*All games played at Texas' Disch-Falk
Field and all times are Pacific.
Rivalries are a big part of college baseball. The Cardinal, for the past thirty years or so, have had two great rivals: the California Golden Bears, and the University of Southern California Trojans. While Cal and USC may be Stanford's true rivals, the Texas Longhorns have become a great non-conference rival for the Cardinal, if only in the last 3-4 years.
Since 2001, Stanford and Texas have played some simply incredible games. In 2001, the teams paired up in the NCAA Regional after the Cardinal took 2 of 3 from Texas in Austin during the regular season. After defeating the Cardinal 4-3 on Saturday to put Stanford one game from elimination, the Cardinal had to beat the Longhorns twice on Sunday to advance to the Super Regionals. In the first Sunday Regional Game, Stanford led 9-6 with 2 outs in the ninth. However, Texas Ben King homered off Mike Wodnicki to tie the game at 9. The Cardinal would come back to win 10-9 on a Carlos Quentin 2 out single, forcing a second Regional Championship Game. In that game, Texas led 3-2 in the eighth, but Ryan Garko drove home two runs with a single up the middle, and the Cardinal emerged victorious 4-3. The two one-run victories propelled the Card to a Super Regional and an eventual birth in the College World Series.
In 2002, the rivalry continued. During the regular season, the Longhorns traveled to Sunken Diamond. In Game 1, Texas led 6-1 going into the 9th. However, with 2 outs and the bases full, Chris ORiordan hit a grand slam HR to left, tying the game in dramatic fashion. Stanford went on to win on a Jonny Ash RBI single. In Game 2, Tim Cunningham and Justin Simmons pitched a scoreless game into the 10th inning. However, Texas would score 2 in the top of the 10th and Justin Simmons would go the distance for a 2-0 shutout. Stanford won in the third game behind a complete game from John Hudgins, but that would not be the last time the two teams would face off in 2002.
At the College World Series, Stanford and Texas met twice. The first time, the Longhorns got out in front early, scoring 7 runs in the first four innings. Jeff Ontiveros and J.D. Reininger would homer and Huston Street, UT's All-American closer, held off the Cardinal for an 8-7 win. In the bracket final, the Cardinal needed to duplicate their feat of the 2001 Regionals to advance to the CWS Championship. However, even with their ace on the hill, Stanford could not beat the eventual national champions. Stanford went out in front 3-0 in the first, but Jeremy Guthrie on four days rest would give up 6 runs, including a solo HR to Dustin Majewski, which would be the difference as the Longhorns won it 6-5.
Clearly, these two teams know each
other quite well after playing each other 11 times in the last two years.
Texas is led by Justin Simmons, their 16 game winner from last season,
as well as All-American closer Huston Street, the CWS MVP in 2002. After
the Cardinal hosted the series in 2002, the teams move to Austin for the
series in 2003. Disch-Falk field is the only astroturf field Stanford will
see all year, and the big pitchers' park may play to the Cardinal advantage;
Stanford has yet to explode offensively but has good speed and can definitely
pitch. This weekend's matchup is the best in college baseball.
After losing 5 out of 6, even if it was to Cal St. Fullerton and Florida St., the Cardinal had to feel pretty down. However, four consecutive wins, even against unranked teams, is a good morale boost for the team and gives Stanford some momentum heading into Austin. Again, the formula was simple last weekend: pitch great and play solid defense. Through 12 games, the offense has not been explosive, but it is February, and as Mark Marquess is fond of saying, ?he pitching is ahead of the hitting.
The Cardinal need not see that statement as a negative comment. The pitching for Stanford has been truly outstanding through 12 games. Opponents are hitting a mere .205 against the Cardinal, and are scoring just over 4 a game. John Hudgins has been everything that Mark Marquess could have hoped for to start the season. Hudgins has had a quality start in each of his first four outings, going at least six innings in each start. His last two starts have been simply incredible: a nine inning, five hitter giving up just one against Florida St., and 7 1/3 no hit innings against Fresno St. before leaving after 8 giving up only 1. The best part for Hudgins: 29 innings, 3 walks, 28 K. Ryan McCally is also coming off a great start. The senior pitched his first complete game on Sunday against the Bulldogs, shutting out Fresno St. through 8. Plus, the bullpen has been outstanding. After two consecutive long outings, David O'Hagan looks as if he can be counted upon in big situations. And you can? say enough about Mark Romanczuk. So far, 9.2 innings, 3 hits, 0 runs, 12 K, 2-0, plus two saves for the freshman lefty. Tim Cunningham will not play in Texas as the lefty has a broken finger.
