College Baseball Roundup

The Stanford Cardinal suffered their second consecutive series loss last weekend when the Florida State Seminoles stormed into Sunken Diamond and took 2-of-3 games. This week's Roundup takes a closer look at that series, has the latest "Super Sixteen" poll plus much more.

Pac-10 Standings (overall records) :

Arizona State     14-1
California         5-2
Washington         2-1
Arizona            3-3
USC                2-2
UCLA               3-4
Stanford           3-5
Oregon State       1-2
Washington State   0-3

Not a good weekend for Pac-10 baseball with six teams losing series' (although only one was swept).  Arizona State continued to roll through their non-conference schedule with a home sweep of BYU.  The Sun Devils will play in a round-robin tournament this weekend in Surprise, Arizona before playing 19 consecutive games at Packard Stadium in Tempe.  Don't expect the winning to stop anytime soon down in the desert for the Sun Devils.  California is playing well without their injured star, Conor Jackson, as the Bears swept visiting Loyola Marymount over the weekend.  Washington opened their season in impressive fashion going 2-1 in a tournament down in Pepperdine including a 4-1 win over nationally ranked Houston.  Now for the bad.  Aside from Stanford's series loss, UCLA (2-of-3 at Hawaii), USC (2-of-3 vs. Long Beach State, home-and-home), Arizona (2-of-3 vs. #10 Baylor, two extra inning losses), Oregon State (2-of-3 at UC Riverside), and Washington State (swept at Pacific) all lost series' last weekend.  Not a good sign at all for the Cougs in getting swept at perennial Big West doormat Pacific.  WSU won't play their first home game until Stanford comes to town in early April.

The big series in the conference this weekend is down in Los Angeles where the Trojans host #23 South Alabama.  Arizona continues it's tough non-conference schedule with a 3-game set against a very talented UC Irvine ballclub.

Florida State Series Notes :

The Cardinal dropped their first home 3-game series in the regular season (or the postseason for that matter) since April, 1999 when the Florida State Seminoles came into town and took 2-of-3.  What's a little disheartening though is that the Seminoles played the last two games without their All-American shortstop Stephen Drew (Drew did pinch-hit on Sunday and was retired) who was feeling under the weather.  Despite the Drew absence though, this is a very good Seminoles team that was ranked #4 in Baseball America's preseason poll.  Like Fullerton, the Seminoles boast a very deep pitching staff and Coach Martin wasn't afraid to use it using six pitchers on Friday, five on Saturday, and seven on Sunday.  Nevertheless, it had been a long time since the Card had lost a series at home.

The hitting did show some signs of life on Sunday scoring eight runs on 16 hits in the 12 inning contest.  For the first time basically all season, a Stanford hitter came through with a big hit when Ryan Garko blasted a three-run homer in the bottom of the sixth inning to brake a 5-5 tie.  At that point it looked as if the Cardinal offense was finally going to get going, but four FSU relievers combined to shutout Stanford over the final six frames as the Seminoles came back to win.  The defense also let down Stanford in a big way on Sunday.  Jonny Ash's critical error of a routine ground ball allowed the leadoff runner to reach base in the top of the ninth leading to a three-run inning for the Seminoles.  While the hitting and defense were both suspect (to give the Card some credit, they did only commit only two errors in the first two games of the series), the pitching, for the most part, was very good.  John Hudgins (9 IP, 1 R, 0 BB, 10 SO) turned in a dominating performance on Friday night and is showing signs he's ready to take it to another level.  Freshman lefty Mark Romanczuk relieved Hudgins on Friday night and promptly fired three no-hit innings while recording four K's to pick up the victory.  In his first two outings of the year, Romanczuk has now thrown 5 1/3 scoreless innings while allowing only one hit and striking out eight.  With four games coming up this weekend, it would not be a surprise at all if Romanczuk were to get the starting nod in one of those contests.  Ryan McCally on Sunday started strong with four no-hit innings to start the game, but ran into trouble in the fifth surrendering three runs on four hits which ended his afternoon.  It will be interesting to see how Coach Marquess continues to handle the #3 spot in the rotation.  Two arms out of the bullpen emerged this weekend in Billy Paganetti and David O'Hagan.  Paganetti threw 3 1/3 no-hit innings on Saturday (one run allowed) while O'Hagan was perfect in the 9th, 10th, and 11th innings on Sunday picking up seven strikeouts in the process before tiring and giving up two runs in the 12th.  Great signs from these two relievers as it appears Coach Marquess has two more arms he'll be able to turn to out of the bullpen this season.  Also worth noting, freshman Kodiak Quick threw a scoreless seventh and eighth innings (no hits allowed) on Sunday before his troubles in the ninth.  The FSU hitters were having lots of trouble with Quick until the Ash error to lead off the ninth and two batters later the three-run homer that tied the game.  Despite the rough end result, Quick showed good stuff out on the mound and I would expect him to still see more big innings out of the bullpen this season.

