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Guthrie Shuts Down USC


PALO ALTO — Stanford pitcher Jeremy Guthrie figures to make a lot of money in the coming weeks. He gave USC a million reasons why Friday night.

Guthrie stopped a hot-hitting Trojan squad, giving up four hits over eight innings in a 4-2 victory in the first game of the NCAA best-of-three super regional before a sellout crowd of 4,092 at Sunken Diamond.

Selected in the first round of baseball's first-year player draft Tuesday by the Cleveland Indians, Guthrie was making Indians' brass smile, staying in command most of the game in improving to 12-1 this season. Effectively mixing curveballs and sliders with a fastball in the low 90s, he threw 114 pitches, 68 for strikes. He beat the Trojans for the third time in five starts.

"I think that Guthrie was certainly the difference," USC Coach Mike Gillespie said. "He was exceptional, at least for seven innings. He made what we believe to be a real good offensive club [look] not very offensive, and that's a credit to him being real special tonight as opposed to us being inept."

Guthrie took a two-hit shutout with six strikeouts into the eighth inning. Then the USC batters finally came to life.

Brian Barre lined a single into center field. On the next pitch, shortstop Michael Moon stunned the Cardinal with a fly ball that cleared the right-field fence to cut a three-run lead to one. Alberto Concepcion then hit the next pitch farther, only to watch Stanford center fielder Sam Fuld catch the ball at the fence in straightaway center field.

"I thought it was going over the fence," Guthrie said. "I thought I made a pretty good pitch."

Guthrie recovered and got Bill Peavey on a groundout to end the inning.

Stanford (44-16) got a run in the bottom of the eighth, and Dan Rich came on to get his fourth save and put the Cardinal within one victory of reaching the College World Series for the fourth consecutive year.

USC pitcher Anthony Reyes almost matched Guthrie. He gave up four runs on eight hits and walked one.

There were two mistakes--a two-run homer by Carlos Quentin and a solo blast by Chris Carter.

USC (37-23) wasn't in awe of Guthrie, at least before the game. This season, the Trojans had some success against him, scoring 10 runs in 15 innings over two previous games. But they hadn't faced him in the postseason, when he is often at his best. He is 5-0 with a 2.40 earned-run average over the last two years.

"You could tell tonight on the mound that he had complete confidence in anything he threw," Moon said. "He showed why he's a first-round pick."

Stanford provided him with a cushion when Quentin hit a 2-2 fastball just over the fence in left-center field.

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