#10 Stanford Baseball To Host #4 USC In Highly-Anticipated Three-Game Non-Conference Series March 9-11

March 9, 2001


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Friday, March 9, 6 pm - RHP Mark Prior (4-0, 1.83) vs. RHP Jeremy Guthrie (4-0, 1.15)
Saturday, March 10, 1 pm - RHP Rik Currier (4-0, 1.82) vs. RHP Jeff Bruksch (3-0, 3.48)
Sunday, March 11, 1 pm - RHP Anthony Reyes (1-0, 4.44) vs. Tim Cunningham (4-0, 1.53)

A live audio broadcast of the USC games on Friday and Sunday will be available live on KZSU (90.1 FM) as well as the internet at www.gostanford.com and realaudio.stanford.edu ... Saturday's game will not be broadcast due to conflicts with the final regular season games for both men's and women's basketball ... The KZSU broadcast team includes Chad Goldberg, Joey Elger and Aaron Levine.

Stanford has now won 13 of its last 15 games after Chris O'Riordan's walk-off home run led Stanford to a 3-2 victory over California on Wednesday ... Stanford has now won 12 consecutive regular season series dating back to last season ... Arizona State was the last team to have taken a regular season series against the Cardinal, winning two-of-three in Tempe nearly a year ago (3/31/00 - 4/2/00) ... Stanford is currently ranked #10 in the nation by Baseball America and #9 by both Collegiate Baseball and Baseball Weekly/ESPN ... Stanford has compiled a 7-1 record at Sunken Diamond this season ... O'Riordan leads Stanford with a .354 batting average, 23 RBI and seven stolen bases ... Jason Cooper has a team-high six home runs ... The pitching staff has lowered its ERA to a season-low of 2.91 ... The last time the Cardinal finished with a lower ERA was in 1973 (2.64) ... Stanford's starting pitching trio (Jeremy Guthrie, Jeff Bruksch, Tim Cunningham) is a combined 11-0 with a 2.13 ERA this season ... Stanford's pitching staff has given up more than three runs in a game only twice in its last 15 games ... Guthrie earned his first Pac-10 Pitcher of the Week honor on March 6 ... Stanford's defense is fielding at a clip of .976, which would be a new school record ... The Cardinal has been errorless in eight of 20 games.

Stanford welcomes #4 USC to Sunken Diamond for a highly-anticipated three-game non-conference series from March 9-11 (6 pm, 1 pm, 1 pm). The series will feature two of the top pitching staffs in the nation. Stanford's regular starting rotation is 11-0 with a 2.13 ERA while USC's rotation is 9-0 with a 2.59 ERA. Stanford comes into the series with 13 wins in its last 15 games while USC had won four in a row before being upset 6-4 by UC Riverside last Tuesday. Stanford won four of the six games played between the schools last season, winning two-of-three non-conference games at Sunken Diamond (March 17-19) and two-of-three conference contests at Dedeaux Field (April 20-22). Pitching efforts by Justin Wayne and Mike Gosling, as well as an offensive explosion from Edmund Muth and Joe Borchard highlighted the two non-conference victories. The Cardinal won the final two games of the conference series after dropping the opener, 7-3. Jason Young (7.2 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 3 BB, 7 SO) outdueled Mark Prior in a 4-1 Cardinal victory on Saturday before Stanford exploded for an 18-4 win in Sunday's finale. The Cardinal scored 12 runs in the final three innings to break open what had been a tight 6-4 lead. Stanford pounded out 23 hits as five players had three or more hits each, led by four-hit performances by Damien Alvarado (4-5, 2B, HR, 2 RBI) and Muth (4-6, 2B, HR, 3 RBI).

Stanford and USC have consistently been at the top of the Pac-10 standings in recent years with seven consecutive Pac-10 crowns (includes Southern Division titles) between them. The two teams combined for eight of 10 conference titles (also includes Southern Division) in the 1990's. USC is one of the few teams to lead Stanford in the all-time series as the Trojans boast a 194-134-3 lead.