Offensively, the team has been very streaky. Carlos Quentin has yet to homer this year after being picked as a preseason All-American. He is in the midst of a 1-14 slump. Brian Hall, after starting the year hitting a shade under .500 through 6 games, has struggled lately, going only 1-18 (his one hit was a HR on Sunday). However, Ryan Garko has turned it up lately, homering in 3 of his last 5, and freshman Jed Lowrie is on a roll after going 5-11 in the Florida St. series and getting four consecutive starts at 3B. Tobin Swope is pacing the club with 19 hits and a .398 batting average, "putting them where they ain?" frequently this season.
Playing Texas on the road is a huge
test for Stanford. The Cardinal have not faired well this year on the road:
1-3, with the only win against Santa Clara on opening day. Stanford has
been much better at home in recent memory than on the road, although they
did beat Texas at Austin in two of three in 2001. The Longhorns come in
with a #4 ranking. They will not be easy at home. After this weekend the
Cardinal will have a very good idea of whether or not they are one of the
early favorites for the 2003 season.
Probable Starting Lineup:
* C Ryan Garko
(15-48), 3 HR, 10 RBI. Last Weekend (4 games): 4-15, 2 HR, 4 RBI.
Garko has turned it on lately, hitting 3 homers in his last 5 games. He leads the team in HR with 3 and has almost two times as many RBIs as the next person on the team (Lewis).
* 1B John Mayberry, Jr.
(14-49), 2 HR, 4 RBI. Last Weekend: 6-13, 3B, HR, RBI.
Mayberry stepped it up this weekend, hitting Fresno St. much better than he hit either Cal St. Fullerton or Florida St. Offensively, Mayberry is doing very well for a freshman with the pressure of playing every day. His offensive is good now, will be great, and his defensive has been a nice surprise. He has hit safely in 11 of 12.
* 2B Chris Lewis
(4-16), 0 HR, 6 RBI. Last Weekend: 3-11, 2B, 3B, 5 RBI.
Lewis only has three hits, but is just an RBI machine with 5 last weekend. Even when he has not come through with base hits, Lewis has delivered with an RBI groundout or SAC Fly when it has been necessary. He made his first error on Monday against Nevada, but has looked solid, showcasing a shortstop's arm at 2B.
* SS Tobin Swope
(19-48), 0 HR, 5 RBI. Last Weekend: 5-12, 2B, RBI.
Has it been a surprise that Swope has hit this well? Only from the standpoint that he has played so little in his first three years. Swope isn't going to hit the ball out of the ballpark nor is he going to be flashy like Andy Topham at SS. However, what he does do is get on base and considering Stanford? bottom of the order right now is hotter than the top, Swope's presence has been very valuable. A funny stat: since 18 of Swope's 19 hits have been singles, he is hitting .396 and slugging only .417.
* 3B Jed Lowrie
(9-26), 0 HR, 3 RBI. Last Weekend: 6-13, 2 2B, 3 RBI.
When observers looked at Stanford's 2003 recruiting class, the biggest names were Mayberry, Romanczuk, and Lewis. But Jed Lowrie has been a pleasant surprise ever since fall ball, where he hit the ball a ton from both sides of the plate and showed he can play all three infield positions. At third, he has made one error, but has looked very impressive, and his hitting has been great. Leads the team with 5 doubles in just 26 AB's.
* LF Brian Hall
(14-50), 2 HR, 5 RBI. Last Weekend: 1-16, HR, 2 RBI.
Hall's move to LF is more about getting Lowrie in the lineup than Hall's defense at 3B, which has been fine. After primarily playing LF his first two years, stepping back out to the outfield (with a better arm after surgery) should not be a problem. Hall is really struggling offensively: 1 for his last 18 and only 2 for his last 26 after a hot start.
* CF Sam Fuld
(12-52), 1 HR, 3 RBI. Last Weekend: 4-16, 2 2B, 3B, RBI
The numbers don't show it because of his 0-14 start, but Fuld's start has been decent other than the first 14 AB. He is hitting .316 since the end of the slump. However, much like last year, he hasn't kicked it into high gear yet. It took Fuld until early April to really get it going last season.
* RF Carlos Quentin
(12-42), 0 HR, 3 RBI. Last Weekend: 3-16, RBI.
