Stanford 8, Auburn 3
May. 30, 1997
OMAHA, Neb. (AP) _ First-game jitters and two strong opposing arms proved costly to Auburn in its College World Series opener against Stanford.
Three errors led to four unearned runs, including three in a five-run fifth, and Stanford beat the Tigers 8-3 Friday.
``It's pretty frustrating,'' said All-American Tim Hudson, the Tigers center fielder who committed one error that led to a run. ``We've had a solid defensive ball club all year. It's just so happened we had a few mishaps today and it cost us a few runs.''
But the Tigers also managed only six hits and stranded 14 runners against Cardinal starter Chad Hutchinson (8-3) and reliever Jeff Austin, who picked up his fourth save.
``I can't remember when we've had a game where we didn't hit one ball hard,'' Auburn coach Hal Baird said. ``I didn't have a (radar) gun but I would expect both of those guys were throwing in the low- to mid-90s consistently.''
The third-seeded Cardinal (44-18) move to Sunday's second-round game against the winner of Friday night's Rice-LSU game. Sixth-seeded Auburn (49-16) will play the loser of that game in an elimination matchup Sunday night.
Stanford's five-run fifth started with singles by Luke Quaccia, Jay Pecci, Joe Kilburg and Ed Muth. Kilburg scored the third run of the inning when Josh Hochgesang's bouncer went off the glove of third baseman Chad Wandall for an error.
Jon Schaeffer, who scored on a two-base error of his sinking liner to center and Jody Gerut's double in the second, hit a sacrifice fly to drive in another. The Cardinal made it 6-2 when Gerut's pop-up behind second was dropped in a collision of three Tigers.
``We had one bad defensive inning,'' Baird said. ``Credit Stanford with a well-pitched game and timely hitting.''
Auburn came back to load the bases on a walk, Heath Kelly's single and a hit batsman to open the sixth and chase Hutchinson, who is also the Cardinal's quarterback. Austin relieved and, after one run scored on Rob Macrory's infield error, struck out two and got a pop-up to end the threat.
``I got too excited in the beginning,'' Hutchinson said. ``And then I got tired. But I think I got out of some big spots. And it's great to have Jeff Austin come out and close it.''
Auburn's first two runs came in the fourth when David Ross' safety squeeze brought in one and Hutchinson hit Macrory with the bases loaded with two outs.
Stanford added to its cushion in the eighth on an RBI single by Pecci and Kilburg's sacrifice fly.
Bryan Hebson (11-4) took the loss.
``Hebson did a fine job, except for the one big inning,'' Stanford coach Mark Marquess said. ``Both teams played a little nervous, a little tight, but we came up with big pitches and got out of some jams. That, I thought, was the difference.''