Stanford Can't Complete Late Rally, Falls 7-6 to Arizona

April 26, 2009

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STANFORD, Calif. - In a game that was close throughout, visiting Arizona (19-20, 5-13 Pac-10) held on for a 7-6 victory over Stanford (18-18, 8-10) in the rubber game of a Pac-10 weekend series. The Cardinal, which had the tying and go-ahead runs on base in both the sixth and eighth innings, lost for the fifth time in its last six conference games.

In a back-and-forth contest throughout, the defining moments came in the bottom of the eighth. After holding leads of 2-0, 3-1, 6-3 and 6-5 earlier in the game, Arizona turned a 7-5 advantage over to closer Jason Stoffel to begin the inning. Stanford immediately began a rally when Colin Walsh led off the frame with a single to reach base safely for the 19th straight game. Toby Gerhart was hit by a pitch and Kellen Kiilsgaard walked, loading the bases for Brent Milleville. The Cardinal first baseman picked up his second RBI of the game when he lofted a sacrifice fly to center field to make it a one-run game at 7-6. Ben Clowe was then hit by a pitch, re-loading the bases and bringing Zach Jones to the plate. Jones, who was already 2-for-3 on the day, swung at the first pitch and hit a scorching liner that for a moment appeared ticketed for right field, but was right at Arizona first baseman Dillon Baird for the final out of the inning.

Stoffel retired Stanford in order in the ninth, earning his conference-leading eighth save and preserving a relief win for Cory Burns (1-0), who struck out three over 2.0-shutout innings.

Arizona scored five runs in 4.1 innings off Stanford starter Jeffrey Inman (1-6), including two in the first and one in the second. After the Cardinal had rallied to tie the game 3-3 in the third, the Wildcats went ahead to stay in the fifth. Bryce Ortega led off the inning with a single and, after Bobby Coyle popped out, Stanford turned to Brian Busick to face Arizona's three-four hitters - who had already combined for three hits in four at-bats off Inman. However, Busick hit the first two batters he faced, and allowed a sacrifice fly to Brad Glenn that gave Arizona a 5-4 lead it would not relinquish.

The Wildcats added two runs in the sixth, including one on a two-out solo home run by Ortega, and a key insurance run after two were out in the eighth.

Stanford scored its first run of the game on a two-out, RBI-single by Milleville in the first. Gerhart then brought the Cardinal within 3-2 when he crushed the first pitch of the third inning into the trees beyond the left-center field wall for his fifth homer of the season. An Arizona error with two outs in the inning allowed the tying run to score.

Trailing 6-3 entering the bottom of the sixth, Stanford again staged a rally that fell just short. Each of the first three Cardinal hitters reached, while Joey August delivered an RBI-single. Gerhart's sacrifice fly brought Stanford within 6-5 but, with runners at first and second and only one out, Burns came in from the Arizona bullpen to retire Milleville and Clowe.

Stanford will continue its season-long, seven-game homestand with a pair of non-conference, midweek contests. The Cardinal will host San Francisco tomorrow night at 5:00 p.m. PT at Klein Field at Sunken Diamond, before welcoming Sacramento State to The Farm for a Wednesday, April 30 tilt.

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