College Baseball Roundup

No, that 29-5 record for Stanford is not a typo. The Cardinal have enjoyed a tremendous regular season thus far which included a series sweep of California last weekend. In this week's Roundup, we take a look at where this year's offense stacks up against the best in school history. Also, despite the guady overall record, there is still one lingering question mark with this team that needs to be answered. In addition, check out all the latest in the Pac-10 plus an updated "Super Sixteen."

Pac-10 Standings (records through games of Sun. Apr. 18)

Conf.  GB   Overall
Stanford            7-2    -    29-5
Washington          5-4   2.0   21-13-1
Arizona             5-4   2.0   21-15-1
USC                 5-4   2.0   19-18
Oregon State        4-5   3.0   24-11
Washington State    4-5   3.0   22-13
UCLA                4-5   3.0   20-16
Arizona State       5-7   3.5   26-12
California          6-9   4.0   20-23

Stanford took early control of the Pac-10 race last weekend with a sweep of visiting Cal.  The Bears have fallen all the way into last place in the conference and with only nine Pac-10 games left, their hopes for an NCAA Tournament bid are faint.  In other action last weekend, USC got a big series win as they took 2-of-3 up in Pullman against the Washington State Cougars.  The series victory gets the Trojans over .500 in the Pac-10 and overall.  Meanwhile, Arizona State played their first road games in two months and came through with a 2-of-3 series win at UCLA.  The Sun Devils, at 5-7, are out of the Pac-10 title race, but with their very high RPI, they still have a shot at a high seed in the NCAA Tournament.

In non-conference action, the Pac-10 had another big weekend.  Most notably, Washington went into Atlanta and took 2-of-3 from Georgia Tech which included a 16-2 rout of the Jackets in the rubber game.  GT was a preseason top 5 team, but for some reason they're only slightly over .500. 

Oregon State rebounded from their series loss to Stanford by convincing sweeping Sacramento State on the road.  While down in Tucson, Arizona swept UT-Pan American in a three-game series.

The Cardinal may be off this upcoming weekend in regards to playing a Pac-10 opponent, but there will still be plenty of action to keep tabs on.  The two big series' are in Los Angeles where USC hosts Oregon State and in Seattle where Washington hosts Arizona.  Stanford has to hope that no one sweeps and the conference continues to beat up on each other (so far, so good in that respect).

In other action this weekend, Arizona State continues to play on the road as they try to get back to .500 in conference play with a three-game series at Washington State.  Meanwhile, California looks to rebound with a home series against UCLA.

Cal Series Recap / Notes

Another excellent weekend for Stanford as they easily swept Cal for their tenth series win in a row to begin the season.  Game scores were 7-4, 9-2, and 8-3.  It was a very solid series in all aspects of the game.  Stanford swung the bats very well with 24 runs scored in the three games while their team ERA for the weekend was an impressive 3.00.  Meanwhile, they only committed two errors in the field.

So where does this offense stack up against the best in school history?  Well, quite favorably I would say.  Stanford currently boasts a team batting average of .326 which would be the third highest in school history behind just the 1981 team at .337 and the 1997 team at .334.  The next closest is the 2002 team at .318.

Stanford is currently averaging a whopping 9.0 runs per game this season.  That's just slightly off the pace the 1985 team set at 9.1 runs per game. 

If Stanford makes another deep run in the postseason, they have a very realistic shot at setting the school record for runs scored, hits, and home runs in a season.  All of those records were set by the 1997 team which is widely regarded as the best hitting team in Stanford baseball history.  Take a look at the numbers:

Runs: 582 (8.95 per game)
Hits: 802 (12.34 per game)
Home Runs: 102 (1.57 per game)

And through 34 games in 2004, this is where they stack up:

Runs: 307 (9.03 per game)
Hits: 399 (11.74 per game)
Home Runs: 54 (1.59 per game)


Perhaps the only lingering question for this team right now is the third starter position.  Blake Holler didn't get out of the second inning in the final game of the series versus Cal - this coming after not getting out of the fifth inning in his previous two starts.  At this point, I think it's doubtful Holler gets another shot to start in a weekend Pac-10 game for a little while.  So if a change is made, who gets the call?

The most likely candidate you would have to think is sophomore Matt Manship.  Manship began the season as Stanford's #2 starter, but was roughed up in his first start of the year and has been regulated to bullpen work since then.  Manship has really come on of late in that role as he tossed 4 1/3 scoreless innings in a game at Oregon State two weekends ago.  Manship didn't get a chance to pitch against Cal, but look for him to see significant action over these next four non-conference games.  If he pitches well, Manship may get a shot to rejoin the starting rotation.

Another possibility could be freshman Greg Reynolds.  Reynolds pitched very well in the fall and at the conclusion of the fall season, was a strong contender for a weekend starting spot.  A preseason injury though sidelined Reynolds in January and February and he didn't make his season debut until March 23rd.  Reynolds now has four games under his belt including an impressive three-inning stint in his most recent appearance.  That outing came last Tuesday against Santa Clara when the 6'8" freshman allowed one run but no hits.  For the season, Reynolds has allowed four earned runs in 7 1/3 innings (4.91 ERA) with a .267 opposing average.  Like Manship, expect Reynolds to get a few chances to pitch in these upcoming non-conference games.