Following an 11-day break after this weekend's three-game non-conference series versus #4 USC, the Cardinal will begin its quest for a fifth consecutive Pac-10 title (includes Southern Division and co-championships) by hosting Washington in the team's first conference series of the season Friday-Sunday, March 23-25 (6 pm, 1 pm, 1 pm). Stanford's four consecutive titles are a school record. Stanford had won three consecutive Pac-10 openers before falling to Arizona a year ago but still bounced back to share the 2000 crown with Arizona State and UCLA, marking the first time three teams had tied for the championship in Pac-10 history. Stanford holds an all-time series edge of 25-9 over Washington. Last season, the Cardinal swept a three-game series at Sunken Diamond (6-5, 7-2, 9-4). Justin Wayne picked up the victory in the series-opener thanks to Stanford's two-run rally in the bottom of the eighth inning, both runs scoring on John Gall's RBI single up the middle with two outs. Gall (3-4, 2B, RBI) led five different players with two or more hits on Saturday while Jason Young tossed a complete-game six-hitter. Stanford pounded out 15 hits on Sunday with Gall (3-4, 2B, 2 RBI) again leading the way. Tim Cunningham picked up the victory with 5.1 innings of six-hit, two-run baseball.

Stanford won two-of-three games over California in a non-conference series that had its final game twice postponed by rain. Stanford finally prevailed in the series with a 3-2 victory in Wednesday's finale. Chris O'Riordan hit a walk-off home run with one out in the bottom of the 10th inning. J.D. Willcox (1-0) won his first game of the season with 4.0 innings of one-hit shutout relief. Stanford is now 14-0-1 in its last 15 series with California and owns a 211-204 all-time advantage in the 415 games the two schools have played. Stanford won five of the six meetings between the clubs last season. The teams split the first two games of this year's non-conference series with a 3-1 Stanford victory on Friday and a 3-2 Cal win on Saturday. Jeremy Guthrie (4-0) picked up his fourth straight victory with 8.0 innings of four-hit baseball in Friday's 3-1 win as he struck out a career-high 10 and earned Pac-10 Pitcher of the Week honors in the process. California's victory on Saturday handed Stanford its first home loss of 2001. The teams will play a three-game series at California (Friday-Sunday, April 27-29).

One of the nation's premier collegiate coaches, Mark Marquess is now in his 25th season as the Stanford head coach. 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). He has a career record of 1010-503-5 (.667) at Stanford, including an impressive 411-273 (.601) 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. Last season, Marquess coached the Cardinal to its first trip to the CWS title game since winning the 1988 CWS championship. His teams have also 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.

(On the upcoming USC series) 'This is our last series before the break and it will be our toughest series so far this year. �SC will be the best team that we've played. They are favored to win our conference. Some people think they are the best team in the country, and I think that's justified. They have all three starting pitchers back from last year's College World Series team and they were a great team last year. This will be a good series for us because it will point out the areas where we need to improve. It will be our best test to date and give us a chance to see where we are.'
(On how he expects the team to be affected by its upcoming 11-day break) 'You don't know. Sometimes, we've come off the break and been a little rusty. Other times, we've come back and played well.'
(On the starting pitching rotation) 'We've had some great pitching staffs here but with their current statistics Guthrie, Bruksch and Cunningham have been as good of a starting trio as we've had here at Stanford. Remember, we are only a third of the way done and there's a lot of season left but to date that's the primary reason we've been successful this year. Our starting pitching has been phenomenal.'

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 is currently ranked #9 in the nation by Collegiate Baseball and Baseball Weekly/ESPN, as well as #10 by Baseball Weekly/ESPN. Stanford retained its #9 spot in Collegiate Baseball and Baseball Weekly/ESPN, while dropping a slot in the Baseball America poll. Stanford opened the 2001 season ranked #9 by Baseball Weekly/ESPN, #11 by Collegiate Baseball and #14 by Baseball America. The Cardinal finished the 2000 campaign ranked #2 in all three polls. Georgia Tech began the 2001 campaign ranked #1 in all three polls and still sits atop all three polls despite a temporary exit from the Collegiate Baseball poll. Pac-10 foes USC (#4 in all three polls) and Arizona State (#6, Collegiate Baseball, #8 Baseball America, Baseball Weekly/ESPN) rank ahead of the Cardinal. The other ranked Pac-10 team is UCLA, ranked #20 by Baseball Weekly/ESPN, #22 by Collegiate Baseball and #23 by Collegiate Baseball. Stanford began the 2000 season #1 in all three polls before dropping out of the top spot on February 14. 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 a record 14 consecutive weeks.

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 2243-1435-32 (.609). 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, 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, 54 major league players (including seven scheduled to begin the 2001 season in 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.

