Top-Ranked Stanford Baseball Opens Pac-10 Season Versus Washington Friday

March 20, 2001

Stanford, Calif. -

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#1 STANFORD CARDINAL (18-5, 0-0 PAC-10)

Friday, March 23, 6 pm - RHP Tyler Shepple (0-2, 6.26) vs. RHP Jeremy Guthrie (5-0, 0.94)
Saturday, March 24, 1 pm - RHP Sean White (3-0, 3.38) vs. RHP Jeff Bruksch (4-0, 3.12)
Sunday, March 25, 1 pm - RHP Clay Johnson (3-0, 5.91) vs. Tim Cunningham (4-0, 2.45)
A live audio broadcast of the Washington games on Friday and Sunday will be available live on KZSU (90.1 FM) as well as at and ... Saturday's game may be an internet only broadcast depending upon a possible NCAA Tournament game for the Stanford men's basketball team ... The KZSU broadcast team includes Chad Goldberg, Joey Elger and Aaron Levine.

Stanford bolted to the top spot in the Baseball America poll after a dramatic three-game sweep of USC (March 9-11) before beginning an 11-day break that will end when the Cardinal resumes action by hosting Washington in its first Pac-10 series of the season this Friday-Sunday, March 23-25 ... Stanford will be attempting to extend its school record string of Pac-10 titles to five in a row (includes Southern Division) ... Stanford had won three consecutive Pac-10 openers before dropping its first conference game against Arizona last season ... The Cardinal has now won 16 of its last 18 games, four in a row and is 8-1 against ranked teams (according to Baseball America) this season ... Stanford has won two of its last four games with walk-off home runs in the 10th inning (Chris O'Riordan vs. California, 3/7, Andy Topham vs. USC, 3/11) ... Stanford has now won 13 consecutive regular season series and six straight Pac-10 regular season series dating back to last year ... 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 #2 in the nation by both Collegiate Baseball and Baseball Weekly/ESPN ... Stanford has compiled a 10-1 record at Sunken Diamond this season ... O'Riordan leads Stanford with a .351 batting average, 28 RBI and nine stolen bases ... Jason Cooper has a team-high six home runs ... The pitching staff has a current ERA of 2.87 ... 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 13-0 with a 2.18 ERA this season ... Stanford's pitching staff has given up more than three runs in a game only three times in its last 17 games ... Stanford's defense is fielding at a clip of .978, which would be a new school record by .006 percentage points ... The Cardinal has been errorless in 10 of 23 games and has committed multiple errors in only three contests.

Stanford begins 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 this Friday-Sunday, March 23-25 (6 pm, 1 pm, 1 pm). Washington currently has an 11-4 record with two more non-conference games scheduled prior to its series at Stanford. Stanford's four consecutive Pac-10 titles are a school record. Stanford shared the 2000 league 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 Stanford 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 will play the final game of its season-long 11-game homestand versus Saint Mary's on Tuesday, March 27 (6:00 pm, PT). Stanford holds an advantage of 43-8 in the all-time series, including wins in all three games of the 2000 campaign. Stanford picked up an 11-3 win at Saint Mary's (3/21/00) in a game that was marred by a total of nine errors. Each of Stanford's first five hitters in the lineup had two or more hits, led by John Gall (3-5, 3 RBI). A 5-2 Cardinal victory at Sunken Diamond (3/28/00) was highlighted by three-hit performances from Eric Bruntlett, Edmund Muth and Damien Alvarado. Stanford shutout the Gaels by a score of 7-0 (5/10/00) as Jason Young, Mike Gosling and Ryan McCally combined for a shutout in the Cardinal's quickest game of the year (2:01). Stanford visits #5 Arizona State March 30-April 1 which will pit the Cardinal against the last team to which it has lost a regular season series (3/31/00-4/2/00). The Cardinal did win the opening game of last year's series in Tempe, 5-1, behind a two-hit complete game by Justin Wayne. Arizona State came back for a 10-6 win on Saturday, erasing a 6-4 seventh inning Cardinal lead. The Sun Devils then won the rubber game, 11-6, holding on after jumping out to a 6-0 advantage.

