No. 1 Baseball Opens 2002 Campaign By Hosting No. 15 Cal State Fullerton Friday
Jan. 28, 2002
Friday, February 1, 6 pm - RHP Wes Littleton (2-0, 7.68) vs. RHP Jeremy Guthrie (13-4, 2.82)
Saturday, February 2, 1 pm - LHP Jeff Housman (---, ---) vs. LHP Tim Cunningham (6-0, 3.62)
Sunday, February 3, 1 pm - RHP Darric Merrell (8-4, 2.95) vs. TBA
*All statistics represent final 2001 stats
A live audio broadcast of all three Stanford-Cal State Fullerton baseball games will be available on KZSU (90.1 FM) as well as online at gostanford.com and kzsu-live.stanford.edu ... Chad Goldberg and Nick Kapur will call the action.
A QUICK LOOK AT THE 2002 STANFORD CARDINAL
Stanford opens the 2002 season as the nation's unanimous No. 1 team in preseason polls by Baseball America, Baseball Weekly/ESPN and Collegiate Baseball ... The Cardinal has eight players who have earned at least one Preseason All-American honor from Baseball America, Collegiate Baseball or the NCBWA ... Stanford is attempting to qualify for the College World Series for the fourth consecutive season as the 2002 senior class is looking to become the first class of Stanford Baseball players to reach Omaha in each of its four years ... Stanford has qualified for the CWS championship game in each of the last two seasons ... Stanford is coming off three consecutive 50-win seasons for the first time in school history and has compiled a 151-48 (.759) record during the span ... Stanford returns all eight of its position starters from the 2001 CWS championship game, as well as two of its top four starting pitchers, its top relief pitcher and 16 of 20 letterwinners from last year's CWS runner-up club that finished 51-17 overall.
STANFORD BASEBALL HISTORY
Stanford's storied baseball program has had many highlights as the program enters its 109th season with an all-time record of 2279-1448-32 (.611). The Cardinal won NCAA titles in 1987 and 1988 before returning to the CWS championship game in each of the last two years. The program has had winning seasons in 36 of its last 37 campaigns (also 53 of the last 55), has recorded three straight 50-win seasons for the first time in school history (1999-2001) and reached the 40-win mark in seven consecutive campaigns (1995-2001). Just a few of the other highlights have included 13 College World Series appearances, 18 conference titles and 22 NCAA Tournament berths. Stanford has boasted a total of 43 All-Americans who have earned a total of 50 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 96 All-Conference players earning a total of 121 All-Conference honors, 57 major league players and 12 first round draft picks in the last 15 years.
STANFORD-CAL STATE FULLERTON BASEBALL HISTORY
Stanford and Cal State Fullerton will continue a long-time rivalry when the clubs meet for a season-opening three-game series this Friday-Sunday. Last year, the rivalry picked up in intensity when the clubs met twice at the College World Series. Stanford came away with a pair of hard-fought victories over the top-seeded Titans at the 2001 CWS, winning the first meeting, 5-2 in 10 innings, before outlasting the Titans, 4-1, three days later to advance to the CWS championship game. Stanford also won two-of-three games over the Titans during a three-game set early in the regular season (February 2-4) at Cal State Fullerton. The Titans won the first game, 5-4, before Stanford came back with a 9-8 win in the Saturday game and a 3-0 victory in the Sunday series finale. The Cardinal leads the all-time series between the clubs, 36-28, and swept a three-game series (5-4, 3-1, 7-3) the last time the teams played at Sunken Diamond (February 4-6, 2000).
STANFORD'S HISTORY IN SEASON OPENERS
Stanford has compiled an all-time record of 19-6 in its 25 season openers since Mark Marquess took over as head coach of the program at the beginning of the 1977 season. The Cardinal had won four straight season openers before being surprised last year at Cal Poly, 6-5 in 12 innings. This year's February 1 opener will be the latest the Cardinal has started a season since opening on February 2 in 1979. Last year's season opener on January 21 was the Cardinal's earliest start in the Mark Marquess era. Cal State Fullerton handed the Cardinal a 12-2 loss the only time the teams have met in a season opener during the Mark Marquess era. Following is a list of Stanford's season openers under Marquess.
