No. 17 Stanford Evens Washington State Series With 7-3 Win
March 29, 2008
Stanford, Calif. - Erik Davis pitched the first complete game of his career and Sean Ratliff hit a key three-run homer in the bottom of the eighth inning to lead No. 17 Stanford to a 7-3 victory over Washington State on a pleasant Saturday afternoon at Klein Field at Sunken Diamond. The Stanford win evened the three-game series between the clubs and set up a rubber game on Sunday to decide the series.
Davis (9.0 IP, 6 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 3 BB, 8 SO) allowed two runs in the second inning and one more in the third before blanking the Cougars the rest of the way, surrendering only one hit and allowing just one runner into scoring position over the final six frames while retiring the final nine batters he faced.
'I'm obviously tired right now,' smiled Davis after the game. 'But, I was giving it everything I had out there, and I just knew my team was also going to keep working hard behind me so I had to keep working hard for them. That's what I did. I battled out there, and we came out on top.'
'Erik Davis really got stronger as the game went along today,' said Stanford head coach Mark Marquess, who won the 1296th game of his career to move to within four victories of both 1300 and No. 10 on the all-time win list for NCAA Division I coaches. 'To see a guy have a little bit of trouble early on in a game like Erik did today and then get himself corrected is really satisfying.'
Stanford led just 4-3 until Ratliff provided a cushion with his fifth homer of the season in the bottom of the eighth. Molina and Brent Milleville had started the rally with back-to-back singles off losing pitcher Jayson Miller (7.1 IP, 11 H, 6 R, 6 ER, 1 BB, 5 SO) to end the Washington State starter's outing. Ratliff then deposited a 1-2 offering from reliever Steve Kost (0.2 IP, 1 H, 1 R, 1 ER) well beyond the right field wall to break open a game that had Stanford clinging to its one-run advantage since the top of the third inning.
'That was huge for us,' said Davis. 'They were battling while they were just one run down for five innings and then to go down four on one swing of the bat is tough. Those three runs right there really put them out of the game.'
'Sean Ratliff has come up with lots of huge hits for us over the past couple of seasons and this was another one,' added Marquess.
Stanford scored first in the contest when Castro doubled with two outs in the bottom of the first and Molina followed with an RBI single.
Washington State tied the game at 1-1 when Jim Murphy led off the top of the second with his eighth homer of the year and then took a 2-1 advantage later in the frame on a clutch two-out RBI single by Shea Vucinich after Davis had a issued a one-out walk to Michael Weber and Greg Lagreid followed with a single to move him into scoring position.
Stanford bounced right back in the bottom of the second. Zach Jones reached on a one-out error by Cougar third baseman Paul Gran and Brendan Domaracki singled him to second before Jones was picked off by Miller. Jake Schlander restarted the rally with a single before back-to-back RBI singles by Phelps and Jeff Whitlow plated Domaracki and Schlander.
Washington State was able to score a run in the top of the third to cut the Stanford margin to 4-3 on a two-out RBI single by Jared Prince but would not score again. The Cougars looked to be starting a bigger inning when Davis allowed a leadoff single to John Desmarais and walked Gran to put runners on first and second with no outs but got Murphy to hit into a 6-4-3 double play that helped avoid a potential big rally.
The final six innings of the contest breezed by with the teams finishing in just two hours and 23 minutes marking the fastest game of the season for the Cardinal.
Washington State's best chance to score over the final six frames came in the sixth when Prince doubled and Weber was hit by a pitch to put Cougar runners on first and second with just one out. But Davis got Lagreid to ground into a 5-4-3 double play that ended the threat.
Prince (2-4, 2B, RBI) was the only Washington State player with more than one hit as the Cardinal doubled the Cougars' total number of knocks, 12-6.Stanford is scheduled to send RHP Jeffrey Inman (2-0, 2.04) to the mound on Sunday while the righthanded Prince (2-1, 4.91) is slated to take the hill for Washington State. Stanford needs a victory in the game to extend its current regular season three-game series win streak to eight in a row dating back to victories in the final three series of the 2007 campaign.
'Hopefully, the momentum has swung back to us for tomorrow,' offered Davis. 'Tomorrow is going to be another hard game. Let's just hope we come out on top.'