Stanford Holds On For 4-3 Win Over Notre Dame In First Game Of CWS

June 15, 2002

Omaha, Neb. - Stanford (46-16) held on for a 4-3 win over Notre Dame (49-17) in its first game of the 2002 CWS Saturday to extend its season-high win streak to 10 games. The Cardinal will next play Texas (a 2-1 winner over Rice on Saturday) in a winners' bracket game on ESPN2 on Monday, June 17 (7 pm, CDT/5 pm, PDT). Jeremy Guthrie tossed his sixth complete game of the year and his second in the postseason in Saturday's victory, scattering 10 hits and striking out five with only one walk. The victory improved Stanford's postseason record to 6-0 this year as the Cardinal has won each of its games by two or less runs. The win also marked the fifth straight time Stanford has won its CWS opener, extended Stanford's streak of winning at least one game in Omaha to 14 appearances and gave Stanford seven wins in its last nine CWS games overall.

'It was a great game, one of the better games we've played here (in Omaha),' said Stanford head coach Mark Marquess. 'We thought we were in pretty good shape when we were ahead 4-0, but Notre Dame came back as they have all year. The difference for us today was Jeremy Guthrie. He threw a fabulous game.'

Guthrie won his seventh consecutive start to improve to 13-1 on the season with a 2.38 ERA. The Golden Spikes Award finalist and 2002 first round draft pick of the Cleveland Indians also improved to 3-0 with a 1.80 ERA in the 2002 postseason. He won for the 18th time in his last 19 decisions dating back to last season and tossed at least 6.0 innings in all 19 starts this year.

Guthrie also continued his assault on Stanford's single-season and career record books. His 13-1 record this year ranks him fourth on the school's single-season won-loss percentage list (.929) and tied for seventh in wins as he equaled his 13-win season of 2001. His 151.1 innings pitched this year ranks third on Stanford's single-season list, while his 130 strikeouts are eighth. Guthrie's 26-5 career record ranks him eighth on Stanford's career won-loss percentage list (.839) and tied for eighth in wins.

'The success of our pitching staff is a reflection of our defense,' said Guthrie after the Cardinal played errorless baseball behind him. 'Having a great defense allows us to go out there and throw strikes. If we make good pitches, the defense is going to field the ball cleanly and make a good throw. All the credit goes to our defense.'

Stanford's offense scored twice in the bottom of the first inning to take a 2-0 lead on an RBI single by Jason Cooper, his first career CWS hit after going 0-for-7 at the event last season. Chris Carter had walked to lead off the game but was forced out at second base on a fielders choice by Sam Fuld. Ryan Garko then hit his first of two doubles in the game to put Cardinal runners on second and third base to set up Cooper's hit.

'To get a hit early (in the game) and drive in two runs for us was huge,' said Cooper. 'I was getting pitched outside and was able to shorten up and go up the middle with the ball. It was my first hit in the College World Series and pretty special.'

Stanford increased its lead to 3-0 in the fourth inning when Arik VanZandt singled with two outs and scored on an RBI triple by Chris Carter, his first career CWS hit.

Fuld gave the Cardinal an insurance run it would eventually need with a two-out solo homer in the sixth, his first career CWS longball.

'It was a belt-high fastball, and I was sitting on a fastball because he (Notre Dame starter Grant Johnson) was coming at me with fastballs the whole game,' said Fuld, who snapped out of a 1-for-22 slump and moved to within five hits of equaling Stanford's single-season record with the home run. 'I was just trying to drive the ball up the middle, but I hit the good part of the bat and luckily it went out.'

Guthrie carried a shutout through six complete innings before Notre Dame cut Stanford's four-run lead to 4-3 in the top of the seventh on a three-run homer by Javier Sanchez. Matt Bok had started the rally with a one out double and moved to third on a single by Kris Billmaier before Sanchez' blast. Guthrie walked Joe Thaman immediately following the homer before retiring both Steve Stanley and Steve Sollmann on fly balls to left field to end the threat.

The Fighting Irish threatened again in the top of the eighth when Brian Stavisky singled to lead off the inning and moved to second base on a single by Paul O'Toole before Guthrie retired Bok on a fly out to left field and struck out Billmaier to get out of the jam.

Notre Dame managed to put the tying run on base and the go-ahead run at the plate in the ninth inning when Stanley beat out an infield single with two outs before Guthrie forced Sollmann into a game-ending ground ball to Cardinal shortstop Andy Topham.

VanZandt (2-3) and Garko (2-4, 2 2B) had a pair of hits each for Stanford. Garko continued his hot hitting at the CWS with an updated .563 (9-16) career average in the event. Brian Hall entered the game as a pinch-runner in the seventh inning and stole his 14th base in 14 attempts this season. Stanford continued its dominance on the basepaths this year with three stolen bases to run its season total to 76, compared to only 35 for its opponents. Carlos Quentin was hit by a pitch for the 18th time this season in the fifth inning, leaving him one shy of Brian Dallimore's school record of 19 set in 1996. Chris O'Riordan started his 173rd consecutive game at second base.

Stanley (2-5) had two hits for the Fighting Irish and the other eight Notre Dame starters contributed one hit each.

Notre Dame starter Grant Johnson (9-5) took the loss, allowing four runs and seven hits over the first 5.2 innings. Relievers Ryan Kalita (1.2 IP) and J.P. Gagne (0.2 IP) held the Cardinal scoreless over the final 2.1 innings.

Stanford left 10 runners on base, while Notre Dame stranded eight.

Notre Dame will face the loser of Saturday night's Texas-Rice game in an elimination contest on ESPN2 on Monday, June 17 (2 pm, CDT/12 pm, PDT).

The 56th College World Series will conclude with a single championship game between the two double elimination bracket winners to be televised live by CBS on Saturday, June 22 (12:30 pm, CDT/10:30 am, PDT).

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