UCLA Beats No. 1 Stanford, 6-5, On Griffin's Ninth Inning Walkoff Homer
April 4, 2004
Los Angeles, Calif. - Preston Griffin's walkoff homer over the left field fence on the first pitch he saw leading the bottom of the ninth inning lifted UCLA (15-13, 1-2 Pac-10) to a 6-5 victory over No. 1 Stanford (23-4, 2-1 Pac-10) in the finale of a three-game series at Jackie Robinson Stadium. The loss denied Stanford of its fifth sweep of the season and snapped the team's season-high eight-game win streak. UCLA reliever Kevin Brophy (2-0) pitched a scoreless ninth inning to pick up the victory, while Cardinal reliever Jeff Stimpson (0-1) took the loss as Griffin's first homer of the season was the first run that Stimpson has given up in 12.2 career innings.
Stanford led 5-3 going into the bottom of the eighth inning before Brandon Averill tied the game with a two-run homer to straight away center field off Cardinal starter Jeff Gilmore (career-high-tying 7.0 IP, 8 H, 5 R, 4 ER, 2 BB, 5 SO), who tossed 4.0 scoreless innings before being touched for five runs over his final 3.0 frames and picking up no-decision. Mike Svetlic had walked to lead off the inning, making Averill the potential tying run when he stepped to the plate.
Svetlic (2-3, 2B) and Ryan McCarthy (2-4, RBI) had two hits each for the Bruins, while Averill drove in a pair of runs with his eighth inning homer.
Donny Lucy (2-4, HR, RBI) homered for the Cardinal, while John Mayberry, Jr. (2-3, 2B, 2 RBI), Jonny Ash (2-3) and Brian Hall (2-4, RBI, SB) also had two hits each. Hall extended his hit streak to a new career-high 12 games, while Ash's hit streak now stands at nine.
UCLA used five relievers in the contest to finish up the game for starter Wes Whisler (5.0 IP, 7 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 3 BB, 2 SO). Kyle Wilson (1.0 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 SO) pitched the sixth inning before Brian Schroeder (1.0 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 SO), Brent Rustich (0.2 IP, 1 H, 1 SO), Daniel Reid (0.1 IP, 1 SO) and Brophy (1.0 IP, 1 BB, 1 SO).
Stanford jumped out to an early 1-0 lead in the top of the first inning. Ash singled up the middle to the start the rally and moved to third when a fly ball by Jed Lowrie down the right field line was misplayed by Bruin rightfielder Matt Thayer and fell in for a hit. Mayberry brought Ash home with a sacrifice fly to left.
Stanford added two more runs in the fourth to increase its lead to 3-0. Danny Putnam walked with one out to start the rally before a shallow fly ball by Lucy dropped in front of Bruin centerfielder Jarrad Page for a hit and moved Putnam to second. Hall then singled home Putnam when he fought off an inside 3-2 pitch with the runners going for a single through the right side and Lucy scored on an RBI groundout from Ryan Seawell for the second run.
UCLA got on the scoreboard in the bottom of the fifth inning when a two-out RBI single by Chris Denove scored Thayer after he had drawn a one-out walk, moved to second on a ground out by Anthony Norman and third on a wild pitch.
Stanford got the run back in the sixth when Lucy greeted Wilson with his fourth homer of the season, a long drive over the wall in leftcenter field.
UCLA cut the gap to 4-3 with a pair of runs after two outs in a wild bottom of the sixth inning that included the ejection of UCLA head coach Gary Adams. Svetlic started the rally with a one-out double and McCarthy came through with a clutch two-out RBI single through the left side of the infield to plate Svetlic. McCarthy moved up to second base when Putnam attempted to throw Svetlic out at the plate from left field on the play. McMillan then hit a line drive down the first base line that Mayberry was able to smother but had trouble recovering, allowing McMillan to leg out an infield single. Mayberry made a late attempt to get McMillan at first base on the play but his throw bounced off the glove of Gilmore covering the bag for an error on the Cardinal pitcher, allowing McCarthy to score an unearned run.
Stanford again responded by scoring a run in the seventh to help temporarily quell the Bruin momentum and go ahead 5-3 when Mayberry hit a two-out RBI double to the rightcenter field gap to score Sam Fuld, who had led off the inning with a single.
Despite Sunday's loss, the Cardinal has still won 26 of its last 29 true road games and has a 46-8 record in its last 54 contests overall dating back to last season. The two wins in three games at UCLA also ran Stanford's series win streak to 12, its Pac-10 opening series win streak to eight and its series win streak over UCLA to seven. Stanford has also won 20 of its last 21 series overall.
Ash finished the series with a .583 batting average, going 7-for-12 with a pair of homers and five RBI, moving post Lowrie (.388) for the team's batting average lead with a .391 mark. Ash reached base in seven consecutive at bats at one point, spanning the last four at bats of Saturday's game and the first three of Sunday's contest.
Fuld continued to climb several Stanford career lists and is now second in runs scored (239), third in hits (319) and at bats (932), tied for third in triples (16), seventh in doubles (57), and tenth in games played (227).
Stanford left nine runners on base, while the Bruins stranded six.
UCLA recorded all three of the double plays in the game and played its first errorless contest of the series, while the Cardinal committed two miscues.
Stanford did outhit the Bruins, 12-9, as eight of its nine starters had at least one hit to record its 20th double-digit contest of the year.
Stanford will continue its current seven-game road trip with a three-game series at Oregon State next Thursday-Saturday, April 8-10 (5 pm, 5 pm, 1 pm, PT) before taking Sunday off for the Easter holiday.
The Cardinal next returns to Sunken Diamond for a six-game homestand that begins with a non-conference contest versus Santa Clara on Tuesday, April 13 (6 pm, PT), before continuing with a three-game Pac-10 home series against California (Friday-Sunday, April 16-18, 6 pm, 1 pm, 1 pm, PT), as well as single contests versus Saint Mary's (Tuesday, April 20, 6 pm, PT) and Sacramento State (Friday, April 23, 6 pm, PT) the following week. The first game of the California series will be televised on a tape-delayed basis by Fox Sports Net and shown on Saturday, April 17 (3 pm, PT).
Tickets are available for all 2004 regular season Stanford Baseball home games online at gostanford.com or by calling 1-800-STANFORD.