Top-Ranked Stanford Readies For Pac-10 Showdown Series At USC
April 17, 2001
#1 STANFORD CARDINAL (31-7, 10-2 PAC-10)
#8 USC TROJANS (26-13, 8-4 PAC-10)
Saturday, April 21, 1 pm - RHP Jeff Bruksch (8-0, 2.25) vs. RHP Rik Currier (7-1, 2.31)
Saturday, April 22, 1 pm - LHP Mike Gosling (3-0, 2.93) vs. RHP Anthony Reyes (1-2, 4.81)
The USC-Stanford game on Saturday, April 21, will be televised live on FOX Sports Net with Barry Tompkins (play-by-play) and Jerry Kindall (color analysis) calling the action ... A live audio broadcast of all four Stanford Baseball games this week will be available on KZSU (90.1 FM) as well as at www.gostanford.com and realaudio.stanford.edu ... The KZSU broadcast team includes Chad Goldberg, Joey Elger and Aaron Levine.
ESSENTIAL STANFORD BASEBALL NOTES
Stanford is the nation's top-ranked team in all three major national polls for the second week in a row ... Stanford has been the nation's No. 1 team in the Baseball America poll for six consecutive weeks ... First-place Stanford and second-place USC will square off in a key three-game series this Friday-Sunday series in Los Angeles ... Classic pitching matchups seem to be the order at least in the first two games of the series ... Stanford's Jeremy Guthrie (8-1) and USC's Mark Prior (10-1, 1.20) square off in Friday night's opener before Jeff Bruksch (8-0, 2.25) and Rik Currier (7-1, 2.31) face each other in the FOX televised contest on Saturday ... Guthrie and Bruksch have both won eight of their last nine starts ... Bruksch has given up just five earned runs in his last 62.2 innings for an 0.72 ERA over that period ... Stanford swept the Trojans in a three-game non-conference series earlier this season and won four of the six games played between the teams last year, winning two-of-three both in Los Angeles (Pac-10 games) and at Stanford (non-conference games) ... Stanford will enter the series with a 2.0 game lead on the Trojans ... Stanford has won six straight games, 17 of its last 19 and 29 of 33 ... The Cardinal is attempting to win its fifth straight Pac-10 baseball title (includes Southern Division and co-titles) ... Stanford's offense exploded for 52 runs in four victories last week (13.0 runs per game) ... Stanford has won 17 consecutive regular season series and 10 straight Pac-10 regular season series dating back to last year ... Stanford is 19-2 at Sunken Diamond this year, while posting a 12-5 road mark ... Six of Stanford's seven losses this season have been by one run as the Cardinal is 2-6 in one-run games (the other loss was a 2-run loss) ... In contrast, Stanford is a perfect 25-0 in games decided by three or more runs ... Stanford is 10-2 against ranked teams this season (according to Baseball America) ... Stanford leads the Pac-10 in both ERA (2.99) and fielding percentage (.978) ... The Cardinal has been errorless in 19 of 38 games, including three in a row and nine of the last 13 ... Stanford's team batting average currently sits at a season-high .309 ... Sam Fuld leads the team in batting average (.360) and on-base percentage (.468) while Fuld and Chris O'Riordan co-lead the team in bases on balls (20) ... O'Riordan is the club's leader in homers (8), RBI (46), stolen bases (12), hits (54) and total bases (89) ... Jason VanMeetren leads the club in doubles (12) and triples (3), while Arik VanZandt leads the team with 37 runs scored.
STANFORD TO HOST USF BEFORE VISITING #8 USC IN PAC-10 SHOWDOWN
Stanford will begin a busy week by hosting USF in a non-conference game at Sunken Diamond on Tuesday, April 17 (6 pm). The Cardinal swept the Dons in a pair of meetings last season. Stanford won the first meeting, 6-0, as Brian Sager, Jason Luker and Mike Gosling combined for a four-hit shutout at Sunken Diamond. The Cardinal picked up a 12-6 victory in the second game at San Francisco as Edmund Muth (3-6, 2B, HR, 4 RBI) highlighted Stanford's offensive attack. Stanford leads the all-time series, 45-5 and has beaten the Dons six straight times with the most recent USF victory taking place in San Francisco on February 13, 1996 (6-3 USF). Stanford will then visit USC for a Pac-10 showdown in Los Angeles this Friday-Sunday, April 20-22 (6 pm, 1 pm, 1 pm). Stanford enters the series 2.0 games ahead of the Trojans in the Pac-10 race. Stanford swept USC in a three-game non-conference series earlier this season (March 9-11). Jeremy Guthrie pitched a six-hit shutout to outduel Mark Prior and hand him his only loss this season in a 2-0 Stanford win in the opener. Stanford's offense exploded in a 15-3 win over the Trojans on Saturday. The Cardinal then came back for a dramatic 9-5, 10-inning win in Sunday's finale after being behind 5-0 after four and a half innings. Andy Topham's dramatic walk-off grandslam homer completed the comeback. Topham (4-5, 2B, HR, 6 RBI, SB) finished the day with career-highs of four hits and six RBI.
