Mildcat Baseball Series Preview

ARIZONA (29-21, 8-10) at STANFORD (37-13, 12-6)

Fri - 6:00pm
Sat - 1:00pm
Sun - 1:00pm

The Stanford Cardinal and the Arizona Mildcats hook up this weekend in a crucial three-game series for both teams. The Cardinal are one game behind the first-place U$C Trojans in the 9-Pac standings with only six conference games remaining. Stanford is also fighting for one of the eight National Seeds in this year's NCAA Tournament. The Mildcats are on the bubble for postseason play. They're currently the sixth best team in the conference, but are only one game out of fourth place.

9-PAC STANDINGS:

U$C              13-5  --- 33-16
Stanford         12-6  1.0 37-13
California       14-10 2.0 31-23
Arizona State     9-9  4.0 31-16-1
Oregon State      9-9  4.0 29-20
Arizona           8-10 5.0 29-21
Washington        7-11 6.0 29-16
UCLA              6-12 7.0 27-23
Washington State  6-12 7.0 15-32

This Weekend's Games:
Washington State at U$C (Sat-Mon)
Oregon State at UCLA (Fri-Sun)
Arizona State at Washington (Sat-Mon)
Arizona at Stanford (Fri-Sun)

The Cardinal have won four out of their last five games since dropping five-of-seven. Earlier this week, Stanford came-from-behind to defeat the Cal Poly Mustangs, 11-10. The Cardinal were down 10-7 heading into the bottom of the eighth inning, but scored two runs in each the eighth and ninth frames to claim the victory. The winning run scored on a bases-loaded walk by Jonny Ash. Stanford traveled up to USF on Wednesday and defeated the Dons, 8-6. The Cardinal jumped out to a 5-0 lead after 2 1/2 innings and held on for the win. Ryan Garko continued his hot hitting with a 2-for-5 performance while Tim Cunningham (5 IP, 2 ER, 6 SO) picked up his first win since February 26th.

PROBABLE STARTING LINEUP:
C - Ryan Garko (.366, 3 HR, 27 RBI)
* Hitting .478 (32-for-67) in his last 19 games.

1B - Arik VanZandt (.266, 5 HR, 24 RBI)
* Just 4-for-29 (.138) in his last 12 contests.

2B - Chris O'Riordan (.348, 9 HR, 55 RBI)
* Leads (or tied) the team in runs, hits, home runs, RBI, and stolen bases.

3B - Andy Topham (.251, 2 HR, 27 RBI)
* Has walked just eight times in 50 games this season.

SS - Scott Dragicevich (.333, 4 HR, 28 RBI)
* Fielding percentage (.954) is 21 points better than Bruntlett's (.933) from last year.

LF - Jason Cooper (.302, 7 HR, 25 RBI)
* Hitting .243 (9-for-37) with one homer since his return from injury.

CF - Sam Fuld (.333, 0 HR, 22 RBI)
* Leads all outfielders with six assists.

RF - Carlos Quentin (.354, 9 HR, 39 RBI)
* 12-for-21 (.571) with two home runs in his last five games.

DH - Jonny Ash (.291, 0 HR, 12 RBI)
* Batting .421 (8-for-19) since being inserted into starting lineup.

Team Statistics : .308 average, 6.9 runs/game, 71 stolen bases

starting pitching rotation

Fri - Jeremy Guthrie (RHP; 8-4, 2.44 ERA, 96 IP, 35 BB, 96 SO)
* 0-3 with a 5.68 ERA in his last three starts.

Sat - Jeff Bruksch (RHP; 8-2, 2.87 ERA, 97 1/3 IP, 20 BB, 86 SO)
* Hasn't win since April 13th.

Sun - Mike Gosling (LHP; 5-0, 3.33 ERA, 48 2/3 IP, 14 BB, 48 SO)
* Opponents are batting only .199 against him.

primary relievers

- Mike Wodnicki (RHP; 4-1, 4.97 ERA, 4 SV)
* Struggled in his last two outings (6 innings, 8 runs).

