College Baseball Roundup

Stanford won their sixth consecutive series when they took 2-of-3 games from the Washington Huskies last weekend. It was also the Cardinal's fourth series win over a ranked team this year. This week's Roundup takes a closer look at the UW series, has all the latest from around the Pac-10, plus has an updated "Super Sixteen" national poll.

Pac-10 Standings :

                  Conf.  GB  Overall

Stanford           4-2    -   18-9
California         4-2    -   17-13
UCLA               2-1   0.5  16-16
Arizona State      3-3   1.0  34-6
Arizona            3-3   1.0  22-10
Washington         1-2   1.5  19-9

Oregon State       1-2   1.5  13-13

Washington State   1-2   1.5   8-19

USC                2-4   2.0  14-16

No big surprises in Pac-10 play last weekend.  The Washington Huskies gave Stanford all they could handle at Sunken Diamond, but the Cardinal still came out with a series victory.  Arizona State won a series at Dedeaux Field for the first time since 1993 when the Sun Devils took 2-of-3 from the reeling USC Trojans.  UCLA began their conference season with an impressive 2-of-3 series win over visiting Arizona while it was the California Golden Bears winning 2-of-3 at Oregon State.

Stanford and Cal sit atop the Pac-10 standings after two weeks of conference play although the Bears have probably played the two weakest teams in the conference in Washington State and Oregon State.  Stanford remains one game ahead of ASU in the Pac-10 race.  This weekend, the Cardinal travel north to take on the Washington State Cougars in a three-game set.  UCLA hosts California while Oregon State will play at Washington.  UCLA-Cal should be a very competitive series while I wouldn't be surprised if Washington sweeps OSU up in Seattle.

Washington Series Recap/Notes :

It was a great series out at Sunken Diamond last weekend with the Cardinal taking 2-of-3 from the then-24th ranked Washington Huskies.  On Friday night, UW ace starter Sean White dominated Stanford as he shutout the Card for the first seven innings.  The Huskies scored three runs off Stanford starter John Hudgins in the fourth inning and then pushed across two more against Drew Ehrlich in the ninth.  The Cardinal bats woke-up in the eighth and ninth innings scoring three runs over those final two frames, but it wasn't enough as Washington took game one by a 5-3 score.

On Saturday, the Huskies took a 4-2 lead into the bottom of the seventh inning until the Stanford bats exploded for two runs in the seventh and six in the eighth to go ahead 10-4.  UW mustered two runs in the top of the ninth, but Kodiak Quick came on in relief of David O'Hagan with the tying run at the plate and shut the door to preserve the victory.  

Sunday was an epic battle with Stanford coming out on top thanks to Carlos Quentin's two-run, walkoff homer in the bottom of the ninth.  The Huskies scored four runs in the first inning off Mark Romanczuk, but the Cardinal answered back with four of their own in the bottom of the first against UW starter Trevor Gibson.  The lead would change hands multiple times, but it was Stanford recording the victory by a 12-11 score by virtue of Quentin's ninth inning home run.

Numerous players had outstanding weekend's with the bat led by Carlos Quentin who went 9-for-14.  Quentin now has a 15-game hitting streak and leads the team in batting at .392.  Sam Fuld continued his hot hitting with a 7-for-16 series as he now has an 11-game hitting streak.  Ryan Garko clubbed a big three-run homer on Sunday as he finished 6-for-13 versus the Huskies.  These three guys all had huge games on Sunday which is what you want to see from your star players in the big-time games.  Other more unsung heroes last weekend include Jed Lowrie who got the start on Saturday and Sunday (played second base) and went 5-for-9 to get his average all the way up to .307.  Jonny Ash recorded six hits over the weekend and has now hit safely in five consecutive games.  Kudos also to Donny Lucy who came off the bench and picked-up pinch-hit singles on Friday and Saturday and was robbed of a pinch-hit extra base hit on Sunday.  The only real downer of the weekend in terms of hitting was the continued struggles of Brian Hall as the junior left fielder has just one hit in his last 21 AB's.  To give Hall some credit though, he did draw four walks (and was hit two times) against the Huskies including the big leadoff walk in the bottom of the ninth inning on Sunday before Quentin's blast.  

March was an amazing month for the Stanford hitters.  Take a look at these numbers ...

