Stanford Battles for 6-5, 13-Inning Win at San Jose State
May 13, 2009
SAN JOSE, Calif. - In a 4 hour, 28 minute marathon that displayed the character of the 2009 Cardinal, Kellen Kiilsgaard's RBI-single in the 13th inning provided the winning margin as Stanford (26-21) defeated host San Jose State (35-18) by the score of 6-5 tonight at Municipal Stadium. The wild non-conference contest saw the two clubs combine to use 43 players, including 15 pitchers.
With the win, Stanford is now a season-high five games over .500 at 26-21. The Cardinal has won three straight games, six of its last eight contests and 11 of 16 outings, while it is 22-11 since March 25.
Kiilsgaard, who earlier had put Stanford ahead 5-4 with a two-out, RBI-single in the ninth, came through again in the 13th. Jeff Whitlow - who went 2-for-2 after entering as a defensive replacement in the ninth - doubled with one out, and moved to third on a single by Toby Gerhart. Kiilsgaard then lined a pitch from Kyle Bellows (0-1) into right field for a single that plated Whitlow and gave the Cardinal sophomore his 40th RBI of the year.
While Kiilsgaard's hit proved to be the game-winner, it was a night of many twists and turns. Extra innings was only forced after a strikeout-wild pitch scenario with two outs and nobody on allowed San Jose State to start a game-tying rally in the ninth. Stanford never would have seen the 11th; however, without Gerhart turning in perhaps the defensive play of the season. With Spartan runners at first and second and two out, Anthony Aguilera lofted a deep fly ball down the left field line. Gerhart, who was pulled way over into the left-center field gap before the pitch, raced all the way to the corner to make a leaping catch while crashing up against the wall.
While Gerhart's catch extended the game into the 11th, Kyle Thompson's second inning of relief work brought the Cardinal to the 12th. After consecutive singles gave San Jose State runners at first and second with nobody out, Thompson proceeded to retire the 3-4-5 hitters in order to preserve the tie.
Heroics on this night also belonged to senior left-hander Blake Hancock (1-0), who retired the final six batters of the game to earn his first win of the season. Hancock came on in the 12th after Thompson issued a leadoff walk, and stranded the potential winning run at second with the help of his defense. After a sacrifice moved the runner to second with one out, Craig Hertler hit a little flair into shallow right field that seemed destined for a single until Colin Walsh made a sensational diving catch. Hancock struck out Aguilera to end the threat, then retired the top of the Spartans lineup in order in the 13th to close the door on a thrilling Cardinal victory.
Any mention of stellar Stanford pitching on this night, however, also must include Michael Marshall and Drew Storen. Making his first start of the year, Marshall danced out of a pair of two-on, one-out jams in the first two frames before retiring 11 straight batters en route to 5.0-innings of three-hit, shutout ball. Storen came on in the seventh after San Jose State had already scored three runs to tie the game and had runners at the corners with one out. The Cardinal closer struck out the 3-4 hitters, and would go on to fan four over 2.2-excellent innings.
Stanford scored first tonight, taking a 1-0 lead in the fourth on a two-out, RBI-single by Brent Milleville - giving the reigning Pac-10 Player of the Week 22 RBI over his last eight games. The Cardinal took a 4-1 lead by scoring three times in the seventh. Zach Jones singled and scored on a sacrifice fly by Jake Schlander, Adam Gaylord doubled and scored on a balk, and Walsh walked before coming home on a Gerhart sacrifice fly.
By singling in the fourth inning and drawing a pair of walks, Walsh has now reached base safely via hit, walk or hit-by-pitch in 30 consecutive games.
Stanford will be right back in action Wednesday night, as the Cardinal hosts Pacific in a non-conference game. First pitch from Klein Field at Sunken Diamond is set for 5:00 p.m. PT.