No. 2 Baseball Rolls 15-4 Over USC To Move Within One Game Of First

April 14, 2002

Stanford, Calif. - No. 2 Stanford (25-8, 4-2 Pac-10) rolled to a 15-4 victory over USC (20-16, 6-3 Pac-10) in the finale of a three-game set on Sunday at Sunken Diamond to move within one game of first place in the Pac-10 and extend its regular season series win streak to 12 dating back to last year. Arik VanZandt (3-4, HR, 3 RBI, SB), Jason Cooper (2-3, HR, 3 RBI) and Brian Hall (2-4, 2B, HR, 4 RBI) all hit three-run homers for Stanford as the Cardinal tallied 11 long balls in the three-game series. Cooper's homer was his 10th of the season to set a new career-high. Stanford has now won 17 of its last 21 games overall.

'We've done a good job of picking things up offensively this season, but I think we can get better,' said Stanford head coach Mark Marquess. 'We're going to need to swing the bats well and continue with our offense to succeed.'

'A lot of our guys are starting to get in mid-season form,' added Cooper, a candidate for National Player of the Year honors. 'We have a lot of power potential on this team throughout the lineup. Our guys are starting to be more aggressive at the plate.'

'It's huge for us to win two out of three games against USC,' continued Cooper. 'We expect them to be right near the top of the Pac-10 standings when the season is over.'

John Hudgins (6-0) picked up the victory, winning for the fifth time in his last six starts as he allowed four runs and scattered nine hits over the first 7.0 innings.

The game was tied 2-2 until Stanford scored four times in the bottom of the fifth inning, the final three runs coming across the plate on VanZandt's three-run homer over the left field fence that chased USC starter and losing pitcher J.P. Howell (3-4). Sam Fuld had given Stanford a 3-2 lead with an RBI single to score Ryan Garko in the previous at bat.

Stanford extended its lead to 9-2 with three more runs in the bottom of the sixth. Cooper started the rally with a one-out single and scored along with Carlos Quentin when Fuld hit an RBI single down the right field line that Trojan rightfielder David Gordon misplayed allowing Quentin to score all the way from first base. Fuld scored Stanford's final run of the inning on a sacrifice fly by Hall.

The Cardinal blew the game wide open with six runs in the bottom of the seventh, marking the 16th time the team has scored five or more runs in an inning this season. Cooper and Hall both hit three-run homers in the to account for all six Cardinal runs.

USC closed out the game's scoring with two runs in the top of the eighth on an RBI groundout by Bill Peavey and an RBI single from Alberto Concepcion before Stanford reliever Ryan McCally retired five of the final six batters he faced to end the game.

Four USC players - Anthony Lunetta (2-3), Concepcion (2-4, HR, 2 RBI), Brian Barre (2-4, HR, RBI) and Michael Moon (2-4) - had two hits each.

Fuld (2-3, 3 RBI), Andy Topham (2-5, 2B) and Danny Putnam (2-6, RBI, SB) added two hits each for the Cardinal. Chris O'Riordan was 1-for-2 with a stolen base and four walks, the most by a Stanford player in a game this season. O'Riordan moved back into a tie for first place on Stanford's career batting average list with a .362 lifetime mark.

Stanford had taken an early 2-0 lead with a pair of runs in the bottom of the second inning on an RBI single by Putnam and a sacrifice fly from Garko.

USC tied the game with solo homers by Barre in the third and Concepcion in the fourth.

Stanford posted double-digit runs for the 10th time this season and double-digit hits for the 24th time.

The Cardinal left 11 runners on base, while USC stranded seven.

Stanford was errorless for the second consecutive game, while the Trojans committed a pair of errors.

Stanford will host Saint Mary's in a non-conference game next Tuesday, April 16 (6 pm, PT) before returning to Pac-10 action with a three-game series at Washington next Friday-Sunday, April 19-21 (6:30 pm, 1 pm, 1 pm, PT).

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