Oregon State 8-7
Washington State 3-13
It was rivalry weekend in the conference last weekend with
Stanford hosting Cal, UCLA hosting USC, and Washington taking on Washington
in three-game, non-conference series'. The Cardinal continue to roll
with a convincing sweep of California as they've now won seven in a row over
the Bears. The Huskies swept the lowly Cougars in Seattle to move three
games over .500 while the surprise of the weekend had the Bruins taking 2-of-3
from the Trojans including a 17-5 rout of USC in the rubber game on Sunday.
That's two consecutive outstanding weekends in a row for UCLA as they
went 2-1 at Fullerton's tournament two weeks ago (with wins over Texas and
Tulane). Meanwhile, the Trojans continue to reel as they've now dropped
four series' this season and are below .500. Granted, this team has
been hurt by various injuries to some of their better pitchers, but the Trojans
don't have the look at all of a team capable of challenging for the Pac-10
title. It's still very early though and if #1 starter Anthony Reyes
plus key relievers Brett Bannister and Jon Williams can get back in there
soon, don't count out USC come April and May. In other non-conference
action, Arizona lost 2-of-3 at Texas in three hard fought ballgames. Despite
the series loss, I'm still convinced Arizona will be one of the better teams
in the conference this season. The red hot Sun Devils had another perfect
week going 4-0 with wins over Cal State Northridge, Utah, and Southern Utah.
The big series this upcoming weekend pits the Cal State
Fullerton Titans against the USC Trojans in a home-and-home series down south.
USC is in dire need of some wins, but should be hard pressed to find
any this weekend. Arizona State also has a big series as they welcome
Oklahoma to Tempe for a three-game set. The Sooners aren't ranked, but
at least it's better competition for ASU. Cal tries to get back on
track with a three-game series at home versus struggling UC Irvine. Arizona
takes a break from their difficult schedule with a home series against Wagner.
Oregon State has a two-game, midweek, non-conference series with Washington
and then the Beavers turn around and play Washington State twice in non-conference
action. Stanford and UCLA are both idle this weekend as those schools
are taking final exams. Pac-10 Conference play starts the weekend of
Cal Series Notes :
The Cardinal are on a roll as they captured their fourth
straight series win with a sweep of the Golden Bears last weekend at Sunken
Diamond. Friday's and Sunday's games were routs with Stanford winning
by 11-2 scores both days while Saturday was fairly competitive in the Cardinal's
9-4 win. During the weekend, the Cardinal scored 31 runs on 43 hits
and have now scored a whopping 59 runs in their last five games (all wins).
On Sunday, Stanford rapped out a season-high 20 hits as seven different
players had multi-hit games.
Individually, it's tough to find places where the Cardinal
can get any better in terms of their hitting. The top of the order had
been a weakness the first month of the year with Sam Fuld and Brian Hall struggling
with averages well below .300. I pointed out before the USC series
that those two needed to get going as the middle-of-the-order guys were hot
and needed chances to drive in runs. Well, Fuld and Hall have certainly
stepped it up as in their last five games Fuld has gone 12-for-22 (.545)
with nine runs scored while Hall has gone 10-for-21 (.476) with eight runs
scored. Because of these guys getting on base, Quentin, Garko, Putnam,
and Mayberry, Jr. have racked up lots of RBI's in the last two weeks. Quentin
finally hit his first homer of the year when he went yard on Sunday. Carlos
now leads the team with a .378 batting average and an amazing .515 on-base
percentage. Garko continues to drive in runs with 25 RBI to lead the
club along with a .333 batting average. Putnam, of course, had the
great weekend against USC and played well again against Cal with three hits
(all in the last two games) and three RBI. After getting only 66 at-bats
last season when he hit .212, the sophomore outfielder/DH is hitting .377
with four homers and 19 RBI in 69 at-bats thus far in 2003. In the
six-hole, John Mayberry, Jr. continues to impress as he had a spectacular
4-for-5 game on Friday and has now hit safely in 14 consecutive contests.
Junior has also already hit five triples this year, which is halfway
to the Stanford single-season record. At the bottom of the order, Tobin
Swope continues to be a "singles machine" with 25 of his 27 hits being singles.
Can't complain though with Swope as he boasts a nice .321 average and
of course is a big stolen base threat (he stole three bases alone on Friday).
Jonny Ash returned to the starting lineup on Saturday and went 4-for-8
with two doubles over the last two games. He also had a pinch-hit single
on Friday night. While in the #9 spot, freshman Chris Lewis had a good
weekend going 2-for-6 with four walks.
