Stanford Suffers Heartbreaking 2-1 Loss To No. 20 USC

March 10, 2007

Box Score

Stanford, Calif. - Jeremy Bleich carried a three-hit shutout through eight innings but No. 20 USC (15-8) rallied for two runs in the top of the ninth to hand Stanford (10-8) a heartbreaking 2-1 non-conference loss on beautiful Saturday afternoon at Sunken Diamond. Hector Estrella's two-out RBI single through the right side scored Lucas Duda with the game-winning run.

Duda had tied the game at 1-1 earlier in the inning when he singled home pinch-runner Spencer Pabst. Paul Koss retired the Cardinal in order in the bottom of the ninth and struck pinch-hitter Randy Molina for the final out to notch his 10th save of the season and the 30th of his career.

USC reliever Kevin Couture (2-0) earned the victory after limiting the damage in the Cardinal seventh after Adam Gaylord had singled home Cord Phelps for the first run of the game. Couture retired all five batters he faced with a pair of strikeouts, getting the two batters he faced in the seventh to leave a pair of Stanford runners stranded and setting down the Cardinal in order in the eighth. USC starter Brad Boxberger (6.1 IP, 6 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 1 SO) was also effective and had a shutout of his own until Gaylord's run-scoring hit.

Duda (3-4, 2B, RBI, SB) had half of USC's six hits, while Sean Ratliff (2-4, 2B, SB) was the only Stanford player with more than one of the six Cardinal hits.

Bleich (8.2 IP, 6 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 4 BB, 3 SO) was charged with the loss in the longest outing of his career.

Stanford and USC conclude the three-game series on Sunday (1 pm, PT). The Trojans have named LHP Tommy Milone (2-2, 5.74) as their probable starter for Sunday's series finale, while the Cardinal has yet to announce a starter.

A full recap will follow.

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