No. 2 Stanford Takes Outright Pac-10 Title With 10-3 Win Over No. 16 Arizona State

May 29, 2004

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    Stanford, Calif. - No. 2 Stanford (44-11, 16-7 Pac-10) won its second straight outright Pac-10 title and secured the conference's automatic berth to the 2004 NCAA Division I Baseball Championship with a 10-3 victory over No. 16 Arizona State (39-16, 12-11 Pac-10) on Saturday at Sunken Diamond. Chris Minaker (2-4, HR, 2 RBI), Jonny Ash (2-5, HR, 2 RBI) and John Mayberry, Jr. (1-4, HR, 3 RBI) all homered for the Cardinal, while Brian Hall was 3-for-4. Jeff Gilmore (9-2) earned the victory, allowing just three runs on six hits and two walks with six strikeouts over the first 7.0 innings.

    'It's everybody's goal when you start the season to win the Pac-10 title,' said Stanford head coach Mark Marquess. 'It's a very difficult feat to accomplish because this conference is so strong. For us to win it says we played well. We worked hard to get this, and I'm really proud of the team.'

    Stanford's 44 victories are the second-highest regular season total in school history. The 1990 club that won a school-record 59 games overall, finished the regular season with a 52-11 mark in 63 games.

    'Overall, it has been a great year, and we certainly earned the Pac-10 title,' added fourth-year senior Sam Fuld. 'We do have bigger and better goals, but this is the icing on our regular season.'

    Danny Putnam (2-5, 3B, 2 RBI) extended his career-high hit streak to 15 games and has now hit safely in 27 of his last 28 contests, while posting his 30th multiple-hit game of the season. Jed Lowrie ran his hit streak to nine games with a second inning double and kept his batting average (.407) above the .400 mark, while Putnam (.393) and Ash (.388) stayed within striking distance.

    'We pitched well and got some big hits today,' added Marquess. 'But, the key was the pitching of Jeff Gilmore, especially on a hot and windy day like today that was conducive to offense.'

    'Winning the Pac-10 lets us know where we are in terms of a national level of play,' said Gilmore. 'The Pac-10 is a great conference and if you can win it, you can establish yourself as one of the best teams (in the nation).'

    Gilmore set the Sun Devils down in order in the first, third and fifth innings. He allowed just a pair of runs in the second inning and a third run that was credited to him was when he threw two balls to Joe Persichina to open the eighth before being removed in favor of Kodiak Quick (2.0 IP, 2 BB, 1 SO). Quick threw two more balls to Persichina as the free pass was credited to Gilmore. Persichina eventually came around to score by moving to second base when Quick walked Travis Buck, going to third on a groundout from Jeff Larish and scoring on a sacrifice fly by Josh Asanovich.

    Asanovich (2-3, RBI) was the only Arizona State player with more than one hit.

    Stanford scored nine of its 10 runs in the game after two were out.

    Stanford struck first with a single run in the bottom of the first inning when Lowrie drew a two-out walk and scored on a Putnam triple off the center field fence.

    Arizona State answered with a pair of runs in the top of the second to take a short-lived 2-1 advantage. Larish led off the frame with a double down the right field line and Asanovich singled to put Sun Devil runners on first and third with no outs. Gilmore then struck out Colin Curtis for the first out before Larish scored on Tuffy Gosewisch's sacrifice fly. Zechry Zinicola capped the rally with a two-out RBI double in the rightcenter field gap to plate Asanovich.

    Stanford came back with four runs of its own in the bottom of the second on a pair of two-out, two-run blasts by Minaker and Ash. Hall singled to lead off the inning and stole second base with two outs before Minaker hit a ball off the scoreboard over the left field wall to put the Cardinal back in front, 3-2. Fuld kept the inning going by drawing a two-out walk and Ash followed with his two-run shot over the right field wall.

    The Cardinal added to its lead with four more runs in the bottom of the fourth, the final three coming on Mayberry's 14th homer of the season over the left field fence. Minaker started the rally with a leadoff single and Lowrie drew a two-out walk to keep the inning alive. Putnam then singled home Minaker and set the table for Mayberry.

