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Baseball Set for Pennant Chase
Courtesy: Stanford Athletics  
Release: 06/21/1999

April 21, 1998

SIX-PAC TITLE RACE HEATS UP: The 1998 Pac-10 Southern Division pennant chase is shaping up as one of the best in conference history. With just three weeks remaining, three schools are within just a half-game of the division lead. Stanford currently leads with a 16-5 mark (.762 winning percentage), while Arizona State is just percentage points back at 17-6 (.739) and USC is third at 17-7 (.708).

The title chase is reminiscent of the 1994 season when Stanford won the division with a 21-9 mark, followed by Arizona State (20-10) and USC (19-11). All three schools are also no strangers to Six-Pac titles, as they have combined to win the last five (Stanford 2, USC 2, Arizona State 1) and 14 of the 19 since the Pac-10 Southern Division was formed in 1979 (Stanford 6, Arizona State 5, USC 3).

Stanford faces California this week (Fri. 7 p.m. & Sun. 2 p.m. @ Stanford; Sat. 2 p.m. @ Cal), before Arizona State (May 1-3) and USC (May 9-11) visit Sunken Diamond to wrap up the Six-Pac campaign. Here's a look at this week's probable starting pitching matchups, including Tuesday's nonconference game at Santa Clara:

Tuesday - Brad Drew (STAN; 1-0, 1.35) vs. TBA (SCU)
Friday - Jason Dennis (CAL; 5-3, 4.89) vs. Jeff Austin (STAN; 9-2, 2.42)
Saturday - Chad Hutchinson (STAN; 8-2, 4.77) vs. Jon Shirley (CAL; 2-4, 5.66)
Sunday - Ryan Atkinson (CAL; 1-6, 10.68) vs. Brent Hoard (STAN; 3-2, 5.74)

SCHEDULE CHANGE(S): To accommodate Fox Sports Bay Area the start times of the Stanford-Cal games on Saturday, April 25 (at Cal) and Sunday, April 26 (at Stanford) have been moved from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m.

MEDIA INFORMATION: The Saturday and Sunday games will be televised live by Fox Sports Bay Area at 2 p.m. All three games this weekend will also be broadcast live by Stanford student station KZSU 90.1 FM beginning with the Mark Marquess Show on Friday at 6:50 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday at 1:50 p.m. Each of the games will also be heard on the internet via Audionet.

THIS WEEKEND: Stanford returns to Sunken Diamond on Friday, April 24 (7 p.m.) and Sunday, April 26 (2 p.m.) when it faces Bay Area rival California at Sunken Diamond. On Friday, the Stanford Men's Basketball team will be throwing out the ceremonial first pitch to commemorate its Final Four appearance, and all Stanford students will be admitted free with a valid ID. Sunday will be Poster & Autograph Day II with the entire Cardinal team available for autographs following the game.

THE RECORDS: Stanford is 33-7-1 overall and 16-5 in the Pac-10 Southern Division entering the week. The Cardinal is assured a winning season in 1998, which will mark its 50th in the last 52 years. Stanford has also clinched a winning season in the Six-Pac for the 16th time in the last 18 years. Last week, the Cardinal defeated Sacramento State 12-2 on Tuesday and took two of three at Arizona. Stanford fell 9-5 on Friday in Tucson, but rebounded to win 6-3 on Saturday and 17-1 on Sunday. Santa Clara is 22-20 overall and 11-10 in the West Coast Conference. The Broncos lost at San Jose State 5-2 on Tuesday and dropped two of three at Pepperdine on Saturday and Sunday. The Waves swept a Saturday doubleheader 5-4 and 18-2, but the Broncos rebounded to win 4-3 in 10 innings on Sunday. California is 14-27 overall and 2-21 in the Six-Pac. The Golden Bears went 0-4 last week, falling at USF 6-5 on Tuesday and dropping three games at USC on Friday-Sunday (10-0, 14-13, 5-2).

THE RANKINGS: Stanford is ranked No. 1 by Baseball America and USA Today Baseball Weekly/ESPN, and No. 2 according to Collegiate Baseball and Sporting News. Santa Clara and California are not ranked.