Stanford increased its regular season series winning streak to 12 by taking two-of-three games against California (3/2/01 - 3/7/01). The Cardinal began the streak with sweeps at Washington State (4/7/00 - 4/9/00) and against Washington (4/14/00 - 4/16/00) before continuing with six consecutive series of winning two-of-three at USC (4/20/00 - 4/22/00), versus California (4/28/00 - 4/30/00), at Oregon State (5/5/00 - 5/7/00), versus UCLA (5/19/00 - 5/21/00), at Fresno State (1/26/01 - 1/28/01) and at Cal State Fullerton (2/2/01 - 2/4/01). The team ran its streak to nine straight with a sweep over Florida State (2/9/01 - 2/11/01) to open the 2001 home season and extended it to 11 by winning two-of-three at Texas (2/16/01 - 2/18/01) and sweeping Santa Clara (2/23/01 - 2/26/01). 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. 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).

The Cardinal has had a standout effort this season from its starting pitching rotation of Jeremy Guthrie (4-0, 1.15 ERA), Jeff Bruksch (3-0, 3.48 ERA) and Tim Cunningham (4-0, 1.53 ERA). The group has accounted for 17 of the team's 20 starts, posting a combined 11-0 record and a 2.13 ERA. The group has also logged a hefty 118.1 of the pitching staff's 182.1 innings (64.8%). Opponents are hitting a mere .198 off the trio.

Stanford's team batting average currently sits at .272, which is .014 points lower than its season-high of .286 following a game at Texas on February 16. Stanford has posted double-digit hit games only twice in nine games since then. Stanford managed only a .226 batting average in the California series and was limited to a season-low-tying five hits in a 3-1 win on March 2. Chris O'Riordan has slowed dramatically as he is just 4-24 (.167) in his last six games but continues to lead the team with a .354 batting average, 29 hits, six doubles, 23 RBI and seven stolen bases. Jason Cooper paces the club with six home runs, while Jason VanMeetren and O'Riordan have four each. Arik VanZandt paces the club with 17 runs scored. Cooper (.333), Scott Dragicevich (.325) and VanMeetren (.325) are also hitting .300 or better. Stanford has totaled 22 home runs, 103 RBI and 38 stolen bases for the season, compared to a mere five home runs, 61 RBI and nine stolen bases for its opponents.

The Cardinal pitching staff has continued its amazing start and currently has a season-low ERA of 2.91 through 20 games. The last time the Cardinal finished a season with a lower ERA was when the 1973 club posted a final ERA of 2.64. Over the last 14 games, Stanford's pitching staff has given up only 81 hits and 26 earned runs in 126.0 innings of work for a 1.86 ERA as the Cardinal has won 12 of the 14 games. Opponents are hitting only .191 off Cardinal pitching during the stretch. For the entire season, the starting trio of Jeremy Guthrie, Jeff Bruksch and Tim Cunningham has combined for an 11-0 record and a 2.13 ERA. Guthrie (4-0, 1.15) earned NCBWA Pitcher of the Week honors on February 13 and was named Pac-10 Pitcher of the Week on March 6. Bruksch (3-0, 3.48) rebounded from two ineffective starts to win three consecutive starts. He was recently named a Louisville Slugger National Player of the Week (2/26) and the Pac-10 Pitcher of the Week (2/27). Cunningham (4-0, 1.53) and Guthrie are tied for the club lead with four victories. John Hudgins and Mike Wodnicki have been the team's leaders out of the bullpen. Hudgins has four saves and picked up his first collegiate win versus Nevada (2/27). Wodnicki has three saves. Jason Luker, Ryan McCally and J.D. Willcox have one save each. Wodnicki, McCally and Willcox all have a win out of the bullpen as well. Bruksch leads the club in innings pitched (44.0 IP) and strikeouts (39). The Cardinal staff has accounted for three shutouts in the team's first 20 games and has allowed more than three runs in a game only twice in its last 14 performances. Opponents are hitting just .221 overall against Cardinal pitching.

Stanford's defense is currently fielding at a .976 clip that would rank as the best fielding percentage in school history, a full .004 percentage points above the school record of .972 reached three times between 1991-2000. Stanford has committed more than one error only three times this season and has been errorless in eight of its 20 games, including four of the last eight. Stanford has committed just three errors in its last six games. Second baseman Chris O'Riordan has recorded seven assists three times. O'Riordan leads the team with 74 assists, while shortstop Scott Dragicevich has 66 assists. 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 had been perfect in his first 16 games until finally committing an error against Nevada (2/27) while part-time starting catcher Ken Tirpack (72 chances) remains flawless. Dragicevich had gone 12 consecutive games without an error at shortstop before finally committing one at Santa Clara (2/23) and has still only committed one error in his last 19 games and only three all season.