Games : 11
Record : 9-2
Team Batting Average : .370
Runs Per Game : 9.4

Sam Fuld : .509 (28-for-55)
Carlos Quentin : .422 (19-for-45)
Jonny Ash : .406 (13-for-32)
Ryan Garko : .404 (19-for-47)

On the pitching side last weekend, a bright spot had to be the continued emergence of Kodiak Quick as a go-to-guy in late inning spots.  Quick, of course, had the huge save two weekends ago at Arizona State and then followed that up with three scoreless innings (over two outings) last weekend.  He picked up the save on Saturday and the win on Sunday.  Billy Paganetti saw his first action in over a month as the sophomore righthander had been hampered by a sore arm.  Paganetti faced only one batter on Friday night, but did strike him out.  Mark Romanczuk had his first bad outing as a Stanford Cardinal as he was lit up for six runs on eight hits in three innings on Sunday.  Tim Cunningham is healthy again and will probably throw some during Tuesday's game, so we'll see how Coach Marquess handles the starting rotation in the weeks to come.

"Super Sixteen" Poll :

                       Record     Pvs.

1. Rice                 28-1       1
    * Owls win streak now at 25 games after 4-0 week (1-0 vs. Baylor, 3-0 vs. San Jose State).

2. Cal State Fullerton  24-6       3
    * Titans, without their two top starting pitchers, go into Long Beach State and take 2-of-3 from the 49ers.

3. Stanford             18-9       4
    * Cardinal with another series win over a ranked team as they took 2-of-3 from Washington last weekend.

4. Florida State        28-5       5
    * Seminoles won 2-of-3 at home versus North Carolina over the weekend.

5. Arizona State        34-6       6
    * Sun Devils rebound from series loss to Stanford as they went into L.A. and came out with two wins over USC.

6. Auburn               24-6       9
    * Tigers continue to play well as they won 2-of-3 at Georgia last weekend.

7. Long Beach State     18-9       7
    * 49ers finished 2-2 last week including a series loss at home to Fullerton.

8. Miami                23-4      NR
    * Hurricanes in the poll after an impressive three-game sweep of Georgia Tech.

9. Mississippi State    22-3      10
    * Bulldogs continue to win as they post perfect 5-0 week (2-0 vs. Morehead State, 3-0 at Mississippi)

10. Georgia Tech        21-5       2
    * Jackets take a tumble after getting swept at Miami.

11. Nebraska            19-6      11
    * Huskers went into Norman and swept reeling Oklahoma.

12. Baylor              22-9       8
    * Bears lost a midweek game to Rice and then dropped 2-of-3 over the weekend to Texas A&M.

13. Texas               21-11     14
    * Longhorns back on track as they won 2-of-3 at home versus Texas Tech.

14. LSU                 18-9      15
    * Tigers lost a midweek game to New Orleans, but came back to win a series at Alabama during the weekend.

15. Alabama             20-7      12
    * Tide fall back after losing 2-of-3 at home to LSU.

16. Wake Forest         19-7      NA
    * Deacons back in the poll after 4-0 week including a two-game sweep of Duke.

Dropped Out : Richmond (20-4, 2-2 last week), Clemson (19-6, 2-3 last week)
 

Opponents Update :

Cal State Fullerton continues to win even though they're missing their two top starting pitchers.  A huge non-conference series win at Long Beach last weekend puts the Titans at 24-6 for the year.  Not only did that help Stanford's RPI and SOS, but it sent the 49ers down in the rankings which can't hurt the Cardinal as you never know how many regional sites the tournament committee is going to hand out to west coast teams.  Hopefully a non-issue, but you never know.


Baseball America Poll :

Stanford moved up four spots to #4 in this week's Baseball America Top 25 poll.  Arizona State now sits at #7 in the country while Stanford opponents, Cal State Fullerton and Florida State are currently ranked #2 and #3 respectively.  Rice remained in the top spot and you'd have to imagine there is quite a bit of distance between the Owls and the rest of the teams in the top ten.  Long Beach State is now ranked #8 while Texas currently resides at #13.  Arizona and Washington fell out of the poll, leaving just two Pac-10 teams ranked, after losing series' last weekend.


Up Next for Stanford :

The 4th ranked Cardinal begin their Tuesday non-conference game schedule this week with a game against the USF Dons at Sunken Diamond.  First pitch is scheduled for 6:00pm.  The Dons have struggled this season as they will bring a 12-19 overall record (6-6 in WCC play) into Tuesday's contest.  This weekend, Stanford heads north to take on the Washington State Cougars (8-19, 1-2) in a three-game series.  Friday's game is scheduled to start at 3:00pm, Saturday at 12:00pm, and Sunday at 11:00am.

 


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