June 15, 2002
By DOUG ALDEN
AP Sports Writer
OMAHA, Neb. – Stanford always seems to have plenty of pitching in the College World Series, and it was no different Saturday.
The Cardinal won their fifth straight CWS opener by edging Notre Dame 4-3.
“We usually have a pretty good No. 1 starter and that’s really what it falls to,” said coach Mark Marquess.
That’s true of the program that has produced pitchers such as Mike Mussina, Jack McDowell and the latest – Jeremy Guthrie, who pitched a complete game Saturday for his 13th win of the season.
The Cleveland Indians’ first-round draft pick allowed 10 hits and struck out five. Other than shaky seventh and eighth innings, Guthrie (13-1) was dominant after the Cardinal took a 2-0 lead in the first.
“When we’re able to swing the bats as well as we did early it helps everybody settle in,” said Guthrie, who pitched 13 innings in a regional win two weeks ago over Cal State Fullerton. “I know it helps me every time.”
Sam Fuld homered for the Cardinal (46-16), who lost in the last two CWS championship games. Stanford extended its overall winning streak to 10 games and improved to 10-4 in the opening round.
Stanford is making its fourth straight CWS appearance and 14th overall. The Cardinal last lost an opening-round game in 1995, to Cal State Fullerton, which went on to win the title.
Jason Cooper drove in two runs, and Ryan Garko was 2-for-4 for Stanford, which will play either Texas or Rice in the second round.
Guthrie walked just one in his sixth complete game this season.
“That Guthrie kid is really good. He threw three different pitches for strikes and he threw really hard,” said Notre Dame coach Paul Mainieri. “I don’t know the stats but I’m sure Guthrie hasn’t given up 10 hits in a game very often.”
Notre Dame’s Grant Johnson (9-5) kept the Irish in contention despite hitting three batters. He limited Stanford to four runs on four hits over 5 1-3 innings.
“When he was coming off the mound between innings he was so cool. I was so proud of him,” Mainieri said. “You just can’t give up many runs against Guthrie.”
Notre Dame’s Javier Sanchez (15) is congratulated by teammates after hitting a three-run home run in the seventh inning.
Javier Sanchez hit a three-run homer for Notre Dame (49-17), in the CWS for the first time since 1957.
Guthrie wasn’t overpowering, but he was dominant through the first six innings with a 1-0 lead. He struck out four while allowing just one runner to get as far as second base before the Irish broke up the shutout bid with a three-run seventh.
Matt Bok hit a one-out double and went to third on Kris Billmaier’s single. Sanchez missed badly on the first pitch he faced, but drove Guthrie’s second over the wall in left, bringing the Notre Dame fans to their feet.
“I think they did a very good job of hitting, but I think I made a few pitches that weren’t as good as they should have been and they capitalized on them,” Guthrie said. “I think it was a combination of things.”
Notre Dame had runners at first and second with one out in the eighth. But Guthrie got Bok to pop out to left and struck out Billmaier to end the threat.
Stanford took a 2-0 lead on Cooper’s single in the first and added a run on a triple by Chris Carter in the fourth.
Arik Van Zandt singled in the fourth and went to second on an error with two outs. Carter followed with a line drive that eluded center fielder Steve Stanley.
Fuld’s seventh homer, with two out in the sixth, held up as the winning run.
“We were able to get a couple of hits that fell in and that home run was huge,” Marquess said.