College Baseball Roundup

It was a tough weekend for the Stanford baseball team as they were swept for the first time since 1997 at the hands of Cal State Fullerton. This week's Roundup takes a close look at that series along with all the latest from around the Pac-10 Conference. Also check out how far the Cardinal fell in this week's "Super Sixteen" national poll.

Pac-10 Standings (overall records) :

Arizona State     11-1
Arizona            2-1
UCLA               2-1
Stanford           2-3
California         1-2
Oregon State       0-0
USC                0-0
Washington         0-0
Washington State   0-0

Two big Pac-10/Big West battles last weekend and while Fullerton got the upper hand over Stanford, #13 ASU took 2-of-3 at #16 Long Beach State.  The Sun Devils dropped the first game of that series, but rebounded to shut down the Dirtbags in the final two games by the scores of 3-0 and 4-2.  Arizona State's record now stands at 11-1 and now some of the victories are quality wins.  Arizona opened their season by taking 2-of-3 at home versus BYU including a 32-3 rout of the Cougars in the series finale.  BYU committed ten errors in that loss.  UCLA also started strong with a series victory over Cal State Northridge (another Pac-10/Big West battle).  Cal dropped 2-of-3 to UNLV at home but suffered a bigger loss last weekend when star 3B Conor Jackson, a preseason Pac-10 Player of the Year candidate and possible first round pick, sprained his ankle in the series opener.  No word on how long he'll be out.

This weekend, three big series' involving Pac-10 teams.  Stanford looks to get back on track when they host #4 Florida State.  USC takes on #16 Long Beach State in a home-and-home three-game set.  Arizona also has an early test when they welcome #10 Baylor to Tucson for three games.

Cal State Fullerton Series Notes :

While the Santa Clara series was about as good as gets in terms of a complete performance, the Fullerton series last weekend was about as bad as you can get.  Stanford scored only seven runs while committing eight errors on defense.  Every time it looked like the Cardinal was going to get something going on offense, they promptly grounded into a double play (seven of those last weekend).  A lot of the credit has to go to the Fullerton pitching staff which may be the deepest in all of college baseball.  They may go a legitimate 11 or 12 deep and will win a lot of games this year.  But nevertheless, that doesn't explain the poor Stanford defense which especially hurt on Sunday leading to four unearned runs in the second inning.  Offensively, the Card hit just .257 as a team last weekend.  Brian Hall (6-for-11, 2 SB) and Carlos Quentin (5-for-9) had the most effective weekend's with the bat.  Danny Putnam hit two doubles off the wall in right-center on Sunday while John Mayberry, Jr. hit his first homer (a high towering shot to left) on Saturday.  It wasn't a great weekend for Mayberry, Jr. though as the freshman struck out five times.  Sam Fuld appears to have snapped out of his 0-for-14 slump to begin the season as the All-American center fielder went 3-for-4 on Saturday and then blasted a home run on Sunday.  That's about it for the positives.  As I mentioned above, Stanford grounded into seven double plays last weekend which killed many rallies and potential big innings.  Ryan Garko hit into three of those DP's and went 0-for-8 combined on Saturday and Sunday.  The worst weekend offensively though for a Stanford player had to be Donny Lucy as the sophomore went 0-for-7 with seven strikeouts.  It will be interesting to see if Coach Marquess sticks with Lucy this weekend or if he goes to one of the freshmen.  Not a whole lot of options though on the bench with only four healthy players available this weekend (Minaker, Lowrie, Lewis, and Hester).