January 21, 2001 - at Cal Poly 6, Stanford 5 (12 innings)
January 28, 2000 - Stanford 10, at Fresno State 2
January 29, 1999 - at Stanford 1, Fresno State 0
January 23, 1998 - at Stanford 15, Santa Clara 2
January 26, 1997 - at Stanford 18, Saint Mary's 6
January 26, 1996 - at Hawaii 11, Stanford 1
January 28, 1995 - at Stanford 6, Saint Mary's 0
January 28, 1994 - Cal State Fullerton 12, at Stanford 2
January 30, 1993 - at Stanford 14, Saint Mary's 2
January 29, 1992 - at Stanford 10, Santa Clara 2
January 25, 1991 - at Stanford 7, Santa Clara 3
January 26, 1990 - Stanford 6, at Santa Clara 0
January 27, 1989 - at Santa Clara 3, Stanford 2
January 31, 1988 - Santa Clara 3, at Stanford 2
January 23, 1987 - at San Jose State 2, Stanford 1
January 24, 1986 - Stanford 10, at San Jose State 6
January 29, 1985 - at Stanford 5, Saint Mary's 1
January 27, 1984 - Stanford 12, at USF 3
January 30, 1983 - Stanford 17, at USF 10
January 29, 1982 - at Stanford 6, USF 1
January 31, 1981 - at Stanford 20, UC Davis 0
January 29, 1980 - at Stanford 5, Pacific 1
February 2, 1979 - at Stanford 4, Nevada 2
February 1, 1978 - at Stanford 8, USF 1
February 4, 1977 - at Stanford 6, USF 1
A CLOSER LOOK AT LAST YEAR'S STANFORD-CAL STATE FULLERTON GAMES
Stanford 4, Cal State Fullerton 1 (June 13, 2001, CWS at Omaha, NE) - Stanford eliminated the top-seeded Titans, 4-1, as Jeremy Guthrie and Jeff Bruksch combined on a four-hitter. Brian Hall, making his first post-season start, put the Cardinal on the board with a home run in the bottom of the third inning. Andy Topham added a two-RBI single in the fourth and Ryan Garko closed out Stanford's scoring by hitting a solo homer, his second in as many games, in the sixth inning.
Cal State Fullerton...... 000 000 100 - 1 4 0Stanford................. 001 201 00X - 4 6 0
WP-Guthrie(13-4) Save-Bruksch(3) LP-Smith(11-3) T-2:34 A-20221
Cal State Fullerton - Smith, Cordero (7) and Kay. Stanford - Guthrie, Bruksch (8) and Garko.
HRs: Stanford - Hall (2nd, solo in 3rd), Garko (7th, solo in 6th).
Stanford 5, Cal State Fullerton 2 - 10 innings (June 10, 2001, CWS at Omaha, NE) - The teams were tied 1-1 through nine innings in their CWS first meeting as Stanford's Mike Gosling and Cal State Fullerton's Kirk Saarloos were locked in a classic pitching dual that featured only home runs by Cal State Fullerton's Louie Lamoure in the fifth and Stanford's Ryan Garko in the seventh before the Cardinal broke through for four runs in the top of the 10th frame. Chris O'Riordan rolled an RBI single through the right side of the infield to put the Cardinal ahead for good before three more runs scored on a two-RBI triple by Sam Fuld and a sacrifice fly from Garko in a game the Cardinal won 5-2.
Stanford................. 000 000 100 4 - 5 10 0Cal State Fullerton...... 000 010 000 1 - 2 5 0
WP-Willcox(5-0) Save-Bruksch(2) LP-Cordero(3-4) T-3:41 A-23087
Stanford - Gosling, Willcox (8), Bruksch (10) and Garko. CS Fullerton - Saarloos, Cordero (9), Nunez (10) and Kay.
HRs: CS Fullerton - Lamoure (4th, solo in 5th), Stanford - Garko (6th, solo in 7th).
Stanford 3, Cal State Fullerton 0 (February 4, 2001, at Fullerton, CA) - Jason VanMeetren and Jason Cooper hit back-to-back home runs in the sixth inning to break up a scoreless pitching dual and lead the Cardinal to a 3-0 victory. Tim Cunningham and Mike Wodnicki combined on a four-hitter as the Cardinal completed a three-game sweep.
Stanford................. 000 002 100 - 3 8 1Cal State Fullerton...... 000 000 000 - 0 4 3
WP-Cunningham(2-0) Save-Wodnicki(1) LP-Saarloos(0-2) T-2:31 A-2051
Stanford - Cunningham, Wodnicki (7) and Tirpack. CS Fullerton - Saarloos, Lovato (8) and Kay.
HRs: Stanford - VanMeetren (2nd, solo in 6th), Cooper (2nd, solo in 6th).
Stanford 9, Cal State Fullerton 8 (February 3, 2001, at Fullerton, CA) - Chris O'Riordan hit a three-RBI double with two outs in the top of the ninth inning to break a 6-6 tie and the Cardinal turned a double play with the bases loaded in the bottom of the ninth to preserve a 9-8 victory. The teams combined for 17 runs and 30 hits as O'Riordan and Jason VanMeetren each had three hits for the Cardinal.
Stanford................. 102 003 003 - 9 15 1Cal State Fullerton...... 310 020 002 - 8 15 1
WP-McCally(1-1) Save-Luker(1) LP-Cordero(1-1) T-3:17 A-1594
Stanford - Bruksch, McCally (8), Luker (9) and Garko, Tirpack (7). CS Fullerton - Waroff, Esquibel (5), Martin (6), Cordero (8) and Kay.
HRs: Stanford - Dragicevich (2nd, solo in 6th), CS Fullerton - Rouse (1st, solo in 2nd), Bacani (1st, solo in 5th).
Cal State Fullerton 5, Stanford 4 (February 2, 2001, at Fullerton, CA) - Cal State Fullerton erased a 4-2 deficit with three runs in the bottom of the ninth inning to top the Cardinal, 5-4. The winning run scored on a two-out, two-RBI single by David Bacani in the bottom of the ninth inning.
Stanford................. 100 300 000 - 4 10 3Cal State Fullerton...... 100 000 103 - 5 12 2
WP-Cordero (1-0) LP-Hudgins(0-2) T-3:40 A-2002
Stanford - Guthrie, Wodnicki (7), Hudgins (8), McCally (9) and Garko, Tirpack (8). CS Fullerton - Smith, Merrell (4), Cordero (9) and Kay.