Jeremy Guthrie earned Pac-10 Pitcher of the Week honors for the first time in his career on March 6. Guthrie picked up his fourth consecutive victory in Stanford's 3-1 win over California on March 2. He struck out a career-high 10 batters, while holding the Golden Bears to four hits and one unearned run in 8.0 innings of work.

One of the most notable changes in this year's Cardinal team is its success on the basepaths. Stanford has totaled 38 stolen bases in 46 attempts through its first 20 games of the season for an average of 1.9 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 seven stolen bases. Jason VanMeetren, Arik VanZandt and Brian Hall have five each, while Sam Fuld and Scott Dragicevich are close behind with four. Stanford opponents have had little success running on the Cardinal (9-for-16).

It may seem like a long shot but both Jeremy Guthrie (1.15) and Tim Cunningham (1.53) have 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's current career batting average of .363 (103-284) would put him on top of Stanford's all-time batting average list if he had enough at bats to qualify. However, O'Riordan should soon officially enter the list as he is only 16 official at bats away from 300 for his career, which is the minimum number of at bats to qualify.

Stanford's 3-2, 10-inning victory over California last Wednesday marked only the second time the Cardinal had won a one-run game this season. Stanford is 2-5 in one-run games in 2001. All five of the Cardinal's losses in 2001 have come by a single run with the first three coming in the opponents' final at bat.

* 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 and Stanford picked up the other two first-place votes. Arizona, California, UCLA, Oregon State, Washington and Washington State ranked fourth through ninth.
* Jason Cooper and Mike Gosling were named Second Team Preseason All-Americans by Baseball America.
* Jeremy Guthrie was named the NCBWA Pitcher of the Week on February 13 following his masterful performance against Florida State (2/9/01). Guthrie held the Seminoles scoreless on one hit over the first 7.0 innings in a 6-2 Cardinal win, striking out eight. Guthrie was the first Cardinal pitcher to receive a national Pitcher of the Week honors since Justin Wayne was named one of Collegiate Baseball's National Players of the Week on March 7, 2000.
* Jeff Bruksch won a pair of honors after tossing his first career shutout in an 8-0 win over Santa Clara (2/26). Bruksch allowed only three hits and no walks, while tying a career-high with nine strikeouts. He was named a Louisville Slugger National Player of the Week and also earned the Pac-10's first Pitcher of the Week honor for 2001. The national honor was his first while the Pac-10 honors marked the second time he had been honored with the conference's weekly award.

Carlos Quentin's three-run homer in his first collegiate at bat at Fresno State (1/26) ... Tim Cunningham's first two starts of the season, carrying a no-hitter into the fifth inning of his first start at Fresno State (1/28) and another one into the fourth inning of his second start of the year at Cal State Fullerton (2/4) ... Jason VanMeetren's career-high four hits and home run at Fresno State (1/28) ... Chris O'Riordan's two-out, three-RBI double in the top of the ninth inning at Cal State Fullerton (2/3) to snap a 6-6 tie and lead the Cardinal to a 9-8 victory ... Back-to-back homers by VanMeetren and Jason Cooper in the sixth inning to break up a scoreless tie and lead Stanford to a 3-0 victory at Cal State Fullerton (2/4) ... Mark Marquess' 1000th career victory and Jeremy Guthrie's masterful 7.0 innings of one-hit baseball versus Florida State (2/9) in the opening of the remodeled Sunken Diamond ... Chris O'Riordan's career-high-tying four hits to help Stanford sweep three straight over Florida State (2/11) ... Jeff Bruksch's masterful outing at Texas (2/17 - 8.1 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 3 BB, 6 SO), combining with Mike Wodnicki for a 5-0 shutout win over the Longhorns ... Jeff Bruksch's three-hit shutout in an 8-0 win over Santa Clara (2/25), earning him Louisville Slugger National Player of the Week and Pac-10 Pitcher of the Week honors ... Chris O'Riordan's leadoff homer at Santa Clara (2/26) ... J.D. Willcox's save in his first appearance of the season versus Nevada (2/27) ... Jeremy Guthrie's career-high 10 strikeouts in a 3-1 Stanford victory over California (3/2) ... Chris O'Riordan's walk-off home run in the bottom of the 10th inning to give Stanford a 3-2 win over California (3/7) and wrap up Stanford's 12th consecutive series victory over the Golden Bears.

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