College Baseball Roundup

The week got off to a slow start for the Stanford baseball team as they dropped a Tuesday night affair to the USF Dons. The Cardinal though turned things around with two wins over the Washington State Cougars and will go for the sweep on Monday. This week's Roundup looks at the week that was for the Cardinal, has all the latest from around the Pac-10, and has an updated "Super Sixteen" national poll.

Pac-10 Standings :

                  Conf.  GB  Overall

Stanford           6-2    -    20-10
California         6-3   0.5   20-14
Arizona State      3-3   2.0   34-7
Arizona            3-3   2.0   24-11
Washington         3-3   2.0   21-10
UCLA               3-3   2.0   17-18

USC                2-4   3.0   15-16

Oregon State       2-4   3.0   14-15

Washington State   1-4   3.5    9-21

A great series down in Los Angeles last weekend with the Cal Bears taking 2-of-3 from the UCLA Bruins.  The Bruins won the opener on Friday night only to have the Bears come back to win the final two games to claim the series victory.  On Saturday, Cal scored four runs in the ninth inning to win 8-6 while on Sunday, UCLA scored nine runs in the second inning to take a 9-2 lead, but the Bears kept chipping away and eventually won 12-9.  Big series win for Cal as they could very well be a "bubble team" as we head down the stretch and this series win gives them three in a row to start Pac-10 play.  In Seattle, the Huskies took 2-of-3 from the Oregon State Beavers.  OSU had to come-from-behind late on Sunday to avoid the sweep.  Stanford will look to sweep Washington State when their series concludes on Monday up in Pullman.  If the Cardinal can sweep that series, it would be the first Pac-10 series sweep for any team in the conference.

Because their hasn't been any series sweeps yet in conference play, the league is incredibly balanced right now.  That could change after this weekend.  While Stanford is off from Pac-10 play, all other eight teams will be going at in key Pac-10 series'.  The big one will be in Berkeley where the Cal Bears will host the Arizona State Sun Devils.  ASU can't afford another series loss as two conference series losses usually ends a team's hopes to claim a conference title.  The Arizona Wildcats host the Washington Huskies in a battle of 3-3 teams.  Both these squads have aspirations of qualifying for the NCAA Tournament this year, but need to finish in the top half of the conference for that to happen.  This series is especially big for Washington as the Huskies' RPI is not very pretty right now.  They lack a quality series win this season and have a chance to get one in Tucson this weekend.  The USC Trojans will host the UCLA Bruins in a three-game set.  USC still has time to turn things around this year, but if they were to lose a home series to their crosstown rival, things will be looking very bleak for the 12-time national champions.  The final series pits Oregon State versus Washington State.  The winner of this series will have the early upper hand for not finishing in last place in the conference.

Last Week in Review :

Stanford went 2-1 this past week dropping a midweek contest to USF at Sunken Diamond and then taking the first two games from Washington State up in Pullman.  Tuesday's USF game was not pretty any way you look at it.  Stanford pitchers walked seven Dons hitters while the Cardinal committed three errors, all very costly, in the field.  Of USF's nine runs scored (the Dons won 9-5), five of the nine were on base after walking, one was on base after reaching on an error, while two others came home to score on errors.  At the plate, Stanford stranded ten runners on the base paths and numerous times were unable to get a runner home from third when their were less than two outs.

Individually, Tuesday night marked the return of Chris Carter and Tim Cunningham.  Carter, who missed the first 27 games of the season after offseason shoulder surgery, hit leadoff but went 0-for-4 with two strikeouts.  Cunningham started on the mound for the first time since mid-February.  He struggled though giving up four runs (three earned) in 2 1/3 innings.  He had problems with his control walking four.  Nonetheless, it was great to see both guys back out on the field as they both will assuredly be counted on to contribute during the second half of the season.

Stanford played two much cleaner games in Pullman this weekend, winning both 6-1 and 12-5.  On Friday, John Hudgins had a dominating performance as he went the distance while giving up just one run on seven hits.  Hudgins was in complete control the entire game as he improved his record to 5-2 on the year.  At the plate, the Cardinal mustered only seven hits on the afternoon, the first time they didn't record double digits in hits since February 28th (12 games).  Stanford did though bunch their hits together as they used a four-run sixth inning to take control of the game.  

The Cardinal offense was back in full force on Saturday as they pounded out 17 hits en route to a 12-5 win over the Cougars.  Ryan Garko continues to be a run-producing machine as he blasted two home runs while driving in four.  Carlos Quentin continued his hot hitting with a 4-for-5 game while Matt Manship had an outstanding outing out of the bullpen.  After Ryan McCally was pulled with one out in the fifth inning (Stanford was up 7-4 at the time), Manship came on and allowed just one run on one hit over the final 4 2/3 innings to pick up his first collegiate win.

News and Notes :

* Carlos Quentin now has an 18-game hitting streak and is hitting .416 this season.  

