June 13, 2003
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By ERIC OLSON
Associated Press Writer
OMAHA, Neb. - Stanford's John Hudgins, who had complete-game victories in three of his last four starts, was headed for another Friday in the College World Series opener against South Carolina.
Despite giving up just two hits over eight innings and his team on its way to an 8-0 victory, Hudgins was not allowed to finish what he started.
Kodiak Quick pitched a hitless ninth to wrap up the third CWS shutout since 1995 and the first two-hitter since 1993.
Hudgins had no qualms with Stanford coach Mark Marquess' decision.
"This isn't a one-game tournament," Hudgins said. "It isn't about individual performances. It's about winning ball games."
Hudgins threw only 84 pitches, which allows Marquess to bring him back on short rest.
"And if we can't keep an 8-0 lead with our bullpen," Marquess said, "we should go home."
While Hudgins was shutting down the Gamecocks, the Cardinal collected 12 hits off four pitchers.
Sam Fuld and Jonny Ash each had three hits for Stanford and Ryan Garko drove in three runs.
The Cardinal recorded their fifth shutout of the season and the first in the CWS since Georgia Tech beat South Carolina 11-0 in last year's opener.
After last year's debacle, the Gamecocks won four straight to reach the national championship game, where they lost to Texas.
Stanford (47-15) stretched its season-best winning streak to 10 games and advanced to a Sunday meeting versus Cal State Fullerton (49-14), an 8-2 winner over Louisiana State (45-21-1) on Friday evening. First pitch for the winners' bracket game to be televised by ESPN2 is scheduled for 6 pm, CT/4 pm, PT.
South Carolina (44-21) plays the LSU (45-21-1) in an elimination game on Sunday on ESPN at 2 pm, CT/12 pm, PT.
"There's never an advantage to this situation," Gamecocks coach Ray Tanner said. "We do have some experience with this. We're going to regroup, battle back and come back on Sunday."
Hudgins (12-3) held South Carolina hitless until Justin Harris doubled with one out in the fourth. Only two others reached base against Hudgins.
Hudgins and Quick combined on the first CWS two-hitter since Long Beach State's Mike Fontana beat Kansas 6-1 on June 6, 1993.
"This game wasn't too hard to figure out," Tanner said. "John Hudgins pitched a good game. You have to give credit where credit is due."
The Cardinal jumped on South Carolina starter David Marchbanks (15-3) for two runs in the first on Garko's single. Stanford added two more in the second as Tobin Swope scored on a wild pitch and Garko drove in Fuld with a sacrifice fly.
"Those two runs in the first really helped us relax," said Marquess, whose team is at the CWS for the fifth straight year. "I don't care how many times you've been here, you're a little nervous in the first inning."
Marchbanks was replaced by Chris Hernandez with one out in the fourth. It was the shortest start of the season for the junior left-hander, a first-team All-American and the Southeastern Conference's pitcher of the year.
Hernandez walked in a run before Jed Lowrie and Ash hit consecutive RBI singles to make it 7-0. Ash's infield single off reliever Matt Campbell in the sixth capped the scoring.
In the second inning, Stanford right fielder Carlos Quentin robbed Kevin Melillo of an extra-base hit with a diving catch of a line drive in the gap.
"I didn't think he had a shot at it at all," Hudgins said.
Fuld, the Cardinal's center fielder, said Hudgins maintained a good rhythm.
"He worked quick and was throwing strike one on every at-bat," Fuld said. "We shouldn't be worried about being focused at this time of the year, but playing behind a quick pitcher does help keep you sharp."