STANFORD OPENS 2002 SEASON AS NATION'S UNANIMOUS NO. 1 TEAM
Stanford opens the 2002 season as the nation's unanimous No. 1 team after being ranked on top of preseason polls by Baseball America, Baseball Weekly/ESPN and Collegiate Baseball. The Cardinal was also ranked as the nation's unanimous preseason No. 1 team prior to the 1998 season. Stanford spent two weeks (4/9 - 4/16) last year as the nation's unanimous No. 1 team and spent six weeks as Baseball America's top team (3/12 - 4/16) before finishing the year at No. 2 in all three polls. Stanford has been ranked No. 1 at one point during each of the past six years (including 2002). Stanford's poll history includes a run as 'king of the polls' in 1998 when the team held the top spot in the Baseball America poll for the entire regular season (a record 14 consecutive weeks). Other Pac-10 teams ranked in the 2002 preseason polls include USC (No. 3 Baseball Weekly/ESPN, No. 4 Baseball America, No. 4 Collegiate Baseball), Arizona State (No. 17 Baseball Weekly/ESPN, No. 18 Baseball America, No. 20 Collegiate Baseball), Washington (No. 24 Baseball America) and California (No. 38 Collegiate Baseball).
STANFORD PICKED FIRST IN 2002 PRESEASON PAC-10 COACHES POLL
Stanford was picked first in the 2002 Preseason Pac-10 Coaches Poll, receiving seven of eight possible first place votes. The Cardinal was followed by USC, Arizona State, California, Arizona, Washington, Oregon State, UCLA and Washington State.
NO. 6 FLORIDA STATE UP NEXT FOR THE CARDINAL
Stanford will continue its difficult 2002 preseason schedule by visiting No. 6 Florida State for a three-game series Friday-Sunday, February 8-10 (6 pm, 2 pm, 1 pm, ET). The Cardinal swept the Seminoles in three games at Sunken Diamond in 2001 (February 9-11, 6-2, 5-2, 8-2). Florida State won two-of-three games the last time the teams played in Tallahassee during the 2000 season (February 11-13), winning the opener (11-4) and the series finale (13-1). The Cardinal did manage to win the middle game of the series, 8-6 in 10 innings.
EIGHT STANFORD PLAYERS EARN 2002 PRESEASON ALL-AMERICAN HONORS
Eight Stanford players -- Jason Cooper, Tim Cunningham, Sam Fuld, Ryan Garko, Jeremy Guthrie, Chris O'Riordan, Carlos Quentin and J.D. Willcox -- earned 2002 Preseason All-American honors from Baseball America, Collegiate Baseball, and/or the NCBWA. Guthrie earned First Team honors from all three groups, while O'Riordan (Collegiate Baseball, NCBWA) and Quentin (Baseball America, NCBWA) both earned a pair of First Team honors. Cooper was also selected First Team by Baseball America.
CHRIS O'RIORDAN BEGINS 2002 TIED AT TOP OF CAREER BATTING AVERAGE LIST
Chris O'Riordan begins the 2002 season tied at the top of Stanford's career batting average list with a .362 all-time mark (175-483). O'Riordan, who began his career as a walk-on and did not receive an official at bat as a freshman, hit .366 as a sophomore and .359 in his junior season. Last year, O'Riordan also earned three spots in the team's record book for single-season performances with 101 hits (No. 5), 281 at bats (No. 5) and 12 hit-by-pitches (No. 10 tied). O'Riordan led or co-led the Cardinal in a total of 16 categories (all career-highs), including home runs (12), RBI (68) and stolen bases (12).
MORE RECORD BOOK UPDATES
The Cardinal and members of its team made a significant dent in the Stanford record books in 2001. Three other individuals in addition to O'Riordan are currently in the school's career record book. Tim Cunningham ranks seventh on the all-time won-loss percentage list (11-2, .846), while Dan Rich (10.08, 2nd) and John Hudgins (9.71, 7th) both rank among the school's all-time leaders in strikeouts per nine innings. Other record book entries from last year's team came on the school's single-season lists. The 2002 club set a pair of new defensive records, smashing the old team fielding percentage record with a mark of .977 and turning 65 double plays. The club also set a new school single-season save record with 23. The team's 51 wins ranked third all-time, while its 68 games played, 139 doubles and 749 assists were tied for fourth. The club finished fourth all-time in batting average (.313), putouts (1822), innings pitched (607.1) and strikeouts by the pitching staff (530). The team's 746 hits ranked fifth. Individually, Jeremy Guthrie, Carlos Quentin and Ryan Garko joined O'Riordan in the single-season record books. Guthrie ranks tied for seventh in victories (13) and ninth in strikeouts (128). Quentin ranks tied for sixth in hit-by-pitches (14) and Garko ranks tied for 10th in hit-by-pitches (12).
BEATING THE BEST IN 2001
Stanford's 51-17 record in 2001 included a 16-6 mark against teams ranked among the nation's Top 25 in the Baseball America poll at the time the Cardinal faced them.
