Final Thoughts, Video & Notes From Stanford…
By CB360 Contributor Kevin Kennedy
Game 2: #1 Stanford 8 #2 Pepperdine 7
Palo Alto, CA—The Stanford Cardinal advanced to the Super Regionals with an 8-7 victory over the Pepperdine Waves Sunday night in Game 6 of the Stanford Regional.
For the second night in a row Stanford (41-16) fell behind 4-0 only to rally and score eight unanswered runs to take an 8-4 lead after the fourth. Pepperdine would pull with in a run at 8-7 by scoring three times in the seventh but would be unable to get across a tying run.
The Waves (36-23) were unable to pull off their second late inning comeback of the day and were eliminated from the NCAA Tournament. Pepperdine rallied with a six-run ninth to beat Fresno St Sunday afternoon (more on that game below).
Stanford advanced to the Super Regional’s for a second consecutive year. The Cardinal will travel to Tallahassee next weekend to take on #3 national seed Florida St.
“Obviously, in back-to-back nights, these were two fantastic college baseball games. Both teams played fantastic. For Coach (Steve) Rodriguez and Pepperdine, those are two tough games to lose,” said Stanford Head Coach Mark Marquess. “I’m just real proud of the effort we put forward. We earned it and deserved it.”
Pepperdine Head Coach Steve Rodriguez summed up the loss with his entire opening statement in the postgame press conference. “Great baseball game. I really don’t have much to say,” said the head coach.
After the Waves went up 4-0 in the opening frame of the game Stanford scored a run in the bottom of the first and two in the third to cut the deficit to 4-3.
“We could hit…If they wanted a slugfest, we were willing to go for that,” said Stanford first basemen Brian Ragira. “We were confident we could come back.”
In the fourth the Cardinal had the bases loaded with two out when reliever Aaron Brown came out of the pen to replace Mat Snider. The first batter Brown faced, right fielder Austin Wilson, singled home two runs to give the Cardinal a 5-4 lead.
Next batter, true freshman third basemen, Eric Blandino made up for an error that continued the bottom of the first when Pepperdine scored four runs by blasting a 3-run homer to left field giving the Cardinal a 8-4 lead.
“Obviously dropping that foul ball in the first cost Stephen (Piscotty) a couple of runs. I knew it was a big spot. I think the key was to not get caught up in the moment and get a good pitch to hit,” said Blandino.
“The guy crushes fastballs. He (Blandino) got one right down the middle and that’s what he does with them,” said Rodriguez.
Pepperdine would rally in the seventh off Cardinal starter Stephen Piscotty (5-2). The Waves had done nothing vs. the Stanford pitcher since the first, but second basemen Joe Sever doubled home the first run followed by an 2-RBI single by right fielder Tony Cooper cutting Stanford’s lead to 8-7.
Reliever Sahil Bloom came in after the Cooper single and pitched the final 2.2 to pick up his first save of the season.
Pepperdine but a scare into the home crowd when Waves shortstop Zach Vincej just missed a potential game tying homer that was foul down the left field line leading off the ninth.
“I was scared because the ball started to go foul and started to come back. It was close, but it was foul,” Marquess said.
“It wouldn’t have surprised me if it was fair, just because of how things were going for this team and the fight and tenacity that they’ve shown this whole week,” said Rodriguez.
The scoring started with Pepperdine picking up where they left off after their ninth inning rally a few hours earlier by scoring four in the top of the first off Piscotty. The Waves were up 1-0 when Blandino dro
pped a foul popup off the bat of left fielder Floyd Given that would have ended the inning. A couple of pitches later Given ripped a 2-RBI double making it 3-0. The Waves added another run with an RBI single by Game 1 hero DH Matt Forgatch.
“I got knocked down, but I wasn’t going to give up,” said Piscotty who allowed no runs and two hits from the second through the sixth.
“After giving up four runs in the first inning, I thought it was going to be a long night. I thought the key for us was Piscotty, obviously settling down,” said Marquess.
Stanford scored their first run in the bottom of the first with a RBI single by Piscotty. In the third the Cardinal scored on a double and sacrifice fly and pulled within 4-3.
Notes from Stanford’s win over Pepperdine…
-Stanford also rallied from a 4-0 deficit Saturday against Pepperdine to win 5-4.
-Piscotty, also one of Stanford’s top hitters, went 6.1 innings allowing seven runs, four earned on 11 hits. He was 2-for-3 at plate with an RBI and a run.
-Piscotty was the only Stanford hitter to have a multi hit game. Wilson was 1-for-5 with 2 RBI and Blandino was 1-for-3 with 4 RBI and a home run.
-For Pepperdine Cooper was 2-for-5 with 3 RBI and Given was 1-for-4 with 2 RBI. Vincej, third basemen Austin Davidson, first basemen Sam Meyer had two hit games.
-Waves starter Matt Mauer pitched 3 innings allowing three runs on three hits with five walks.
-Pepperdine used three relievers in the game, after using just three total in their first three games of the regional.
-For the regional the Cardinal were led by Ragira who went 4-for-8 with two doubles, a home run, three RBIs and four walks. Second basemen Danny Diekroeger went 5-for-12 (.416).
-Cardinal hit .300 (30-for-100) as a team during the weekend with a team ERA of 2.67.
-In their four games this weekend Pepperdine was led on offense by Cooper who was 6-for-17 (.352). Forgatch, Given, Meyer, and catcher Miles Silverstein each hit .333.
-WCC Player of the year and the Waves leading hitter second basemen Joe Sever hit .313 5-for-16 after entering the tournament batting .370. The Waves second leading hitter in the regular season Vincej hit just .200 (3-for-15) after entering the tournament with a .348 average.
