Stanford Cruises Past Baseball In NCAA Regional Opener, 9-2.

Junior outfielder Mike Hughes collected two hits and two RBI for UIC on Friday night.
Junior outfielder Mike Hughes collected two hits and two RBI for UIC on Friday night.

May 30, 2003

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Palo Alto, Calif. - The Stanford Cardinal stepped on the collective necks of the UIC baseball team and would not let the Flames up for air as they tallied four runs in the bottom of the first inning and did not let up en route to the 9-2 NCAA Regional victory at Sunken Diamond on Friday Night.

"I'm disappointed that not only did we not win, but we didn't play the way that we are capable of," UIC head coach Mike Dee said. "We had a tough first inning, but obviously Stanford is a very, very good club, and I think we learned some things today."

UIC drops to 39-17 on the season and moves to the losers bracket. The Flames will square off with Richmond at 1:00 p.m. (CST) on Saturday afternoon. Stanford improves to 42-15 on the campaign and will take on UC-Riverside at 5:00 p.m. (CST).

Sophomore second baseman Bryan Russo and junior right fielder Mike Hughes led the way offensively for the Flames on Friday, as they each connected for two hits. Hughes accounted for all of the Flames' runs with a two-run double in the top of the second inning.

Stanford right fielder Carlos Quentin paced the Cardinal offensive attack as he went 3-for-4 with a solo homer and two runs scored.

Sophomore Ryan Gehring (8-5) took the loss for the Flames in his shortest outing of the season, as the Burlington, Wis., native allowed six runs, five earned, and seven hits in 2.2 innings of work.

"I just didn't execute the way I wanted to," Gehring said. "I went out there with the simple plan of throwing strikes and keeping the ball down.

"I got away from that game plan, trying to be too fine and I stopped being relaxed the way I should have been."

UIC hit Stanford starter Ryan McCally (6-2) hard, but the Flames were unable to come up with the big hit as they left ten runners on base, nine of which were stranded in scoring position. McCally earned the victory for the Cardinal, tossing a complete-game, eight-hitter, while striking out 10 batters.



Stanford made the most of their opportunities in the bottom half of the first inning as center fielder Sam Fuld drew a leadoff walk and moved over to third on a single by Quentin. Gehring then committed a balk, which allowed Fuld to score and pushed Quentin over to second base, giving Stanford the 1-0 advantage.

Cardinal catcher Ryan Garko then plated Quentin with a RBI single to extend Stanford's lead to 2-0. Stanford designated hitter Donny Lucy continued the offensive attack with an RBI double and scored on a RBI single by second baseman Jed Lowrie to give the Cardinal the 4-0 lead after one inning.

UIC, however, did not go away quietly as Russo reached base on a one-out infield single. The Davie, Fla., native moved over to third as Stanford shortstop Tobin Swope was unable to handle junior third baseman Nelson Gord's line-shot for a two-base error.

Hughes, stepped to the plate and cut Stanford's lead in half with a two-run double, scoring both Russo and Gord, as the Cardinal took a 4-2 lead into the bottom of the second inning.

Stanford first baseman Brian Hall quickly put an end to that as he connected for a two-out solo homer that bounced off of the left field fence and over the wall, to put the Cardinal ahead, 5-2.

The Cardinal added an unearned run in the bottom of the third as Ryan was unable to convert his backhand attempt of a Danny Putnam ground ball, allowing the sophomore left fielder to reach base. Putnam moved over to third base on a Lowrie single and scored on a sacrifice fly by Ash, extending Stanford's lead to 6-2.

Stanford tacked on an insurance run in the bottom of the seventh as Quentin unleashed a mammoth solo homer off of UIC reliever Charlie Hahn, to put the Cardinal ahead, 7-2.

The Cardinal added two more runs in the bottom of the eighth inning on sacrifice flies from both Garko and Putnam.