Matt Leva and Mark Jecmen could be possibilities too, but I think much more unlikely.  Leva has started a pair of Tuesday night games in the last month, but Coach Marquess only uses his Tuesday starter for two or three innings, so I don't know how much you can read into that.  Meanwhile, Jecmen has pitched very well in his last couple of appearances, but he was tried as the #3 starter back in February and didn't keep the job for very long because of ineffectiveness. 

So, with the lineup firing on all cylinders, the defense playing very well (current .973 fielding percentage would tie for the second highest in school history), and Mark Romanczuk and Jeff Gilmore pitching well in the Friday and Saturday spots, all that's really left is this #3 starting position.


Stanford's 29-5 overall record gives them an .853 winning percentage.  If the season were to end today, that would be the highest winning percentage in school history during the modern era.  The 1894 team went 6-0 (1.000) while the 1893 team finished 11-1 (.915).  However, the best modern record was the 1967 team that went 36-6-1 (.849).  The only other team during the modern era to finish with an above .800 winning percentage was the 1990 club at .831 (59-12).  The 59 wins are a school record as that team finished 3rd at the College World Series.

"Super Sixteen"

                      Record    Pvs.
1. Stanford            29-5      1
* Cardinal with a perfect 4-0 week that includes sweep of visiting Cal.

2. Texas               38-5      2
* Longhorns defeat Rice in a midweek game (complete season sweep at 4-0) and then take 2-of-3 from Baylor.

3. Miami               28-8      3
* Hurricanes win 2-of-3 over visiting Florida State (after taking 2-of-3 at Florida State two weekends ago).

4. Rice                30-7      4
* Owls drop a game to Texas, but come back to sweep San Jose State over the weekend.

5. Long Beach State    26-9      5
* 49ers get smoked by UCLA (11-1) in a midweek game, but then rebound to sweep ranked UC Irvine over the weekend.

6. Mississippi         31-6      6
* Rebels make a statement as the SEC West leader sweeps the SEC East leader Tennessee.

7. LSU                 28-10     7
* Tigers have a much-needed 4-1 bounce back week that includes series win over visiting Georgia.

8. Notre Dame          30-5     11
* Irish don't play many high-profile opponents in the Big East, but they're cleaning-up - swept host Georgetown last weekend.

9. Oklahoma            25-13    14
* Sooners in first place in the Big 12 (half game ahead of Texas) after impressive 2-of-3 series win at Texas A&M.

10. South Carolina     26-10     8
* Gamecocks starting to fade ... blown out by Clemson in midweek game, then lost 2-of-3 at Kentucky.

11. East Carolina      30-6     NR
* Pirates are riding 11-game winning streak after their sweep of Cincinnati last weekend.

12. Virginia           32-7     NR
* Surprisingly is in first place in ACC at 14-4 after their weekend sweep of Maryland.

13. Nebraska           26-9     12

* Huskers notch big midweek win over Wichita State, but then drop 2-of-3 at Missouri.

14. Tulane             26-12     9
* Green Wave take a tumble after a rough 1-3 week (0-1 at New Orleans, 1-2 at UAB).

15. UC Irvine          23-10-1  13
* Anteaters win midweek game at San Diego, but then lose three straight in a closely contested series with Long Beach.

16. Tennessee          29-9     10
* Vols fall way back after losing a game to D2 Carson-Newman and then getting swept at Mississippi.

Dropped Out: Southern Mississippi (29-8, 2-2 last week), Texas A&M (31-11, 2-2 last week)

Saint Mary's Notes

The Cardinal host the Gaels on Tuesday night (6pm) this week.  Stanford knocked off Saint Mary's by a 7-3 score back on March 23rd in Moraga.  Jed Lowrie, Danny Putnam, John Mayberry, Jr., and Brian Hall all homered in the win.  The Gaels aren't a very good team, but they've been playing okay as of late.  Their overall record is a dismal 11-27 while they're just 5-10 in WCC play.  However, Saint Mary's did win three of their four games last weekend including a home series win over USF.

The Gaels have had a lot of problems scoring runs this season as they average only 4.1 tallies per game.  Their team batting average is only .262 while their team ERA is a hefty 5.45.  They do have a star player though in third baseman Bryan Byrne who is hitting .345 with five home runs.  Byrne is the only starter for Saint Mary's hitting above .300.

Saint Mary's is only 1-13 on the road this season.

Sacramento State Notes

Stanford takes on the Hornets for two games this weekend.  Friday's contest is scheduled for 6:00pm at Sunken Diamond while Saturday's game in Sacramento will start at 2:00pm.  Sac State is an independent and they play only west coast teams.  The Hornets were swept at home by Oregon State last weekend (7-2, 9-1, 12-6) to fall to 22-25 on the season.  In terms of common opponents with Stanford (in addition to OSU), Sac State is 1-1 versus Cal Poly, 3-1 against Saint Mary's, 1-0 versus Santa Clara, and 0-1 against California.  And unlike Saint Mary's, the Hornets are not playing good baseball right now as they're only 3-10 in their last 13 games (they play Nevada on Tuesday before taking on the Cardinal).

The Hornets aren't a particularly scary offensive team with just a .268 team batting average.  They score 5.3 runs per game.  Three starters are hitting above .300 led by John Acha (.336, 8 HR, 30 RBI).  On the mound, Sac State has a team ERA of 5.34.  Their top two starting pitchers last weekend were Ethan Katz (6-4, 4.16 ERA, .273 opposing average) and Warren Rosebrook (4-6, 4.96 ERA, .302 batting average).  Both are right handed.  

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