Guthrie Guns Down Bruins in Friday Opener

It's no longer a cliche: every game really does count for this Stanford baseball team now. So it does your Cardinal heart good to know that Jeremy Guthrie delivered a career performance in a truly impressive 11-0 win for Stanford at UCLA to open the weekend series. JJ is down in LA for this huge series and filed this detailed on-the-scene report for the Friday opener.

It was the Jeremy Guthrie show at Jackie Robinson Stadium down in Los Angeles Friday evening as the junior righthander tossed nine shutout innings as the Cardinal took the opening game of their series with UCLA, 11-0.  Guthrie gave up just six hits (all singles) while walking none and striking out a career-high 13.  He is now 9-1 on the season and has now thrown four consecutive complete games.

The game began as a pitcher's duel between Guthrie and UCLA (25-29, 8-11) starter Mike Kunes.  The first run of the game came in the top of the third inning when with two out, Chris O'Riordan doubled off the wall and then Sam Fuld singled him home for a 1-0 lead.  Kunes though settled down after that as he completed the third inning and then put up zeros in both the fourth and fifth frames.  Through five innings, Kunes had given up just one run on four hits.

Meanwhile, Guthrie was mowing down the UCLA hitters with ease.  He went the first three innings without giving up a hit as the first hit of the game for the Bruins didn't come until Rashad Parker singled to lead off the bottom of the fourth.  Guthrie though got out of the fourth and then struck out the side in the fifth to keep the score 1-0 Stanford.

Then in the top of the sixth inning, the Cardinal hitters broke through against Kunes.  With one out, Ryan Garko walked and then Carlos Quentin was hit by the pitch.  Scott Dragicevich then singled into left field scoring Garko from second, moving Quentin to third, and Dragicevich moved up to second when UCLA left fielder Billy Susdorf had some trouble fielding the ball.  The next hitter was Brian Hall and the sophomore left fielder hit a sharp ground ball down the third base line only to have Bruin third baseman Brandon Averill make a diving stop, but when Averill got to his feet, he had no play on the speedy Hall and Quentin had scored making the score 3-0.  After Jason Cooper was hit by the pitch to load the bases, Andy Topham singled to center scoring both Dragicevich and Hall extending the lead to 5-0.

In the top of the eighth, Dragicevich led off with a single and then Jason Cooper crushed a deep home run to right field, his 11th bomb of the year, and Stanford had pushed their lead up to 7-0.  At this point, Guthrie was in a serious groove on the mound. He retired 11 consecutive hitters (six by strikeout) from the fifth to the ninth innings.  The Cardinal then for good measure, added four more tallies in the top of ninth.  The big hits in the inning were an RBI single by Dragicevich, an RBI double by Hall, and an RBI single off the bat of Cooper.

UCLA mounted a threat in the bottom of the ninth off Guthrie as they put runners on at first and second with just one out, but Guthrie got pinch-hitter Chris Jensen to ground into a 3-6-1 double play to end the game and give Stanford the much-needed victory.

Game Notes :
* Guthrie's overall record now stands at 9-1 while his ERA is down to 2.68.  In seven Pac-10 starts, the junior from Ashland, Oregon has a stellar 2.10 ERA (14 ER/60 IP).  He's also gone at least six innings in all 15 of his starts this season.

* Top games offensively for the Card came from Sam Fuld (3-for-5, RBI), Scott Dragicevich (3-for-5, 2 RBI), Jason Cooper (2-for-4, HR, 3 RBI), and Andy Topham (2-for-5, 2B, 2 RBI).  Stanford finished with 14 hits.

* Cooper was moved down to seventh in the batting order and responded with two hits and his first home run since April 14th.

* The USC Trojans lost this evening to Arizona State by the score of 3-1.  In other Pac-10 action, Washington defeated Oregon State 6-5 in Corvallis.  A look at the top of the Pac-10 standings see USC still on top at 13-6, Stanford and Washington are now just one game back at 12-7 while ASU is two games out at 11-8.

Stanford     0 0 1  0 0 4  0 2 4   -   11  14   1
UCLA         0 0 0  0 0 0  0 0 0   -    0   6   1

The teams will continue this three-game series tomorrow afternoon at 1pm.  John Hudgins (8-1, 5.03) will be on the mound for the Cardinal while the Bruins are expected to counter with Wes Whisler (5-2, 3.87).

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