"Super Sixteen" Poll :

                        Record    Pvs.

1. Texas                 5-1       1
    * Longhorns were surprised by Texas A&M-Corpus Christi in a midweek game, but rebound to take first two games of their weekend series with UT-Arlington (third game was today).

2. Florida State         5-1       2
    * Seminoles took 2-of-3 at Stanford to hold onto the #2 spot.

3. Georgia Tech          0-0       3

4. Rice                  0-0       4

5. Wake Forest           0-0       5

6. Cal State Fullerton   6-0      10
    * Another convincing sweep for the Titans as they take three straight at Fresno State by a combined score of 32-5.

7. Arizona State        14-1      13
    * Gaudy early season record for the Sun Devils that includes a series win over ranked Long Beach State and series sweeps of San Diego State and BYU.

8. South Carolina        2-1       9
    * Gamecocks opened their season last weekend by taking 2-of-3 from Charleston Southern.

9. USC                   2-2       8
    * Trojans open season with midweek win over UC Santa Barbara, but then drop 2-of-3 to Long Beach State.

10. Houston              1-2       7
    * Cougars lose 2-of-3 at Pepperdine Tournament including a loss to the Washington Huskies.

11. Notre Dame           0-0      11

12. Clemson              0-0      12

13. Stanford             3-5      10
    * Cardinal have now lost 5-of-6 after dropping series to Florida State last weekend.

14. Alabama              0-0      14

15. Richmond             0-0      15

16. LSU                  3-0      16
    * Tigers opened their season with three-game sweep of visiting Northwestern State.

Opponents Update :

One series of note last weekend was up in Fresno where the Cal State Fullerton Titans easily swept the host Bulldogs by the scores of 12-0, 10-1, and 10-4.  Titans #1 starter Wes Littleton (who the Card scored three runs off in 5 1/3 innings) fired a 75-pitch, 1-hit, complete-game shutout on Friday night.

Baseball America Poll :

The Cardinal are out of the top ten for the first time since early in 2001 as they check in at #11 in this week's Baseball America poll (down from #3 in BA's preseason poll).  Arizona State is now the highest ranked Pac-10 team at #5 while USC currently sits at #9.  Florida State moved up a spot to #3 while Cal State Fullerton is now ranked #6.  The Texas Longhorns, next week's opponent, are ranked fourth.

Up Next for Stanford :

The Cardinal will look to get back on track this weekend when they host the Fresno State Bulldogs in a three-game series at Sunken Diamond (Friday-Sunday, 6pm-1pm-1pm).  The Bulldogs come into the series with a 1-3 record after getting swept by Fullerton last weekend.  Fresno State returns just 12 of their 28 letterwinners from last year's team that went 32-27 and finished 3rd in the WAC.  There are 21 newcomers to the team along with first year head coach Mike Batesole.  On Presidents Day Monday, the Cardinal will host the Nevada Wolf Pack with first pitch scheduled for 1pm.

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