Stanford swept USC (March 9-11) in a three-game for the first time since 1997. The Cardinal won the series opener, 2-0, behind Jeremy Guthrie's first career shutout. Stanford exploded for a season-high 15 runs in a 15-3 victory on Saturday. Stanford saved the dramatic game for Sunday's finale when Andy Topham hit a walk-off grand slam homer with one out in the bottom of the 10th inning to cap a 9-5 comeback win. Topham (4-6, 2B, HR, 6 RBI) set new career-highs for hits and RBI as the Cardinal erased a 5-0 deficit. J.D. Willcox picked up the victory by holding the Trojans scoreless over the final 1.2 innings. The game was played in front of a season-high crowd of 2,973. The three-game series drew 7,504.

One of the nation's premier collegiate coaches, Mark Marquess is now in his 25th season as the Stanford head coach. Marquess has a career record of 1013-503-5 (.668) 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. 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). Last season, Marquess coached the Cardinal to its first trip to the CWS title game since winning the 1988 CWS championship. His teams have 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 Washington series to open Pac-10 play) 'Washington is a very talented and very young team. They are lot stronger this year and they just beat league favorite USC two-of-three games. It'll be an outstanding test for us.'
(On how he expects the team to return after its 11-day break) 'I'm not sure how we'll respond to our long layoff. In the past, sometimes we've come out and played very well and sometimes we've been a little rusty. We're not quite sure what to expect from our players. But, it's good to play this series at home and not have to go on the road after a long layoff.'
(On the Pac-10 schedule) 'There isn't (much of a margin for error). If you have a bad weekend the way it is now with only 24 league games and only playing each team once, you can almost eliminate your chances from winning the league with one bad weekend. That's why the non-league games are important, too. It's just not your league -- your overall record and who you have beaten outside of the league has an effect on whether you make post-season play. You want to win the league, but it does you no good to win the league and lose those other non-league games.'

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 has been ranked #1 in the nation by Baseball America for each of the last two weeks. The Cardinal jumped all the way from #10 to #1 after sweeping USC in a three-game series March 9-11 and have been idle since. Stanford has now been ranked #1 at one point during each of the past five seasons. The Cardinal also moved up a spot to #2 in both the Collegiate Baseball and Baseball Weekly/ESPN polls last week. The Cardinal had moved from #9 to #3 in both polls the previous week. Rice is the nation's top team in both polls. Stanford opened the 2001 season ranked #9 by Baseball Weekly/ESPN, #11 by Collegiate Baseball and #14 by Baseball America. Pac-10 foes Arizona State (#5 Baseball America, #3 Collegiate Baseball, #3 Baseball Weekly/ESPN) and USC (#9 Baseball America, #12 Collegiate Baseball, #10 Baseball Weekly/ESPN). The Cardinal finished the 2000 campaign ranked #2 in all three polls after opening the season at #1 before dropping out of the top spot on February 14, 2000. 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 the entire regular season (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 2246-1435-32 (.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 (also 52 of last 54), 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 13 by sweeping USC (March 9-11). 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 with a sweep over Florida State (2/9/01 - 2/11/01) to open the 2001 home season and extended it to 12 by winning two-of-three at Texas (2/16/01 - 2/18/01), sweeping Santa Clara (2/23/01 - 2/26/01) and beating California two-of-three (3/2/01 - 3/7/01). 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 an outstanding effort this season from its starting pitching rotation of Jeremy Guthrie (5-0, 0.94 ERA), Jeff Bruksch (4-0, 3.12 ERA) and Tim Cunningham (4-0, 2.45 ERA). The group has accounted for 20 of the team's 23 starts, posting a combined 13-0 record and a 2.18 ERA. The group has also logged a hefty 140.1 of the pitching staff's 210.1 innings (66.7%). Opponents are hitting a mere .204 off the trio.

Stanford's team batting average currently sits at .281, which is as high as its been since reaching a season-high of .286 following a game at Texas on February 16. After posting double digit hits just twice in 10 games, Stanford exploded for 27 hits in the final two games of the USC series. Stanford hit .343 (35-102) in the USC series and came up with nine extra base hits. Chris O'Riordan continues to lead the team with a .351 batting average, 33 hits, 28 RBI and nine stolen bases. Jason Cooper paces the club with six home runs, while O'Riordan has five and Jason VanMeetren four. Arik VanZandt paces the club with seven doubles and 19 runs scored. Scott Dragicevich (.337), Cooper (.333) and the hot-hitting Carlos Quentin (.328) are the other regulars currently hitting over .300. Stanford has totaled 24 home runs, 127 RBI and 45 stolen bases for the season, compared to a mere seven home runs, 68 RBI and nine stolen bases for its opponents.

