Georgia's Late Two-Out Rally Sends Stanford To 4-3 Loss At College World Series
June 16, 2008
OMAHA, Neb. - Lightning didn't strike twice for the Stanford baseball team Monday night, as the Cardinal could not escape from a bases-loaded jam for the second time in the contest after successfully navigating its way through the first. Georgia got a two-out, two-run single from Matt Cerione in the bottom of the seventh inning that put the Bulldogs (43-23-1) ahead for good in its 4-3 victory over the Cardinal (40-23-2) in winner's bracket action at the College World Series in Omaha.
With the setback, the Cardinal drop into the loser's bracket to face the top-seededMiami Hurricanes in Wednesday's elimination game at 4 p.m. PT. The contest will be televised on ESPN2.
Austin Yount took just his fourth loss of the season Monday, after allowing Cerione's two-RBI single in the seventh. Yount allowed the two runs on two hits in two and a third innings of relief work, and struck out a batter.
Jeffrey Inman, Stanford's starter, tossed five and a third innings in which he gave up two runs on seven hits and struck out five batters against three walks.
Jason Castro and Joey August each had a pair of hits, accounting for four of the Cardinal's six hits in the contest. Castro's two-run homer in the third inning, his 14th of the year, gave Stanford an early 3-0 lead. August doubled and scored a run to highlight his performance, and Zach Jones tripled in three at-bats. Randy Molina also went 1-for-4 in the contest.
Yount had worked his way out of a bases-loaded jam in the sixth, having come on in relief after Inman issued a pair of one-out walks sandwiching a Massanari single. Despite walking pinch-hitter Robbie O'Bryan to force in a run, Yount bounced back to go toe-to-toe with Lyle Allen on a marathon 13-pitch at-bat in which Yount finally prevailed by getting Allen swinging on a letter-high fastball. The inning ended with Stanford still ahead, 3-2, when David Thoms lined out to Brent Milleville at first.
After Yount got two quick outs in the bottom of the seventh on a ground out and a fly out, Georgia stayed alive with a single from Gordon Beckham, who went 2-for-4 with two runs scored Monday night. Rich Poythress drew a walk to keep the inning going, and Yount faced Bryce Massanari with two out and two on.
The two battled to a full count, and when Massanari drove Yount's sixth pitch of the at-bat deep to the right-field corner, the crowd at Rosenblatt Stadium rose to follow the ball's arc, watching as the ball hit the top of the wall just inches foul.
Yet Georgia would get a stroke of fortune on the next pitch, as Yount's offering plunked Massanari to load the bases. From there, Cerione took a strike, then lined the next pitch into center that scored Beckham and Poythress with the tying and go-ahead runs.
Each team went down in order in the eighth, and Stanford came to bat in the ninth for its final crack at extending the contest, facing Bulldog closer Joshua Fields. With one out, Toby Gerhart was hit by a pitch, and Yount drew a walk to put the go-ahead run on with one out. But Fields, after being taken to a full count by pinch-hitter Colin Walsh, induced a ground ball to short for the 6-4-3 double play to end the contest and earn his 17th save of the year.
The Stanford offense struggled to add on to its lead after its big third inning. The Cardinal would fail to score in the fourth after getting two on with none out, and again in the fifth as an inning-ending double play erased a two-on, one-out situation. Stanford's last hit of the game would come on August's single up the middle with one out in the fifth. From there, the Cardinal would manage only two walks and one hit batsman against the Georgia relief trio of Stephen Dodson, winning pitcher Alex McRee, who improved to 7-1, and Fields. The trio combined to allow just one hit and three walks over the final six innings.
Montgomery would last just three innings as the Bulldog starter, surrendering three runs on five hits.
The game started well for Stanford as the Cardinal struck first for the fourth straight game since Game 1 of the Super Regional, putting up three runs in the top of the third. The inning started with Jones lifting a high fly to left, where Georgia left fielder Lyle Allen's leaping effort couldn't corral the ball, enabling Jones to zoom around to third for the triple. Jake Schlander's groundout to shortstop would bring Jones in with the game's first run in the next at-bat.
After Cord Phelps flied out to center for the second out, August doubled to right-center to keep things alive and bring Castro to the plate. The junior catcher battled his way to a 2-2 count against Bulldogs starter Nick Montgomery, then pounced on a fastball right in his wheelhouse, crushing a drive to right that Georgia right fielder Matt Olson simply turned around and watched soar into the first rows of the upper section of bleachers for the 3-0 Cardinal lead.
Georgia would get one of those runs back in its half of the fourth, as Gordon Beckham led the inning off with a base shit, then two batters later got to second thanks to a groundout to the right side by Bryce Massanari. Matt Cerione then took Inman's first offering down the left-field line for an RBI double that plated Beckham to plant the seed of the Bulldog comeback.