Baseball Earns Unanimous Preseason No. 1 Ranking

Jan. 16, 2002

Stanford, Calif. - Stanford has been ranked No. 1 in the Baseball Weekly/ESPN Top 25 Preseason College Coaches Poll released Wednesday, making the Cardinal the nation's unanimous top-ranked collegiate baseball team heading into the 2002 season. Stanford had earlier earned No. 1 preseason rankings from Baseball America and Collegiate Baseball. The Cardinal was also the nation's unanimous No. 1 preseason club in 1998.

Stanford will open its 2002 collegiate baseball season by hosting No. 15 Cal State Fullerton at Sunken Diamond in a three-game series February 1-3. The Cardinal, also picked by the Pac-10 coaches as the preseason conference favorite, began official team practice on Tuesday, January 15.

Stanford has finished second at the College World Series each of the last two seasons and returns all of its position starters from last year's CWS title game. The Cardinal has also earned a spot in the CWS field for each of the last three years and compiled three consecutive 50-win seasons, both for the first time in school history. This year's senior class is attempting to become the first group of Stanford players to reach Omaha for four consecutive seasons. Last season, Stanford finished 51-17 overall and 17-7 in the Pac-10 Conference.

Eight players -- Jason Cooper (Jr., OF/INF), Tim Cunningham (Jr., LHP), Sam Fuld (So., OF), Ryan Garko (Jr., C), Jeremy Guthrie (Jr., RHP), Chris O'Riordan (Sr., INF), Carlos Quentin (So., OF) and J.D. Willcox (Sr., RHP) -- have earned 2002 Preseason All-American honors from either Baseball America, Collegiate Baseball or the NCBWA. Guthrie earned First Team honors from all three groups, while O'Riordan (Collegiate Baseball, NCBWA) and Quentin (Baseball America, NCBWA) each earned a pair of First Team selections. Cooper earned First Team honors from Baseball America. All told, the Cardinal returns 16 of 20 letterwinners from a year ago.

Fuld, Guthrie and O'Riordan earned All-American honors in 2001, while Quentin was the Pac-10's Freshman of the Year and a Freshman All-American.

For the complete Baseball Weekly/ESPN Top 25 Preseason College Coaches Poll, go to usatoday.com.

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