STANFORD SWEEPS GAMES AGAINST NEVADA AND OREGON STATE
Stanford won all four of its games last week to extend its winning streak to six games. The Cardinal began the week with a wild 18-13 non-conference win at Nevada last Tuesday. Arik VanZandt (4-5, 2B, HR, 3 RBI), Sam Fuld (4-5, 2B, 3 RBI) and Scott Dragicevich (4-5, 2B, 2 RBI) all set new individual career-highs with four hits. The game featured a total of 31 runs, 39 hits, nine home runs, eight errors and 16 bases on balls combined. Stanford then began a three-game sweep of Oregon State with a 4-1 victory in the series opener last Thursday. Jeremy Guthrie struck out a career-high 11 batters and limited the Beavers to five hits and one run over the first 8.0 innings. Stanford came back with an 8-1 win on Friday as Jeff Bruksch tossed his second career complete game. Bruksch scattered five hits and one run, while striking out eight and walking none. Ryan Garko (4-4, 2B, HR, 2 RBI) and Chris O'Riordan (4-4, 2B, HR, RBI) had four hits each, while Andy Topham (3-4, 2 2B, 3 RBI) picked up three. Stanford completed the sweep with a 22-5 victory on Saturday in a game that was shortened to seven innings due to a Pac-10 getaway day rule. The 22 runs were a season-high for the Cardinal as Arik VanZandt (2-4, HR, 6 RBI) and Carlos Quentin (2-3, 2B, HR, 5 RBI) both established new career-high RBI totals. Sam Fuld (4-5, 2 RBI) and Brian Hall (4-5, 2 RBI) had four hits each, while O'Riordan was 2-for-3 with a double, triple and three RBI.
STANFORD HEAD COACH MARK MARQUESS
One of the nation's premier collegiate coaches, Mark Marquess is now in his 25th season as the Stanford head coach. Marquess has a career record of 1026-505-5 (.670) at Stanford, including an impressive 421-275 (.605) mark in Pacific-10 Conference action, arguably the toughest league in the nation. The 1969 Stanford graduate has led the Cardinal to two NCAA titles (1987, `88), 10 College World Series appearances (1982, `83, `85, `87, `88, `90, `95, `97, `99, `00), 10 Pac-10 regular season titles (1983, `84, `85, `87, `90, `94, `97, `98, `99, `00) and 18 NCAA Tournament showings. Marquess became the 23rd head coach in the history of NCAA Division I baseball to reach the 1000-career win mark when the Cardinal defeated Florida State earlier this season on February 9, 2001. He began the 2001 season ranked 14th in victories and 19th in winning percentage among active Division I baseball coaches. He has been named NCAA Coach of the Year three times and has received Pacific-10 Coach of the Year honors on eight occasions, including three of the last four seasons. Marquess was named the Pac-10 Southern Division Coach of the Year seven times before being named the first Pac-10 Coach of Year in the newly aligned conference (1999). Last season, Marquess coached the Cardinal to its first trip to the College World Series title game since winning the 1988 CWS championship. His teams have won NCAA Super Regionals each of the last two seasons, as well as at least a share of a Pac-10 baseball championship (includes Southern Division championships) for a school-record four straight seasons. Nearly as eye-opening as the number of titles won by the Cardinal is the consistent level of success Marquess has brought to the program. The Cardinal has suffered just one losing season during his tenure and has finished either first or second in the prestigious Pacific-10 (formerly Six-Pac) 18 times in the last 20 seasons. Stanford has had 95 professional baseball draft picks in the past 16 seasons, including 12 first-round selections in the last 14 years. A member of the American Baseball Coaches Association Hall of Fame, Marquess was the head coach of the 1988 United States Olympic baseball team that captured the Gold Medal. Marquess was an accomplished football and baseball standout on The Farm and is a member of the Stanford Athletic Hall of Fame. He is one of only six collegiate head baseball coaches to have both played and coached in the College World Series. Marquess was the starting first baseman on Stanford's 1967 College World Series squad and played five years of minor league baseball with the Chicago White Sox organization.
