Super Regionals Baseball Preview

While the comebacks and dramatic moments in this past weekend's regional series will remain a part of Cardinal lore for years to come, this Stanford baseball team is now focused on South Carolina and the Super Regionals. One look at JJ's detailed preview tells you that some epic battles are on the horizon, with Omaha hanging in the balance.

SOUTH CAROLINA (48-18) vs. STANFORD (46-15)

Fri - 7:00pm
Sat - 1:00pm
Sun - 1:00pm (if necessary)

Best of three-game series
All games at Sunken Diamond


After surviving a nail-biting sub-regional, the Stanford Cardinal have advanced to the super-regionals to play the South Carolina Gamecocks for the right to go to the College World Series.  The teams will play a best of three-game series this Friday-Sunday at Sunken Diamond with the winner moving on to Omaha.  Both Stanford and South Carolina had to battle through their sub-regionals as each team needed two wins on Sunday to advance.  The Cardinal opened postseason play with a 4-3 win over Marist College on Friday night as Jeremy Guthrie picked up his 11th win of the year.  On Saturday, the Cardinal faced off with the Texas Longhorns and dropped a 4-3 decision. The Longhorns scored four runs in the sixth inning to take a 4-1 lead and held off a late Stanford rally to win the game.  That loss forced the Cardinal to win three consecutive games in a 24-hour span.

The first elimination game took place on Saturday night as Stanford and Marist hooked up again, but this time with far less dramatics.  Tim Cunningham got the start and threw eight shutout innings while Sam Fuld went 4-for-5 to lead the Cardinal to a 6-0 victory.  With that win, Stanford moved onto Sunday and needed to defeat Texas twice to advance to the super-regionals.  The first game saw each team battle back-and-forth until Carlos Quentin delivered an RBI single in the bottom of the tenth inning to give Stanford the 10-9 victory.  In the nightcap, the Cardinal trailed 3-1 heading into the eighth inning but put across three runs, two of them on a single from Ryan Garko, to take a 4-3 lead.  J.D. Willcox then came on and shut out the Longhorns over the final two frames to secure the win and keep Stanford's season alive.


Stanford Notes :
* Chris O'Riordan is only three hits and eight RBI away from moving into the top ten in Stanford's single season record book.

* J.D. Willcox's pitching line in his two games on Sunday versus Texas : 1 win, 1 save, 3 1/3 innings, 1 hit, 0 runs, 2 strikeouts.

* Stanford is 28-5 at home this season.  Those five losses have been by a combined total of six runs.

* The Cardinal committed only one error in five games last weekend.  Their team fielding percentage is at .977, the school record is .972.


Probable Starting Lineup :
C - Ryan Garko (.358, 4 HR, 38 RBI, 0 SB)
* 20-game hitting streak.  Hitting .390 over that stretch of games.

1B - Arik VanZandt (.269, 6 HR, 32 RBI, 9 SB)
* Has committed only two errors in 573 chances at 1B.

2B - Chris O'Riordan (.367, 11 HR, 65 RBI, 16 SB)
* Leads team (or tied) in average, runs, hits, doubles, home runs, RBI, slugging percentage, walks, on-base percentage, and stolen bases.

3B - Andy Topham (.277, 6 HR, 38 RBI, 11 SB)
* Has hit .433 (12-for-30) with four home runs in his last eight games.

SS - Scott Dragicevich (.325, 5 HR, 32 RBI, 6 SB)
* Has just three hits in his last 22 at-bats (6 games).

LF - Jason Cooper (.291, 9 HR, 37 RBI, 2 SB)
* Went just 2-for-22 (.091) last weekend at the regional.

CF - Sam Fuld (.348, 0 HR, 31 RBI, 11 SB)
* Leads all Stanford outfielders with six assists.

RF - Carlos Quentin (.347, 11 HR, 50 RBI, 5 SB)
* 2001 Pac-10 Freshman of the Year.

DH - Jonny Ash (.310, 0 HR, 18 RBI, 0 SB)
* Hitting .392 (20-for-51) since being inserted into starting lineup on April 29th.

Team Statistics : .314 average, 7.1 runs/game, 79 stolen bases


Starting Pitchers :
RHP - Jeremy Guthrie (11-4, 2.78 ERA, 116 2/3 IP, 37 BB, 115 SO)
* Has won his last three starts since going through 0-3 stretch.

LHP - Mike Gosling (7-1, 3.38 ERA, 66 2/3 IP, 19 BB, 64 SO)
* Opponents are batting only .213 against him.

RHP - Jeff Bruksch (9-3, 3.24 ERA, 116 2/3 IP, 26 BB, 101 SO)
* Gave up six runs in six innings pitched on Sunday vs. Texas.


Primary Relief Pitchers :
RHP - Mike Wodnicki (5-1, 4.81 ERA, 6 SV)
* Picked up a win and a save in the regional last weekend.

RHP - J.D. Willcox (4-0, 1.80 ERA, 5 SV)
* Has given up just six runs in 30 innings pitched this season.

RHP - Ryan McCally (2-1, 2.61 ERA, 3 SV)
* Has not given up a run in his last six outings (4 2/3 innings).

RHP - John Hudgins (1-5, 4.54 ERA, 4 SV)
* Started Sunday nightcap vs. Texas : 5 1/3 IP, 2 ER, 1 BB, 3 SO.

LHP - Tim Cunningham (6-0, 3.53 ERA, 0 SV)
* Opponents are hitting just .226 against him.

