UCLA Preview

It's another big weekend for the Stanford baseball squad as they get set to take on the UCLA Bruins in a crucial three-game series down in Los Angeles this weekend. The Cardinal are currently in a tie for second place in the conference, two games behind first place USC with six games remaining. Here is a preview of the series.

Stanford (35-15, 11-7) at UCLA (25-29, 8-10)

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

The home stretch of the 2002 regular season officially begins this weekend for the Stanford Cardinal as they travel south to take on the UCLA Bruins in a critical three-game series.  The Cardinal have won six out of their last seven conference games after taking 2-of-3 from the Arizona State Sun Devils last weekend at Sunken Diamond.  Behind Jeremy Guthrie's third consecutive complete game, Stanford took the opening game of the series 5-3.  ASU bounced back in the middle contest scoring five runs in the top of the first inning off John Hudgins en route to a 10-2 victory.  The Cardinal won the finale on Sunday as Tim Cunningham tossed seven shutout innings to lead Stanford to a 3-1 win.  Earlier this week, the Nevada Wolf Pack surprised the Cardinal 13-12 up in Reno.

It's a big weekend for the Stanford baseball squad as they enter this three-game series two full games behind first place USC with six games remaining.  The Trojans are also on the road this weekend as they are down in Mesa battling the Sun Devils.  The Cardinal are also tied with the Washington Huskies for second place in the conference as the Huskies are in Corvallis taking on the Oregon State Beavers this weekend.  Here is a look at the top of the Pac-10 standings ...

                 Record  GB

USC               13-5    -
Stanford          11-7   2.0
Washington        11-7   2.0
Arizona State     10-8   3.0

Stanford at UCLA
USC at Arizona State
Washington at Oregon State

Stanford checks in this weekend with a .322 team batting average which if the season ended today, would be the third highest batting average in school history.  They've also hit 68 home runs this season, one more than the 67 they hit in all of last year.  Sam Fuld continues to lead the offense with a sizzling .383 batting average.  Ryan Garko is tops on the club in homers with 12 with Jason Cooper and Carlos Quentin on his heels with ten bombs apiece.  On the pitching side, Stanford's team ERA is at 4.24 which is the highest it's been in quite some time.  Jeremy Guthrie anchors the rotation with a stellar 8-1 record and a 2.91 ERA.  Head Coach Mark Marquess switched his starting rotation last weekend and will keep it the same this weekend with John Hudgins starting on Saturday and Tim Cunningham starting on Sunday.

Probable Starting Lineup :
C - Ryan Garko (.319, 12 HR, 45 RBI, 1 SB)
        * Has grounded into a Pac-10 leading 14 double plays this season.

1B - Arik VanZandt (.311, 5 HR, 20 RBI, 8 SB)
    * Had a big game at Nevada on Tuesday going 3-for-4 with a home run.

2B - Chris O'Riordan (.340, 8 HR, 38 RBI, 4 SB)
    * Co-leads the team with 14 doubles (Fuld and Dragicevich).

3B - Scott Dragicevich (.353, 3 HR, 20 RBI, 2 SB)
    * Moved up to second on the team in hitting with current eight-game hitting streak.

SS - Andy Topham (.317, 5 HR, 31 RBI, 7 SB)
    * Only six hits in his last 28 at-bats.

LF - Brian Hall (.264, 3 HR, 27 RBI, 12 SB)
    * Is a perfect 12-for-12 in stolen bases this season.

CF - Sam Fuld (.383, 6 HR, 34 RBI, 8 SB)
    * An incredible 40 for his last 76 (.526) in his last 18 games.

RF - Carlos Quentin (.335, 10 HR, 49 RBI, 10 SB)
    * Leads the team in runs batted in.

DH - Jason Cooper (.347, 10 HR, 43 RBI, 1 SB)
    * Has not homered since April 14th vs. USC (17 games).

Probable Starting Pitching Rotation :
Friday - Jeremy Guthrie (RHP; 8-1, 2.91 ERA, 105 1/3 IP, 26 BB, 96 SO)
    * Opponents hitting only .237 against him this year.

Saturday - John Hudgins (RHP; 8-1, 5.03 ERA, 78 2/3 IP, 32 BB, 52 SO)
    * Roughed up for nine runs in 5 1/3 innings in his last start ... first loss of the season.

Sunday - Tim Cunningham (LHP; 6-2, 3.97 ERA, 81 2/3 IP, 31 BB, 48 SO)
    * Named Pac-10 Pitcher of the Week after his performance versus ASU last weekend (7 IP, 0 R, Win).