Zero HR for Carlos Quentin through 11 games is certainly something Mark Marquess didn't anticipate. He didn't hit the ball well at all last weekend with only 3 singles, and has only two extra base hits so far this year. Still, because of a good eye at the plate and his dangerous reputation, Quentin has drawn a fair amount of walks this year, reaching base 44% of the time.
* DH Danny Putnam
(15-39), 2 HR, 4 RBI Last Weekend: 3-7, RBI (DNP Sunday, Monday
Putnam didn't play Sunday and got just a pinch hit appearance on Monday (with which he drove home the winning run). He may be a little banged up, but if he doesn't start he can still pinch hit like he did last weekend, but Putnam will probably be in the starting lineup. The Longhorns will throw two LHPs (Justin Simmons and Eugene Espinelli), so Donny Lucy may get a shot as well.
* Fri: John Hudgins
2.17 ERA, 4 GS, 29.0 IP, 7R/ER, 3 BB, 28 K, O/AVG .220
Last Outing: W vs. Fresno St., 8.0 IP, 3 H, 1 R/ER, 2 BB, 9 K
2002: 10-1, 4.71 ERA, 105 IP, 62 K.
Hudgins looks to be the next in a long line of Stanford aces. For the second consecutive week, Hudgins threw amazingly well. He no-hit the Bulldogs through 7.1 innings before giving up a run on three hits in the 8th. The most encouraging number: 3 walks in 28 innings. If you remember Hudgins his freshman year, getting that number never seemed possible. Hudgins hasn? been totally overpowering, but three plus pitches (fastball, slider, changeup) have kept hitters off balance. Against the Longhorns in 2002 (regular season), Hudgins threw his first complete game of his career, limiting Texas to 2 runs in 9 innings.
* Sat: Ryan McCally
3.68 ERA, 4 G/3GS, 1 CG, 22.0 IP, 13 R/9 ER, 2 BB, 13 K, O/AVG .220.
Last Outing: W vs. Fresno St., 9.0 IP, 6 H, 2 R/ER, 0 BB, 5 K.
2002: 4-3, 3.53, 25 G, 1 GS
Tim Cunningham has a broken left finger and is out for this weekend for sure. After two subpar outings, McCally pitched tremendously against Fresno St. He took a shutout into the 9th inning and at one point retired 17 consecutive batters. McCally isn't on the hill to blow it by anyone, but if he keeps the ball low in the zone, his curveball can be almost unhittable. Texas had trouble hitting McCally at the CWS: in two appearances, McCally limited Texas to one run on two hits over 6.1 innings.
* Sun: Mark Romanczuk
5 G (0 starts), 2 S, 9.2 IP, 3 H, 0 R, O/AVG .097
Last Outing: W vs. Nevada, 1.1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K.
With Cunningham out indefinitely, Mark Marquess has to find someone to start on Sunday. The most likely choice is Romanczuk, who has been absolutely incredible in his first five outings, allowing no runs and three hits. While he really only has a 90+ fastball and a curve, Romanczuk has been lethal but has no starts and no extended relief appearances beyond 3 innings. The last time Marquess started a freshman (2002 and Mark Jecmen), Jecmen was out of the rotation after 3 starts. Will Marquess risk that with Romanczuk when the freshman could be the closer that Marquess needs? Probably so if he doesn't need to use him on Friday. The other consideration that needs to be examined is that a Romanczuk start means Stanford has zero lefties in the bullpen.
* Bullpen: RHP David OHagan, RHP Mark Jecmen, RHP Drew Ehrlich, RHP Kodiak Quick, RHP Matt Manship, , RHP Jonny Dyer, RHP Billy Paganetti.
They are hitting .333 as a team. Every starter save one is hitting over .300. The pitching staff's ERA is 2.67. 3 Starters are hitting over .400. A left-hander who started the CWS final and won 16 last year is starting Saturday. They are playing at their home ballpark. And, oh yeah, they are 11-1 and the defending national champions. The Texas Longhorns are the third in the line of great non-conference opponents for the Cardinal early in 2003.
After winning his fourth title but his first at Texas, Longhorns' Head Coach Augie Garrido was only able to bask in the glory for a few months after winning the College World Series. The Longhorns were placed under NCAA probation for having a volunteer assistant coach illegally recruit players. Texas is not barred from postseason play, but the "major" violation means that Garrido cannot recruit off-campus this year and one more violation in the next five years means that Texas could receive the NCAA death penalty.
