Guthrie cools off the Domers

The ace of the Cardinal staff, Jeremy Guthrie, threw a complete game as Stanford shut down the Irish, 4-3 on Saturday at the CWS in Omaha. Texas is next.

The Stanford Cardinal have advanced to four consecutive College World Series' and now for the fourth straight season, Stanford has won their first round game.  Earlier today, it was the Cardinal edging the pesky Notre Dame Fighting Irish 4-3 in front of 21,919 fans at Rosenblatt Stadium.  Jeremy Guthrie was outstanding once again on the mound tossing a complete game to improve his record to 13-1.  And in what has been a formula for success this entire postseason, the Cardinal used outstanding defense and timely hitting to complement great pitching to claim a victory.

The Cardinal (46-16) jumped out ahead early with two runs in the bottom of the first inning off Notre Dame (49-17) starter Grant Johnson.  With Sam Fuld on first base and one out, Ryan Garko doubled to deep left center field moving Fuld over to third.  Jason Cooper was the next hitter and the Cardinal left fielder promptly singled up the middle to score both runners for a 2-0 Stanford lead.

Jeremy Guthrie meanwhile was doing his usual thing on the mound.  Through the first four innings, the junior righthander had given up just three singles while recording four strikeouts.  His slider especially today had a nasty bite to it and was frustrating the Notre Dame hitters early on.  Then with the score still 2-0, Stanford added another run in the bottom of the fourth.  With two outs, Arik VanZandt singled to right and moved up to second when Irish right fielder Kris Billmaier bobbled the ball.  Chris Carter then stepped up and smacked a triple past the diving Steve Stanley in right center field scoring VanZandt to increase the lead to 3-0.

After Guthrie easily set down the Irish in the fifth on just nine pitches, the Cardinal hitters went back to work in the bottom half of the inning.  Ryan Garko led off with a double and then after Jason Cooper and Chris O'Riordan were set down, Johnson hit Carlos Quentin and Scott Dragicevich to load the bases.  But Andy Topham was unable to come through with the clutch hit as he grounded out to second to end the frame.

The Cardinal used the longball in the bottom of the sixth inning to push the lead up to 4-0.  With two outs and nobody on base, Sam Fuld crushed a home run to right field ending Johnson's day and giving Guthrie and the Cardinal a four run cushion.

Through six innings, the Stanford hurler had thrown just 66 pitches and appeared destined for a dominating complete game shutout.  But Notre Dame finally broke through in the top of the seventh inning to make this a much more interesting game.  With one out in the inning, Matt Bok doubled and then advanced to third on a single off the bat of Kris Billmaier.  #8 hitter Javier Sanchez then stepped up and belted a home run to left to cut the Stanford lead to 4-3.  Guthrie got out of the inning, but the damage had already been done. 

After the Cardinal went down quietly in the bottom of the seventh, the Irish mounted a rally in the top half of the eighth.  Brian Stavisky led off with a single and then after an Andrew Bushey fly out, Paul O'Toole singled putting runners at first and second with just one out.  But Guthrie bore down getting Bok to fly out to left and then striking out Billmaier on three pitches to retire the side.

Notre Dame put together a mild rally in the ninth asSteve Stanley reached on an infield single with two outs.  But Guthrie got #2 hitter Steve Sollmann to ground out to Andy Topham at short to end the game and give Stanford the victory.

Game Notes :
* Guthrie's final pitching line saw him go nine innings while giving up three runs and ten hits.  He walked one and struck out five as he recorded his sixth complete game in his last eight starts.

* The home run for Fuld in the sixth inning snapped a personal 1-for-22 slump.

* Scott Dragicevich saw his nine-game hitting streak come to an end with an 0-for-3 performance.  Chris
Carter now has the longest current hitting streak which is at eight games.

* With the win, Stanford extended their season-high winning streak to ten games.  The Cardinal have given four or fewer runs in all ten of those games.

* Ryan Garko (2-for-4, 2 2B) and Arik VanZandt (2-for-3) were the only Cardinal players today with multi-hit games.

* Stanford did strand ten runners on base today including eight in scoring position.

Notre Dame   0 0 0  0 0 0  3 0 0   -   3  10   1
Stanford U.    2 0 0  1 0 1  0 0 x   -   4   8   0     

The Cardinal will next be in action on Monday afternoon when they take on the Texas Longhorns in a winners bracket game.  First pitch is scheduled for 5pm (PST).  Tim Cunningham (10-2, 3.82) will be on the mound for Stanford.

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