COMMENTS FROM MARK MARQUESS
(On the upcoming USC series) 'This is a big series in that our two teams are in first and second place in the Pac-10 standings. Obviously, it's big, but all of the games are big. It should be a good series with first place in the conference at stake. To be successful in the series, it's really no different than any given weekend. We need to pitch well and play good defense first of all. But, both teams do that well already. I think the difference will be whichever team hits better and comes up with some clutch hitting.'
(On the state of the team's offense) 'A lot of people come around offensively at this time of the year. As the season goes on, the weather gets better, the ground gets harder and the wind blows a little bit more. It's a lot more conducive to offense the later you go in the year. Pitchers normally dominate early. They're ready to go a little sooner than the hitters. All of that is naturally, but we also have a couple of guys that like Sam Fuld and Ryan Garko who have started to swing the bat very well recently.'
(On the state of the team at the halfway point of the league season) 'I think we've surprised a lot of people, including myself. I don't think many people expected us to be in first-place halfway through the league schedule. I would still say that because of their experience that USC would be favored even though we have a two-game lead. The regular season championship is still very much up for grabs.'
STANFORD COACHING STAFF
Dean Stotz is in his 25th campaign with Stanford Baseball. Stotz was promoted to associate head coach prior to the 2000 season after 23 years as an assistant. Stotz currently coaches third base while also handling various offensive and defensive aspects of the game. Mark O'Brien (3rd season) and Tom Kunis (2nd season) complete the Cardinal coaching staff. O'Brien assists with all aspects of the game and serves as the Cardinal's first base coach. Kunis is the team's pitching coach.
STANFORD UNANIMOUS NO. 1 TEAM IN THE NATIONAL POLLS
Stanford is the unanimous No. 1 team this week in all three major national collegiate baseball polls (Baseball America, Collegiate Baseball, Baseball Weekly/ESPN) for the second consecutive week. The Cardinal has been Baseball America's top team for six consecutive weeks but moved up from No. 2 to No. 1 in the other two polls on April 9 for the first time this season. Stanford, which has now been ranked #1 at one point during each of the past five seasons, was the nation's unanimous top team in the 2000 preseason polls but did not return to that status until April 9. Stanford opened the 2001 season ranked #9 by Baseball Weekly/ESPN, #11 by Collegiate Baseball and #14 by Baseball America. USC (#8 Baseball America, #7 Collegiate Baseball, #9 Baseball Weekly/ESPN) and Arizona State (#15 Baseball America, #17 Collegiate Baseball, #14 Baseball Weekly/ESPN) are the Pac-10's other ranked clubs. The Cardinal finished the 2000 campaign ranked #2 in all three polls after opening the season at #1 before dropping out of the top spot on February 14, 2000. Stanford's poll history includes a run as the 'king of the polls' in 1998 when the Cardinal held the top spot in the Baseball America poll for the entire regular season (a record 14 consecutive weeks).
STANFORD BASEBALL HISTORY
Stanford's storied baseball program has had many highlights as the program is currently in its 108th season and has an all-time record of 2259-1437-32 (.610). Last year's trip to the College World Series championship game was only the latest chapter in the success story of Stanford Baseball. The program has produced 35 winning seasons over the last 36 campaigns (also 52 of last 54), including six consecutive years with 40 or more wins. Just a few of the highlights have included back-to-back NCAA titles (1987, 1988), 12 College World Series appearances, 18 conference titles and 21 NCAA Tournament berths. Stanford has boasted a total of 40 All-Americans who have earned a total of 47 All-American honors. Stanford has also garnered three NCAA Player of the Year choices in Jeff Austin (1998), David McCarty (1991) and Steve Dunning (1970). Other numbers for the Cardinal Baseball program include 93 all-conference players earning a total of 118 honors, 55 major league players (including seven that are currently playing Major League Baseball) and 12 first round draft picks in the last 14 years. Eight members of the 2000 Stanford Baseball team signed professional contracts following the 2000 collegiate season, including first-round draft picks Justin Wayne and Joe Borchard.
