Hester's grand slam gives Stanford edge over Texas
AUSTIN -- John Hester's grand slam put Stanford ahead for good in the second inning, and the Cardinal withstood a Texas comeback for a 12-8 victory in the Austin Regional on Saturday.
Stanford's win pushed the defending champion Longhorns (41-20) to the brink of elimination on their home field. They play North Carolina State on Sunday, and the winner of that game will have to beat Stanford twice to advance to a super regional next weekend. If Stanford loses Sunday's second game, a winner-take-all finale will be Monday.
The Cardinal (32-25) went ahead 4-3 on Hester's slam and led 9-4 in the seventh when the Longhorns scored four runs, keyed by Drew Stubbs' two-run double.
Stanford rebuilt its cushion with run-scoring singles by Jason Castro, Randy Molina and Jim Rapoport in the eighth, and reliever Erik Davis threw 2 1/3 hitless innings for his third save.
Michael Taylor, Chris Lewis and Castro each went 3-for-4 with three runs for Stanford, while Carson Kainer matched Hester with two hits and four RBIs for Texas.
Nolan Gallagher (5-4) won despite allowing six earned runs and seven hits in 6 2/3 innings.
Texas starter Kyle McCulloch (8-5) gave up nine hits and nine runs _ six earned _ in four innings, and reliever Randy Boone couldn't keep the Longhorns close late. He allowed three hits and three earned runs in just two-thirds of an inning.
Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press