Cal Preview

The top ranked Stanford baseball team has another difficult road series this weekend as they travel across the bay to take on the California Golden Bears. Revenge is on the mind of the Cardinal players after the Bears took 2-of-3 games from Stanford last year at Berkeley. Read on for a preview of the series plus a look at JJ's "Super Sixteen" national rankings.

Stanford (12-4)  at  California (12-7)

Friday - 2:00pm
Saturday - 1:00pm
Sunday - 1:00pm

(these games do not count in the conference standings)
 

The top ranked Stanford Cardinal baseball team embark on their final series before final exams this weekend when they travel across the bay to battle the California Golden Bears.  The Cardinal swept visiting Cal Poly last weekend to capture their fifth consecutive series win to start the season.  It was a dominating Stanford performance as the Cardinal outscored the Mustangs 37-14.  On Friday evening, Stanford got an outstanding pitching performance from Jeremy Guthrie as the junior righthander gave up only two runs (one earned) in eight innings of work.  The Mustangs scored four runs in the top of the ninth to make it interesting, but it wasn't enough to top the Cardinal as Stanford took game one, 8-6.  On Saturday, the Cardinal used an eight-run second inning en route to an 18-5 slaughtering of the Mustangs.  Stanford hit a season-high four homers on the afternoon while Tim Cunningham picked up the win.  The Cardinal completed the sweep on Sunday with an 11-3 victory.  Chris O'Riordan and Arik VanZandt each went 3-for-4 while John Hudgins, in his first start of the season, threw 6 1/3 quality innings to record the win.

The Cardinal have been absolutely pounding the ball this season.  Stanford's team batting average currently sits at .347 while they are averaging a whopping 8.9 runs per game.  They've also compiled a staggering 67 extra-base hits thus far in 2002.  Individually, Jason Cooper now leads the team in hitting with a .426 batting average.  Cooper had a big series last weekend with six hits and eight RBI in the three games versus Cal Poly.  Ryan Garko has put up impressive power numbers with a team-leading four homers and a .651 slugging percentage.  While freshman Donny Lucy has been an RBI machine recording 22 RBI in his 13 starts this season.  Of the 11 position players that see significant time in the starting lineup, ten are hitting above .300 while seven are hitting at .347 or above.

Pitching hasn't been quite as dominating this season, but have still looked good.  Jeremy Guthrie and Tim Cunningham have become an outstanding 1-2 punch in the starting rotation as they are each 4-0.  Guthrie has won nine consecutive decisions dating back to May of last year while Cunningham has won ten straight going all the way back to May of 2000.  The #3 spot in the rotation has been a question mark this year, but at least for the time being, John Hudgins has emerged in that role.  The sophomore righthander got his first start of the season last weekend and was dominating for the majority of his outing.  The bullpen has been up-and-down this year as J.D. Willcox has yet to record a save after recording six last season.  The senior has a 5.62 ERA and has walked six hitters in only eight innings of work.  Despite some of the bullpen struggles, the Cardinal are still 10-0 when leading after five innings.

Probable Starting Lineup :
C - Ryan Garko (.381, 4 HR, 16 RBI)
    * Has already scored 23 runs this season in only 16 games.

1B - Donny Lucy (.327, 3 HR, 22 RBI)
    * Free swinging freshman has only one walk in 55 at-bats this season.

2B - Chris O'Riordan (.303, 1 HR, 11 RBI)
    * Batting average is finally over .300 after a 3-for-4 performance last Sunday against Cal Poly.

3B - Arik VanZandt (.375, 0 HR, 3 RBI)
    * Has gone 5-for-8 with flawless defense in two games since Topham's injury.

SS - Scott Dragicevich (.349, 0 HR, 10 RBI)
    * Has a team-leading nine doubles in only 63 at-bats.

LF - Chris Carter (.350, 1 HR, 4 RBI) or Brian Hall (.273, 1 HR, 10 RBI)
    * Carter has started the last two games and has gone 3-for-7 with a homer and three RBI.

CF - Sam Fuld (.347, 1 HR, 7 RBI)
    * Taken over the team lead in hits with 25.

RF - Carlos Quentin (.389, 3 HR, 15 RBI)
    * Moved down to 7th in the lineup last weekend.

DH - Jason Cooper (.426, 1 HR, 18 RBI)
    * 2.3 AB/K in 2000, 4.8 AB/K in 2001, 6.8 AB/K in 2002.

Probable Starting Pitching Rotation :
Friday - Jeremy Guthrie (RHP; 4-0, 2.65 ERA, 34 IP, 7 BB, 36 SO)
    * Has given up only 11 hits in his last two starts, after 25 hits in his first three starts.

Saturday - Tim Cunningham (LHP; 4-0, 3.41 ERA, 31 2/3 IP, 10 BB, 20 SO)
    * Much improved control this season ... 4.8 BB/9 inn. last year, 2.8 BB/9 inn. this year.

Sunday - John Hudgins (RHP; 2-0, 4.50 ERA, 18 IP, 9 BB, 18 SO)
    * Threw 6 1/3 innings last weekend giving up three runs and four hits while recording a career-high 8 K's.

Primary Relief Pitchers :
* Ryan McCally (0-0, 5.40 ERA, 3 SV), J.D. Willcox (1-0, 5.62 ERA), and Drew Ehrlich (0-1, 4.60 ERA, 1 SV).
 

-- California Golden Bears --

Despite fielding a young team in 2002, expectations are high in Berkeley to return to postseason play.  Head Coach David Esquer has turned this program around as the Bears are expected to be one of the top teams in the Pac-10 this year.  Cal returned seven starting position players and the majority of their pitching staff from last year's squad that reached the NCAA Tournament.  The two starting position players that graduated in Clint Hoover and Rob Meyer were major parts in the Bears lineup and it took this year's club a little while to find themselves.  But it appears that they now have and it's just in time for a series with the Cardinal.

