Baseball: Stanford bests San Jose State, 3-1

May 4, 2011, 3:03 a.m.

It’s been the story of the Stanford baseball season so far—win one or two over the weekend, then take the midweek game. With a 3-1 victory over the San Jose State Spartans on Tuesday night, the Cardinal stuck to the script it has followed all year.

Baseball: Stanford bests San Jose State, 3-1
Freshman first baseman Brian Ragira, above, had an RBI and a run scored in Stanford's 3-1 victory yesterday (IAN GARCIA-DOTY/The Stanford Daily).

Sophomore righthander Dean McArdle (6-2) kept the Spartans’ (30-17) bats quiet, giving up only three hits and one unearned run over 5.1 innings, while Stanford batters scattered six hits and capitalized on some mistakes from the Spartans to grab the victory.

The Cardinal (21-16, 6-9 Pac-10)  got on the board first, scoring in the fourth inning when senior catcher Zach Jones came around on a sacrifice fly from freshman first baseman Brian Ragira after Jones doubled to left.

Stanford also managed to squander a scoring opportunity later in the inning, falling short when sophomore shortstop Kenny Diekroeger and freshman right fielder Austin Wilson both walked to load the bases with two outs before senior designated hitter Ben Clowe struck out swinging.

Ragira contributed to the scoring again in the sixth inning, singling to left, stealing second base, advancing on a fielder’s choice then scoring on a wild pitch to make the score 2-0 in Stanford’s favor.

The Spartans wouldn’t go down without a fight, though, as they showed signs of life in the bottom of the sixth. McArdle was bounced from the game after he gave up his only run of the day, which came unearned after Spartan runners reached base on a single and an error to start the sixth. The 5.1 innings marked McArdle’s best outing on the mound in over a month, as he retired 11 straight batters from the second to the fifth inning.

Freshman righty A.J. Vanegas came in to relieve McArdle and allowed just one run on an RBI single from Spartan right fielder Jason Martin, which cut the lead to 2-1 through six.

The Spartans couldn’t muster any more rallies off the Cardinal pitching staff, though, as Vanegas responded with a shutdown inning in the bottom half of the seventh after Stanford had tacked on another run in the top of the inning on an RBI single from sophomore center fielder Tyler Gaffney.

Vanegas then passed the ball to Cardinal closer Chris Reed, and the left-handed junior once again threw down a dominant performance in the last two innings, striking out four of the seven batters he faced to snag his fifth save of the year.

Other than extending the Cardinal’s record to 10-1 in midweek games this year (a factor that continues to provide a huge boost to the Card’s postseason chances), the low-scoring win was important for Stanford because two players who had struggled recently—McArdle and Wilson—both had their best days at the ballpark in quite some time.

McArdle got his first win since April 3 and Wilson went 2-for-3 with a walk. McArdle lost his spot as Stanford’s Sunday starter and had given up 11 runs over just 11.1 innings of work in his last four appearances on the mound. Wilson has been in and out of the lineup while fighting his propensity to whiff at the plate: Wilson’s strikeout total had ballooned to lead the team—and the Pac-10—before he was given a few days off.

The Cardinal returns home to face another Pac-10 test this weekend, hosting a three-game set against the Washington Huskies at Sunken Diamond starting Friday night at 6 p.m.


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