- J.D. Willcox (RHP; 3-0, 2.28 ERA, 3 SV)
* Picked up win with 3 2/3 innings of relief on Tuesday night.

- Ryan McCally (RHP; 2-1, 3.00 ERA, 3 SV)
* Recorded the save on Wednesday at USF (2/3 IP, 0 R).

- John Hudgins (RHP; 1-5, 5.46 ERA, 4 SV)
* Has 32 strikeouts in 29 2/3 innings pitched.

Team Statistics : 3.41 ERA, .233 opponents average

-- Arizona Mildcats --

The Mildcats desperately need a series win this weekend to keep their NCAA Tournament hopes alive. Arizona has a respectable 29-21 overall record, but are below .500 in conference play. They haven't placed since April 27-29 when they traveled to Tempe to play Arizona State. The Sun Devils took two-of-three games in that series.

The strength of this team is their hitting as the Mildcats boast an impressive .318 team batting average and score almost eight runs per game. Right fielder Shelley Duncan leads the conference in home runs with 21 while first baseman Ernie Durazo is one of the top hitters in the 9-Pac with a .396 batting average. All three Arizona starting pitchers are freshman with ERA's over 5.00 while the Mildcats team earned run average is a lofty 5.39.

PROBABLE STARTING LINEUP:
C - Ken Riley (.275, 0 HR, 15 RBI)
* Has thrown out only 17% of would-be base stealers.

1B - Ernie Durazo (.396, 7 HR, 54 RBI)
* 4th in 9-Pac in hitting, 1st in doubles.

2B - Moises Duran (.298, 1 HR, 7 RBI)
* Has made only 13 starts this season.

3B - Erik Torres (.347, 5 HR, 34 RBI)
* Tied for the conference lead with six triples.

SS - Brad Hassey (.271, 0 HR, 26 RBI)
* Leads the team with 12 stolen bases.

LF - Justyn St. Clair (.298, 1 HR, 20 RBI)
* Hit first homer of the season against ASU in their last series.

CF - Brian Anderson (.362, 1 HR, 31 RBI)
* Also a relief pitcher on the team.

RF - Shelley Duncan (.328, 21 HR, 65 RBI)
* All-time career home run hitter in Arizona Wildcat history (52).

DH - Matt Abram (.368, 8 HR, 49 RBI)
* Hit for the cycle on April 8th versus Washington State.

Team Statistics : .318 average, 7.9 runs/game, 51 stolen bases

starting pitching rotation

Fri - Marc Kaiser (RHP; 7-5, 5.32 ERA, 86 1/3 IP, 52 BB, 60 SO)
* Leads team in victories.

Sat - Sean Rierson (RHP; 5-4, 5.06 ERA, 85 1/3 IP, 20 BB, 60 SO)
* Last start at ASU : 7 2/3 IP, 7 H, 1 R, 1 BB, 3 SO

Sun - Chris Goodman (RHP; 3-1, 5.73 ERA, 59 2/3 IP, 15 BB, 41 SO)
* Opponents are batting .307 against him.

primary relievers

- Daryl DeSalvo (RHP; 2-0, 2.08 ERA, 5 SV)
* Leads the team is saves.

- Anthony Sulser (RHP; 3-1, 5.08 ERA, 1 SV)
* Team-leading 24 appearances.

- Rob Elias (LHP; 0-3, 6.12 ERA, 3 SV)
* Opponents are hitting .309 against him.

- Joe Little (LHP; 3-0, 5.40 ERA, 2 SV)
* Has walked only eight batters in 36 2/3 innings pitched.

Team Statistics : 5.39 ERA, .290 opponents average

On paper, the Cardinal have an advantage over Arizona. Stanford has three experienced starters with ERA's all below 3.50 while the Mildcats will start three freshman with ERA's above 5.00. Both teams have good hitting squads, but the Mildcats middle of the lineup can be very dangerous. The trio of Ernie Durazo, Shelley Duncan, and Matt Abram are a combined .365 with 36 home runs. Stanford needs to win this series to keep the momentum going into postseason play and to keep pace with the streaking the U$C Trojans.


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