Stanford Walks Off With 4-3, 10-Inning Victory Over UCLA
April 9, 2009
STANFORD, Calif. - Zach Jones' RBI-fielder's choice with one out in the bottom of the 10th scored Toby Gerhart with the winning run as host Stanford (12-12, 6-4 Pac-10) rallied for a 4-3 victory over visiting UCLA (12-18, 5-5) in the opener of a three-game Pac-10 series at Klein Field at Sunken Diamond.
Stanford, which trailed 3-0 entering the bottom of the seventh, has now won three straight games and six of its last seven contests. After matching its season worst by being six games under .500 at 4-10 following a March 23 loss, the Cardinal is 8-2 in its last 10 games to reach the break-even point for the first time since it was 2-2 after a Feb. 25 defeat. Stanford is now a perfect 3-0 in extra-inning games in 2009.
With the score tied 3-3 entering the bottom of the 10th, Gerhart drew a leadoff walk against UCLA reliever Gavin Brooks (0-2). Kellen Kiilsgaard was hit by the first pitch he saw, and Min (Brian) Moon dropped down a perfect sacrifice bunt off new Bruins hurler Matt Grace to put runners at second and third with one out. With the infield playing in, Jones grounded a 2-2 pitch to UCLA third baseman Casey Haerther. Haerther dropped to a knee to field the ball, and by the time he could get to his feet, his throw to the plate was high and too late to catch the speedy Gerhart, who slid home with the game-winning run.
Jones helped ensure the game would reach extra innings with his work behind the plate. UCLA's Niko Gallego reached on a one-out single in the ninth and attempted to steal with leadoff hitter Eddie Murray at the plate, but Jones threw him out to quickly thwart any potential rally.
Immediately following the caught stealing, Stanford reliever Drew Storen fanned Murray to begin another dominating outing in which the Cardinal closer struck out all four batters that he faced. Storen (3-0) now has two wins and two saves over his last four outings, has tossed 9.1 consecutive scoreless innings over his last five appearances, and has compiled 32 strikeouts and a 1.53 ERA in 17.2 frames overall on the season.
Stanford trailed 3-0 entering the bottom of the seventh inning, and had managed just three hits off UCLA starter Gerrit Cole. However, Kiilsgaard opened the inning with an 0-2, opposite field double, and the Cardinal offense awoke. Pinch-hitter Jonathan Kaskow followed with an infield single that advanced Kiilsgaard to third, and the latter scored Stanford's first run on a balk. One out later, Brent Milleville brought home Kaskow with a booming double that one-hopped the center field wall. Adam Gaylord then chased Cole with a clutch, RBI-single up the middle that scored Milleville and tied the game 3-3.
The Cardinal comeback would not have been possible without a pair of excellent pitching performances prior to Storen. Jeffrey Inman started and worked the first 6.0 innings, establishing a season-high with seven strikeouts while allowing just three runs (two earned) on six hits. Danny Sandbrink came on to start the seventh, and proceeded to toss 2.1-innings of one-hit, shutout ball (with three strikeouts). Sandbrink has now posted a 1.53 ERA (2er, 11.1ip) over his last five outings.
UCLA scored its runs on a second-inning, RBI-groundout by Steve Rodriguez and a two-out, two-run homer by Haerther in the third. Inman endured some bad luck, however, as the second-inning run was set up by an error and the Haerther homer came immediately after Blair Dunlap struck out but reached on a wild pitch.
Stanford and UCLA will meet in game two of this series tomorrow evening, with Cardinal right-hander Jordan Pries (3-0, 3.86) opposing Bruins' right-hander Trevor Bauer (4-3, 2.72) in a matchup of impressive freshmen. First pitch from Klein Field at Sunken Diamond is set for 5:30 p.m.