Stanford Takes Pac-10 Title Outright With 9-8 Win Over UCLA In 10
May 18, 2003
Stanford, Calif. - No. 7 Stanford (38-15, 18-6 Pac-10) clinched the outright Pac-10 regular season championship when Donny Lucy led off the bottom of the 10th inning with a solo homer off the scoreboard beyond the leftcenter field fence to lift the Cardinal to a thrilling 9-8 victory in 10 innings over UCLA (26-30, 9-12 Pac-10) in Stanford's final conference game of the season Sunday at Sunken Diamond in front of a season-high crowd of 3,338. Lucy's homer came on an 0-2 offering from losing pitcher Mike Castillo (1-1) and capped his 3-for-5 (HR, RBI) afternoon. Stanford's conference title is the 19th in school history (17th Pac-10) and first since the Cardinal shared the 2000 Pac-10 championship with Arizona State and UCLA in 2000. Stanford's last outright Pac-10 title came in 1999.
'It's quite an accomplishment for us to win the Pac-10 title and finish with an 18-6 conference record, especially the way we did it with eight wins in our last nine Pac-10 games,' said Stanford head coach Mark Marquess. 'I'm really proud of the way we hung in there and played well at the end of the Pac-10 season.'
'I'm on cloud nine right now,' said Lucy after the game-winning homer. 'It felt like I was floating around the bases.'
'Donny Lucy has been great coming off the bench for us all year and today was his moment to shine,' added Marquess about Lucy, who made just his seventh start behind the plate on Sunday.Stanford has now won 10 of its last 11 games overall and 11 of its past 12 series.
The game featured eight homers with the Cardinal tying a season-high with five and UCLA going deep three times.
Stanford's Danny Putnam (3-5, 2 HR, 3 RBI) hit a pair of homers for the third time this season.
'We just wanted to win really bad today,' said Putnam. 'Nobody wanted to share a title.'
Lucy, Chris Carter and Carlos Quentin also homered for the Cardinal with Quentin extending his hit streak to 10 games and hitting safely for the 38th time in his last 40 games. Brian Hall (3-5, 2B, SB) had three hits for his second straight game and Sam Fuld (2-4, 3B) extended his hit streak to 11 games. Fuld's triple was his eighth of the season (tied for second on Stanford's single-season list) and the 14th of his career (tied for 10th on Stanford's career list). Fuld is also now tied for ninth on Stanford's all-time hit list with 269 and has also moved back into a fourth-place tie on Stanford's all-time batting average list with an updated career mark of .356.
UCLA's Wes Whisler (3-5, 2 HR, 3 RBI) blasted a pair of homers, while Billy Susdorf (2-5, HR, 2 RBI) also cleared the fences. Whisler and Susdorf co-lead the Bruins with nine homers each. Three other UCLA players - Brandon Averill (2-5, 3B, RBI), Ryan McCarthy (2-5, RBI) and Brett McMillan (2-5, 2B) - had a pair of hits each.
Ryan McCally (5-2) earned the victory by pitching 4.0 scoreless innings of two-hit relief after coming into the game with no outs in the top of the seventh inning.
'It was great to pitch well today in such a big game,' said McCally, after playing in his final Pac-10 contest. 'We won the Pac-10 title in my freshman year and to go out with another conference championship feels great.'
'I was really proud of the way Ryan McCally pitched today,' added Marquess.
Stanford trailed the contest 8-5 before scoring twice in the seventh and once more in the eighth to tie the game at 8-8 before both teams went scoreless in the ninth to force the second extra inning game in as many days between the clubs.
In the seventh inning, Carter drew a one-out walk before Putnam hit his second homer of the day over the left field wall to cut the Bruins' lead to 8-7.
The Cardinal scored the tying run in the bottom of the eighth when Fuld tripled off the bottom of the center field fence with one out and scored on pinch-hitter Ryan Garko's team-leading sixth sacrifice fly to the warning track in left field for his 74th RBI of the season.
UCLA took an early 2-0 lead in the top of the first inning on Susdorf's two-run homer.
The Cardinal scored three times in the bottom of the second to earn a 3-2 lead. Carter and Putnam led off the inning with Stanford's first back-to-back homers of the season to tie the score at 2-2. Hall then restarted the rally with a one-out double and Lucy beat out an infield single to put runners on first and third before Tobin Swope drove in Hall with a sacrifice fly.
UCLA tied the score at 3-3 in the top of the fourth when Matt Thayer doubled with one out, moved to third on a groundout by Christian Lewis and scored on a wild pitch by Stanford starter Tim Cunningham.
Stanford took a 5-3 lead in the bottom of the fifth when Jonny Ash walked to lead off the inning and Quentin blasted his eighth homer of the season over the fence in leftcenter field.UCLA came back with three runs in the top of the sixth to take a 6-5 lead. Whisler cut Stanford's margin to 5-4 when he led off the inning with his first homer of the game to chase Cunningham. Kodiak Quick came on to retire the first two batters he faced but walked Thayer and pinch-hitter Chris Jensen before allowing back-to-back RBI singles to Averill and McCarthy before he was removed from the game. David O'Hagan relieved Quick and retired Preston Griffin to end the Bruins' inning.
UCLA extended its lead to 8-5 in the top of the seventh when Warren Trott was hit by O'Hagan to lead off the inning and Whisler followed with his second homer in as many at bats over the right field wall.
UCLA left nine runners on base, while the Cardinal stranded eight.
Stanford's record at Sunken Diamond improved to 21-10 as the Cardinal moved to within two victories of its ninth consecutive 40-win season. The Cardinal also improved to 5-3 in extra-inning contests.
Stanford won its seventh straight series versus UCLA dating back to 1997.
Stanford will conclude its 2003 regular season by hosting Cal Poly in a three-game non-conference series next Friday-Sunday, May 23-25 (6 pm, 1 pm, 1 pm, PT). The 5th annual Stanford Baseball Fireworks Show presented by the Palo Alto Town & Country Village will take place after Friday night's series opener and Sunday will be Senior/Fan Appreciation Day.
The 16 regional sites for the 2003 NCAA Division I Baseball Championships will be announced on Sunday, May 25. The entire 64-team field will be announced live on ESPN on Monday, May 26 (9:30 am, PT).
'To win the Pac-10 outright is huge in terms of our chances to host an NCAA Regional,' said Marquess. 'I can't remember the last time a Pac-10 winner that has put in a bid hasn't hosted.'