On the pitching side, excellent marks all-around for Stanford
hurlers last weekend. John Hudgins pitched very well on Friday night
going the distance while giving up just two runs on seven hits. Control
was a major issue for Hudgins in his freshman year, but he improved quite
a bit in that category in his sophomore campaign, and he's been Greg Maddux-like
in 2003. The junior righthander has walked only six while recording
51 K's in 51 innings to go along with a 4-1 record and a 3.35 ERA. That's
just what you want out of your #1 guy. Ryan McCally had another good
outing on Saturday tossing 5 2/3 innings (three runs allowed) to improve to
3-1 on the year. With the way Ryan has pitched in a starter's role this
year, you would have to think that once Cunningham gets back from injury,
McCally will stay in the rotation. Freshman Mark Romanczuk got his second
consecutive Sunday start and went six innings while giving up just two runs.
He struck out seven and is already 5-0 this season (along with two
saves). Out of the bullpen last weekend, David O'Hagan had a great
outing on Sunday (after struggling a little on Saturday) as he fired three
scoreless innings without walking a batter and giving up just one hit. Matt
Manship got out of a big jam in the seventh inning on Saturday when the game
was still close while Kodiak Quick nailed down his first career save with
perfect eighth and ninth innings on Saturday. I think it's safe to
say we'll be seeing a lot more of Kodiak Quick in middle-to-late inning relief
Good weekend defensively for the Cardinal as they commit
just a single error on each day. Jonny Ash got his first two starts
at third this season and played very well while Chris Lewis, despite an error
on Sunday, continues to make some fine plays over at second.
"Super Sixteen" Poll :
1. Florida State
* Seminoles remain in the top spot after 5-1 week that saw them sweep Siena and take 2-of-3 from Florida.
2. Georgia Tech
* Jackets stay perfect with 5-0 week (two wins over Campbell, three wins over Rutgers).
* Owls get WAC play started with a three-game sweep at Louisiana Tech.
4. Arizona State
* Sun Devils continue to win with a perfect 4-0 week against much lesser competition ... currently in the midst of a 19-game homestand.
5. Cal State Fullerton
* Titans surprised in Minnesota as the Golden Gophers take 2-of-3 from Fullerton.
* Cardinal remain hot with convincing home sweep of California.
7. Long Beach State
* 49ers go on the road and impressively take 2-of-3 from top-ten Baylor.
* Longhorns back on track as they take 2-of-3 from visiting Arizona.
9. South Carolina
* Gamecocks stay put at #9 after 4-1 week (1-0 vs. Gardner-Webb, 1-0 vs. Furman, 2-1 vs. Radford).
* Bears drop a few spots after losing 2-of-3 to Long Beach State.
* Cornhuskers sweep UW-Milwaukee in weather-shortened two-game series.
12. Wake Forest
* Deacons with a 4-1 week to remain at #12 (1-0 vs. Charlotte, 1-0 vs. Albany, 2-1 vs. LeMoyne).
* Tigers in the poll for the first time after impressive three-game sweep at North Carolina (Auburn has also won a series over Clemson).
* Tide continue to feast on a bunch of cupcakes as they go 4-0 with wins over Belmont and Massachusetts.
* Spiders played eight games last week and finished 7-1 ... swept a four-game series from Princeton over the weekend.
State 9-1 NR
* Bulldogs in the poll after 4-0 week with wins over previously unbeaten UAB and Lipscomb.
: USC (9-10, 2-2 last week), Houston (7-9, 1-3 last week).
Opponents Update :
The Seminoles had their 16-game winning streak snapped
(going back to Stanford's 2-1 win over FSU on February 7th) when they lost
a 9-8 decision at Florida on Sunday. Florida State still has an impressive
19-2 record, albeit against mainly very weak competition. Cal State
Fullerton lost their first series of the year when Minnesota took 2-of-3 from
the Titans. Fullerton still stands at 16-3 and is ranked in the top
five. Other Cardinal opponents Santa Clara (8-15) and Fresno State (6-12)
are enduring tough starts to their seasons, although Fresno did take 2-of-3
from Hawaii in their WAC opener last weekend.
Baseball America Poll :
Stanford moved up one spot (past Baylor) to #6 in this
week's Baseball America poll. Georgia Tech and Rice remained
in the #1 and #2 spots respectively. Arizona State and Florida State
switched places with Sun Devils now with the #3 ranking and Florida State
at #4. Cal State Fullerton stayed put at #5. Long Beach State's
#7 ranking gives the west coast four teams ranked among the top seven. USC
fell completely out of the poll (from #18) after losing 2-of-3 to UCLA last
weekend. The Pac-10 could make a claim to being the top conference in
college baseball right now, yet only two teams are currently ranked.
Up Next for Stanford :
The Cardinal are off for the next 12 days as the players
prepare for and take their final exams. Stanford will next be in action
on Saturday-Monday, March 22-24 at #3 Arizona State. The Sun Devils
are currently 28-1 and have five games (three versus Oklahoma and two versus
Wichita State) before they play the Card. That series will be the Pac-10
opener for both schools.
With no series to review this weekend, next week's "College
Baseball Roundup" will take an in-depth look at the conference and Stanford's
chances to win the title as Pac-10 play gets set to begin.