Late Home Run Sends No. 3 Stanford To 10-9 Loss At Santa Clara
April 28, 2008
SANTA CLARA, Calif. - The long ball was unfriendly to No. 3 Stanford for the second straight game Monday night, as the Santa Clara Broncos hit three home runs, including the game-winner in the eighth inning off the bat of Ryan Conan that broke a 9-9 tie, on the way to a 10-9 victory at Stephen Schott Stadium. Despite home runs of its own from Jason Castro and Cord Phelps, the Cardinal (25-14-2) could not hold on to a four-run lead in the middle of the contest, allowing the Broncos (26-16) to score six of the game's final seven runs.
Stanford continues road action Wednesday afternoon, traveling to Davis for a 2:30 p.m. contest against the UC Davis Aggies.
Castro went 3-for-5 Monday, hitting his 10th home run of the season and extending his season-best hitting streak to 10 games. Cord Phelps hit his eighth of the year and doubled while droving in four in a 2-for-5 performance at the dish.
Blake Hancock (1-1) took his first loss of the season, giving up Conan's game-winner despite a strong relief outing in which he gave up only that one hit and struck out a batter in an inning and two-thirds.
Just like last Monday, the Cardinal and Broncos engaged in a high-scoring, action-packed affair. Four runs were scored in the opening frame alone between the two teams, as Phelps fired the opening salvo in the form of a lead-off blast to right that gave Stanford the quick 1-0 lead. Santa Clara responded with a home run of their own, as Jon Karcich crushed his 10th of the year, a three-run job after the Broncos had gotten a single from Tommy Medica and a walk to Ryan Conan with two outs.
Karcich would strike again in the third, giving the Broncos their fourth run with a two-out RBI single that plated Evan LeBlanc to give SCU a 4-1 lead. Karcich would go 3-for-5 on the day with a home run and four RBI.
Stanford starter Max Fearnow's day would end after three innings, with the pitcher giving up four runs on six hits and striking out two.
The Cardinal bats would awaken in the fourth and fifth innings, as Stanford would put up seven consecutive runs to take an 8-4 lead. The rally started in the fourth, as Castro led off the frame with his long ball, a deep drive to right that cut the deficit to two at 4-2. Three straight walks to Molina, Sean Ratliff, and Austin Yount loaded the bags after Castro's home run, leading to Matt Wickswat coming on in relief of Santa Clara starter Steve Kalush.
Walsh would welcome Wickswat to the game with a drive up the middle that drove in Molina and Ratliff to tie the game.
Castro led the fifth off with a single, and was in danger of being stranded as the next two Cardinal batters made outs, despite advancing to second on Molina's groundout to third and stealing third base. But Yount drew a walk to keep things alive, allowing Walsh to drive in his third run of the game with a base hit to right-center that scored Molina.
Jake Schlander walked to load the bases, and Phelps delivered once more with a double to left-center to clear the bases and give Stanford the 8-4 lead.
Santa Clara would do some storming back of its own, though, answering right away in its half of the fifth to reclaim the lead. A walk to Conan and a single by Karcich put two on with none out, and a fielding error on a ball hit by the ensuing batter, Geoff Klein, loaded the bags for the Broncos. Nathan Faulkner's sacrifice fly scored Conan to make it 8-5, then Gabe Alcantar tied things up with a three-run shot over the left-field wall off of Cory Bannister.
The hit accounted for all three of Alcantar's RBI on the night and highlighted his 2-for-4 day at the plate.
Michael Marshall came on in relief for Stanford at this point, and got Brady Fuerst to fly out for the second out of the inning. But a walk to Matt Long, followed by Long swiping second base, set up LeBlanc's base hit through the left side that plated Long for the 9-8 Santa Clara lead.
The Cardinal would even things up at 9-9 right away, as Toby Gerhart reached on an error, and took third on the ensuing single by Castro. Two batters later, Ratliff's fly ball to center was deep enough to allow Gerhart to tag from third and cross the plate with the game-tying run.
Hancock would start the fateful eighth inning for the Cardinal. Things got off to a promising start as Hancock got Medica to ground to first, but a battle with Conan provided the game-changing hit. With a 3-1 count, Conan got a hold of Hancock's next offering, driving it deep to left for what proved to be the game-winning home run.
Mark Willinsky (2-2) gave up only one hit and struck out three over the final two innings to pick up the win for Santa Clara.