Stanford Ranked No. 6 In <i>Collegiate Baseball's</i> 2004 Preseason Poll
Dec. 19, 2003
Tucson, Ariz. - Stanford has been ranked No. 6 nationally in Collegiate Baseball's 2004 NCAA Division I Fabulous 40 preseason baseball poll released Friday. The Cardinal has qualified for the College World Series for a school record five consecutive seasons and has reached the CWS title game in three of the last four years. Stanford earned a trip to the inaugural CWS Championships Series last season by winning its final three games in bracket play and set a new CWS record by playing eight games.
Defending national champion Rice and Miami will begin the 2004 season tied at the top of Collegiate Baseball's preseason poll, marking the first time that two teams have ever started the season tied for the top spot in the poll, which dates back to 1959. Louisiana Tech checks in at No. 3, while Georgia Tech, Texas, Stanford, Arizona State, Cal State Fullerton, Wichita State and Notre Dame round out the Top 10.
Stanford finished the 2003 season with a 51-18 overall mark to record its fourth 50-win season in the last five years and extend its school record string of 40-win campaigns to nine. The 51 wins tied for the third-most in school history and equaled the program's most since the 1990 club won a school record 59 games. Stanford also won its first outright Pac-10 title since 1999 and its 19th conference championships overall with an 18-6 Pac-10 record.
The 2004 club will return eight position player starters and one starting pitcher from last year's club, including 2004 Preseason All-Americans Sam Fuld (Sr., OF), Danny Putnam (Jr., OF) and Mark Romanczuk (So., LHP).
Fuld, a two-time All-American in 2001 and 2002, has a chance to break several of Stanford's career offensive records in his senior season. The three-time All-Pac-10 selection and three-year starter in centerfield for the Cardinal enters the 2004 campaign with a .350 career batting average and 288 hits. Last year, Fuld hit .321 with four homers, 35 RBI and 10 stolen bases, and also earned NCAA All-Regional recognition. He was drafted in the 24th round of the 2003 MLB First-Year Player Draft but did not sign a professional baseball contract and ended up having a fantastic summer in the Cape Cod League, hitting .361 and earning All-Cape Cod honors. In his All-American sophomore campaign, Fuld broke Stanford's single-season record and led the Pac-10 with 110 hits, while also pacing the club with a .375 batting average. He hit .357 as a freshman to earn Third Team All-American honors from the NCBWA. Fuld is also one of only two players in Stanford history (along with Ryan Garko) to have been named to the All-College World Series team twice, earning the honor in both 2001 and '02.
Putnam had a breakout year in 2003, hitting .348 with 16 homers and 66 RBI to earn a spot on the All-Pac-10 squad. He also had a huge postseason, pacing the Cardinal with five homers and 21 RBI, while earning NCAA All-Regional honors. In addition, Putnam was named the Pac-10 Player of the Week for the first time in his career on March 4, 2003.
Romanczuk was 12-2 with a 4.01 ERA in his rookie collegiate campaign, winning his first 12 decisions and earning one of Collegiate Baseball's National Freshman of the Year honors as well as All-Pac-10 recognition. Romanczuk also picked up two complete games and a pair of saves, while striking out 80 batters in 112.1 innings. He was named the Pac-10 Pitcher of the Week three times (4/1, 4/20, 5/4).
Stanford's 2003 schedule includes 21 contests against teams ranked in Collegiate Baseball's 2004 preseason poll and six against teams that played in the 2003 College World Series.Stanford will open its 2004 regular season at Sunken Diamond with a three-game series versus preseason No. 8 Cal State Fullerton on Super Bowl Weekend (January 30 - February 1). The Cardinal will then travel to Fresno State for a three-game set (February 6-8) before playing Kansas for the first time in school history (February 13-15). Stanford will then welcome 2002 NCAA champion, long-time rival and No. 5 Texas for a highly-anticipated three-game series February 20-22. After an exhibition game versus Rikkio University of Japan on February 24, the Cardinal will play back-to-back non-conference road series at California (February 27-29) and No. 16 USC (March 5-7) before taking a 15-day break. Stanford will return from the break with six non-conference games (at Saint Mary's, March 23; at Santa Clara, March 24; Cal Poly, March 26-28; at San Jose State, March 30) before beginning its conference schedule with a three-game set at UCLA (April 2-4). The Cardinal continues Pac-10 play on the road at Oregon State (April 8-10). Stanford will host Santa Clara in a non-conference game on April 13 before finally playing its first Pac-10 home series versus California (April 16-18). The Cardinal will then play four more non-conference contests (Saint Mary's, April 20; Sacramento State, April 23; at Sacramento State, April 24; at Santa Clara, April 27) before resuming Pac-10 action by hosting Washington State for three games April 30 - May 2. San Jose State will come to Sunken Diamond for a non-conference game on May 4 before the Cardinal heads to Seattle for a three-game series at No. 23 Washington (May 7-9). Stanford will then host Santa Clara in a non-conference game on May 11 before going to Tucson for a three-game series at No. 22 Arizona (May 15-17). The Cardinal ends the 2004 regular season with seven straight home games, beginning with a non-conference contest versus San Francisco (May 18) before highly-anticipated three-game sets versus Pac-10 rivals USC (May 21-23) and No. 7 Arizona State (May 28-30).
The following 2004 Stanford Baseball information can be accessed at gostanford.com. These pages will be updated as necessary throughout the 2004 season.
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