Ratliff's Grand Slam Helps Send Stanford To Super Regional With 9-7 Win Over Pepperdine

June 2, 2008

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    STANFORD, Calif. - Sean Ratliff's grand slam, his 20th home run of the season, capped off a six-run fifth inning that provided the Stanford baseball team the boost it needed to pull ahead of Pepperdine and hold it together for a 9-7 victory Monday over the Waves (38-21). The win sends the Cardinal (37-22-2) to the program's seventh Super Regional appearance next weekend, where it will face the winner of Monday night's Fullerton Regional final between UCLA and CS Fullerton. The scenario involving the location of next weekend's Super Regional will be announced by the NCAA Monday night at 8 p.m. PT.

    The Cardinal battled back after the Waves posted four runs in the first inning, trading runs with Pepperdine in the third and fourth innings until striking with the decisive blow in the fifth.

    Ratliff went 3-for-4 with two home runs and five RBI in the game, and following the contest was named the regional's Most Outstanding Player, batting .444 (8-for-18) with two doubles, two homers, and eight RBI over Stanford's five games.

    Drew Storen picked up his second win of the weekend, and his fourth of the year, pitching four innings of effective relief in which he allowed just two runs on three hits while striking out a pair of batters. Austin Yount earned his first save of the season by closing out the final two and a third innings without giving up a hit and striking out a batter.

    Jake Schlander had a pair of hits and scored twice, while Jason Castro led five Cardinal players who had one hit apiece with his two-run double in the pivotal fifth inning.

    The Waves jumped on Cardinal starter Erik Davis right away Monday. Davis struck out Pepperdine's leadoff batter, but David Harris doubled to left-center, then scored on Matt Aidem's double to right for the first score of the game. Ryan Heroy was hit by a pitch, setting things up for Chase d'Arnaud's three-run job to left that gave Pepperdine the early 4-0 lead.

    d'Arnaud swung the hot bat for the Waves Monday, going 3-for-3 with two homers, a double, and four RBI. Brown and Bryce Mendonca each had two hits for Pepperdine, as well.

    The Cardinal got one of those runs back in the third inning, as Cord Phelps doubled to right with two away, then came across on Toby Gerhart's big two-out single to left. But the Waves would re-assert the four-run lead in their half of the third, as d'Arnaud doubled with one out and was driven in by Nate Simon's double to right-center.

    After getting the next batter to ground out to second, Davis was lifted from the game, with Storen coming on in relief. Davis gave up five runs on seven hits over two and two-thirds innings of work.

    The teams traded runs once more in the fourth, as Ratliff's solo shot got Stanford back to within three at 5-2, but Pepperdine answered back once more, with Brown doubling to lead things off, moving to third on Mendonca's sacrifice bunt, then coming across thanks to a sacrifice fly to center from Harris.

    Yet when Stanford answered this latest challenge, it did so in a big way. Walks to Schlander and Phelps put two on to start the inning. After the walk to Schlander, Pepperdine starter Robert Dickmann was relieved by Scott Alexander. After getting Gerhart to fly out, Alexander saw his first pitch to Castro laced into the left-center field gap for a two-run double that cut the deficit in half at 6-4.

    Brent Milleville was hit by a pitch, and after a wild pitch on the first offering to Randy Molina that moved Castro and Milleville up a bag, Alexander was replaced by Tyler Hess. Molina drew a base on balls from Hess to load the bases with Ratliff due up.

    Hess quickly got ahead 0-2 on Ratliff, but the Cardinal slugger pounced on a mistake from the Pepperdine hurler, hitting a towering drive to right-center that carried all the way over the wall as the Klein Field at Sunken Diamond crowd went berserk. His 20th home run of the season put the Cardinal up 8-6 as momentum swung fully over to the Stanford side.

    Hess would take the loss for the Waves as a result of the grand slam, giving up two of those runs, and surrendering two hits over an inning and two thirds. Dickmann gave up three runs and five hits over four-plus innings, and Alexander was charged with three runs in just one-third of an inning.

    Storen continued his fine relief work over the next three innings, allowing just a walk in the fifth and a single in the sixth, before d'Arnaud's second home run of the game, a solo shot with two out in the seventh that cut the Cardinal lead to one at 8-7, prompted the move to bring in Yount.

    Yount immediately got Simon to ground back to him for the inning's final out, and the Stanford offense gave him an insurance run to work with in its half of the eighth. Schlander singled to lead things off, and despite the next two batters making outs, Castro drew a two-out walk, and Milleville came through with an RBI single to right to give the Cardinal the 9-7 lead.

    Yount took it in from there, facing only seven batters the rest of the way as only a one-out walk to Trent Diedrich interrupted his stretch. The right-hander would retire the side in order in the ninth to clinch Stanford's berth in next weekend's Super Regional round.

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