No. 1 Stanford Falls 9-3 To USC, Snapping 16-Game Home Win Streak

May 21, 2004

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    Stanford, Calif. - No. 1 Stanford (40-11, 12-7 Pac-10) had its 16-game home win streak snapped and lost just its second home game of the season, falling to USC (23-28, 9-10 Pac-10) by a score of 9-3 in the opener of a three-game Pac-10 series in front of 2572 at Sunken Diamond on Friday. The Cardinal remained just one-half game behind Pac-10 leader Washington (33-17-1, 14-8 Pac-10) despite the defeat after the Huskies lost by a score of 3-1 to UCLA on Friday. Stanford's seven Pac-10 losses are still one less than Washington, as well as third-place teams Arizona State and UCLA (both 11-8 in the Pac-10).

    'USC is a good club, and they are very capable,' said Stanford head coach Mark Marquess.

    Stanford is now 23-2 at Sunken Diamond this season and has still won 32 of its last 34 games on The Farm dating back to a nine-game home win streak to end last season.

    Ian Kennedy (7-2) picked up the victory for the Trojans, spreading out seven hits and two runs with two walks and six strikeouts over the first 6.0 innings. USC relievers Michael Friedman (0.2 IP, 1 H, 1 BB, 1 SO) and Clayton Wentworth (2.1 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 BB, 2 SO) held onto the lead for the Trojans.

    Jon Brewster (3-5, 2 2B, HR, 3 RBI) and Billy Hart (3-5, 2 RBI) led the 14-hit USC offensive attack with three hits each, while Joey Metropoulos (2-5, HR, 2 RBI) and Cyle Hankerd (2-4, 2B) picked up two hits apiece.

    Jed Lowrie (3-4, 2 RBI) and Jonny Ash (3-5, 2 2B) had three hits each for the Cardinal with Ash returning to the Stanford lineup for the first time since missing 15 games due to an injury. Sam Fuld (2-4) added two hits for Stanford, while Danny Putnam had a fifth inning single to extend his hit streak to 11 in a row. Fuld's two hits brought his career total to 347 as he moved to within 21 of all-time Stanford and Pac-10 leader John Gall (368, 1997-2000).

    'It was disappointing to lose no matter how I did individually,' said Ash. 'We had a few baserunners, but we didn't get the big hit when we needed it.'

    Stanford starter Mark Romanczuk (10-2) suffered just his second loss of the season, allowing seven runs on 10 hits and a pair of walks with four strikeouts. Jeff Stimpson (0.1 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 SO), Pete Duda (1.1 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 ER) and Mark Jecmen (1.0 IP, 2 SO) also pitched for the Cardinal.

    Stanford left 12 runners on base, stranding runners in scoring position six times and the bases loaded in the fifth. USC left seven on.

    'We couldn't stop them, and we hard time getting clutch hits when we had runners on base,' said Marquess. 'They just kept putting up runs on the board and did a good job.'

    USC jumped out to an early 3-0 lead when Brewster blasted a clutch three-run homer over the left field wall with two outs in the top of the third inning. Hart had singled to lead off the frame, moved to second on sacrifice bunt by Daniel Perales and third on a groundout by Hankerd before Michael Moon drew a two-out walk to keep the rally alive and set up Brewster's blast.

    Stanford answered with a pair of runs in the bottom of the third when Lowrie's one-out single brought home Fuld and Ash, who had singled and doubled back-to-back before him.

    USC would then score the next six runs of the contest, beginning with a run in the fourth on three consecutive singles by Metropoulos, Baron Frost and Hart. Perales made it four consecutive singles to load the bases but Romanczuk got out of the jam without any further damage by striking out Hankerd when he fouled off a two-strike squeeze attempt and retiring Moon on a fly out to Putnam in left field.

    USC came back with two more in the fifth to make the score 6-2 when Brewster doubled to lead off the inning and Metropoulous hit a long two-out homer over the left field wall three batters later.

    The Trojans added to their lead with two more runs in the seventh. Brewster again led off the inning with a double. Romanczuk then retired Jeff Clement on a fly out to Brian Hall in right field before being removed in favor of Stimpson, who was greeted by Blake Share with an RBI single to score Brewster. Stimpson struck out Metropoulous but was removed from the game after hitting Frost and giving up an RBI single to Hart that scored Sharpe.

    USC finished its scoring in the eighth when Hankerd led off with a double and scored on a two-out RBI single from Clement.

    Stanford took advantage of two USC errors to score an unearned run in the bottom of the ninth. Fuld beat out an infield single to lead off the inning before being erased on a fielders choice by Ash. Lowrie singled after he received a second chance when Brewster dropped his foul pop-up down the left field line. The Cardinal then loaded the bases when Sharpe threw high on a potential double play ball hit to the Trojan second baseman by Putnam. John Mayberry, Jr. brought home Ash with a sacrifice fly before Donny Lucy flied out to Hankerd in right field to end the game.

    The Cardinal played errorless baseball for the 21st time this season to improve its fielding percentage to .976, which is just one percentage point shy of the school record .977 mark set by the 2001 club.

    Stanford continued its struggles of late on the mound as the Cardinal has allowed nine or more runs in four of its last five and five of its last seven games.

    Offensively, Stanford has scored only eight runs in its last three games after back-to-back double-digit run contests in the first two games at Arizona (May 15-16). The Cardinal did manage 10 hits to post its 39 double-digit hit game of the campaign.

    Lowrie's three hits in the contest marked the 10th time this season that he has had three or more hits in a game as his average rose to .419. He also drove in his 64th and 65th runs of the campaign. Lowrie's .419 season batting average would currently rank third on Stanford's all-time single season list and is just 11 percentage points behind the school record of .430 set by Tom Williams in 1972.

    Stanford and USC continue their three-game series on Saturday and Sunday with start times scheduled both days for 1 pm, PDT. USC is scheduled to start RHP Bret Butler (4-3, 6.41) on Saturday, while Stanford is slated to pitch RHP Jeff Gilmore (8-2, 4.89). Neither team has announced a starting pitcher for Sunday on Stanford's annual Youth Baseball Day.

    Stanford needs to win both remaining games of the series to avoid losing three consecutive regular season three-game series for the first time since 1995 when the Cardinal lost two-of-three at Cal State Fullerton (February 3-5), versus Fresno State (February 10-12) and versus Santa Clara (February 18-20). The last time Stanford has lost three straight three-game Pac-10 series came in the final three conference series of the 1993 season when the Cardinal dropped two-of-three at Arizona State (April 30 - May 2), versus California (May 7-9) and versus UCLA (May 21-23).

    USC and Stanford have split the first four games of their 2004 season series as the Trojans are attempting to win a season series versus the Cardinal for the first time since taking all six games in 1996. Stanford has won six of the last seven season series between the clubs with the squads splitting six games in 1999.

    Stanford will conclude its 2004 regular season schedule with a three-game home series versus Arizona State (Friday-Sunday, May 28-30, 6 pm, 1 pm, 1 pm, PDT) with the Sixth Annual Town & Country Village Fireworks Show scheduled to take place after Friday's series-opener.

    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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