CARDINAL WINS 17TH CONSECUTIVE REGULAR SEASON SERIES
Stanford increased its regular season series winning streak to 17 by sweeping Oregon State (4/12/01 - 4/14/01). Stanford has swept seven of the series and won two-of-three in the other 10 series. The last team to beat the Cardinal in a regular season series was Arizona State when the Sun Devils won two-of-three in Tempe (3/31/00 - 4/2/00) more than a year ago. Below is a look at Stanford's 17 consecutive regular season series victories. For good measure, the Cardinal also won two-of-three games over both Alabama (5/27/00 - 5/28/00) and Nebraska (6/2/00 - 6/4/00) in last year's NCAA Regional and Super Regional.
Stanford's team batting average currently sits at a season-high .309 after the Cardinal hit .447 (63-141) while compiling a 4-0 record last week. The Cardinal exploded for 18 runs and a season-high 23 hits in an 18-13 win at Nevada last Tuesday. Stanford scored a season-best 22 runs in a 22-5 win over Oregon State last Saturday. The Cardinal, which has moved up to fourth in the Pac-10 in hitting, has now racked up 16 or more hits in four of its last five games and has been in double digit hits 20 times this season. The Cardinal is hitting .342 in 12 Pac-10 games. Sam Fuld leads the team in batting average (.360) and on base percentage (.468), while co-leading the club with 20 bases on balls. Chris O'Riordan paces the squad in homers (8), RBI (46), stolen bases (12) and hits (54), while co-leading the team in bases on balls (20) and ranking second in batting average (.351). Jason VanMeetren is the team leader in doubles (12) and triples (3), while Arik VanZandt has a team-high 37 runs scored. Jason Cooper has a team-high .667 slugging percentage. Dragicevich (.345), Cooper (.333), VanMeetren (.331), Ryan Garko (.330) and Carlos Quentin (.328) join Fuld and O'Riordan with batting averages over .300. Stanford has totaled 39 home runs, 252 RBI and 63 stolen bases for the season, compared to 19 home runs, 111 RBI and 15 stolen bases for its opponents.
The Stanford pitching staff leads the Pac-10 with a team ERA of 2.99. The last time the Cardinal finished a season with a lower ERA was when the 1973 club posted a final ERA of 2.64. Opponents are hitting only .225 off Cardinal pitching. The current starting rotation of Jeremy Guthrie (8-1, 1.64), Jeff Bruksch (8-0, 2.25) and Mike Gosling (3-0, 2.93) have combined for a 19-1 record and a 2.10 ERA. Guthrie and Bruksch have both won eight of their last nine starts with Bruksch having recorded five straight victories. Guthrie (NCBWA Pitcher of the Week, 2/13) and Bruksch (Louisville Slugger National Player of the Week, 2/26) have also both earned one national honor this year. In addition, both have been named Pac-10 Pitcher of the Week twice (Bruksch - 2/27, 4/9, Guthrie - 3/6, 3/13). Bruksch has given up just five earned runs over his last 62.2 innings for an 0.72 ERA over that period, including separate scoreless inning streaks of 19.0 and 15.0 during the period. Gosling, who started the team's season-opener at Cal Poly (1/21), has returned to the starting rotation as the club's third starter and won two consecutive Pac-10 starts. He made his first Pac-10 start last Sunday and held UCLA to only one run and three hits in 8.0 innings, giving up just four runs in 13.0 innings of work. Tim Cunningham (4-0, 3.58) had been the team's third starter for most of the season before Gosling's return. Mike Wodnicki (3-1, 4.33, 4 SV) has been the team's leader out of the bullpen with a team-high 16 appearances. John Hudgins has four saves as well but also has four of the team's seven losses. J.D. Willcox (2-0, 0.55, 1 SV) and Ryan McCally (1-1, 2.53, 2 SV) have been effective out of the bullpen as well. Jason Luker also has a win out of the bullpen. Bruksch leads the club in innings pitched (84.0 IP) while Guthrie is the strikeout leader (78 in 77.0 IP). The Cardinal staff has six shutouts and three complete games in the team's first 38 contests with Bruksch recording two and Guthrie one full performance. The staff has held its opponents to three or fewer runs in 25 games and has a current strikeout-to-walk ratio of 2.42 (298 SO, 123 BB).