Off the field activities aside, the Longhorns are off to a very hot start, losing only to Texas A&M Corpus-Christi. However, the Longhorns opponents have been San Diego, UT-Arlington, Sam Houston St., and UT-San Antonio. Not quite Cal St. Fullerton and Florida St. However, its clear that Texas is very talented. They are the #1 team in the Collegiate Baseball poll and the #4 team in the Baseball America poll for good reason. Their pitching is outstanding. Even though Brad Halsey and Alan Bomer are gone from their starting rotation, Texas is incredibly deep pitching wise. J.P. Howell, who started for USC for much of last year, transferred to UT and has played mainly during weekday games only. The main guns for the Longhorms are Justin Simmons, who won 16 last year, Daniel Muggee, who starts on Friday and has a 3-0 record, and Huston Street, probably the best closer in college baseball.
Offensively, Texas is sparked by
their leadoff hitter Tim Moss, who has started the season hitting .440
and already has 7 SBs. Omar Quintanilla, who has played the last 2 years
at 3B, moves to SS and has raked offensively as well: .469 with 6 doubles.
Their offensive leader is likely Dustin Majewski, who Stanford fans remember
for homering off Jeremy Guthrie to provide the one run margin Texas needed
to beat Stanford and advance to the championship game in 2002. Majewski
has 3 HR already this year.
* LHP Brad
Halsey: Friday night starter for Texas plays only one year for the
Longhorns, but his 7-2. 2.74 ERA will be missed
* RHP Ray Clark: Clark started a number of big games against the Cardinal and Stanford had good success off Clark, but he added a good right-handed arm who could start or relieve.
* 1B Jeff Ontiveros: Texas Baseball's leading career HR hitter (20 in 2002) was amazingly undrafted after his senior season.
* LHP Justin
* RHP Huston Street
* 2B Tim Moss
* SS Omar Quintanilla
* RF Dustin Majewski
Probable Starting Lineup:
* C Curtis Thigpen (So, R/R, 5'11", 173)
(13-39), 1 HR, 10 RBI. 2002: .256, 1 HR, 11 RBI.
Thigpen has to replace Ryan Hubele, who was behind the plate for Texas for over 2 years. He has thrown out only 1 of 8 baserunners attempting to steal. Taylor Teagarden may spell Thigpen in a game or two.
* 1B J.D. Reininger (So., R/R, 5'11", 195)
(13-38), 1 HR, 9 RBI. 2002: .320, 13 HR, 51 RBI.
Reininger is looking to follow up on a huge season in 2002. Mostly started at DH last season, Reininger fills the hole left by the departed Jeff Ontiveros. Reininger hit a big 2 run HR off Tim Cunningham in the CWS (Game 1) last season that was instrumental in the 8-7 Texas win.
* 2B Tim Moss (Jr., R/R, 5'11", 177)
(22-50), 0 HR, 7 RBI. 2002: .371, 1 HR, 39 RBI, 40-49 SB.
Moss is the premier leadoff hitter in the country and has the speed to succeed. He stole 40 bases last year and this year already has 7 steals in 11 games. He slaps the ball around, gets on base, and causes problems on the basepaths. A .971 fielder last season (10 errors), Moss strangely has 7 errors at 2B this year.
* SS Omar Quintanilla (Jr., L/R, 5'9", 185)
(23-49), 1 HR, 15 RBI. 2002: .329, 3 HR, 32 RBI.
Quintanilla started at 3B in both 2001 and 2002 and now moves to SS. He will hit second in the lineup for the Longhorns and much like Moss, he is suited perfectly for Texas' large ballpark. He slaps the ball around and although he doesn't have a lot of power, he hits the ball in the gaps and his OBP is .550. Good fielder when he gets to the ball- only 7 errors last year and 1 this season.
* 3B Michael Hollimon (So., S/R, 6'1", 176)
(14-44), 1 HR, 5 RBI. 2002: .262, 4 HR, 37 RBI.
Hollimon split time with Brandon Fahey last season at SS and will be the full time starter at 3B this season. Strikes out once every 4 or 5 AB. He has been out on strikes 11 times already this season. Also has had problems adjusting to his new position: 4 errors in only 22 chances.
* LF Eric Sultemeier (Jr., R/R, 6'1", 183)
(9-29), 2 HR, 9 RBI. 2002: .244, 6 HR, 31 RBI.
Sultemeier started in LF mostly against lefties last season. Will split time in the outfield with Joe Ferin and newcomer Scott Dodge. Decent speed. Hit 2 HR on Tuesday against UT-San Antonio.