STANFORD HEAD COACH MARK MARQUESS
One of the nation's premier collegiate coaches, Mark Marquess enters his 26th season at the helm of Stanford Baseball in 2002. Last year, Marquess became the 23rd coach in the history of NCAA Division I baseball to reach the 1000-win mark and has a career record of 1046-515-5 (.670), all at Stanford. The 1969 Stanford graduate has led the Cardinal to two NCAA titles (1987, '88) and two other CWS title game appearances (2000, '01), as well as 11 College World Series appearances (1982, '83, '85, '87, '88, '90, '95, '97, '99, 2000, '01), 11 NCAA Regional titles (1982, '83, '85, '87, '88, '90, '95, '97, '99, 2000, '01), 10 Pac-10 or Pac-10 Southern Division regular season titles (1983, '84, '85, '87, '90, '94, '97, '98, '99, 2000) and three NCAA Super Regional championships (1999, 2000, '01). The Cardinal has qualified for the NCAA Tournament 19 times under Marquess. He begins the 2002 season ranked 12th in victories and 16th in winning percentage among active Division I baseball coaches, while ranking 23rd on the all-time victory list and 42nd on the all-time winning percentage list. He has been named NCAA Coach of the Year three times (1985, '87, '88) and has received Pac-10 or Pac-10 Southern Division Coach of the Year honors on eight occasions (1983, '85, '87, '90, '94, '97, '98, '99). The Cardinal has suffered just one losing season during his tenure and has finished either first or second in the prestigious Pacific-10 (formerly Pac-10 Southern Division) 19 times in the last 21 seasons. Stanford has had 98 professional baseball draft picks in the past 17 seasons, including 12 first round selections in the last 15 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 also 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 baseball head 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 four seasons of minor league baseball with the Chicago White Sox organization.
COMMENTS FROM MARK MARQUESS
(on the 2002 Stanford club) 'We're a good team right now, but we have to prove that we're a great team. The expectation level of a lot of people is for us to be better than we were last year, but we lost a lot of pitching with the departure of Jeff Bruksch, Mike Gosling and Mike Wodnicki. We are going to be open for a lot more criticism if we don't play well because the expectation level of the fans is that we're going to win most of our games. But that comes with the territory. It's good, and I would rather have it that way than the other way.'
(on the 2002 Cal State Fullerton club) 'Cal State Fullerton has two of the better pitchers in college baseball in Chad Cordero and Darric Merrell. Those two guys will anchor their pitching staff. As far as a team, they are lot like we were last year. They have a lot of new position players, but they are always going to be talented. They always present problems for us because they do a lot of things -- they steal, hit and run, squeeze, drag, push bunt -- and put a lot of pressure on your defense.'
(on Stanford's need for offense production) 'We're going to need to be a much better offensive team than we were last year in order to win nearly as many games as we did a year ago. I'm hoping we can pitch as well as we did last year, but that's asking an awful lot.'
(on this year's senior class) 'It's a credit to this year's group of seniors that they've been to three straight College World Series. We've never had a class that has gone to the CWS four years in a row and that's what they would like to do, but there's a lot of work and good fortune that goes into it. It's so difficult to get to Omaha.'
(on this year's freshman class) 'A lot of our freshman players are really going to push the returning guys for playing time. That type of competition is healthy.'
STANFORD COACHING STAFF
Dean Stotz begins his 26th campaign with Stanford Baseball. Stotz will be serving in his third season as associate head coach after he was promoted to the position prior to the 2000 campaign after 23 years as an assistant. Stotz currently coaches third base while also handling various offensive and defensive aspects of the game. Tom Kunis (3rd season) handles the Cardinal pitching staff, while David Nakama (3rd season) returns as an assistant coach after three seasons as the head coach at San Francisco State. Nakama assists with all aspects of the game and will serve as Stanford's first base coach.
2002 SEASON PREVIEW
The 2002 senior class will attempt to become the first group of Stanford players to reach the College World Series four straight years. The 2002 Stanford Baseball team is looking to make history once again with a fourth straight trip to Omaha. The senior class is hoping to become the first group of players in Cardinal history to reach the College World Series in all four of its collegiate seasons.
Last year, this group led a young seniorless Cardinal team to its second straight CWS title game and its third consecutive trip to Omaha, marking the first time in Stanford history that the Cardinal had been to three straight College World Series. The 2001 Cardinal finished the campaign with a 51-17 overall record and had an amazing post-season run, winning four elimination games on its way to NCAA Regional and Super Regional titles.
'It's a credit to this year's group of seniors that they've been to three straight College World Series,' said Stanford head coach Mark Marquess. 'We've never had a class that has gone to the CWS four years in a row and that's what they would like to do, but there's a lot of work and good fortune that goes into it. It's so difficult to get to Omaha.'
The senior class will lead an experienced 2002 club with every position player that started in last year's CWS championship game returning, as well as two of its top four starting pitchers and bullpen ace. All told, the Cardinal returns 16 of 20 letterwinners from a year ago. Eight players (Jason Cooper, Tim Cunningham, Sam Fuld, Ryan Garko, Jeremy Guthrie, Chris O'Riordan, Carlos Quentin, J.D. Willcox) have earned 2002 Preseason All-American honors from Baseball America and/or Collegiate Baseball.
