College Baseball Roundup

With a visit from Texas looming, the Stanford Cardinal took care of business this past weekend when they swept the Kansas Jayhawks. Stanford is now 8-1 this year and ranked fourth in the country. This week's Roundup takes a look at the Kansas Series, has all the latest from around the Pac-10 Conference, as well as an updated "Super Sixteen."

Pac-10 Standings (overall records through games of Feb. 15)

Oregon State       3-0
Stanford           8-1
Arizona            5-1
Arizona State      5-1
UCLA               3-1
Washington         2-1
California         5-4
Washington State   2-2
USC                1-2

It was a solid weekend for the Pac-10 Conference highlighted by Arizona's series victory at home over Cal State Fullerton.  In a series filled with offense, the Wildcats took the first two games, 11-8 and 10-6, before falling 12-10 in the finale.  Arizona State posted a 2-1 record at a round-robin tournament in nearby Surprise, Arizona.  The Sun Devils posted wins over Cal State Northridge and Utah before getting shutout by Oklahoma (first time ASU has been shutout since 1995).  And of course, Stanford recorded a series sweep of Kansas at Sunken Diamond.  Through the first few weeks of the season, it appears that the Cardinal, Wildcats, and Sun Devils are the top teams in the Pac-10 as everyone expected.  Stanford (8-1) has swept Fullerton and won a series on the road at Fresno State.  Arizona (5-1) has a series sweep of UC Riverside and a series win over Fullerton.  Meanwhile, ASU (5-1) has a home sweep of Florida State to their credit.

As for the rest of the conference, both Cal and USC lost 2-of-3 this past weekend.  The Bears have now dropped two series' in a row after losing 2-of-3 at UC Irvine.  The Trojans opened up their season with a series loss to #8 Long Beach State.  Washington picked up a nice series win at defending WCC Champion San Diego.  UCLA took 2-of-3 at home versus Fresno State.  Oregon State is off to a good start after winning three in a row at that tournament in Surprise, Arizona.  Finally, Washington State posted a 2-2 record against mediocre competition at a different tournament.

The series of this week is certainly the Texas at Stanford tilt at Sunken Diamond.  California looks to get back on track with a three-game set at Fresno State.  The Bears and the Cardinal meet next weekend, so that series in Fresno should give us a pretty good indication of what to expect from Cal since Stanford just played three with the Bulldogs.  Arizona continues to play all home games with a series versus UC Irvine.  ASU travels to Houston to play in a round-robin tournament.  The Sun Devils will matchup with #1 Rice for a single game this weekend.  Finally, USC will try to get over .500 when they host their own round-robin tournament highlighted by a visit from #19 Notre Dame.

Kansas Series Notes
A nice series sweep for the Cardinal last weekend.  Kansas probably doesn't make the NCAA Tournament this year, but they'll likely be a middle of the pack team in the Big 12.  Sunday's game was obviously the most exciting of the three with the Cardinal rallying for seven runs in the bottom of the ninth to win.  That's one thing a ton of experience will do for you.  These Stanford hitters have played in so many big Pac-10 and NCAA Tournament games the last few years, that a three-run deficit late in a ballgame is absolutely no sweat.  The Cardinal could see the Kansas pitchers tightening up, so they were patient at the plate which resulted in a few key walks.  And then with a win in their sight, Donny Lucy and Brian Hall came through with the clutch hits.

One very encouraging sign from this weekend were the pitching performances from Mark Romanczuk and Jeff Gilmore.  Romanczuk flat-out dominated on Friday evening when he threw seven innings.  The sophomore lefty allowed just one run and struck out a career-high 13.  Gilmore looks to have solidified himself as the #2 starter with his last two appearances.  On Saturday versus the Jayhawks, Gilmore surrendered just two runs on five hits in seven innings of work.  Two excellent outings from Stanford's top two pitchers, but they'll surely get tested when the Longhorns come to town this weekend.

The #3 spot in the starting rotation is up for grabs after Mark Jecmen didn't get out of the first inning for the second straight start.  It's highly unlikely that Jecmen gets another try in that role this weekend with such a high caliber opponent coming in.  The most likely candidates to start this Sunday are sophomore Matt Manship or senior David O'Hagan.  Manship threw two innings of relief on Saturday last weekend allowing one run in the process.  O'Hagan was excellent in long relief again as he fired 7 2/3 innings on Sunday yielding just two runs and three hits.  If I had to guess, I think Manship gets the call this weekend.  Having someone like O'Hagan in the bullpen is huge for this team and that role seems to be suiting him just fine. 

"Super Sixteen"
                         Record Pvs.

1. Rice                   2-1    1
* Owls go 2-1 in round-robin tournament ... Defeated Texas Tech and Kansas State, lost to Texas.

2. LSU                    2-1    2
* Tigers take 2-of-3 at Central Florida to open the season.

3. Stanford               8-1    3
* Cardinal sweep visiting Kansas over the weekend.

4. Miami                  2-1    4
* Hurricanes began their season by winning 2-of-3 over visiting Florida.

5. Texas                  9-0    9
* Longhorns are hot to open the year as they go 3-0 in a tournament that includes a win over Rice.

6. Georgia Tech           2-0    5
* Jackets record short two-game sweep at Georgia Southern.

7. Long Beach State       4-2    7
* 49ers with their second straight series win over a Pac-10 school ... first Cal, now USC.

8. Auburn                 3-0    8
* Tigers open their campaign with a sweep of visiting Western Carolina.

9. Nebraska               0-0   10

10. Arizona               5-1   14
* Wildcats move up after taking 2-of-3 from visiting Cal State Fullerton.

11. Cal State Fullerton   4-5    6
* Titans lose another series, this time at Arizona.

12. Mississippi           0-0   11

13. Clemson               0-0   12

14. Baylor                2-1   13
* Bears get things started by winning 2-of-3 over visiting Loyola Marymount.

15. Arizona State         5-1   15
* Sun Devils post a 2-1 record at a round-robin tournament.

16. South Carolina        3-0   16
* Gamecocks with an easy sweep of visiting Charleston Southern.

Dropped Out: none

Rankings Update
Stanford remained #4 in this week's Baseball America poll behind Rice, LSU, and Miami.  Other Pac-10 teams ranked include #13 Arizona and #16 Arizona State.  This week's opponent, the Texas Longhorns, stayed put at #6.  Cal State Fullerton has fallen all the way down to #14.

On Deck
Another non-conference showdown at Sunken Diamond this weekend when the 4th ranked Cardinal host the 6th ranked and undefeated Longhorns.  Texas has a game versus Texas State on Tuesday of this week before they come to Palo Alto.  Both teams played in the College World Series last season with Stanford finishing 2nd and Texas tied for 3rd.  The Longhorns eliminated Stanford in the bracket final of the 2002 College World Series while the Cardinal knocked off Texas in the regionals in 2001.  The teams have played a non-conference series against each other since the 1998 season.  This will also be the last home series for Stanford until March 26-28 when Cal Poly comes to town.  In fact, after this weekend, Stanford has just one home series over the next eight weeks.  I'll have a full series preview in a couple of days.

The Bootleg Top Stories