Cardinal Take Control With Pitcher's Duel Win
June 4, 2011
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FULLERTON, CA - Stanford's Jordan Pries struck out six and allowed just two hits in 7 2/3 innings while Stephen Piscotty's third home run of the season in the sixth accounted for the only run of the game, lifting the second-seeded Cardinal to 1-0 win over top-seeded Cal State Fullerton in game four of the 2011 NCAA Baseball Regionals at Goodwin Field on Saturday night.
The Titans (41-16) fell into the loser's bracket where they will meet fourth-seeded Illinois in an elimination game rematch of their regional opener from Friday night at 4 p.m. on Sunday afternoon. A win would mean the Titans, who defeated the Fighting Illini, 10-4, on Friday, then must defeat Stanford twice to advance to the Super Regional round next weekend.
The Cardinal, who await the winner of the Fullerton-Illinois rematch on Sunday night at 8 p.m. PDT, improved to 34-20 overall and 11-4 all-time in the NCAA Tournament against Cal State Fullerton, needing just one win over the next two days to advance to the Super Regionals.
Pries (6-5) and Titans' starter Noe Ramirez (8-4) put on one of the finest pitching displays of this year's NCAA Tournament thus far, combining to allow just six combined hits and striking out 18 on the night - 12 of those by Ramirez over eight innings of work.
Pries carried a perfect game into the fifth before Nick Ramirez led off the Fullerton half of the inning with his team's first hit of the night. Now in scoring position after a sacrifice bunt, a strikeout by Pries put the Cardinal one out away from escaping the jam, and brought Greg Velazquez to the plate. The freshman lined a shot into the left field corner that appeared to be trapped under the glove of a diving Tyler Gaffney on replay, but the third base umpire ruled it a catch, ending the inning and keeping the game scoreless.
That would be a crucial moment as Stanford backed Pries' strong effort with a lone run in the sixth as Piscotty sent Noe Ramirez's first pitch over the wall in left centerfield with one out to make it 1-0.
The Titans mounted two more rallies in their final two innings as pinch-runner Austin Kingsolver stole second and moved to third on a throwing error following a Carlos Lopez single in the eighth, but was stranded when Reed entered and induced pinch-hitter Anthony Trajano into an inning-ending ground out.
Fullerton's Casey Watkins then drew a lead-off walk in the ninth as a pinch-hitter, but was erased trying to swipe second base with one out. Reed then shut the door snatching Richy Pedroza's grounder to the right of the mound and throwing on to first to end the game.
Gaffney and Piscotty combined for all of Stanford's four hits on the night with two hits apiece.
STANFORD HEAD COACH MARK MARQUESS
Opening statement: "It was obviously a great college baseball game. Both teams pitched phenomenally. Jordan Pries had a great performance. We had some opportunities early, but left four or five guys on base. We hit balls hard but right at people. Noe (Ramirez) pitched a whale of a game himself. Fortunately we got one big swing from (Stephen) Piscotty."
On beating a No. 1 seed: "I think throughout the country you see a lot of No. 1 seeds being upset. There's too much parity in college baseball now, so you got to play well to win."
On the rivalry with Cal State Fullerton: "We've had a lot of great games in regionals. Fullerton is a great program. They are tough to beat; they don't beat themselves and play a brand of baseball where they put a lot of pressure on you. When you can beat a team like that, it's a feather in your cap. They are especially tough to beat here (at Goodwin Field)."
JUNIOR PITCHER JORDAN PRIES
On his pitching performance: "You want to get out on the right foot. Luckily for me I was able to get a couple of ground balls and my defense played real well behind me. It was all about filling up the zone and keeping the ball down. But I can't say enough about the guys behind me."
SOPHOMORE LEFT FIELDER TYLER GAFFNEY
On whether he caught fifth inning fly ball by Fullerton's Greg Velazquez: "I did my best to get out there. I came in at full speed and jumped out there. I wished for the best and that was the end of the inning."
SOPHOMORE THIRD BASEMAN STEPHEN PISCOTTY
On sixth inning home run: "I put my best swing on it. In previous at bats, I was making unaggressive mistakes."
On Cal State Fullerton's Noe Ramirez: "His stuff is pretty electric. He had his changeup and slider working early. He struggled early with his command, but he's a good pitcher."
On the intensity between the two teams: "I think it was a very competitive environment. That's what you want to see - two teams fighting hard for a `W.'"
CAL STATE FULLERTON HEAD COACH Dave Serrano
Opening Statement: "That was a great baseball game. This young man (Noe), I knew coming in today, the best shot was for Noe to step up for us and he did. He gave us a chance to be successful. I think when I go back over his pitches, he might've thrown one bad pitch. I don't know if that was a bad pitch. It ended more in the middle of the plate than either one of wanted, but he had to do something and he did. What a fabulous baseball game, (Stanford Cardinal starting pitcher Jordan Pries) stepped up for them and I'm not ashamed of what Noe did for our team and he gave us a chance and they shut us down during the opportunities we had and we'll have t fight back and hopefully get another crack at them. That game was full of good pitching, high emotion and unfortunately we came out in the short end.
On umpire's disputed outfield call in the 5th: "That's baseball. Noe said after that inning that's baseball. We got the misfortune of that call. That's a judgment call. I didn't have the monitors next to me. As far as what I can see, I thought it hit the ground, in my opinion. He's the umpire, I'm the coach. His word is final. We had to live with that. We had some other opportunities, it's unfortunate. Can't blame it on the call I guess. The umpire said he clearly saw it. I told him that I know you don't feel confident on that call, and that you didn't see it well enough to make that call. He made a call on the spur of the moment, and we just came out at the wrong end."
On not bunting Ivory Thomas in the 9th: "Well, we're the visitor and the top of the order was up. I stand behind 100% when Coach Bergeron runs our offense, and we have a philosophy of being aggressive. He decided to go the aggressive card, and it didn't work out. I didn't fault that at all."
On Austin Kingsolver being thrown out at 2nd base in the 9th: "We're going to be aggressive. He picked a time he thought he was going to be pitching. They picked us at the right time and threw us out."
Coach Serrano on pitching depth: "We started the season talking about how deep we were and I just said that to the team. We're going to have a chance to show them how deep we are. We're going to go with Colin O'Connell in the first game tomorrow then we'll piece it together. We came up in the short end, but Noe was spectacular. What he did was save our bullpen. We've had to use three guys in two games. The only guys who won't be available tomorrow are Tyler Pill and Noe Ramirez, but everybody else will be fresh. Hopefully we'll get to show how deep is our bullpen. I know that there's 35 guys in the dugout who would want nothing more than another crack at Stanford, but we have a tough team in Illinois to get through first. We'll take it one pitch at a time, we can't look to Monday or tomorrow night, we could just look at the first pitch tomorrow afternoon."
Coach Serrano on playing two games tomorrow: "We'll have to get deep, we have some guys in the bullpen. Hopefully we could step up. We have to score some runs. When you get in the loser's bracket, it's about scoring runs and getting the other team stopped. We'll have to do it the hard way. We've done it before, and this definitely won't be easy. If it was easy everyone would be good."
JUNIOR RHP Noe Ramirez
On Home Run he gave up: "It was a mistake. I was trying to throw a strike, it completely missed. It started in the middle and ended middle in. They're aggressive, especially Piscotty, and he just connected."
On his performance: "It was a good outing, but we came out in the short end. This game just wasn't good enough."
On the atmosphere: "It was pretty intense. It was a little bit chippy on both sides. It was a mental game. It was a great game, a close game, they just took advantage of a mistake."