Stanford's defense is currently fielding at a .978 clip that would rank as the best fielding percentage in school history, .006 percentage points above the school record of .972 reached three times between 1991-2000. Stanford played a perfect series against Oregon State, going errorless in all three games. The Cardinal has been flawless in 19 of its 38 games. Stanford was flawless for four consecutive games from March 25-31. Second baseman Chris O'Riordan leads the Pac-10 in assists (140). O'Riordan has recorded a team-high seven assists three times, while shortstop Scott Dragicevich has reached the figure twice. First baseman Arik VanZandt recorded 15 putouts in a loss at Fresno State (1/27), more than last year's season-high of 13 recorded nine times during the 2000 season. VanZandt has committed just two errors in 387 chances for a .995 fielding percentage, while part-time starting catcher Ken Tirpack (135 chances) remains flawless. The starting infield of O'Riordan, Dragicevich, VanZandt and third baseman Andy Topham has made just 16 errors between them for a fielding percentage of .981. Dragicevich had a stretch of 12 consecutive games (1/26-2/18) without an error at shortstop and only one over a 23-game period (1/26-3/23).
REGULAR STARTING PITCHING ROTATION NOW 19-1
Stanford's current regular starting pitching rotation of Jeremy Guthrie (8-1, 1.64), Jeff Bruksch (8-0, 2.25) and Mike Gosling (3-0, 2.93) has a record of 19-1 with a 2.10 ERA this season. Guthrie suffered the trio's only loss in a 6-4 defeat at the hands of UCLA (4/7). Tim Cunningham (4-0, 3.58) was the third starter for most of the season before the recent switch to Gosling. The foursome has a 23-1 record.
THREE LONG CAREER-HIGH HITTING STREAKS END
Andy Topham (15 games), Sam Fuld (13 games) and Jason VanMeetren (11 games) all saw long hitting streaks come to an end last week. VanMeetren's was the first end when he was 0-for-3 with three walks, a sacrifice fly and two RBI at Nevada (4/10). Topham's 15-game streak, the longest by a Stanford player this season, came to an end when he went 0-for-3 in the first game of the Oregon State series (4/12). Fuld's streak lasted one more day before he was 0-for-3 versus the Beavers on April 13. Stanford has had six hitting streaks of 11 or more games this season. Chris O'Riordan has the longest current streak at eight games (4/3-4/14).
One of the most notable changes in this year's Cardinal team is its success on the base paths. Stanford has 63 stolen bases in 84 attempts through its first 38 games, already surpassing its season total of 55 a year ago. The Cardinal is averaging 1.7 steals per contest, more than double the 0.8 steals per game the club averaged a year ago. Chris O'Riordan leads the club with 12 stolen bases, while Arik VanZandt and Andy Topham are tied for second with eight each. Sam Fuld and Jason VanMeetren have seven each, followed by Scott Dragicevich and Brian Hall with five. Of Stanford's 14 most prominent positions players, 13 of them have at least two stolen bases. Stanford opponents have had little success running on the Cardinal with 15 thefts in 24 attempts.
GUTHRIE SHOOTING FOR LONG-TIME SINGLE-SEASON ERA RECORD
It may seem like a long shot but Jeremy Guthrie (1.64 ERA) still has an opportunity to make a run at the school's single-season ERA mark. The best single-season ERA ever put up by a Cardinal pitcher was the 1.10 ERA by Harvey Shank in 1968.
CHRIS O'RIORDAN MOVES TO SECOND ON CAREER BATTING AVERAGE LIST
Chris O'Riordan has moved back to second on Stanford's career batting average list with a mark of .360 (128-356). O'Riordan had threatened to enter the list ahead of current leader Jack Shepard (.362, 1951-53) before a midseason slump. He dropped to as far as 10th at one point before moving back up to fifth by going 17-for-33 (.515) during his current eight-game hitting streak.
BEATING THE BEST
Stanford's 31-7 record includes a 10-2 mark against teams ranked among the nation's Top 25 in the Baseball America poll at the time the Cardinal faced them. The Cardinal has only three more games (at USC, 4/20-4/22) scheduled against teams currently ranked among BA's Top 25.
Stanford has lost six of its seven games by a single run and is 2-6 overall in one-run games this season. However, after losing its first two extra-inning games of the season, the Cardinal has won three consecutive games that advanced into extra frames.
* The Pac-10 coaches picked Stanford to finish third in their annual preseason poll. USC finished first with six first-place votes, while second-place Arizona State and Stanford picked up the other two first-place votes.
* Stanford has more than doubled its opponents scoring this season with 276 runs while opponents have crossed the plate only 125 times.
* Stanford has drawn better than 2,000 fans in seven of its last 12 home games, including a season-best 2,973 versus USC on March 11. The Cardinal has also been a big draw on the road, drawing 2,000 or more spectators for 11 of 17 road contests.