THE COACH: Stanford head coach Mark Marquess is currently in his 22nd season on The Farm. Marquess, who was inducted into the American Baseball Coaches Hall of Fame in January of 1997, has a 886-460-5 career mark (.658), including a 369-258 (.589) record against Six-Pac competition. The 1969 Stanford graduate has been named NCAA Coach of the Year three times (1985, '87 and '88), Pac-10 Southern Division Coach of the Year six times (1983, '85, '87, '90, '94 and '97) and also led the U.S. to the gold medal at the 1988 Summer Olympics in Seoul, South Korea. Marquess is also one of only five active head coaches who have both played and coached in the College World Series. Marquess played for the Cardinal in 1967, and coached his way to Omaha in 1982, '83, '85, '87, '88, '90, '95 and '97. Mike Cummins is 22-20 (.524) in his first year at Santa Clara, while Bob Milano is 653-608-4 (.518) in his 21st season at Cal.

THE SERIES: Stanford is 62-24-1 against Santa Clara in the Mark Marquess era, including a 3-0 mark this season. The Cardinal swept a two-game home set from the Brnocos on Jan. 23-24 (15-2, 7-5) and won at Buck Shaw Stadium 8-3 on February 24. The Cardinal took two of three from California just two weeks ago, and now trail the all-time series 199-198. Stanford, however, is 80-37 against California in Six-Pac contests. In their recent meetings, California won 4-3 at Sunken Diamond on April 10, but Stanford rebounded to win in Berkeley 7-3 on April 11 and 13-7 on April 13.

Probable Starters
No. Name                Pos. Yr. 1998 stats     
15  Edmund Muth         LF  So. .323 (50-155), 9 HR, 38 RBI
11  Tony Schrager       2B  Jr. .268 (44-164), 10 HR, 38 RBI
17  Jody Gerut          CF  Jr. .353 (59-167), 15 HR, 49 RBI
7   John Gall           1B  So. .391 (68-174), 6 HR, 47 RBI
33  Josh Hochgesang     3B  Jr. .346 (46-133), 8 HR, 27 RBI
24  Joe Borchard        DH  Fr. .350 (49-140), 5 HR, 38 RBI
1   Jay Pecci           SS  Sr. .331 (53-160), 4 HR, 29 RBI
23  Nick Day            RF  So. .333 (41-123), 1 HR, 18 RBI
31  John Salter         C   Jr. .295 (31-105), 4 HR, 27 RBI
    
Starting Rotation
No. Name                    Pos. Yr. 1998 stats
4   Brad Drew (Tues.)       LHP  Fr. 1-0, 1.35 ERA, 13.1 IP
8   Jeff Austin (Fri.)      RHP  Jr. 9-2, 2.42 ERA, 96.2 IP
36  Chad Hutchinson (Sat.)  RHP  Jr. 8-2, 4.77 ERA, 71.2 IP
29  Brent Hoard (Sun.)      LHP  Jr. 3-2, 5.74 ERA, 47.0 IP

THE WEEK IN REVIEW:

Game #39 - Arizona 9, #1 Stanford 5 (April 17 @ Frank Sancet Field): Arizona scored three runs in the bottom of the seventh to break open a one-run game that led the Wildcats to the upset. Jason Hendricks (Tempe, AZ/Corona del Sol HS) homered and drove in three runs to lead the Wildcats. Junior Jody Gerut (Villa Park, IL/Willowbrook HS) hit his 13th homer of the year to lead the Cardinal, while John Gall (Portola Valley, CA/St. Francis HS) had two hits and drove in a run.

Game #40 - #1 Stanford 6, Arizona 3 (April 18 @ Frank Sancet Field): Junior Chad Hutchinson (Del Mar, CA/Torrey Pines HS) and freshman Justin Wayne (Honolulu, HI/Punahou HS) combined on a six-hitter to lead the Cardinal to the Six-Pac win. Hutchinson allowed six hits and three runs over 6.2 innings, while striking out six, to improve to 8-2. Wayne worked 2.1 scoreless innings, highlighted by five consecutive strikeouts, to pick up his fifth save. Sophomore Edmund Muth (Long Beach, CA/St. John Bosco HS) homered and drove in two runs to lead the Cardinal.

