Top-Ranked Stanford Baseball Beats Washington, 9-3, In Pac-10 Opener

March 23, 2001

Stanford, Calif. - Top-ranked Stanford (19-5, 1-0 Pac-10) began its quest for a fifth straight Pac-10 baseball title with a 9-3 victory over Washington (13-5, 2-2 Pac-10) on Friday at Sunken Diamond. Stanford has now won 17 of its last 19 games and five in a row. Sophomore right-hander Jeremy Guthrie improved to 6-0 (1.12 ERA) on the season by striking out nine while scattering seven hits and three runs (two earned) over the first 8.0 innings. Guthrie tossed six straight scoreless innings from the second through the seventh frames as Stanford's regular starting rotation of Guthrie (6-0, 1.12), Tim Cunningham (4-0, 2.45) and Jeff Bruksch (4-0, 3.12) improved to 14-0 this season with a 2.18 ERA.

'Every starter is following up a starter that has thrown well the day before and that's important,' said Guthrie. 'We are all saying now it's my turn and that's been the big key for the starters. We're all out there to pitch well for the team.'

Stanford was playing for the first time this season as the nation's #1 team and returning from an 11-day break.

'This young team continues to surprise me,' said Stanford head coach Mark Marquess. 'I think these guys have outperformed what I've expected. Now, maybe I except it, but to be honest they have really surprised me.'

Eight of Stanford's nine starters combined for 10 hits with Brian Hall (2-3, 2 RBI) and Arik VanZandt (2-5, RBI) leading the attack. Stanford's five-run fourth inning snapped a 1-1 tie and gave the Cardinal the lead for good.

Andy Topham began the Cardinal's five-run fourth inning when he led off the inning being hit by a pitch, stole second base and scored on an RBI double by Sam Fuld. Fuld later scored on an error and VanZandt drove in Chris O'Riordan to increase Stanford's margin to 4-1. Jason VanMeetren drove home the final two runs of the inning with a two-RBI double.

Washington scored the first run of the game off Guthrie in the top of the first inning on an RBI single by Bryan Johnson, snapping Guthrie's string of 18 consecutive innings without giving up an earned run.

'They came out smoking,' said Guthrie about the Huskies, winners of four in a row and seven of eight prior to tonight's loss. 'We knew they were a hot club and they swung the bats well. I made a few adjustments in the middle innings. The most important thing was being able to hit my spots better as the game went on.'

Stanford tied the game at 1-1 in the bottom of the second inning when Topham tripled to lead off the frame and later scored on an RBI ground out by Fuld.

After the five-run fourth, the Cardinal increased its lead to 9-1 with an insurance run in the fifth on an RBI single by Hall and added two more in the seventh on Hall's sacrifice fly and a bases loaded walk to O'Riordan.

Washington scored a pair of runs in the top of the eighth off Guthrie, scoring the first on an error by Cardinal right fielder Carlos Quentin and the second on an RBI groundout from Johnson.Tim Rice (2-4) and Johnson (2 RBI) led Washington's offensive attack.

Tyler Shepple (0-3) suffered the loss for the Huskies, giving up seven hits and six runs in 3.2 innings.

Mike Wodnicki pitched a 1-2-3 ninth inning for the Cardinal.

Stanford and Washington will continue their series with single games on Saturday and Sunday (1 pm).

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