No. 2 Stanford Closes Out Sweep With 16th Straight Win Over California, 8-3

April 18, 2004

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    Stanford, Calif. - No. 2 Stanford (29-5, 7-2 Pac-10) closed out a three-game sweep of California (20-23, 6-9 Pac-10) with its 16th straight win over the Golden Bears by a score of 8-3 at Sunken Diamond on Sunday. Reliever David O'Hagan (5-0) entered the game in the top of the second inning and held the Golden Bears scoreless on just one hit with five strikeouts over the next 5.1 innings to earn the victory. Jed Lowrie (2-4, HR, 2 RBI) hit his team-leading 11th homer of the year with a two-run shot in the bottom of the eighth, while Danny Putnam (2-4, RBI) and Donny Lucy (2-4, 2B) added two hits each for the Cardinal. Brian Hall extended his career-high hit streak to 19 games with a two-RBI double to cap Stanford's four-run fourth inning.

    'We've had good games with California and have been fortunate,' said Stanford head coach Mark Marquess about the series sweep and the team's long win streak over the Golden Bears. 'To get a sweep any weekend in our conference is huge.'

    Stanford's sweep was the first for any team in a Pac-10 series this season as the Cardinal increased its lead in the league race to two full games over Arizona, USC and Washington (all 5-4 Pac-10). Oregon State, UCLA and Washington State are all tied for fifth with 4-5 conference marks. Arizona State (5-7) and California (6-9) round out the league standings.

    Stanford's 29-5 overall record is the third-best in school history after 34 games, following the 1967 (29-3-2) and 1982 (29-4-1) clubs. The Cardinal's sweep of the Golden Bears was its fifth of the season and its eighth during its current 14-series win streak.

    O'Hagan entered the game in relief of Cardinal starter Blake Holler (1.2 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 3 BB, 1 SO) in the top of the second inning with runners on first and second base and two runs already across the plate on James Holder's sixth homer of the year. After walking David Weiner to load the bases, O'Hagan struck out California cleanup hitter Chris Grossman to limit the damage.

    O'Hagan retired 16 of the 19 batters he faced during his outing, allowing only a two-out walk to Justin Nelson in the third and leadoff single by Jeff Dragicevich in the sixth after his second inning walk. He retired the side in order in the fourth, fifth and seventh innings before giving way to Jeff Stimpson (2.0 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 1 SO), who pitched the final two innings to secure the victory.

    'Pitching out of the bullpen is great on a team like ours,' said O'Hagan. 'You can help the team win by pitching well at any point in the game, especially because we have such a potent offense.'

    'Our feeling is that he's one of our best pitchers, if not our best,' explained Marquess on his reason for bringing O'Hagan in with the Cardinal trailing 2-0 in the top of the second. 'If there was any stumbling at all today, we were going to go right to him.'

    Lucy extended his career-high hit streak to 11 games, while Sam Fuld had an eighth inning single to run his season-high hit streak to 10.

    Dragicevich (2-4) was the only Golden Bear with more than one hit as the Stanford outhit California, 10-6, to record its 10th straight double-digit hit game and its 27th of the season.

    California starter Matt Brown (3-3) suffered the loss, allowing four runs (three earned) on four hits and four walks with one strikeout over the first 2.2 innings. Kyle Crist (3.0 IP, 1 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 4 BB, 3 SO), Jesse Ingram (1.2 IP, 3 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 1 BB, 1 SO) and Matt Swanson (0.2 IP) also pitched for the Golden Bears, who walked nine Cardinal batters, hit another and threw three wild pitches.

    California jumped out to its first and only lead of the series when Holder followed Nelson's one-out single with his long ball in the second inning to put the Golden Bears ahead, 2-0.

    Stanford responded with its four-run fourth, beginning its 13th win from behind this season. Sam Fuld and Jonny Ash drew back-to-back walks to start the rally and Lowrie followed with a single to load the bases. Putnam reached on a fielders choice to score Fuld with the first run of the inning. The Cardinal then scored an unearned run on the next play when John Mayberry, Jr. grounded a ball to Golden Bear third baseman Matt Einspahr, who threw the ball away for an error in an attempt to throw out Ash at the plate. Putnam would up at third on the play and Mayberry advanced to second. Lucy then walked to reload the bases before Hall's two-RBI double off the outstretched of a running Weiner in deep leftcenter field scored Putnam and Mayberry. Lucy also tried to score on the play but was thrown out at the plate when Dragicevich relayed Weiner throw into Grossman behind the plate to get Lucy on a bang-bang play.

    Stanford added another run in the sixth without a hit, taking advantage of two walks, two wild pitches and a hit batsmen after two were out. Ash started the two-out rally when he was plucked by Crist and Lowrie drew a walk to chase the first Golden Bear reliever. Ingram came on in relief but uncorked a pair of wild pitches to allow Ash to score.

    In the bottom of the seventh, Lucy led off with a double, moved to third on Hall's team-leading fifth sacrifice bunt of the season and scored on a sacrifice fly from Chris Carter.

    California cut the gap to 6-3 in the eighth by scoring only the second run allowed by Stimpson in 20.2 innings over 11 appearances this season. Grossman drew a leadoff walk, moved to third on a one-out single by Dragicevich and scored on an RBI groundout by Nelson.

    Stanford scored the final two runs of the game in its half of the eighth when Fuld led off with a single and scored on Lowrie's two-run homer a pair of batters later.

    'I was looking for a ball to drive, and I got a fastball pretty much right down the middle,' said Lowrie, who hit his homer on a 3-0 pitch. 'My mentality has definitely changed compared to last year. I feel like I can take more chances this year.'

    Lowrie, in addition to leading the Cardinal with 11 homers after hitting none last season, also paces the club in nearly every other offensive category, including batting average (.397) and RBI (47).

    Stanford left 10 runners on the base, while the Golden Bears stranded eight. Both teams turned one double play as Stanford's thwarted a possible ninth inning Golden Bear rally after Einspahr had led off the inning with a single. Einspahr's third inning error was the only miscue of the game for either team as Stanford played errorless baseball for the 15th time this year to improve its season fielding percentage to .973.

    Stanford has now won 24 of its last 25 home games overall and is 15-1 at Sunken Diamond this season. The Cardinal is 52-9 overall in its last 61 contests dating back to last year.

    Fuld, who broke Stanford's career record in runs scored on Saturday, also ranks among the school's all-time leaders in hits (328, #3), triples (16, #3T), doubles (58, #6T) and games played (234, #7).

    Stanford continued its domination of opponents this year, winning by three or more runs for the 25th time this season. Stanford has more than doubled the run output of its opponents (307-146) and is averaging 9.0 runs per contest. Lowrie's homer increased the team's Pac-10 leading total to 54, more than halfway to the school record of 102 hit by the 1997 club.

    Stanford concludes a six-game homestand next week versus Saint Mary's (Tuesday, April 20, 6 pm, PDT) and Sacramento State (Friday, April 23, 6 pm, PDT). The Cardinal will also play a non-conference game at Santa Clara (Tuesday, April 27, 6 pm, PDT) before returning to Pac-10 action by hosting Washington State in a three-game series Friday-Sunday, April 30-May 2 (6 pm, 1 pm, 1 pm, PDT).

    Tickets are available for all 2004 regular season Stanford Baseball home games online at gostanford.com or by calling 1-800-STANFORD.

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