The Cardinal, ranked No. 1 in the Baseball America and Collegiate Baseball preseason polls, will have a lot on the line in 2002. In addition to a hopeful return trip to Omaha, Stanford will be attempting to win 50 or more games for the fourth straight season and is looking for its fifth Pac-10 baseball title (includes Southern Division) in the last six years.
'There's no doubt the expectations on this year's team will be higher than they were last year with all the players we have returning,' commented Marquess. 'It's nice to have so many position players returning. But, the key is pitching, and we do have a few question marks on the mound.'
The senior class, which has compiled a 151-48 record for a .759 winning percentage in its first three years, features the entire starting infield from a year ago.
Second baseman Chris O'Riordan (.359, 12 HR, 68 RBI, 16 SB) is the leading senior returnee and a candidate to repeat his First Team All-American honors from a year ago. Also returning to complete the infield are first baseman Arik VanZandt (.262, 6 HR, 34 RBI, 9 SB), shortstop Scott Dragicevich (.320, 5 HR, 34 RBI, 6 SB) and third baseman Andy Topham (.272, 7 HR, 45 RBI, 11 SB).
A trio of sophomores that started last year's CWS championship game as freshmen in the outfield also returns.
Centerfielder Sam Fuld (.357, 37 RBI, 11 SB) and rightfielder Carlos Quentin (.345, 11 HR, 52 RBI, 5 SB) produced huge rookie seasons on The Farm. Both players were named Freshman All-Americans and All-Pac-10, while Fuld added a Third Team All-American selection (NCBWA) and Quentin earned Pac-10 Freshman of the Year honors. Brian Hall (.287, 2 HR, 21 RBI, 6 SB) also returns after making 28 starts last year, including the CWS championship game in left field. Sophomore Jonny Ash (.327, 24 RBI) also started last year's CWS title game as the designated hitter and completes the 'Fab Four'.
Junior catcher Ryan Garko (.368, 7 HR, 43 RBI) is the remaining position player that started last year's CWS title game and led the Cardinal in batting average a year ago. Junior outfielder Jason Cooper (.272, 9 HR, 37 RBI, 2 SB) also spent much of last season as a starter, either at DH, first base or in left field.
Junior RHP Jeremy Guthrie (13-4, 2.82 ERA, 134.0 IP, 128 SO) and junior LHP Tim Cunningham (6-0, 3.62 ERA, 74.2 IP, 54 SO) look to anchor the starting pitching rotation, while senior J.D. Willcox (5-0, 2.06 ERA, 6 SV, 35.0 IP, 29 SO) is the top returning reliever and expected closer.
The Cardinal will also feature a freshman class consisting of 10 members that will look to support a total of 16 returning letterwinners and help replace four players lost to the professional baseball draft last summer - Mike Gosling (LHP, Arizona Diamondbacks, 2nd round), Jeff Bruksch (RHP, Oakland Athletics, 5th round), Jason VanMeetren (OF, Seattle Mariners, 13th round) and Mike Wodnicki (RHP, St. Louis Cardinals, 16th round).
As many as four of the incoming position players are candidates for significant playing time early in their careers. Chris Carter (Walnut Creek, CA/De La Salle HS) and Billy Paganetti (Reno, NV/Galena HS) are potential starters in left field, first base or at designated hitter. Danny Putnam (San Diego, CA/Rancho Bernardo HS) is among the candidates to start in left field, while Donny Lucy (Fallbrook, CA/Fallbrook HS) is a catcher/utility player that figures to fit prominently into Stanford's plans.
On the hill, right-handed pitcher Mark Jecmen (Diamond Bar, CA/Diamond Bar HS) may make an immediate impact, while RHP Jonny Dyer (San Antonio, TX/Clark HS), RHP Moses Kopmar (Berkeley, CA/Berkeley HS) and RHP Steve Papazian (Long Beach, CA/Woodrow Wilson HS) also hope to contribute to the team's pitching staff.
'A lot of our freshmen players are really going to push the returning guys for playing time,' stated Marquess. 'That type of competition is healthy.'
'Overall, we should have a lot of versatility,' continued Marquess. 'There are a lot of different combinations I can play. It will come down to who's hot with the bat at several positions.'
The team's schedule will have a similar look as in recent years and again be among the best in the nation.
Stanford opens its season with a three-game home series February 1-3 versus fellow 2001 CWS participant Cal State Fullerton. The preseason slate continues with three-game sets at Florida State (February 8-10), at Fresno State (February 15-17), versus Santa Clara (February 22-24) and versus Cal Poly (March 1-3). Stanford will then travel to both California (March 8-10) and USC (March 23-24) for a pair of non-conference series before hosting Texas (March 28-30) in its final preseason series of the season.
'We've made an effort to schedule one of the nation's most difficult non-league schedules,' said Marquess. 'This non-league slate prepares us for an always tough Pac-10 schedule and gives us a good idea of what we need to do to be successful.'
The Cardinal opens conference play at Arizona (April 5-7) before hosting defending league champion USC in its first home Pac-10 series of the campaign (April 12-14). Stanford then travels to the Northwest on consecutive weekends for three-game series at Washington (April 19-21) and Oregon State (April 26-28), before returning to Sunken Diamond to host California (May 3-5) and Arizona State (May 10-12). Stanford finishes its Pac-10 road schedule at UCLA (May 17-19) before hosting Washington State (May 24-26) on Memorial Day weekend to conclude the regular season.