-Pepperdine finished with a .289 average in their four games (40-for-138) and had a team ERA of 3.60.
-Pepperdine made the tournament for the first time since 2008 by winning the WCC Regular Season Championship and automatic bid their first conference title since 2006.
-Pepperdine made the tournament a year after going 22-34
-Since winning the National Championship in 1992 the Waves have failed to advance in the tournament. The Waves have made the NCAAs ten times since ’92.
-Their second place finish marks the fifth time in a row the Waves have finished runners-up in a regional (2004, 05, 06, 08 and 2012)
-In 2008 Pepperdine was also eliminated by Stanford in Palo Alto.
-Stanford makes back-to-back Super Regionals for the first time since making five straight from 99-03. The Cardinal were swept at North Carolina last year.
-The Cardinal is seeking their first CWS appearance since 2008 and 17th overall.
Stanford Head Coach Mark Marquess, Pitcher Stephen Piscotty, 3B Eric Blandino and 1B Brian Ragira speak after the Cardinal 8-7 win over Pepperdine to win the Stanford Regional and advance to the Super Regionals.
Pepperdine Head Coach Steve Rodriguez and DH Matt Forgatch speak after the Waves season ending 8-7 loss to Stanford. The Waves discuss the Stanford loss and their 8-5 win over Fresno St earlier in the day.
Game 1: #2 Pepperdine 8 #4 Fresno St 5
Palo Alto, CA—Pepperdine won Sunday’s first game with a dramatic come from behind 8-5 victory over Fresno St in an elimination game in the Stanford Regional. The Waves (36-22) scored six runs in the top of the ninth, including the go-ahead runs on a grand slam by DH Matt Forgatch. Fresno St (31-28) lead 5-0 after six and 5-2 going into the top of the ninth.
The first six base runners for the Waves all scored in the ninth. Fresno starting pitcher Cody Kendall began the ninth going for a complete game. Kendall allowed one run to score after Pepperdine got the first four runners on via three singles and a bases loaded walk.
Fresno St Head Coach Mike Batesole, who earlier in the ninth decided to stay with Kendall after a mound conference, pulled his starter for closer Taylor Garrison.
Garrison allowed a RBI single to LF Floyd Given cutting the Bulldogs lead to 5-2.
Forgatch became the hero of the game with his go ahead grand slam to left field. It was just his second home run of the year. The pitch before the game winner Forgatch just missed a grand slam that was foul down the left field line.
“As soon as he hit it, I yelled out “That one’s not going foul.” It brought great elation to our team,” said Waves Head Coach Steve Rodriguez.
“It was going to take something big and dramatic and it was going to take something late to beat them (Fresno) the way they’ve (Fresno) been playing,” said Batesole. “And that’s exactly how it went down.”
The Bulldogs got on the board first going up 2-0 in the bottom of the 2nd benefitting from two Pepperdine errors.
In the fifth the Bulldogs scored three more to go up 5-0 on a 3 RBI double by DH Kenneth Wise.
Pepperdine scored in the top of the seventh on back-to-back RBI singles cutting the Bulldogs lead to 5-2. The Waves rally was cut short when Kendall induced his third inning ending double play of the game.
Other notes from the Pepperdine-Fresno St game…
-Kendall (4-4) was very strong for FSU through eight innings allowing just six hits and two runs. He retired 14 straight from the second to the seventh innings.
-Kendall’s final line was eight innings, nine hits and six earned runs.
-Batesole decided to stick with his starter in the ninth even after the Waves started to rally. Kendall was below 100 pitches in the ninth (ended with 92) and the coach said Kendall had gotten ground balls all afternoon and just needed one more to stop the comeback.
-“He was doing exactly what we wanted him to do: get ground balls. We just needed one of those four-hoppers to go at somebody instead of squeaking through the infield,” said Batesole.
-Pepperdine starter Corey Miller went 5.1 innings allowing seven hits and five runs, but because of four errors (two by Miller) none of the runs were earned.
-Two Waves’ relievers pitched the final 3.2 and allowed no runs and just four hits. Michael Swanner (3-3) pitched the last 1.1 and got the win.
-Other than Forgatch Pepperdine was led at the plate by and 3B Tony Cooper who were both 3-for-4. 2B Joe Sever was 2-for-4.
-Forgatch’s grand slam was first home run by Pepperdine in the NCAAs and just the second between the four teams here this weekend.
-For Fresno St Wise was 2-for-4 with 3 RBI and a double and 3B Jake Alvarez was 3-for-5.
-In their three games this weekend Alvarez lead the team in hitting going 7-for-14. Outfielder Jordan Brink, hitting just .214 entering NCAAs, was 4-for-11 (.364) this weekend.
-Fresno hit .288 and had an ERA of 6.23 in their three games.
-Fresno St made the NCAAs after winning the WAC Tournament last weekend as the five seed. The Bulldogs went 12-4 in May to reach their second straight NCAA Tournament and their sixth in the last seven years.
-Even with the tough ending the season Fresno was proud of their run.
-“I’m very proud of this team. Amazing where they are now compared to where they were in August and compared to where they were in March. They’ve come a long long ways,” said Batesole. “We left a lot on the field in Arizona (WAC Tournament). To get here…these guys did probably more than what they should have done.”
2012 Palo Alto Regional All Tournament Team
C-Eric Smith, Stanford. 1B-Brian Ragira, Stanford. 2B Danny Diekroeger, Stanford. SS Kenny Diekroeger, Stanford. 3B-Jake Alvarez, Fresno St. OF-Anthony Checky, Michigan St. DH-Matt Forgatch, Pepperdine. Pitchers-Mark Appel, Stanford, AJ Vanegas, Stanford, and Jon Moscot, Pepperdine.
MOP: Stanford Pitcher Mark Appel