* CF Joe Ferin (Sr., L/L, 5'10", 175)
(9-34), 0 HR, 6 RBI. 2002: .224, 0 HR, 8 RBI.
Not a big hitter but good speed (4-5 SBs in limited playing time). Strikes out a fair amount and definitely will not hit for power.
* RF Dustin Majewski (Sr., L/L. 5'11", 190)
(18-44), 3 HR, 23 RBI. 2002: .401, 10 HR, 50 RBI.
Its amazing that Majewski is still around for his senior year after the huge numbers he put up in 2002. Will definitely hit 3rd in Garrido? lineup this weekend. Doesn't hit lefties as well and Garrido dropped him down in the lineup against lefties last season. Shouldn't be a big problem this weekend as Stanford will bring only 1 lefty.
* DH Scott Dodge (Fr., L/L. 6'0", 190)
(7-22), 0 HR, 4 RBI. 2002: Cuesta College.
Garrido went to California to get Dodge, a left-handed hitter who will DH or play in LF against righties.
Probable Rotation: * (Sunday starter now is listed as TBA, much as Stanford's Sunday starter).
* Fri: RHP Daniel Muggee (Sr., 6'5", 175)
2.45 ERA, 3 GS, 18.1 IP, 4 BB, 12 K
Last Outing: W vs. Sam Houston St., 6.0 IP, 3 H, 3 R/1 ER, 3 BB, 5 K.
The slender RHP Muggee has had some nice early season success. Muggee only appeared 8 times all of last year.
* Sat: LHP Justin Simmons (Jr., 6'3", 217)
3.38 ERA, 3 GS, 16 IP, 5 BB, 13 K.
Last Outing: W vs. Sam Houston St., 7.0 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 0 BB, 5 K.
Simmons gets so little publicity for the numbers he puts up. Last season, 16-1, 2.52 ERA. However, because his fastball doesn't even reach 85, Simmons isn't a big draft prospect. He is one of the best pitchers in college baseball. Last year, Simmons shutout Stanford at Sunken over 10 innings. Changeup away, changeup away, fastball awayits all away from Simmons.
* Sun: LHP Eugene Espineli
2.25 ERA, 3 GS, 10 IP, 4 BB, 10 K.
Last Outing: W vs. Sam Houston St., 6.0 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 1BB, 6 K.
Espineli has started three games this year after being used primarily out of the bullpen last season. Last season's numbers, 5-0, 2.08 ERA. Tall, skinny lefty. May see LHP J.P. Howell start on Sunday.
Huston Street (0-0, 5.66 ERA, 6 G, 1 S), LHP Brantley Jordan
(0-1, 0.00 ERA, 4 G), RHP Jesen Merle (0-0, 7.00 ERA, 5 G, 1 S),
RHP J. Brent Cox (1-0, 0.00 ERA, 4 G)
The Last Time:
6/20/02 Texas 6, Stanford 5
Texas ended the Cardinal's 2002 bid for the CWS title and advanced to the championship game by defeating Jeremy Guthrie. The Longhorns handed Jeremy Guthrie only his second loss in 2002. The Cardinal took a 3-0 early lead, but could not hold on. The biggest hits were Jeff Ontiveros' 2-run HR and Dustin Majewski's GW HR in the 7th.
6/17/02 Texas 8, Stanford 7
A game that went back and forth, Texas led 3-0 and 7-2 but the Cardinal charged back. Stanford scored a run off Huston Street in the 9th but the Longhorns hung on for the win. Jeff Ontiveros and J.D. Reininger homered for Texas.
3/30/02 Stanford 7, Texas 2
John Hudgins' first career complete game gave the Cardinal the series and improved their record to 19-6. Stanford scored 4 in the first on RBIs by Garko, Quentin (2), and Chris Carter.
3/29/02 Texas 2, Stanford 0
A classic pitchers duel matching two lefties, Tim Cunningham and Justin Simmons. Neither team scored through 9, but when Cunningham departed Texas scored two in the 10th on an RBI double by Ryan Hubele and an RBI single by Eric Sultemeier.
3/28/02 Stanford 7, Texas 6
In one of Stanford's most dramatic wins of the year. The Card trailed 6-1 in the 9th, but came back to win on an RBI single by Donny Lucy and Chris ORiordan's 2 out Grand slam in the 9th. The Cardinal won it in the 10th on a check swing single by Jonny Ash. ,|