Sacramento State Surprises No. 2 Stanford, 2-1
April 24, 2004
Sacramento, Calif. - Sacramento State (23-27) surprised No. 2 Stanford (31-6) with a 2-1 victory over the Cardinal in a non-conference game at Hornet Field on Saturday, snapping Stanford's seven-game win streak. Sacramento State scored the winning run in the bottom of the sixth inning when Craig Johnson drove home Ronnie Machado, Jr. with a one-out RBI single through the right side of the infield to break a 1-1 tie. Sacramento State starter Ethan Katz (7-4) tossed a complete-game four-hitter and allowed just one unearned run to pick up the victory, one day after the Cardinal pounded out a season-high 21 hits in a 15-1 victory over the same Hornets at Sunken Diamond. Stanford starter Jeff Gilmore (6-2) suffered the loss despite taking a no-hitter into the sixth inning.
Machado had drawn a leadoff walk in the sixth and moved to second on a sacrifice bunt by Jack Arroyo to set up Johnson's game-winner, which was the first hit off of Gilmore and one of only two by the Hornets in the contest. The two hits were the least allowed by Stanford in a game this season.
Stanford put the tying run in scoring position in the top of the ninth when Donny Lucy singled with one out and stole second base after two were out but Katz struck out Chris Minaker looking to end the contest.
Katz struck out seven and walked four. He twice retired seven in a row.
'Ethan Katz threw a really good game and kept us off balance,' said Stanford head coach Mark Marquess. 'We hit a few balls hard but really didn't have that much going. He just kind of shut us down. We never really had a chance for a very big inning.'
Gilmore gave up two runs (one earned) and two hits with two walks and three strikeouts over 6.0 innings.
David O'Hagan had an excellent performance for the Cardinal as the only reliever for either team, striking out three in 2.0 hitless innings of work and getting the Cardinal out of a jam in the seventh inning to keep the Hornet lead at 2-1 after a leadoff double by Brian Blauser had chased Gilmore.
Lucy extended his career-high hit streak to 13 with his ninth inning single, while Danny Putnam had a single in the fourth to run his current hit streak to a career-high-tying 10 games. Brian Hall (0-4) had his career-high 21-game hit streak snapped, while the season-high 12-game hit streak of Sam Fuld (0-3) also came to an end.
'The ride was a lot of run and hopefully I can start a new one on Tuesday,' commented Hall about the end of his hit streak. 'It is a relief in the sense that I don't have to press early in the game to get a hit like maybe I have been the last few games. Now, I can just go back to just playing well, make good contact and try to get hits. The same pressure won't be there. I was hoping it would continue as long as possible but everything has to come to an end.'
The teams combined for only six hits as no player from either team had a multiple-hit or multiple-RBI contest. Blauser's double was the only extra-base hit in the contest.
Stanford left seven runners on base in the contest, including a pair of runners in the fourth, fifth and sixth frames.
In the fourth, Putnam singled with two outs and stole second base before John Mayberry, Jr. walked but Katz struck out Lucy to end the threat.
Minaker drew a one-out walk in the fifth and Fuld was walked with two outs before a hard-hit line drive by Hall found its way into the glove of Hornet leftfielder Jim Strombach for the third out.
Stanford had its best opportunity in the sixth when Lowrie led off with a single and moved to second on a wild pitch before Mayberry was intentionally walked with one out to put runners on first and second. Lowrie and Mayberry converted a successful double steal when Katz struck Lucy out on a 3-2 pitch with the runners moving to give the Cardinal runners on second and third with two outs but Chris Carter popped out to Bret LeVier at shortstop to end the inning.
Stanford picked up its only run of the game in top of the second inning with an unearned tally when Mayberry hit a blistering one-out single over the outstretched glove of Arroyo at second base before stealing second, moving to third on a throwing error by Hornet catcher Matt Wilson on the play and scoring on a sacrifice fly from Lucy.
Sacramento State tied the game at 1-1 in the bottom of the third, also scoring an unearned run without a hit. LeVier reached on an error by Minaker at shortstop to start the frame before Gilmore walked Strombach to put Hornets on first and second with no outs. Machado then moved the runners to second and third base with a sacrifice bunt that Gilmore fielded and had a brief opportunity to throw LeVier out at third, but had a hard time getting the ball out of his glove and had to settle for retiring Machado at first. Arroyo then hit a hard RBI groundout to Minaker playing back at shortstop. Minaker bobbled the ball but recovered in time to get Arroyo at first with LeVier running on contact and trotting home.
Outstanding defensive plays by Hall and Minaker to end the fourth and fifth innings kept Gilmore's no-hitter intact until the sixth.
Stanford hit several balls hard in the contest. Hall and Lowrie sent back-to-back fly balls deep to the warning track prior to Hall's line shot to left in the fifth that ended a Cardinal threat. Putnam also hit a deep fly ball to Strombach for the first out of the inning in the sixth. A deep fly ball by Lowrie just over the fence but outside the foul pole in the eighth was pulled back into play on a leaping catch by Johnson. Carter hit a ball near the track with Lucy already aboard for the second out in the ninth.
'Ethan Katz came out and threw very well for Sacramento State,' said Hall. 'We just could never really get anything going.'
'This game shows you a lot about baseball,' added Hall. 'You have to come out ready to play and respect every opponent. I don't think we underestimated them at all. It was just one of those days where we just couldn't get anything to fall. That can happen, but that's what makes baseball fun.'
Stanford did have a season-high five stolen bases in the game as Mayberry stole a pair of bags for the first time in his career, while Lowrie, Lucy and Putnam had one each.
Both teams committed one error in the contest and neither team turned a double play. Stanford's error snapped a three-game string of errorless contests but the Cardinal was able to maintain its Pac-10-leading .974 fielding percentage. Stanford lowered its team ERA six points to 3.80 but its batting average dipped four points to .332, now .005 percentage points below the school record of .337 by the 1981 club.
The four hits by Stanford snapped a string of 12 consecutive games in which the team had double-digits in hits. Stanford is still averaging an even 9.0 runs per game and has more than doubled the run total of its opponents (333-154). The Cardinal has won 27 of its games by three or more runs and is a perfect 18-0 in games decided by five or more runs. Stanford has also scored in double digits 17 times and has reached double figures in hits on 29 occasions.
With no hits in the contest, Fuld remains at 333 for his career and 35 behind all-time Stanford and Pac-10 record holder John Gall (368, 1997-2000). He is also among the school's all-time leaders in triples (16, #3T), doubles (58, #6T) and games played (237, #7).
Stanford fell to 14-5 on the road this year, losing for the second time in its last three contests away from home.
The Cardinal (7-2 Pac-10) also saw its lead in the conference shrink by a half-game for the second consecutive day as second-place Washington (7-4 Pac-10) moved to within a game of Stanford with a 7-6 win over Arizona for its second straight victory over the Wildcats.
Stanford will conclude a stretch of four consecutive non-conference games 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.