On the pitching side, John Hudgins threw pretty well on Friday especially after his rough start.  The junior gave up three runs in the first inning, but rebounded to fire five scoreless frames after that.  On Saturday, Tim Cunningham was dominating at times through 5 2/3 innings giving up just two runs while recording seven strikeouts.  But the wheels came off for Tim with two outs in the sixth as the senior lefty surrendered three runs in what turned out to be a five-run inning for the Titans.  Ryan McCally got his second career start in the Sunday game and gave up four earned runs (eight total) in 5 2/3 innings.  McCally was hurt by one big inning giving up six runs (only two earned) in his second inning of work, but looked very good at times.  He worked scoreless first, third, fourth, and fifth innings before two runs allowed in the sixth knocked him out of the game.  In the bullpen this weekend, six different Cardinal pitchers saw time on the hill.  The most impressive of the group had to be freshman lefty Mark Romanczuk.  Romanczuk came on and threw the final 2 1/3 innings on Sunday giving up just one hit while walking one and striking out four.  It will be interesting to see if Coach Marquess is tempted at all to start Romanczuk this Sunday against Florida State or if he wants to keep the southpaw in the bullpen for a little while longer to gain more experience.  If McCally isn't needed in the first two games of the series this weekend, I would still count on him getting the starting nod in the series finale against the Seminoles.  Freshmen Matt Manship and Kodiak Quick also threw this weekend, but unlike Romanczuk, both struggled mightily.  Manship suffered the loss on Friday night giving up four runs (three earned) in just 1/3 of an inning while Quick was touched for five runs (four earned) in 1 2/3 innings on Saturday.  Despite the rough outings, it was encouraging to see Coach Marquess turn to these two guys in pressure packed spots.  These guys need to get some big time game experience before conference season starts as I expect all three frosh to see lots of innings this year.  David O'Hagan (2/3 IP, 0 H, 0 R) and Jonny Dyer (1 IP, 1 H, 0 R) both threw late in the game on Friday while Mark Jecmen (2/3 IP, 0 H, 0 R) saw time late in Saturday's contest.

This was the first time Stanford had been swept in a regular season, three-game series since April, 1997 when the Sun Devils took three in a row from the Cardinal (77 consecutive series').  It was also their first non-conference series loss since February, 2000 when Florida State took 2-of-3 from Stanford in Tallahassee.

"Super Sixteen" Poll :

                        Record    Pvs.

1. Texas                 3-0       1
    * The defending champs opened their season last weekend with a three-game sweep at defending WCC champion San Diego.

2. Florida State         3-0       2
    * The Seminoles swept away the Virginia Military Institute ... they get their first test this weekend against the Cardinal.

3. Georgia Tech          0-0       3

4. Rice                  0-0       4

5. Wake Forest           0-0       5

6. Cal State Fullerton   3-0      10
    * The Titans make a big jump after a convincing sweep of Stanford.

7. Houston               0-0       7

8. USC                   0-0       8

9. South Carolina        0-0       9

10. Stanford             2-3       6
    * The Cardinal swept Santa Clara two weeks ago, but get smoked by Fullerton last weekend

11. Notre Dame           0-0      11

12. Clemson              0-0      12

13. Arizona State       11-1      13
    * The Sun Devils go on the road and take 2-of-3 from a very good Long Beach State team last weekend.

14. Alabama              0-0      14

15. Richmond             0-0      15

16. LSU                  0-0      16

Opponents Update :

Stanford's first opponent of the season, the Santa Clara Broncos, rebounded from getting swept by the Cardinal to take four straight at Hawaii-Hilo last weekend.  Last week's opponent, Cal State Fullerton, will travel north to take on next week's opponent, Fresno State, in a three-game series.

Baseball America Poll :

BA will not release their first in-season poll until next Monday.  A series loss to Florida State this weekend should knock the Cardinal out of the top ten for the first time since early in the 2001 season.  Stanford is currently ranked 3rd (from their preseason poll), USC is sixth, and ASU is eighth.  No other Pac-10 team is ranked while other Cardinal opponents Florida State (#4), Texas (#5), and Cal State Fullerton (#13) are all ranked.

Up Next for Stanford :

The Cardinal return to Sunken Diamond this weekend to take on the #4 Florida State Seminoles in a three-game series.  First pitch is scheduled for 6pm on Friday and 1pm on Saturday and Sunday.  Stanford has won ten consecutive games at home and 17-of-18 dating back to last season.  The Seminoles are 3-0 after their three-game sweep of VMI last weekend and are a coming off a 2002 season in which they reached the super-regionals.  They were ranked #1 in the nation heading into the super-regionals last season but were upset by Notre Dame in three games.  FSU, like Fullerton, possesses one of the top pitching staffs in the country and has two very talented pitchers starting on Friday and Saturday in Matt Lynch and Marc LaMacchia.  Offensively, the Seminoles may have the top shortstop in the game in sophomore Stephen Drew and the top catcher in junior Tony Richie.  Stanford should have their hands full once again this weekend.  A full series preview is coming in a couple of days.

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