Game #41 - #1 Stanford 17, Arizona 1 (April 19 @ Frank Sancet Field): Junior Jody Gerut went 3-for-4 with two home runs, five runs scored and four RBI to lead the Cardinal to the blowout victory. The two-homer game was the third of Gerut's career and second of the season (3/29/96 vs. Arizona; 2/9/98 vs. CS Fullerton G1 of DH). The center fielder now has 29 career homers, which puts him just two away from breaking into Stanford's all-time top 10. The Cardinal banged out 18 hits against five different Wildcat hurlers, with third baseman Josh Hochgesang (Fullerton, CA/Sunny Hills HS) collecting three hits, including his eighth homer of the year, and four RBI. Junior left-hander Brent Hoard (Los Gatos, CA/Bellarmine Prep HS) improved to 3-2 by allowing just three hits and one earned run over 7.0 innings. Two of Hoard's three 1998 victories are against the Wildcats.

STANFORD STAFF EARNS HONORS: Stanford's starting pitching rotation of Jeff Austin (Kingwood, TX/Kingwood HS), Brent Hoard and Chad Hutchinson may be the most highly touted in the nation. Stanford is the only team in the country to land all three starting pitchers on Preseason All-American teams. Austin and Hutchinson both earned First Team All-American honors from Baseball America and the Sporting News, while Collegiate Baseball selected Hutchinson to the Second Team and Austin to the Third Team. Hoard was named a Third Team Preseason All-American by Baseball America. The threesome combined to go 22-10 in 1997, and has an impressive combined career mark of 55-22. Austin, who is one of 12 finalists for 1998 National Player of the Year honors, was named to the All-Tournament Team at the 1997 College World Series, and also went 4-1 with a 3.63 ERA for Team USA over the summer. Two-sport standout Hutchinson (two-year starting football quarterback), who was a first round pick by the Atlanta Braves in the June 1995 Amateur Draft, is expected to be among the first few players chosen in the 1998 draft. Hoard burst onto the scene over the summer by earning Cape Cod League Pitcher of the Year honors after going 2-1 with an 0.72 ERA for the Harwich Mariners. In addition, Austin has already earned two Pac-10 Pitcher of the Week and one National Player of the Week honor in 1998, while Hutchinson has been named Pac-10 Pitcher of the Week once. Here's the career stats for all three Cardinal starters:

Name                W-L     ERA     SV  IP      H   ER  BB  K
Jeff Austin         20-8    3.42    5   273.1   275 104 90  275
Brent Hoard         12-6    5.97    0   134.2   137 89  98  136
Chad Hutchinson     23-8    4.73    1   262.2   250 138 140 268
Totals              55-22   4.44    6   670.2   662 331 328 679

THE BIG (CARDINAL) RED MACHINE: After rewriting the school offensive record book in 1997, the 1998 squad is quickly showing that last year's numbers were no fluke. Stanford has racked up 370 runs (9.0 pg) on 477 hits (11.6 pg) in its first 41 contests, including its 54-run, 52-hit performance at UCLA on February 20-22. The 54 runs at UCLA is the most ever by a Cardinal team in a three-game series. Seven of Stanford's nine starters are hitting over .300, led by John Gall (.391), Jody Gerut (.353) and Joe Borchard (.350). The Cardinal also has four players who have scored 40 or more runs through the first 41 games, and five that have at least 35 RBI en route to a .326 team average and 62 homers. The Cardinal returns five starters who hit .300 or better in 1997, including First Team All-Six-Pac selections Jody Gerut and Edmund Muth. Stanford set school marks in hits (802), runs (582) and home runs (102) in 1997, while also posting the second highest batting average (.334) in school history.

