Titans Edged in Super Regional Opener, 4-3
June 6, 2008
FULLERTON, CA - Stanford's Joey August finished 2-for-3 with two runs scored while Jason Castro and Sean Ratliff each slugged home runs on the night as the No. 11 Cardinal held on to defeat No. 6 Cal State Fullerton, 4-3, in front of a sold-out season-high crowd of 3,343 on Friday night at Goodwin Field.
The Titans lost a super regional contest for the first time since 2005 in falling to 41-21 overall, trailing in the best-of-three series, one game to none. Stanford improved to 38-22-2 overall and 4-0 against Fullerton this season after sweeping a three-game series in Palo Alto earlier this season.
Game two of the series will be on Saturday (June 7) at 4:30 p.m. (PDT) and will be nationally-televised on ESPN.
Jeff Kaplan (11-3) suffered the loss, pitching 6 2/3 innings and allowing all four runs on eight hits, walking three and striking out three. The Titans' bullpen kept their side in it, as Jason Dovel, Michael Morrison, and Adam Jorgenson combined to allow just one hit in 2 1/3 innings of scoreless relief.
Jeremy Bleich (3-2) earned his first win since Feb. 29 (also against Cal State Fullerton), holding Fullerton to an unearned run on three hits with five strikeouts in six innings. Drew Storen clinched his seventh save of the year, stranding the tying run on base while getting the final two outs of the game to clinch the victory.
Ratliff's home run in the sixth inning - his 21st of the season - proved to be the difference as the Titans rallied back on a two-run home run by Erik Komatsu in the eighth to make it 4-3.
After getting out of a jam in the ninth, leaving a pair on, freshman Gary Brown, who finished 2-for-4 on the night, started the rally, leading off the inning with a single to left and moving to second on a sacrifice by Joel Weeks. That brought on Storen from the bullpen, who closed out the game by getting a pair of fly balls to end the contest.
Brent Milleville got Stanford on the board in the first inning, singling home August for the 1-0 lead. That advantage moved to 3-0 in the fifth as August doubled with one out to bring up Castro, who slugged his 13th home run of the season to left centerfield.
Fullerton got one of the runs back in its half of the fifth as Brown reached on a bunt single and moved all the way to third when Bleich's pickoff throw got away from the first baseman. Weeks then singled to left to bring Brown home and close the gap to 3-1.