The Cardinal pitching staff has been amazing over the first 23 games and currently has an ERA of 2.87. 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 17 games, Stanford's pitching staff has posted a 1.99 ERA by giving up only 104 hits and 34 earned runs in 154.0 innings of work as the Cardinal has won 15 of the 17 games. Opponents are hitting only .198 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 13-0 record and a 2.18 ERA. Guthrie (5-0, 0.94) earned NCBWA Pitcher of the Week honors on February 13 and was also named Pac-10 Pitcher of the Week for two consecutive weeks on March 6 and 13. Bruksch (4-0, 3.12) has won four of his last five starts. He was named a Louisville Slugger National Player of the Week (2/26) and the Pac-10 Pitcher of the Week (2/27). Cunningham is 4-0 with a 2.25 ERA primarily as the team's Sunday starter. 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 and a team-high 10 appearances. Jason Luker, Ryan McCally and J.D. Willcox have one save each. Willcox (2-0, 0.00) has emerged as one of the team's top relievers, recording a pair of wins and a save in three appearances just before the break. Wodnicki and Ryan McCally have a win out of the bullpen as well. Bruksch leads the club in innings pitched (52.0 IP) while Guthrie is the strikeout leader (45 in 48.0 IP). The Cardinal staff has four shutouts and a pair of complete games in the team's first 23 games with Bruksch and Guthrie recording one complete game shutout each. The staff has allowed more than three runs in a game only three times in its last 17 performances. Opponents are hitting just .221 overall against Cardinal pitching.

Stanford's defense is currently fielding at a .978 clip that would rank as the best fielding percentage in school history, a full .006 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 10 of its 23 games, including five of the last nine. Stanford has committed a total of just four errors in its last nine games. Second baseman Chris O'Riordan has recorded seven assists three times. O'Riordan leads the team with 87 assists, while shortstop Scott Dragicevich has 72 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 has committed just one error in 240 chances, while part-time starting catcher Ken Tirpack (93 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 22 games and only three all season.

Jeremy Guthrie earned back-to-back Pac-10 Pitcher of the Week honors on March 6 and 13. Guthrie earned his first career Pac-10 honor after pitching Stanford to a 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. Guthrie's second honor came after his first career-complete game shutout against #4 USC on March 9 as he struck out eight and scattered six hits.

One of the most notable changes in this year's Cardinal team is its success on the basepaths. Stanford has totaled 45 stolen bases in 55 attempts through its first 23 games of the season for an average of 2.0 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 nine stolen bases. Scott Dragicevich, Jason VanMeetren, Arik VanZandt and Brian Hall have five each, while Sam Fuld and Andy Topham are close behind with four. Stanford opponents have had little success running on the Cardinal (9-for-16).

It may still be early in the season and seem like a long shot but Jeremy Guthrie (0.95) may 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 .361 (107-296) would rank him second on Stanford's all-time batting average list if he had enough at bats to qualify. O'Riordan needs just four more at bats to reach the minimum 300 career at bats minimum and will enter the list on top if he picks up two hits in those four at bats.

After losing five of its first six one-run games and both of its extra inning contests, Stanford's late-game fortunes have changed a bit recently. The Cardinal has won a pair of extra-inning contests in dramatic fashion in its last three games. Stanford picked up a 3-2, 10-inning victory over California (3/7) thanks to Chris O'Riordan's walk-off solo homer. Andy Topham's grandslam walk-off homer versus USC (3/11) capped a Cardinal comeback and gave Stanford a 9-5 win and three-game sweep of the Trojans. Still, 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.

Stanford's 18-5 record includes an 8-1 mark against teams ranked among the nation's Top 25 in the Baseball America poll at the time the Cardinal faced them. The Cardinal have only six more games scheduled against teams currently ranked among BA's Top 25.

The three-game series between Stanford and USC drew 7,504 spectators, the most for a three-game series at Sunken Diamond this season. Sunday's game drew a season-high 2,974 fans. An all-time record crowd of 4,172 watched the 1997 NCAA West Regional Final between Stanford and Fresno State.

* 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 State and Stanford picked up the other two first-place votes.
* Stanford has nearly doubled its opponents scoring this season with 140 runs while opponents have crossed the plate only 74 times.

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