* Sam Fuld's hitting streak has reached 14 games as he's back on top Stanford's career batting average list (.363).

* Ryan Garko leads the team with eight home runs and 41 RBI in just 30 games played.

* McCally's final line on Saturday doesn't look very pretty (4 1/3 IP, 9 H, 4 R), but the senior righthander gave up all four of those runs in the first inning (on five hits), before settling down and working through the fifth inning.

* Brian Hall was mired in a 1-for-29 slump before going 2-for-5 with a triple on Saturday.

* Stanford's team batting average currently sits at .321.  If the season ended today, that would be the third highest in school history.

* Chris Carter hasn't played since his 0-for-4 performance Tuesday night versus USF.  He did make the trip to Pullman though.

* Sunday's game in Pullman was snowed out.  It will be made up on Monday at 11:00am.

* Stanford has all kinds of arms available for Monday's game versus WSU and Tuesday's game at Santa Clara.  It'll likely be Mark Romanczuk and Tim Cunningham starting, but relievers David O'Hagan, Kodiak Quick, Drew Ehrlich, Billy Paganetti, and Jonny Dyer have all yet to throw this weekend.

"Super Sixteen" Poll :

                       Record     Pvs.

1. Rice                 32-1       1
    * Owls win streak now at 29 games after 4-0 week (1-0 vs. Houston, 3-0 vs. Hawaii).

2. Cal State Fullerton  27-7       2
    * Titans lost a midweek game to Pepperdine, but came back in their Big West opener to sweep Pacific over the weekend.

3. Florida State        31-5       4
    * Seminoles move up after impressive three-game sweep of Wake Forest.

4. Stanford             20-10      3
    * Cardinal down a spot after 2-1 week (0-1 vs. USF, 2-0 at Washington State).

5. Auburn               27-7       6
    * Tigers have yet to lose a series this year ... took 2-of-3 from rival Alabama last weekend.

6. Arizona State        34-7       5
    * Sun Devils lost a midweek game to New Mexico in their only game of the week.

7. Texas                25-11     13
    * Huge weekend for the Longhorns as they easily swept Baylor.

8. Nebraska             23-7      11
    * Cornhuskers continue to play well with a 4-1 week including a series win at Kansas.

9. Long Beach State     20-11      7
    * 49ers went 2-2 last week as they lost a midweek game to Loyola Marymount and then won 2-of-3 at home versus Northridge (Matadors entered the weekend at 6-28).

10. Miami               25-6       8
    * Hurricanes also finished 2-2 last week with a midweek loss to Florida Atlantic and a 2-of-3 home series win over Oral Roberts.

11. Mississippi State   24-5       9
    * Bulldogs split a pair of midweek games versus UAB and Mississippi and then split a rain-shortened two-game series with last place Kentucky.

12. Georgia Tech        24-6      10
    * Yellow Jackets back on track after getting swept by Miami as they won 2-of-3 at North Carolina over the weekend.

13. LSU                 21-10     14
    * Tigers finished 3-1 last week including a series win over South Carolina.

14. Texas A&M           26-10     NR
    * Aggies in the poll for the first time after taking 2-of-3 at Oklahoma.

15. N.C. State          27-7      NR
    * Wolf Pack also make first appearance in the poll after series sweep at Duke ... State also has a series win over Florida State this season.

16. Baylor              23-12     12
    * Bears went 1-3 last week as they were swept by Texas to fall way back in the Big 12 race.

Dropped Out : Alabama (21-10, 1-3 last week), Wake Forest (20-10, 1-3 last week)

Opponents Update :

Great weekend for Stanford opponents especially Florida State and Texas who swept ranked teams.  The Seminoles swept Wake Forest in Tallahassee which included a win over Wake's ace pitcher Kyle Sleeth, a likely first round pick, who hadn't lost since 2001.  Meanwhile, Texas is playing well again as they easily swept the Baylor Bears.  The Longhorns had been having some serious problems with their infield defense this year, but since inserting ace closer Huston Street at third base, the Longhorns have been winning.  Cal State Fullerton also had a good weekend as they swept Pacific to open Big West play.

Up Next for Stanford :

The Cardinal will wrap-up their three-game series with the Washington State Cougars on Monday at 11:00am.  They'll fly back to the bay area after the game and then will take on the Santa Clara Broncos on Tuesday evening at Buck Shaw Stadium.  Stanford swept a two-game series (7-2 and 5-0) from the Broncos to open the season.  SCU has been playing good baseball of late after getting off to a slow start.  The Broncos will bring a 16-19 record into that game on Tuesday, but have won 6-of-7 and are coming off a sweep at USF last weekend.  This weekend, the Cardinal will play a two-game series with the Sacramento State Hornets.  The Hornets are currently 18-15 and do not belong to a conference in baseball.  Friday's game will be at Sunken Diamond (6pm) while Saturday's contest will be played at Sac State (2pm).

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