Team Statistics : 3.40 ERA, .237 opponents average



-- South Carolina Gamecocks --

The Gamecocks had a very similar path to the super-regionals as the Stanford Cardinal.  They won their first game of the regional, a 16-0 victory over The Citadel on Friday night.  On Saturday afternoon, they dropped a 8-6 decision to the top seed Central Florida.  Later that evening, the Gamecocks stayed alive with an 11-7 win over Princeton.  On Sunday, South Carolina needed two wins to advance and did just that with a couple of victories (9-7 and 5-2) over Central Florida.  In the Sunday nightcap, ace starting pitcher Kip Bouknight (who threw a complete-game on Friday) threw 3 2/3 quality innings of relief to pick up the save.

Unlike the Texas Longhorns, the South Carolina Gamecocks don't play a lot of small ball as they often just wait for the three-run home run.  South Carolina has blasted 109 home runs this season and despite having a team batting average that is 26 points lower than Stanford, they average the same amount of runs per game.  The preseason #8 team in the country, the Gamecocks opened the season with 13 consecutive wins and in late March they were 24-4 and climbed up to the #5 national ranking.  But a rough stretch of games from March 30th to April 21st that saw South Carolina drop nine of 15 completely knocked them out of the top 25.  They've since turned it around and have gone 18-5 over their last 23 games that includes a strong showing in the SEC Tournament and of course, a regional win last weekend.  The Gamecocks have struggled on the road this season (they hosted their sub-regional) as their overall road record stands at an even 10-10.  They are only 1-4 in five series' away from home this year.

At the plate, the Gamecocks have only four players that hit over .300, but they do have four players with double-digit home run totals.  Catcher Tim Whittaker is the top power hitter with a team-leading 21 home runs and 73 RBI.  Center fielder Marcus McBeth and second baseman Bryon Jeffcoat have each hit 16 home runs this season while rightfielder Michael Floyd is tops on the club with a .353 batting average.  On the mound, it all starts with All-American Kip Bouknight.  The senior righthander is 10-3 with a 3.49 ERA this season and is coming off a 2000 campaign that saw him win National Player of the Year honors.  The pitching staff as a whole is very good as the Gamecocks sport an impressive 3.34 team ERA and like the Cardinal have a very deep and talented staff.

Probable Starting Lineup :
C - Tim Whittaker (.284, 21 HR, 73 RBI, 1 SB)
* Leads team in home runs, RBI, and slugging percentage.

1B - Tripp Kelly (.258, 9 HR, 27 RBI, 4 SB)
* Walks often (31 this season) and has a very good on-base percentage (.383) for a low batting average.

2B - Bryon Jeffcoat (.332, 16 HR, 54 RBI, 8 SB)
* Went 8-for-18 (.444) with three home runs in the regional last weekend.

3B - Chris Plummer (.262, 6 HR, 31 RBI, 6 SB)
* #9 hitter, tops on the team with 11 sac bunts.

SS - Drew Meyer (.309, 7 HR, 37 RBI, 20 SB)
* Has stolen a team-leading 20 bases, but also committed 21 errors in the field.

LF - Garris Gonce (.349, 9 HR, 35 RBI, 6 SB)
* #4 hitter, has highest on-base percentage of anybody on either team (.462).

CF - Marcus McBeth (.284, 16 HR, 57 RBI, 12 SB)
* Leadoff hitter, has struck out 60 times in 66 games this season.

RF - Michael Floyd (.353, 3 HR, 28 RBI, 10 SB)
* Has a current 23-game hitting streak.

DH - Brennan Dees (.295, 13 HR, 39 RBI, 7 SB)
* Strikes out once every 3.7 at-bats.

Team Statistics : .288 average, 7.2 runs/game, 82 stolen bases


Starting Pitchers :
RHP - Kip Bouknight (10-3, 3.49 ERA, 118 2/3 IP, 51 BB, 101 SO)
* Was 17-1 with a 2.81 ERA in 2000.

LHP - Gary Bell (10-5, 3.43 ERA, 97 IP, 41 BB, 72 SO)
* Roughed up in regional start (Saturday vs. Cent. Flo.) : 4 2/3 IP, 4 ER, 3 BB, 2 SO.

RHP - Chris Spigner (7-4, 4.08 ERA, 90 1/3 IP, 57 BB, 70 SO)
* Opponents are hitting only .228 against him.


Primary Relief Pitchers :
RHP - Lee Gronkiewicz (2-1, 1.44 ERA, 18 SV)
* Has struck out 72 batters in only 56 1/3 innings pitched this season.

RHP - Blake Taylor (4-3, 3.34 ERA, 1 SV)
* Started the Sunday nightcap last weekend (5 1/3 IP, 1 ER, 4 SO).

LHP - David Marchbanks (7-1, 3.63 ERA, 0 SV)
* Has started ten games this season including first Sunday game vs. CF.

LHP - Brett Price (6-1, 2.62 ERA, 0 SV)
* 28 walks and 42 strikeouts in 34 1/3 innings pitched.

Team Statistics : 3.34 ERA, .237 opponents average



OVERALL TEAM STATISTICS COMPARISON :

  Stanford South Carolina
Record 46-15 48-18
Batting Average .314 .288
Runs Per Game 7.1 7.2
Home Runs 61 109
Slugging Percentage .470 .496
On-Base Percentage .389 .376
Stolen Bases-Attempts 79-109 82-108
Earned Run Average 3.40 3.34
Saves 19 21
Walks Per 9 Innings 3.1 4.2
Strikeouts Per 9 Innings 7.9 8.1
Fielding Percentage .977 .970


OTHER SUPER-REGIONAL MATCHUPS :
Mississippi State (39-22) at Cal State Fullerton (44-16)
Rice (47-18) at Nebraska (48-14)
LSU (43-20-1) at Tulane (53-10)
Clemson (41-20) at Miami (47-12)
Tennessee (44-18) at East Carolina (47-11)
Florida State (46-17) at Georgia (45-19)
Florida International (43-19) at U$C (42-17)


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