    Stanford scored its final run of the game in the fifth when Donny Lucy led off with a double, moved to third on a wild pitch and scored on Chris Carter's sacrifice fly.

    Arizona State starter Jason Urquidez (2.1 IP, 6 H, 5 R, 5 ER, 2 BB, 1 SO) suffered the loss to fall to 11-3. Erik Averill, the first of two Arizona State relievers, allowed five runs on five hits and one walk with two strikeouts over 3.1 innings before Pat Bresnehan (2.1 IP, 2 H, 2 BB, 2 SO) was able to hold the Cardinal scoreless the rest of the way.

    Stanford has now won 20 conference titles in school history (includes shared titles and Pac-10 Southern Division) with 12 in the last 22 seasons and two in a row.

    Stanford will honor its five seniors - Ash, Drew Ehrlich, Fuld, Hall and David O'Hagan - in a ceremony Sunday prior to its regular season finale versus Arizona State on Fan Appreciation/Senior Day (1 pm, PDT). Arizona State has announced LHP Brett Bordes (3-1, 7.56 ERA) as its starter for Sunday's regular season finale, while Stanford has not yet announced a starter.

    Tickets will be available for the regular season finale at the Sunken Diamond Will Call window, beginning two hours before the first pitch.

    The 16 regional sites for the 2004 NCAA Division I Baseball Championships will be announced live on ESPN on Sunday, May 30 (12:10 pm, PDT). The entire field for the 64-team event will be announced live on ESPN2 on Monday, May 31 (9 am, PDT). The Regionals will take place Friday-Sunday, June 4-6. Eight NCAA Super Regional sites will be announced live on ESPN during a SportsCenter broadcast on Sunday, June 6 (8 pm, PDT). The Super Regionals will be conducted from Friday-Monday, June 11-14. The games times for the 2004 College World Series will be announced on Monday, June 14 (5 pm, PDT). The College World Series takes place from Friday-Sunday, June 18-28, in Omaha, Nebraska.

    'We certainly didn't hurt ourselves with the way we've played the last two days in terms of the postseason,' said Marquess. 'I would be surprised if we don't host a Regional.'

    Stanford has made 24 previous appearances in the NCAA Division I Baseball Championships and 15 trips to the College World Series, including a current school record string of five straight CWS appearances.

    Stanford improved to 27-2 at Sunken Diamond this season with Saturday's victory and won for the 36th time in its last 38 home games overall dating back to last year. Stanford also extended its regular season three-game home series win streak to 10 and has won 24 of its last 27 regular season three-game series overall.

    The Cardinal also extended its win streak over Arizona State to four dating back to the last Sun Devil win over the Cardinal on March 22, 2003, in Tempe. In addition, the Cardinal increased its season-series win streak over the Sun Devils to four dating back to the last time Arizona State took a season-series between the teams when Arizona State won two-of-three in Tempe from March 31 - April 2, 2000.

    Fuld played in his 248th consecutive game and made his 165th straight start for the Cardinal, picking up his 351st career hit to move within 17 of all-time Stanford and Pac-10 leader John Gall (368, 1997-2000).

    Stanford's three home runs in the game increased the team's season total to 88, moving the Cardinal to within 14 long balls of the school record (102) set by the 1981 club.

    Stanford left nine runners on base, while the Sun Devils stranded seven.

    Stanford was errorless for the second straight game and the 23rd time this season to maintain its .975 fielding percentage, which is just two percentage points shy of the school record .977 mark set by the 2001 club.

    Stanford's pitching staff held an opponent to five runs or less for the 39th time this season, while its offense reached double-digits in runs for the 23rd time and double-digits in hits for the 41st occasion. Stanford also won by three or more runs for the 35th time this year and improved to 25-3 in games decided by five or more runs. In addition, the Cardinal was officially credited for its 19th comeback win after trailing 2-1 through an inning and a half.

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