pm, PT).

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