Stanford Advances To CWS Bracket Final With 5-3 Win Over Notre Dame

June 18, 2002

Omaha, Neb. - Stanford (47-17) advanced to a bracket final of the College World Series with a 5-3 victory over Notre Dame (50-18) and eliminated the Fighting Irish before 23,807 on Tuesday at Rosenblatt Stadium. John Hudgins picked up his first career CWS victory in his first Omaha start, limiting the Fighting Irish to three runs (two earned) on six hits over the first 5.2 innings. Dan Rich picked up his fourth postseason save in four opportunities and his sixth of the season by holding Notre Dame scoreless on just one hit and striking out three over the final 3.1 innings. Sam Fuld (2-4, HR, 2 RBI) led the Cardinal offense and tied Stanford's single-season hit record by collecting his 107th and 108th hits of the campaign with his 38th multiple-hit game of the season.

'It was another great game in the College World Series,' said Stanford head coach Mark Marquess after Stanford's second win over Notre Dame at the 2002 CWS. 'We've seemed to play in a lot of close ones. Notre Dame is a great team, and we have had two great games with them in Omaha.'

The Cardinal will face Texas (55-15) in a rematch on Thursday, June 20 (6 pm, CDT/4 pm, PDT) in a game to be televised by ESPN. The Cardinal needs two consecutive victories over the Longhorns to reach the CWS championship game for the third straight year. If the Cardinal wins on Thursday, the teams will play again on Friday, June 21 (TBA). Texas has won both of its games in the CWS and needs just one victory either Thursday or Friday to move on to Saturday's championship game (12:30 pm, CDT/10:30 am, PDT) on CBS. Stanford and Texas have played 10 times over the last two seasons with the Cardinal winning six of the contests. Last year, the Cardinal swept the Longhorns in a doubleheader on the final day of a Regional, marking the first time the Cardinal had ever swept a doubleheader on the final day of a Regional to advance in the NCAA Tournament.

Jason Cooper (2-4, RBI) and Chris Carter (2-4, 2B) also had two hits each for the Cardinal, who picked up 10 hits to record its 43rd double-digit hit game of the campaign. Carter extended his career-high hit streak to 10 games (5/19 - 6/18).

Stanford jumped out to a 2-0 lead after the first two batters of the game when Carter led off the contest with single and Fuld drifted a shot over the left field fence for his eighth home run of the season.

Notre Dame answered back with a run in the bottom of the first inning when Steve Stanley singled to lead off the inning, stole second base with one out, moved to third on a throwing error by Stanford catcher Ryan Garko and scored on an RBI groundout by Brian Stavisky.

The Cardinal got the run back in the top of the second when Carlos Quentin blasted his first career CWS homer over the left field wall to lead off the frame.

Notre Dame cut the Stanford lead to 3-2 with a single run in the bottom of the fifth. The Fighting Irish loaded the bases with no outs on three consecutive singles by Matt Bok, Kris Billmaier and Javier Sanchez to lead off the inning. Hudgins got out of the jam with just one run when he forced Joe Thaman into an infield fly, retired Steve Stanley on a sacrifice fly and enduced Steve Sollmann into an inning-ending groundout.

'I got us into it, and I felt I needed to get us out of it,' said Hudgins about the fifth inning jam.

Stanford again answered with a run in the top of the sixth inning when Carter led off with a double, moved to third on a groundout by Fuld and scored on an RBI single by Cooper, who has at least one RBI in all three CWS games.

Notre Dame came right back with another run in the sixth inning when Stavisky led off with a single, moved to second on a wild pitch and scored on an RBI single by Peter O'Toole. Rich replaced Hudgins with two outs and O'Toole on second base before retiring Sanchez on a foul out to Cardinal shortstop Andy Topham to end the threat.

Stanford added an insurance run in the top of the ninth inning when Scott Dragicevich doubled down the right field line to lead off the inning, moved to third on a sacrifice bunt by Arik VanZandt and scored when Topham laid down a successful squeeze bunt on a 3-1 pitch from Notre Dame reliever J.P. Gagne.

'I was expecting the sign even though we hadn't used it yet this season,' said Topham.

Rich retired Notre Dame in order in the bottom of the ninth inning.

'It was a good feeling to come back and pitch well here in Omaha,' said Rich, who was making his first appearance at Rosenblatt Stadium since his freshman year in 1999. 'I just went out and tried to throw strikes, and it worked out for us.'

Stanley (2-3, SB) was the only Notre Dame player with more than one hit.

Notre Dame starter Peter Ogilvie (7-5) took the loss, allowing four runs and seven hits in the first 5.2 innings.

Chris O'Riordan extended his consecutive games started streak to 175 and doubled for the 49th time in his career in the eighth inning to move into a ninth-place tie on Stanford's career doubles list.

Stanford has won 11 of its last 12 games overall and improved to 7-1 in the 2002 postseason. The Cardinal also kept alive its hopes for a fourth straight 50-win season with a maximum of three games possible remaining in the season. Stanford also improved to 40-0 this season when leading after eight innings.

Clemson and South Carolina have advanced to the other bracket final and will meet in an ESPN2 game on Wednesday, June 19 (6 pm, CDT/4 pm, PDT). A Clemson victory will move the Tigers into Saturday's championship game, while a South Carolina victory will force a second bracket title game on ESPN2 Friday (1 pm, CDT/11 am, PDT).

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