Arizona Preview

The 2nd ranked Stanford Cardinal open conference play this weekend when they travel south to take on the Arizona Wildcats in a three-game series. The Cardinal enter the weekend having won all eight of their non-conference series' as they boast an impressive 20-6 overall record. Meanwhile, the Wildcats have struggled to a 2-4 start in Pac-10 play and will look to turn things around against the Cardinal this weekend.

Stanford (20-6, 0-0) at Arizona (21-12, 2-4)

Friday - 6:00pm
Saturday - 12:00pm
Sunday - 1:00pm

all times are Pacific
 

The 2nd ranked Stanford Cardinal open their 2002 conference schedule this weekend when they travel south to take on the Arizona Wildcats in a three-game series.  The Cardinal enter this weekend having won all eight of their series' this season after taking 2-of-3 games from the Texas Longhorns last weekend at Sunken Diamond.  In the opening contest, Stanford rallied for five runs in bottom of the ninth to send the game into extra innings and then eventually won the game on Jonny Ash's RBI single in the bottom of the tenth.  In the middle game, Texas starting pitcher Justin Simmons and Stanford starter Tim Cunningham matched zeros through nine full innings.  In the top of the tenth, the Longhorns put across two runs off reliever Drew Ehrlich and then Simmons shut down the Cardinal in the bottom of the 10th to secure the win.  In the rubber game, John Hudgins threw a five-hit complete-game to lead Stanford to a 7-2 victory.  Last Tuesday in a single non-conference game, the Cardinal used a solid pitching effort from four different hurlers to defeat the USF Dons 4-1.

While the hitting has struggled somewhat over the past couple of weeks, the pitching and defense has turned it up a notch.  The trio of Stanford starting pitchers have a combined record of 15-1 while the pitching staff as a whole now goes 9-deep.  The Cardinal defense has not committed an error in six out of their last eight games as their fielding percentage is at a season-high .968.  Individually, Jason Cooper still leads the team in hitting with a .402 batting average while Ryan Garko continues to lead the club in homers with six.  John Hudgins has emerged as the third starter in the rotation as he's won all four of his starts and has lowered his ERA to 3.63.

Probable Starting Lineup :
C - Ryan Garko (.330, 6 HR, 25 RBI)
    * Co-leads the team with 31 runs scored.

1B - Arik VanZandt (.340, 1 HR, 9 RBI) or Chris Carter (.244, 1 HR, 7 RBI)
    * VanZandt is a perfect 6-for-6 in stolen bases this season.

2B - Chris O'Riordan (.327, 3 HR, 21 RBI)
    * Hit a game-tying grand slam with two outs in the bottom of the ninth last Thursday vs. Texas.

3B - Andy Topham (.266, 2 HR, 11 RBI)
    * Just 2 hits in 14 at-bats since returning from injury five games ago.

SS - Scott Dragicevich (.323, 0 HR, 12 RBI)
    * Has committed just four errors in 25 games started this year.

LF - Jason Cooper (.402, 5 HR, 27 RBI)
    * Struggled in his last four games going just 2-for-14.

CF - Sam Fuld (.345, 1 HR, 11 RBI)
    * Did not start in the Friday Texas game last weekend, his first non-start since the beginning of the 2001 season.

RF - Carlos Quentin (.330, 4 HR, 21 RBI)
    * Has just 2 RBI in his last 7 games.

DH - Donny Lucy (.276, 3 HR, 25 RBI)
    * Has walked just one time in 87 at-bats this year.

Starting Pitching Rotation :
Friday - Jeremy Guthrie (RHP; 6-0, 3.31 ERA, 54 1/3 IP, 15 BB, 53 SO)
    * Has won 11 consecutive decisions dating back to May of last year.

Saturday - Tim Cunningham (LHP; 4-1, 2.85 ERA, 53 2/3 IP, 19 BB, 32 SO)
    * Tossed nine shutout innings against Texas last Friday.

Sunday - John Hudgins (RHP; 5-0, 3.63 ERA, 39 2/3 IP, 18 BB, 31 SO)
    * Opponents are hitting just .218 against him this season, lowest in the Pac-10.

Primary Relief Pitchers :
* Ryan McCally (1-0, 3.18 ERA, 4 SV), Drew Ehrlich (0-2, 4.63 ERA, 2 SV), Dan Rich (0-0, 1.93 ERA, 1 SV), J.D. Willcox (1-0, 5.19 ERA).
 

-- Arizona Wildcats --

The Arizona Wildcats enter this weekend's games having already played two conference series' going 2-4 in the process.  They dropped 2-of-3 games at home to Arizona State two weeks ago and then went on the road last weekend and lost 2-of-3 to the Oregon State Beavers.  The Wildcats have an impressive 21-12 overall record, but have struggled mightily against good competition.  They were swept in both of their big non-conference series' (at Texas A&M, at Long Beach State) and then lost that series to arch rival ASU two weeks ago.  Statistically speaking they play very well in Tucson with a 19-4 home record (compared to 2-8 on the road).  This is clearly the toughest series for the Wildcats thus far in 2002, and if they were to lose this series after dropping their first two conference series', it will be an uphill climb to reach .500 in the conference and have a shot at the NCAA Tournament.  A series win though and Arizona should regain some much needed momentum as they strive toward a postseason berth.

Arizona enters the weekend with a league-worst .285 team batting average, but still are scoring 7.9 runs per game (third in the conference).  Leftfielder Justyn St. Clair leads the team in hitting at .326.  To compare, Stanford has six starting position players hitting above .326.  Th


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