Tuesday home games are scheduled versus Brigham Young (February 12), USF (April 2), San Jose State (April 9), Saint Mary's (April 16) and Sacramento State (May 21). Tuesday road games include San Jose State (April 30), Santa Clara (May 7) and Nevada (May 14).Stanford's 2002 schedule includes 28 games against teams ranked in a 2002 NCAA Division I Preseason Poll by Baseball America or Collegiate Baseball.
Following is a position-by-position look at the 2002 Stanford Cardinal:
The Cardinal pitching staff looks solid for 2002 despite the loss of two of the team's top three starters from a year ago. Returning All-American junior RHP Jeremy Guthrie figures to take his role as the team's top starter again after an incredible season in his first year on The Farm in 2001. Junior LHP Tim Cunningham has the inside track to become the team's second starter. Among the several primary candidates competing for the third starter position are hard-throwing freshman RHP Mark Jecmen (Diamond Bar, CA/Diamond Bar HS), sophomore RHP John Hudgins, junior RHP Ryan McCally and sophomore RHP Drew Ehrlich. Senior RHP J.D. Willcox will look to anchor down the relief pitchers as the team's returning closer, while senior LHP Dan Rich should play a significant role in the bullpen after missing most of last season to injury. All told, Stanford returns seven of 12 pitchers from a staff that recorded a 3.50 ERA last year, Stanford's best mark since 1977.
'When you have two starters returning that's a positive,' said an optimistic head coach Mark Marquess. 'Last year, we didn't know what we had with no starters returning, but it worked out great. We're a little bit ahead of the game from where we were last year prior to the season. This year, we know what we have.'
Indeed, the Cardinal has one of the best collegiate pitchers in the nation in Guthrie (13-4, 2.82 ERA, 134.0 IP, 128 SO). Last year, Guthrie ranked tied for second in the conference in wins and fourth in ERA, as well as tied for 12th in the nation in victories.He was drafted in the third round by the Pittsburgh Pirates organization in the 2001 MLB First-Year Player Draft but did not sign a professional baseball contract with the organization.
Cunningham (6-0, 3.62 ERA, 74.2 IP, 54 SO) is expected to move into a prominent role on the staff as the team's second starter.He has put up excellent numbers the last two seasons as a part-time starter and primary middle relief pitcher. Cunningham ranks seventh on Stanford's all-time won-loss percentage list (11-2, .846) and has a career 3.70 ERA. The Cardinal will rely heavily upon the talented southpaw this year with the departure of 2001 starters Jeff Bruksch and Mike Gosling. Cunningham is expected to be drafted as high as the first round in the 2002 MLB First-Year Player draft.
Jecmen, a hard-throwing freshman right-hander with a fastball in the mid-90's, may be the most intriguing candidate for the third starting spot. A 42nd round choice of the Chicago Cubs in June of 2001, Jecmen has also shown the ability to throw three pitches for strikes in fall practice and is expected to anchor the rotation in the future. The Cardinal does have the luxury to bring him along slowly with two established starters in Guthrie and Cunningham already in the first two spots of the starting rotation.
Hudgins (1-5, 4.27 ERA, 4 SV, 46.1 IP, 50 SO) played a significant role on the Cardinal staff as a freshman a year ago, showing excellent improvement towards the end of the season. Hudgins led a powerful staff in strikeouts per nine innings (9.71) and saw action in 22 games with three starts, including a key post-season start in Stanford's 4-3 win over Texas in the second championship game of the NCAA Regional.
McCally (2-1, 2.62 ERA, 3 SV, 34.1 IP, 22 SO) has been one of the most consistent pitchers in the Cardinal bullpen the last two years and may be ready to take a spot in the starting rotation. He was second on the club in appearances last year and saved three games. He had a tremendous post-season, giving up just one earned run in a team-high-tying six appearances.McCally also had arguably the best summer of any Stanford pitcher, posting a 5-1 record and a 2.65 ERA for the Anchorage Bucs to earn a spot in the 2001 Alaska Baseball League All-Star Game.
Ehrlich (0-0, 2.57 ERA, 7.0 IP, 3 SO) is a strong righthander that pitched well in limited action last year and has shown excellent improvement in fall practice.
'Any of these guys could start in the third spot,' admitted Marquess. 'Whoever doesn't end up in that position will probably be used as one of our primary relievers. Our pitching spots probably won't be that defined in the first third of the season. They should be more defined once we get to Pac-10 play.'
Willcox emerged as the team's leader in the bullpen last year and is expected to provide leadership as the club's closer this season.Willcox came through in several clutch situations last year, including the post-season when he was 2-0 with two saves and a 2.16 ERA. He is a versatile pitcher that is capable of coming in as early as the sixth or seventh inning and finishing off a game. Willcox can also normally pitch in at least two of the three games in a weekend series.
The Cardinal is also hoping for a successful season from Rich (0-0, 5.40 ERA, 1.2 IP, 0 SO) after he missed most of last year due to an injury. He is expected to be the team's primary left-hander out of the bullpen and has developed an excellent split-finger fastball.
