Game I: Guthrie Tanks Titans

The #1-ranked Stanford Cardinal defended their pre-season status by downing the visitin Titans of Cal-State Fullerton in Friday's season opener, 7-4. Jeremy Guthrie combined with Ryan McColly in a dominating performance on a bone-chilling nite at Sunken Diamond. Read on for the details on Stanford's strong season opener.

The 2002 Stanford baseball season got off to an encouraging start this evening as the top ranked Cardinal built an early lead and then held on for a 7-4 victory over the Cal State Fullerton Titans.  Stanford pounded out 11 hits tonight led by Sam Fuld's 3-for-4 (2 doubles) performance while Carlos Quentin hit the only Cardinal homer of the evening, a three-run blast in the bottom of the first inning.  Jeremy Guthrie (1-0), who was on a pitch count, threw six solid innings giving up four runs (only two earned) and striking out nine while Ryan McCally shut the door over the final three frames to record the save.

Stanford (1-0) jumped on the board early in the bottom of the first inning.  Chris O'Riordan and Fuld each singled to start the inning and after Ryan Garko and Jason Cooper were retired, Quentin smoked a 2-2 offering from Cal State Fullerton starter Wes Littleton over the fence in left-center to give Stanford the early 3-0 advantage.  Meanwhile, Guthrie easily retired the Fullerton hitters through the first three innings recording four strikeouts in the process.  In the bottom of the third, Stanford put across another run when Garko doubled to deep left and then scored on an error by CSF shortstop David Munoz.

The Titans responded in the top of the fourth inning with two unearned runs to cut Stanford's lead in half at 4-2.  With a runner on first and one out, Richie Burgos hit a ground ball which would have likely resulted in an inning-ending double play, but Chris O'Riordan could not handle it and the inning continued.  Jason Corapci was the next hitter and he promptly singled to being home Fullerton's first run.  Three batters later, Nick Fitzgerald reached on an infield single scoring Burgos making the score 4-2.  After going down 1-2-3 in the bottom of the fourth, Stanford got back on the scoreboard with a three spot in the fifth frame.  With one out, Fuld doubled down the left field line and then came across to score when Garko singled to center.  Three hitters later, Brian Hall delivered a clutch two-strike, two-out single to bring home Garko increasing the lead to 6-2.  But the Cardinal weren't done as Scott Dragicevich followed up Hall's base hit with a double down the left field line scoring Jason Cooper making the score 7-2.

Fullerton would hang around though as they touched up Guthrie for two earned runs in the top of the sixth on a two-run home run by Geoff Comfort to deep center field.  But that would be all the Titans would get as Guthrie finished the sixth and Ryan McCally (3 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 5 SO) shut the door in the 7th, 8th, and 9th innings to preserve the win.

Game two of the series is tomorrow afternoon at 1pm.  Tim Cunningham (6-0, 3.62 in 2001) is scheduled to start on the hill for the Cardinal while Jeff Housman is scheduled to go for the Titans.

Game Notes:
* Guthrie and McCally combined to strike out 14 Titan hitters while not allowing a walk.

* Quentin's home run came in his first at-bat of the season.  Last year, Quentin also homered in his first at-bat in a game at Fresno State.

* No surprises in terms of who was in the starting lineup for the Cardinal (same lineup from the championship game last year with the exception of Cooper in place of Jonny Ash at DH), but in a surprising move, Quentin got the start in left field.  Brian Hall moved over to right.

* Stanford improved to 13-2 versus Cal State Fullerton since the beginning of the 1998 season.

Cal State Fullerton 0 0 0  2 0 2  0 0 0   -   4  10  2
Stanford            3 0 1  0 3 0  0 0 x   -   7  11  2

The Bootleg Player of the Game : Sam Fuld (3-for-4, 2 doubles, 2 runs)

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