Primary Relief Pitchers :
* Ryan McCally (4-3, 3.38 ERA, 7 SV), Dan Rich (1-1, 2.25 ERA, 2 SV), Darin Naatjes (4-0, 2.79 ERA, 2 SV), Drew Ehrlich (0-2, 5.59 ERA, 2 SV).

-- UCLA Bruins --

It's been another difficult year in Westwood as it appears that the Bruins will once again miss the NCAA Tournament.  And you would figure things wouldn't be getting much better for UCLA considering they close out their season with Stanford this weekend and then the first place USC Trojans next weekend.  The Bruins come into this weekend in 7th place in the conference, but are coming in fairly hot with four wins in their last five games.  Last week, UCLA went down to Tucson and took 2-of-3 games from the Arizona Wildcats and then defeated UC Riverside in a non-conference game earlier this week.

UCLA's team batting average currently sits at .305 which is good for 4th in the conference, but this is a team that doesn't draw very many walks as evident by their league-low .374 on-base percentage.  Individually, their top players are catcher Josh Arhart (.371-7-34), first baseman Wes Whisler (.333-13-37), and outfielder Adam Berry (.299-16-45).  Pitching-wise, the Bruins have two pretty solid starting pitchers going on Friday and Saturday in Mike Kunes (7-3, 4.28) and Wes Whisler (5-2, 3.87).  The Sunday starter though has been a problem, so if the Bruins drop the first two games of this series, they could be in some serious danger of being swept.  UCLA's team ERA is at 5.40 which is 6th in the conference while their team fielding percentage of .964 is tied for fourth.  Additionally, the home of the Bruins, Jackie Robinson Stadium, is a small ballpark that certainly favors the hitters.  Their should be quite a few homers in this series from both teams, so the team that can keep the ball in the park more, should have the advantage.

Probable Starting Lineup :
C - Josh Arhart (.371, 7 HR, 34 RBI, 1 SB)
    * Leads the team in hitting.

1B - Wes Whisler (.333, 13 HR, 37 RBI, 2 2B) or Warren Trott (.389, 0 HR, 7 RBI, 3 SB)
    * Trott will likely start at first base on Saturday when Whisler pitches.

2B - Ryan Rasmussen (.315, 1 HR, 21 RBI, 19 SB)
    * Leadoff hitter, has been caught stealing only once all season.

3B - Brandon Averill (.310, 5 HR, 28 RBI, 1 SB)
    * Has struck out a whopping 47 times this season.

SS - Ryan McCarthy (.277, 0 HR, 19 RBI, 2 SB)
    * Light hitting shortstop will hit toward the bottom of the lineup.

LF - Billy Susdorf (.315, 1 HR, 13 RBI, 3 SB)
    * Has made only 11 starts all year, but getting much more playing time as of late.

CF - Rashad Parker (.307, 2 HR, 11 RBI, 6 SB)
    * Like Susdorf, seeing much more playing time lately ... has laid down seven sac bunts in only 75 at-bats this season.

RF - Nick Lyon (.297, 2 HR, 8 RBI, 1 SB) or Adam Berry (.299, 16 HR, 45 RBI, 4 SB)
    * Berry not playing as much lately, presumably because he's been struggling at the plate.

DH - Casey Grzecka (.343, 2 HR, 26 RBI, 1 SB)
    * Expect Whisler to start here on the day he starts on the mound.

Probable Starting Pitching Rotation :
Friday - Mike Kunes (LHP; 7-3, 4.28 ERA, 75 2/3 IP, 20 BB, 63 SO)
    * Roughed up for eight runs (six earned) in just 1/3 of an inning in his last start last weekend.

Saturday - Wes Whisler (LHP; 5-2, 3.87 ERA, 74 1/3 IP, 34 BB, 49 SO)
    * Has only given up three home runs in 74 1/3 inning pitched.

Sunday - TBA
    * Bruins went with Wade Clark (0-2, 8.10) last Sunday but Clark could not get out of the first inning (six runs allowed).

Primary Relief Pitchers :
* Doug Silva (0-3, 4.19 ERA, 3 SV), Billy Susdorf (0-3, 3.45 ERA, 3 SV), Kevin Jerkins (2-2, 7.15 ERA, 1 SV), Chris Cordeiro (1-6, 4.63 ERA, 2 SV).

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