Other returning members of the Stanford pitching staff include a pair of sophomores in RHP Mike O'Banion and RHP/UT David O'Hagan. Additional newcomers include three freshmen in RHP Jonny Dyer, RHP Moses Kopmar and RHP Steve Papazian. Two position players - sophomore Darin Naatjes and freshman Billy Paganetti (Reno, NV/Galena HS) - may also see action on the mound.
Stanford loses five members of its 2001 staff in starters Jeff Bruksch (9-3, 3.18 ERA, 3 SV, 124.1 IP, 107 SO) and Mike Gosling (7-3, 3.94 ERA, 82.1 IP, 77 SO), as well as relievers Mike Wodnicki (7-1, 5.13 ERA, 54.1 IP, 53 SO), Jason Luker (1-0, 8.03 ERA, 12.1 IP, 7 SO) and Ryan Gloger (0-0, 18.00 ERA, 1.0 IP). Gosling and Bruksch were honorable mention All-Pac-10 selections last year.
'The biggest question mark will be our pitching,' admitted Marquess. 'We lost some real quality pitchers that threw a lot of innings last season.'
Stanford looks to be solid behind the plate with returning junior and All-American candidate Ryan Garko (.368, 7 HR, 43 RBI) giving the Cardinal a powerful offensive threat and solid defensive play. Freshman Donny Lucy (Fallbrook, CA/Fallbrook HS) was one of the team's top players in fall practice and will be counted on to spell Garko when necessary. Freshman Andrew Cleary (Weston, MA/Belmont Hill School) is the team's other catcher, moving primarily behind the dish after spending his prep career as a utility player.
'We're fortunate to have a situation where I can catch a couple of different guys without much of a drop-off,' said Marquess. 'This allows me a lot more flexibility with my lineup.'
Garko emerged as the starter about a third of the way through last season and firmly established himself as the team's top catcher by swinging a hot bat and showing greatly improved defensive skills. After a hot stretch late in the season that included a team-high 21-game hit streak, he ended the campaign as the club's leader in batting average. He also put together arguably the best post-season by a Cardinal player, earning All-CWS honors and being named the Co-Most Outstanding Player of the NCAA Regional. In addition, he became known for his heroic post-season moments, including the game-winning hit in the second championship game of the NCAA Regional versus Texas and his home run versus Cal State Fullerton in the second game of the CWS to help send the contest into extra innings. Garko, an honorable mention All-Pac-10 selection, started the club's final 40 games behind the plate.
Lucy is expected to provide the primary support to Garko and be the heir apparent at the position. He was named the San Diego Male Athlete of the Year in 2001 after earning All-State honors in both baseball and football as a prep senior, hitting .385 with 10 home runs and 46 RBI on the diamond.
The possibilities seem nearly endless for the Cardinal at first base with the most likely scenario being the return of senior Arik VanZandt (.262, 6 HR, 34 RBI, 9 SB) as the starter. VanZandt moved to first base last season and helped make the Cardinal into the nation's top defensive team with a school-record .977 fielding percentage as he committed just two errors in a Pac-10-high 648 chances. However, he began his collegiate career as a left-side infielder and may still be used there in 2002 after working out primarily at third base in fall practice.
Stanford will have other options at first base, most likely with power-hitting freshmen Chris Carter (Walnut Creek, CA/De La Salle HS) and Billy Paganetti (Reno, NV/Galena HS). Both players had outstanding prep careers and were among the nation's top recruits for the 2002 campaign. Junior Jason Cooper and Garko could also see action at first base. Carter, Paganetti and Cooper are all also candidates for the starting spot in left field. Junior Darin Naatjes (.077, RBI, 2 SB), a tight end on the football team, is also a possibility.
'I've got a lot of options at first base and there is going to be a lot of competition at that spot,' emphasized Marquess.
The Cardinal looks to be set at second base with senior Chris O'Riordan (.359, 12 HR, 68 RBI, 16 SB) locked into the starting role after starting all 68 games at the position last season. O'Riordan will enter his final collegiate campaign tied for the school's all-time batting average record with a .362 career mark. Last year, the former walk-on earned First Team All-American and All-Pac-10 honors after leading or co-leading the Cardinal with new career-highs in 16 categories, including home runs, RBI and stolen bases. He also ranked second on the club in batting average and had 101 hits to become only the sixth player in Stanford history to collect at least 100 hits in a season.
O'Riordan's big junior year followed a sophomore season in which he took over the starting job early in the campaign and ended up leading the team with a .366 batting average, while adding three homers, 34 RBI and seven stolen bases.
'Chris O'Riordan is one of the best stories in the history of Stanford Baseball,' exclaimed Marquess. 'To have had the type of success he has had here after beginning his career as a walk-on is almost unbelievable. He deserves an enormous amount of credit for turning himself into a ballplayer that can do it all - hit, hit for power, run and play defense. He is seriously underrated as far as his potential in professional baseball is concerned.'
O'Riordan has never been drafted by a professional baseball organization.
Sophomore Jonny Ash (.327, 24 RBI) is the primary backup for O'Riordan at second base. Ash established himself as the team's starting designated hitter late last season, finishing the campaign with a .327 batting average and 24 RBI.He led the regulars in the post-season with a .410 batting average, adding four doubles and nine RBI. Junior Tobin Swope (.250, 2 SB) is also a much-improved utility infielder that can play second base.