Cal struggled to a 4-6 start this season, but have since won eight-of-nine games to run their record to 12-7.  Last weekend, the Bears traveled cross country to take on North Carolina and took two-of-three games from the Tar Heels.  Earlier this week, Cal defeated Georgetown 6-5 on a game-winning grand slam off the bat of Conor Jackson in the bottom of the tenth inning.  The strength of this Cal team so far has been their starting pitching and it all starts with ace Trevor Hutchinson.  Hutchinson, who was drafted by the New York Mets in the 20th round last June but elected to return to Cal, has put up impressive numbers so far this season.  The senior righthander is 4-1 with a 2.41 ERA and will face off with Jeremy Guthrie on Friday afternoon in what could be a classic pitchers duel.  Brian Montalbo and Matt Brown round out the Bears rotation and both have had success this season.  Offensively, Cal is led by a trio of players.  First baseman Conor Jackson is tearing the cover off the ball with a team-leading .434 batting average and seven home runs.  2B Carson White (.360-3-15) and SS Jeff Dragicevich (.364-1-14) are also both having fabulous starts to the season.  The rest of the Bears lineup hasn't been nearly as consistent as Cal enters the series with a team batting average sitting at .301.  Six of the nine Cal starters are underclassman.

Probable Starting Lineup :
C - John Baker (.295, 2 HR, 8 RBI)
    * Team-high 13 walks and an outstanding .449 OB%.

1B - Conor Jackson (.434, 7 HR, 26 RBI)
    * Leads team in hitting, runs, hits, home runs, RBI, slugging percentage, and on-base percentage.

2B -Carson White (.360, 3 HR, 15 RBI)
    * All-Pac-10 player last season when he hit .338 with eight homers.

3B - David Nicholson (.319, 1 HR, 4 RBI)
    * True-freshman who hits leadoff.

SS - Jeff Dragicevich (.364, 1 HR, 14 RBI)
    * Scott's younger brother ... hit .302 last season as a freshman in everyday shortstop role.

LF - Justin Nelson (.212, 3 HR, 7 RBI)
    * True-freshman has been all or nothing this year ... three homers in 11 starts, but also 14 K's.

CF - Nick Medrano (.250, 0 HR, 0 RBI)
    * Only three starts this season, but has started the last 2 games.

RF - Brian Horwitz (.324, 0 HR, 12 RBI)
    * Hit .310 as everyday left fielder last season.

DH - David Weiner (.273, 0 HR, 2 RBI) or Matt Einspahr (.292, 0 HR, 3 RBI)
    * Weiner redshirted last year with a shoulder injury.

Probable Starting Pitching Rotation :
Friday - Trevor Hutchinson (RHP; 4-1, 2.41 ERA, 41 IP, 6 BB, 40 SO)
    * Opponents are hitting only .200 against him.

Saturday - Brian Montalbo (RHP; 1-3, 4.67 ERA, 27 IP, 10 BB, 21 SO)
    * Went 4-1 with a 4.38 ERA in his freshman campaign last year as a part-time starter.

Sunday - Matt Brown (RHP; 2-0, 3.65 ERA, 24 2/3 IP, 7 BB, 15 SO)
    * Was the Bears closer last year leading the team with eight saves.

Primary Relief Pitchers :
* Jesse Ingram (3-2, 7.79 ERA), Joe Todoroff (0-0, 4.15 ERA), and Brent Hale (1-0, 2.93 ERA)
 
 

JJ's "Super Sixteen"
Team (Record, previous ranking)
** records are through Monday 3-4 **

1. Stanford (12-4, 1)
    * Cardinal sweep Cal Poly last weekend and do so in fashion outscoring them 37-14.

2. Clemson (6-0, 2)
    * Tigers get 2-game sweep of in-state rival South Carolina last weekend.

3. Florida State (17-4, 3)
    * Seminoles go 2-0 versus Florida in a home-and-home series.

4. Rice (12-3, 4)
    * Owls go just 2-2 last week, but stay at #4 with no other team stepping up to challenge the top 3.

5. Wake Forest (10-1, 7)
    * Demon Deacons continue to feast on weak schedule, 3-0 last week with wins over High Point, Albany, and Appalachian State.

6. LSU (10-4, 10)
    * Tigers take 2-of-3 from Long Beach State last weekend.

7. Nebraska (6-3, 11)
    * Cornhuskers go into Fresno and sweep the Bulldogs.

8. Cal State Fullerton (10-6, 6)
    * Titans go 1-2 in their own tournament with win over USC and losses to Miami and Houston.

9. Houston (9-4, NA)
    * Cougars burst onto national scene this year with 3-0 sweep at Fullerton tourney (wins over CSF, Miami, and USC).

10. Miami (9-6, 8)
    * Hurricanes go 1-2 at Fullerton including tough 12-11 loss to USC.

11. Texas (14-4, 9)
    * Longhorns go 2-2 last week, but drop series to Baylor.

12. Tulane (8-5, 5)
    * Green Wave have tough weekend dropping 2-of-3 at home to UCLA.

13. Notre Dame (4-3, 13)
    * Irish go 3-1 at tournament in Florida.

14. Florida (11-2, 12)
    * Gators destroy Siena 31-3 in mid-week game, but drop two in a row to Florida State.

15. Baylor (9-5, NA)
    * Bears back in poll after taking 2-of-3 from Texas.

16. South Carolina (9-2, 15)
    * Gamecocks lose two close games to Clemson.

Dropped Out : USC, Oklahoma State
 


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