AUSTIN LEADS THE WAY: An outstanding season got even better for junior Jeff Austin on Friday, April 3. The Texan threw a complete game six-hit shutout in a 1-0 win over the Trojans and their ace Seth Etherton. Austin walked one and struck out eight en route to Collegiate Baseball National Player of the Week and Six-Pac co-Pitcher of the Week honors (second in a row). The projected first-round pick in the June 1998 Amateur Draft has been dominant all season long. Austin also earned Pac-10 Southern Division Pitcher of the Week honors for a complete game eight-hitter against UCLA on Saturday, March 28. He is currently 9-2 with a 2.42 ERA overall, and 5-2 with a 2.76 ERA in six conference starts. Austin, who was selected by the Montreal Expos in the 10th round of the June 1995 Amateur Draft, was an all-state selection as a senior at Kingwood High School, and a two-time all-Houston selection by the Houston Chronicle. The Texan has flourished on The Farm, going 20-8 with a 3.42 ERA and five saves in his three seasons. The Baseball America First Team Preseason All-American and 1997 College World Series All-Tournament Team selection is currently eighth on the all-time Stanford strikeout list with 275. Here's a look at Austin's career stats:

Year        W-L     ERA     SV  IP      H   ER  BB  K
1996        6-4     3.81    1   89.2    94  38  36  88
1997        5-2     4.14    4   87.0    97  40  28  93
1998        9-2     2.42    0   96.2    84  26  26  94
Totals      20-8    3.42    5   273.1   275 104 90  275

HUTCHINSON CONTINUES TO IMPRESS: Junior two-sport star Chad Hutchinson, a projected first rounder in the June 1998 Amateur Draft, continues to have success both on the diamond and the gridiron. The hard-throwing right-hander is currently 8-2 with a 4.77 ERA as the Cardinal's No. 2 starter, and has allowed 62 hits in 71.2 innings while walking 40 and striking out 84. Hutchinson's career strikeout total is 268, which ranks him 10th on Stanford's all-time list. He further wrote his name into the school record books by hurling a rain-shortened, five-inning no-hitter in a 4-0 win at Fresno State on Sunday, February 1. Hutchinson threw 63 pitches en route to Pac-10 Pitcher of the Week honors, including 39 strikes, and allowed only one ball out of the infield. The no-hitter was the eighth in Stanford history, and first since Jason Middlebrook did it against UCLA on May 8, 1994. Hutchinson is now 23-8 with a 4.73 ERA in his Stanford baseball career, which puts him just one win away from Stanford's all-time top 10. As a two-year starting quarterback for Tyrone Willingham's football squad, Hutchinson has thrown for 4,235 yards and 20 touchdowns. He has two years of football eligibility remaining, but has yet to announce his professional plans.

CARDINALCONTINUES SIX-PAC SUCCESS: With its 16-5 start in Pac-10 Southern Division play this season, Stanford appears to be well on its way to its fifth consecutive Six-Pac winning season. In fact, the Cardinal is 97-44 in the last four-plus seasons, good for a .688 winning percentage. Stanford has won two titles in that span (1994 and 1997), and finished second on the other two occasions (1995 and 1996). In the history of the Pac-10 Southern Division, which began in 1979, Stanford is 358-233 (.606), which is over 30 percentage points ahead of second place Arizona State (339-252; .574). Stanford also has an all-time winning record against all five divisional opponents in conference contests - Arizona (77-43), Arizona State (59-58), California (80-37), UCLA (76-44) and USC (66-51). Here's a look at what all six conference teams have done in Six-Pac play in both the last five years and since the conference's inception:

SCHOOL          SIX-PAC RECORD ('79-'98)    ('94-'98) 
Stanford        358-233 (.606)              97-44 (.688)
Arizona State   339-252 (.574)              80-63 (.559)
USC             312-282 (.525)              98-46 (.681)
UCLA            272-325 (.456)              68-79 (.463)
Arizona         266-326 (.449)              42-102 (.292)
California      230-360 (.390)              46-97 (.322)

CARDINAL CORNER:Stanford center fielder Jody Gerut has played and started in 166 consecutive games since his arrival on The Farm in 1996 ... Cardinal first baseman John Gall is currently third in the Six-Pac batting race with a .391 average.


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