The Cardinal should be covered at shortstop, most likely with the return of senior Scott Dragicevich (.320, 5 HR, 34 RBI, 6 SB). Last year, Dragicevich held the job from beginning to end by starting all 68 games and made significant contributions both offensively and defensively to earn honorable mention All-Pac-10 honors. He quickly became known as one of the nation's top defensive shortstops with excellent range and an outstanding throwing arm. Dragicevich started last season by going errorless in 22 of the team's first 24 games.
Dragicevich has been slowed since late last season with a nagging back injury but is expected to be ready for the 2002 campaign. Andy Topham, the team's starter at third base last season, would be next in line at shortstop if needed.
'We're covered at shortstop,' reemphasized Marquess. 'We've taken it slow with Scott Dragicevich this fall, but he should be ready to go when the season arrives. One of the main reasons we set a school fielding record last year was because of the defense he played at shortstop.'
Andy Topham (.272, 7 HR, 45 RBI, 11 SB) is expected to return as the team's starter at third base as long as he is not needed at shortstop. Topham is considered one of the finest defensive third basemen the Cardinal has ever seen with quick hands and excellent range. He has also shown streaks of serious offensive potential during his Cardinal career, including a hot stretch in the post-season last year when he hit a combined .414 with three homers and nine RBI in the NCAA Regional and Super Regional to earn All-Regional honors. In addition, Topham had the team's second longest hit streak of the year when he hit safely in 15 straight contests.
'We're looking for a big year from Andy Topham,' stated Marquess. 'This could really be the season that he establishes himself as a primary and consistent threat in the middle of our order after showing some serious streaks of offensive ability the last two years.'
There are other candidates to start at third base if Topham is needed at shortstop. Sophomore Brian Hall could move in from left field, where he is one of the primary candidates for the starting position. Jonny Ash, Tobin Swope and Arik VanZandt can all play third base as well.
The outfield should be a major strength for the Cardinal in 2002. Sophomores Sam Fuld (.357, 37 RBI, 11 SB) and Carlos Quentin (.345, 11 HR, 52 RBI, 5 SB) are already established as two of the best young outfielders in the nation after earning Freshman All-American and All-Pac-10 honors last year. The duo should also anchor the Cardinal offense with Fuld hitting in one of the top two spots in the lineup and Quentin the likely cleanup hitter.
'To have a couple of players like Sam Fuld and Carlos Quentin anchoring our outfield puts us in excellent shape,' said Marquess. 'Both of those guys are serious all-around offensive and defensive talents that don't often come along together. You couldn't ask for two better collegiate outfielders than Sammy and Carlos.'
Fuld, also named a Third Team All-American by the NCBWA, is expected to return to his role as the starter in center field. He is considered one of the nation's top defensive centerfielders and capped his rookie year with a tremendous offensive post-season, hitting .396 and collecting a team-high 19 hits while earning spots on the All-CWS and All-Regional teams.
Quentin should return in right field with his high-powered offensive game and excellent throwing arm. Last year, he earned Pac-10 Freshman of the Year honors.
The starting spot in left field looks to be wide open with strong candidates in returnees Brian Hall, Jason Cooper and Darin Naatjes, as well as freshmen Chris Carter, Billy Paganetti and Danny Putnam (San Diego, CA/Rancho Bernardo HS).
'We've got a lot of guys that can play left field,' said Marquess. 'It will probably get down to who's swinging a hot bat at the time.'
Hall (.287, 2 HR, 21 RBI, 6 SB) was the a part-time starter in left field last year and started the club's final two CWS games in the position. He brings to the table excellent defensive skills and speed. Cooper (.272, 9 HR, 37 RBI, 2 SB) has perhaps the best power on the club and will find a spot in the lineup if he is swinging the bat well.Naatjes (.077, RBI, 2 SB) briefly earned the starting job in left field last season and has the potential to do so again.
All three freshmen are also intriguing candidates. Carter and Paganetti are both also battling for playing time at first base and designated hitter. Putnam had an outstanding prep career, earning First Team All-American honors as a senior after hitting .500 with CIF, county and team records of 19 homers and 64 runs scored. He finished his high school career with a .407 batting average, while breaking school career records of 33 home runs and 113 RBI.
Freshman Michael-Jordan Craven (La Quinta, CA/La Quinta HS) will also begin his collegiate baseball career after Stanford completes its 2001 football campaign. Craven, an outside linebacker, redshirted his first year with the Cardinal football squad.
The competition for the starting designated hitter spot could be fierce, and the Cardinal will have flexibility with this position.
Jonny Ash is the incumbent after taking over as the designated hitter late last season. Any of the players competing for the starting job in left field or at first base (Chris Carter, Jason Cooper, Brian Hall, Darin Naatjes, Billy Paganetti, Danny Putnam, Arik VanZandt) could also wind up seeing action as the team's designated hitter.
Hall and VanZandt are the least likely to be used at DH if they are in the starting lineup due to their defensive skills and experience.
'It's nice to have so many options for the designated hitter spot,' stated Marquess. 'We'll just have to wait and see who's swinging a hot bat and use this position to make sure we get their bat in the lineup.'