Stanford Picks Up Share Of Pac-10 Title Despite 9-5 Loss To UCLA In 12

May 17, 2003

Stanford, Calif. - No. 7 Stanford (37-15, 17-6 Pac-10) picked up a share of its first Pac-10 title since 2000 despite a 9-5 loss in 12 innings to UCLA (26-29, 9-11 Pac-10) at Sunken Diamond on Saturday. UCLA's Brett McMillan hit his first career grandslam with one out in the top of the 12th inning on a 1-2 pitch from Stanford reliever Matt Manship to snap a 5-5 tie and knot the series at one game each. Stanford had wins streaks of nine games overall and seven Pac-10 contests snapped.

The Cardinal can still pick up its first outright conference title since 1999 with a victory over the Bruins in the rubber game of the series and its Pac-10 finale Sunday (1 pm) or with one more loss by second place Arizona State (12-7 Pac-10). Arizona (11-7 Pac-10) also still has a mathematical chance to share the conference title.

'We had a lot of opportunities to win today, but UCLA won the big spots,' said Stanford head coach Mark Marquess.

'We'd like to win league any way we can, and you can't take away the fact that we won seven straight conference games before today,' continued Marquess. 'That's a great accomplishment, and I'm very pleased with where we are right now in the conference standings. It was a tough loss today, but if we can win tomorrow we can assure ourselves of an outright championship.'

All four UCLA runs in the top of the 12th inning were unearned as the Cardinal committed its only two errors of the game to aid the Bruins' cause. Preston Griffin's leadoff line drive was dropped by Stanford shortstop Tobin Swope to start the Bruin rally. The Cardinal threw out Griffin at second base on a two-strike sacrifice attempt by Warren Trott before a wild pitch moved Trott to second base and Wes Whisler was intentionally walked to put runners on first and second base with one out. Billy Susdorf then hit a ground ball to Jonny Ash at third base on the next play but Ash's throw to start a potential inning-ending double play was dropped by Cardinal second baseman Jed Lowrie to load the bases and set up McMillan's game-winning blast.

UCLA trailed 4-2 until scoring a pair of runs in the top of the ninth to send the game into extra innings. Christian Lewis started the Bruin rally with a one out single to chase Stanford starter Mark Romanczuk. Averill greeted Manship with a single to right field and the Bruins ended up with runners on second and third base on the play when pinch-runner Adam Simon took third as the Cardinal was relaying the ball back into the infield and Averill advanced to second when Stanford made a play on Simon at third base. Simon then scored when Manship uncorked a wild pitch and pinch-hitter Hector Ambriz bounced a single over a drawn in John Mayberry Jr. at first base to score pinch-runner Sean Carpenter with the tying run.

Stanford put runners in scoring position in the ninth, 10th and 11th innings but failed to score. With two outs in the ninth, Mayberry drew a walk and stole second base before Whisler struck out Swope to end the inning. In the 10th, the Cardinal loaded the bases with one out off reliever Bryan Beck. Sam Fuld singled but was thrown out at third base trying to go from first to third on a single by Brian Hall, who advanced to second on the play. Carlos Quentin was intentionally walked before pinch-hitter Chris Carter drew a walk to load the bases. Chris Cordeiro came on in relief of Beck and forced Ash into an inning-ending double play. In the 11th, Donny Lucy reached on a one-out error by reserve Bruin shortstop Kevin Conlin and stole second base before Cordeiro issued an intentional walk to Mayberry to put runners on first and second base with one out before retiring Swope and Fuld to end the threat.

Stanford left five of its eight runners on the base in the ninth, 10th and 11th innings, while the Bruins stranded seven for the game.

Cordeiro (1-2) picked up his first victory of the season with 2.2 hitless innings of relief.Manship (2-4) suffered the loss and missed an opportunity to record his eighth save of the season when he allowed the tying run to score in the top of the ninth inning after coming into the game with one out, a 4-2 lead and a runner on first base. Manship gave up four hits and five runs but only the run charged to him in the ninth inning was earned.

Starting pitchers Romanczuk and Whisler spent most of the game embattled in a pitching dual. Romanczuk (9-0) was in line to become the first Pac-10 pitcher to reach the 10-win mark until the Bruins' two-run ninth, scattering four runs and seven hits with four strikeouts over the first 8.1 innings. Whisler spread out eight hits and five runs with three strikeouts in 9.0 innings of work.

Brandon Averill (3-4, 2B) had three hits for the Bruins, while Whisler was 2-for-4 with a double and two RBI.

Hall (3-6, 3B, 2 RBI) had three of Stanford's nine hits, while Fuld (2-4, 3B, 2 RBI) also had a multiple-hit game to extend his hit streak to 10 games. Fuld also moved into a tie for sixth on Stanford's single-season triple list with his seventh three-bagger of the year. Lowrie had his career-high nine-game hit streak snapped by going 0-for-5.

'We really wish we could have won today's game,' said Hall. 'But, we can still come out tomorrow and win an outright championship. We have to get our minds focused right now to come out and win tomorrow.'

UCLA struck first in the contest with a pair of runs in the top of the third inning on a two-out, two-RBI double by Whisler. The Bruins had put runners on first and third base after Averill doubled to lead off the inning and moved to third on a bunt single from Ryan McCarthy but Romanczuk nearly got out of the jam by retiring the next two hitters he faced before allowing Whisler's double.

Stanford answered back with a pair of runs in the bottom of the third to tie the game at 2-2. Fuld came through with his team-leading seventh triple of the year to score John Mayberry, Jr. with Stanford's first run of the game before Hall singled him home.

UCLA took a 3-2 lead in the top of the fifth when Averill led off with a single, McCarthy walked and both runners moved up a base on a sacrifice bunt by Griffin before Averill scored on an RBI groundout from Trott.

Stanford again responded with a run in the bottom of the fifth to tie the score, 3-3. Mayberry reached on a one-out error by Averill at third base to start the rally, moved to second on a sacrifice bunt by Swope and scored on a clutch two-out RBI single from Fuld.

The Cardinal took its first lead of the game with two runs in the bottom of the eighth inning to go ahead, 4-2. Fuld walked to lead off the inning and scored on an RBI triple from Hall. Quentin followed with an RBI single to score Hall, extending his hit streak to nine games.

Stanford's record at Sunken Diamond fell to 20-10 as the Cardinal remained three victories shy of its ninth consecutive 40-win season.

Ryan Garko's hit his 54th career double in the bottom of the fourth inning to move into sole possession of seventh place on Stanford's all-time doubles list.

Stanford lost for just the second time in 32 games this season in which the Cardinal held a lead after eight innings and fell to 4-3 in extra-inning contests.

Stanford needs a victory in Sunday's rubber game to assure itself of its 19th conference crown (17th Pac-10), win its 11th series in its last 12 attempts and extend its series win streak over UCLA to seven dating back to the last Bruin series victory in 1997. Neither team has named a starting pitcher for Sunday's game, which is also the team's annual Little League Day.

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