Stanford Drops 5-2 Decision To Texas In Series-Opener
March 7, 2008
Austin, Texas - Jason Castro's two-run homer in the top of the eighth helped Stanford (6-4) avoid a shutout in a 5-2 loss to No. 16 Texas (9-2) in the opener of a three-game non-conference series before a paid attendance of 5,762 at UFCU Disch-Falk Field on a cool and windy Friday afternoon.
Austin Wood (7.2 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, career-high 8 SO) kept the Cardinal scoreless on just three hits over 7.2 innings before pinch-hitter Joey August singled with two outs in the eighth and Castro followed with his fourth homer of the season to end Wood's shutout bid. Chance Ruffin (1.1 IP, 1 H, 1 SO) came on and got the final four outs to earn his second save of the season.
'We just really didn't do much offensively today,' said Stanford head coach Mark Marquess. 'Austin Wood pitched a great game, kept us off-balance and located his fastball well.'
Ben Clowe (3-4, 2B) had the first three-hit game of his career and half of Stanford's season-low-tying six hits.
Texas only managed six hits of its own but took advantage of a pair of Cardinal errors that opened the floodgates for four unearned runs. David Hernandez (2-2) was the only Texas player with more than one hit, while Cameron Rupp drove in a pair of runs. Hernandez and Travis Tucker both scored a pair.
Stanford starter and losing pitcher Jeremy Bleich (6.0 IP, 6 H, 5 R, 1 ER, 6 BB, 4 SO) helped the Texas cause by walking a career-high six batters and committing one of Stanford's two miscues.
'We helped them a little bit today,' explained Marquess. 'And they don't usually need any help. They play pretty well. We just didn't give ourselves much of a chance with the walks and the errors.'
Texas played its typical small ball to manufacture a run in the first inning when Tucker drew a leadoff walk, advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt by Hernandez and scored when Jordan Danks blasted an RBI double to rightcenter.
The Longhorns added three unearned runs in the third to go ahead 4-0. With runners on second and third after a double by Tucker and a walk to Hernandez but with two outs, Preston Clark grounded a ball that Cardinal third baseman Zach Jones failed to come up with to allow both Tucker and Hernandez to score. Rupp gave Texas another run when he followed with an RBI single.
Texas' final run in the fifth was also unearned. Hernandez started the inning with a single before Danks laid down a bunt in an attempt to move him to second base. Bleich pounced off the mound and had a play on Hernandez at second but threw the ball into centerfield, leaving runners on first and third with no outs. Bleich then walked Clark to load the bases and forced in a run when he issued another free pass to Rupp. He was able to leave the bases loaded when he struck out Brandon Belt and retired Kyle Russell on a foul out to Jones at third to avoid further damage.
The Cardinal seemed to get off to a good start offensively when Cord Phelps doubled to rightcenter to lead off the game but Wood quickly settled down and got into a groove, allowing only two singles to Clowe and a walk to Castro after Phelps' leadoff double until the eighth.
Stanford's only serious threat between the first and the eighth innings came in the third when Clowe led off with a single, moved to second on Jake Schlander's sacrifice bunt and third when Hernandez made an error on a Phelps ground ball to the Texas shortstop. But Wood kept Clowe at third when he retired Jones on a pop-up and then struck out Sean Ratliff to end the inning.
Stanford and Texas will continue their current three-game series on Saturday (2 pm, CT/12 pm, PT) and Sunday (1 pm, CT/11 am, PT). Stanford is scheduled to go with RHP Erik Davis (1-1, 7.88) on the mound Saturday, while Texas is slated to counter with RHP Kenn Kasparek (1-1, 5.40). Texas has announced RHP Cole Green (0-0, 4.22) as its Sunday starter on the hill, while Stanford has yet to name its probable pitcher for the series finale.