It will be another tough task for Stanford (4-4), as Vanderbilt (8-2) comes in as a consensus top ten team. The Cardinal previously played highly-ranked Rice and Texas in three-game sets to be the only team in the country to start the season with three series against opponents in the polls.
Stanford dropped two of three to both the Owls and Longhorns, but has picked up midweek wins against San Jose State and San Francisco to even its record at 4-4.
Behind four freshmen that have started every game in 2014, the Cardinal has limited opponents to a .259 batting average, while hitting .299 as a team, the second-best mark in the conference. Brett Michael Doran has provided the most explosive bat for Stanford thus far, as he leads the Pac-12 in batting average (.522), slugging percentage (.826) and on-base percentage (.577).
Alex Blandino has also been swinging a hot bat and enters the weekend on an eight-game hitting streak. He is batting at a .429 clip with four doubles, a homer and seven RBI.
The Cardinal will once again rely heavily on its freshmen pitchers, but will switch up its rotation as Cal Quantrill threw Tuesday night. Brett Hanewich is slated to throw Friday, Chris Viall will pitch Saturday and Sunday's plan is to be announced, although it could be Quantrill.
A bright spot for the Cardinal pitching staff this week was the return of senior A.J. Vanegas on Tuesday. The No. 2 senior prospect in college baseball according to Perfect Game worked a scoreless fourth inning against USF in his first outing since returning from an injury. Vanegas could be an impactful arm for the Cardinal if his return progresses as expected.
Vanderbilt comes into the weekend having lost its last two after starting 8-0. The Commodores fell to Western Kentucky, 3-2, and Evansville, 8-3, on Tuesday and Wednesday, but have dominated throughout their weekend series.
The Vanderbilt starting rotation owns a 0.77 ERA while averaging 5.2 innings per start on the weekends.
After Nashville, Stanford will travel to Cal for a Tuesday tilt on Pac-12 Networks before hosting Kansas in a three-game series next weekend.
• Stanford and Vanderbilt last met in 2012 when the Cardinal swept a three-game series at Klein Field at Sunken Diamond.
• No. 2 Stanford put up 35 runs in the season-opening set to win by scores of 8-3, 9-5 and 18-5 against No. 10 Vanderbilt.
• Stanford went on to start the year 8-0 on its way to the NCAA Super Regional.
• John Hochstatter threw 6.1 innings against Vanderbilt in the third game of the series (Feb. 19) without allowing the Commodores to get a hit.
• He walked two and struck out two in his first career appearance.
• Hochstatter retired eight batters in a row at one point.
• Stephen Piscotty drove in seven runs thanks to a three-run double and a grand slam in the third game of the series (Feb. 19).
• Tyler Gaffney was 0-4 during the third game (Feb. 19) to snap a 24-game hitting streak.
• Gaffney’s streak is fourth in Cardinal history since 1988.
• Stanford is on a four-game winning streak, as the Cardinal beat Vanderbilt 5-2 on Feb. 27, 2011 in the third game of a three-game series in Nashville, Tenn.
• Vanderbilt beat Stanford 2-1 and 8-7 in the first two games of the 2011 series.
• Stanford and Vanderbilt first met March 30, 1973 at the UC Riverside Invitational.
• The Cardinal shut out Vanderbilt 6-0.
• No player on the current Stanford team has registered an at-bat against Vanderbilt in their career.
• Among active coaches, only Texas’ Augie Garrido (1,880) and Florida State’s Mike Martin (1,777) have more wins than Marquess (1,499)
• Stanford moved to .500 with a 6-4 win over Bay Area foe San Francisco Tuesday evening, after dropping two of three at Texas last weekend.
• Alex Blandino led the Cardinal in the Texas series, going 6-11 with a home run and two doubles.
• Austin Slater picked up five hits (5-13) and Wayne Taylor had four (4-13), including a triple with the bases loaded in the third game of the three-game set at Texas.
• Blandino is riding an eight-game hitting streak, while Slater and Taylor have registered hits in six straight games.
• Slater and Taylor are both one game away from their career-long hit streak (7 in 2013), while Blandino is two away from his career best (10 in 2012).
• In each of its three-game sets, the Cardinal has scored significantly more runs in the third game than the first two games combined.
• vs. Rice: first two - four runs; game three - 12 runs
• at Texas: first two - six runs; game three - 11 runs
• Stanford was the only team in the USA Today top 25 to start the season with two weekend series against ranked teams.
• The Rice series was the only one in the country between two teams ranked in USA Today’s top 25 to start the season.
• The Cardinal used big innings in each of its first three wins, scoring five or more runs in one inning in all three. Against USF, Stanford scored three runs in two seperate innings.
• Stanford is hitting .359 (28-78) with runners in scoring position, while holding opponents to .234 (22-94).
• Brett Michael Doran is 6-9 with runners in scoring position, while Austin Slater is 5-9.
• The Cardinal tied with Rutgers for the most true freshmen pitchers used during the opening weekend of 2014 with six.
• Stanford is the only team in the country to start a freshman on the mound in each game this season.
• Stanford was the only team in the country to start freshmen pitchers in the first two games.
• Mark Marquess gave the starting nod to three freshmen in the first three games for the first time in his 38 years.
• A total of nine freshmen players have seen action for Stanford.
• Cal Quantrill became Stanford’s first freshman pitcher to start on opening day since Mike Mussina in 1988.
• The 1988 team went on to win the Cardinal’s second straight NCAA title.
• The Cardinal’s freshmen pitchers have a 4.46 ERA in 42.1 innings, while giving up 45 hits, 29 runs and 21 earned runs.
• Stanford’s starting pitchers: 33.1 IP, 35 H, 20 R, 16 ER, 16 BB, 15 SO
• Stanford’s bullpen: 36.1 IP, 33 H, 23 R, 16 ER, 25 BB, 20 SO
• The Cardinal has used the same starters at every position except catcher, left field and designated hitter.
• Stanford is hitting .367 (29-79) in the seventh inning or later.
• Stanford’s .299 team batting average and .436 slugging percentage rank second in the Pac-12.
• Brett Michael Doran leads the Pac-12 in batting average (.522), slugging (.826) and on-base percentage (.577).
• His slugging percentage is .147 points higher than anyone else in the conference.
• Doran has tied his career high with three hits twice this season (Feb. 16 vs. Rice, Feb. 25 vs. USF).