Stanford Makes Unexpected Trip to CWS Final

June 14, 2001


AP Sports Writer

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) - Stanford has been hearing all season that it was tooyoung and too inexperienced to get back to the College World Series.

The Cardinal decided they would prove coach Mark Marquess wrong.

'Coach kept telling us that he didn't expect us to be here, but wedefinitely expected to be here,' third baseman Andy Topham said. 'We knew wecould get back to Omaha. And once you get here, anything can happen.'

Jeremy Guthrie (13-4) pitched seven strong innings, and Brian Hall and RyanGarko homered to lead Stanford (51-16) to a 4-1 victory over CalState-Fullerton on Wednesday night.

The victory clinched the Cardinal's fourth College World Series title gameappearance and second in a row.

'This is a special group because not much was expected of them,' Marquesssaid. 'I'm very proud of them. To get all the way to the College World Serieschampionship game is truly amazing.'

The Cardinal lost their starting rotation from last season and had noseniors on the roster. They were picked to finish third in the Pac-10, and atrip to the College World Series seemed like a fantasy - except to the Stanfordplayers.

'On the first day of morning running, we broke saying, 'Omaha' every day,'Garko said. 'As a team, I think we thought we could get back here.'

Stanford, which won national championships in 1987 and '88, and lost toLouisiana State last season, will play either Miami or Tennessee in Saturday'stitle game. The Hurricanes will advance if they win Thursday's game.

'The wagons are always loaded at Stanford,' Titans coach George Hortonsaid. 'It's just a question of whether they're juniors, seniors, sophomores orfreshmen. That's why they're here so often. Mark does a great job.'

Guthrie allowed one run, four hits, struck out five and walked two for theCardinal, who won their fourth straight game and ninth of the last 10.

'We have no excuses,' Horton said. 'We came out knowing it would be agame like this, so we were hoping to score some runs. But it was too muchpitching and too much defense.'

Guthrie rebounded nicely from his last outing, when he gave up five runs andeight hits in just 1 1-3 innings in the College World Series opener againstTulane.

'It feels really good to come back and pitch,' Guthrie said. 'We lookedover some film Friday and saw some things to fix.'

Jeff Bruksch pitched the last two innings and tied the CWS record with histhird save for the Cardinal, who also beat the top-seeded Titans (48-18) 5-2 in10 innings Sunday. The save was the fourth of his career at the College WorldSeries, also tying the career record.

Guthrie, who left Wednesday after giving up a leadoff single to Shane Costain the eighth, lost his shutout bid in the seventh on Mike Rouse's RBI double.He retired 10 straight batters before walking Robert Guzman and Jason Corapcito start the inning.

The runners moved up on Aaron Rifkin's groundout, and Brett Kay hit agrounder to first that Arik VanZandt fielded on a hop and threw home to nailGuzman at the plate for the second out. But Rouse followed with a double downthe right-field line to make it 4-1. Pinch-hitter Matt Belfanti struck out toend the inning.

Hall, making his first postseason start in left field, gave Stanford a 1-0lead in the third with his second homer of the season. The other came Jan. 26at Fresno State in the second game of the season. He led off the inning byhitting a 2-0 pitch from Jon Smith (11-3) into the left-center field bleachers.

'I think it was a great time to hit it out,' Hall said.

Hall also played a key role in Stanford's other CWS victory over Cal StateFullerton when he robbed Rouse of extra bases with an impressive running catchin the ninth to send it to extra innings tied at 1, and scored the go-ahead runin the top of the 10th.

Stanford added two more runs in the fourth on Topham's two-run single.

Garko gave the Cardinal a 4-0 lead with a home run over the 26-foot-highscreen in center field off Smith, who allowed four runs and six hits in sixinnings.

'I felt strong coming into the game,' Smith said. 'They were using thepark and got a couple of home runs. They took advantage of my mistakes andthat's a tribute to their offense.'

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