March 27, 2006
STANFORD, Calif. - Randy Molina had a key two-run double in the seventh inning and Jeremy Bleich worked 2 and 2/3 innings of solid relief as Stanford University avoided the series sweep with a 5-3 victory over Washington State University in Pacific-10 Conference play Monday afternoon at Sunken Diamond.
With the loss the Cougars fall to 20-7 on the season, 2-1 in conference play. Despite Monday's setback, WSU won its first conference series since ending the 2005 season with two wins over California. The Cougars also won a series at Stanford for the first time in school history. The Cardinal ended a four-game skid to improve to 12-9, 1-2 in the Pac-10.
The Cougars had chances throughout the contest, putting two runners on base in each of the first two innings only to come away empty. Although pounding out 13 hits, the seventh straight game the Cougars had registered double-digit hits, they stranded 10 runners on base, including the tying run in the eighth inning.
"We had chances all day and couldn't push them across early," said WSU Head Coach Donnie Marbut. "We continued to hit the ball well but just didn't get it done today."
Unlike the first two games, Stanford took the early lead with a run in the first. After a one-out walk to Jim Rapoport, the Cardinal center fielder stole second then scored on Chris Minaker's single to left. The Cardinal put runners at second and third with two outs, but Cougars starter Wayne Daman Jr. got John Hester to pop up to end the threat.
The Cardinal made it 3-0 in the fifth when Minaker's single through the left side drove home Joey August from third. After a one-out walk to Michael Taylor to load the bases, freshman Matt Way came on in relief of Daman. Way induced Randy Molina to hit into an inning-ending double play to get out of the jam. Daman had his shortest outing of the season, going 4 1/3 innings, allowing three runs on seven hits as he suffered his first loss against five victories.
WSU broke into the scoring column in the sixth as with one out and the bases loaded, Jeff Miller's sacrifice fly to right scored brother Jay Miller to cut the lead to 3-1. The Cougars cut the lead in half in the seventh when Ryan Krauser collected his seventh hit of the series, a lead off with a single to left. After being sacrificed to second, Krauser scored on Paul Gran's single to center.
That ended the day of Cardinal starter Matt Manship, who worked 7 1/3 innings, allowing two runs on nine hits with four strikeouts. Bleich came on to retire Travis Coulter and Jay Miller to get out of the inning.
In the seventh Stanford added some insurance as a pair of walks and a throwing error by Way loaded the bases with no outs. One out later, Molina lined a double to the corner in left, scoring Ryan Seawell and Rapoport.
WSU answered in the eighth with a run, but it could have been more. With runners at first and second, Jim Murphy had an infield single in the hole at short. After stopping the ball, Minaker tried to get the force out at third, but threw wide, allowing Jared Prince to score. With runners at second and third and only one out, Bleich retired Krauser on a groundout to third before Mike Gilbert lined out to right, ending the threat.
For the game Jay Miller led the offensive attack with three more hits, giving him eight in the series. Miller's final hit, a single in the ninth, gave him 271 for his career and pushed him into a tie with Jim Connor (1987-90) for third on WSU's all-time list. Miller needs two more hits to tie Shawn Stevenson (1997-2000) for second.
Krauser, Prince and Jeff Miller each added two hits in Monday's game. Way worked 2 and 2/3 innings, allowing two run on one hit with three strikeouts. Prince came on to work a perfect ninth inning for WSU.
Stanford received a strong starting effort from Manship, who worked into the seventh inning, allowing two runs on nine hits while striking out four. At the plate, August, Rapoport and Minaker each had a pair of hits.
The Cougars are next in action Thursday when they open a three-game home series against Arizona State. First pitch is set for 6 p.m.