1999 Quick Review
Overall Record: 50-15
Pac-10 Record: 19-5 (1st)
NCAA Post-Season: 7-2
3-0 West Regional at Stanford, CA (1st), 2-0 Super Regional at Stanford (1st), 2-2, College World Series at Omaha, NE (3rd-T)
The Stanford baseball program posted another dynamic year in 1999. The Cardinal finished the season tied for third at the College World Series, marking the 11th time the team has advanced to Omaha and the sixth occasion in which the club has finished in the upper half of the event. The team won 50 games (50-15) for just the third time in the program's 106-year history, while also reaching the 40-win mark for the fifth straight year and the 13th time in the 23-year coaching career of Mark Marquess. Stanford also won its NCAA Super Regional in its first year of existence and captured the reunified Pacific-10 championship with a 19-5 conference mark. The Cardinal has now won three straight Pac-10 or Six Pac titles and have won 17 league titles overall.
The individual players also posted some terrific accomplishments, highlighted by the consensus All-American selection of sophomore pitcher Jason Young. All told, six different players earned some sort of All-American status. Senior third baseman Josh Hochgesang and sophomore outfielder Joe Borchard earned second and third team All-American recognition, respectively. Junior first baseman John Gall and sophomore pitcher Justin Wayne were named honorable mention, while freshman pitcher Brian Sager was chosen to Collegiate Baseball's Freshman All-American squad. Mark Marquess earned his third straight Pac-10 Coach of the Year honors (includes Six Pac) and his eighth overall. Borchard, Gall, Hochgesang and Young were all named first team All-Pac-10. Borchard, Eric Bruntlett, Nick Day, Gall, Craig Thompson and Young all received NCAA Regional all-tournament selections with Day being named the event's Most Outstanding Player. Gall was also chosen on the College World Series all- tournament team.
Stanford went on a tear near the end of the season to reach the 50-win mark, capturing 23 of 24 games late in the season before being knocked out of the CWS with back-to-back losses to Florida State. The stretch run began after a heartbreaking 11-9 loss at California on April 23 when the Golden Bears scored six runs in the bottom of the ninth to leave the Cardinal at 27-12 overall and 12-4 in the Pacific-10.
Stanford rebounded by taking the final two games of the series over California and then would go on to post a season-best 12-game winning streak. The team followed up the wins over California with a non-conference victory versus San Jose State, a three-game sweep of Oregon State and then single wins over Nevada, Pacific, Saint Mary's, San Francisco, Santa Clara and UCLA. The Bruins would snap the string, however, with a 12-7 win over the Cardinal on May 15. Stanford would not lose another game for over another month.
Stanford closed out the regular season by winning its final four games before hosting a NCAA regional to open postseason action. The Cardinal opened with a 10-2 victory over Loyola Marymount to avenge a first round NCAA Tournament loss to the Lions in 1998. Stanford's most dramatic postseason victory of the year would follow when the Cardinal scored five times in the top of the ninth for a 7-4 win over North Carolina in the second round. John Gall's three-run homer on an 0-2 pitch with two outs broke a 4-4 tie and catapulted the Cardinal to victory. Stanford closed out its regional sweep with a 7-4 victory over Nevada behind a combined four-hitter by Brian Sager and Dan Rich.
The club's top two pitchers would step to the forefront as the team swept USC to win one of the NCAA's inaugural Super Regionals. Jason Young would outduel USC ace Barry Zito for a 1-0 victory in a classic pitcher's dual in the first game of the NCAA Super Regional. The Cardinal won despite collecting just two hits as Jeff Rizzo doubled home Eric Bruntlett with the only run of the game in the sixth inning. Bruntlett had led off the sixth with a bloop single to break-up Zito's no-hitter through five innings. Justin Wayne followed Young's performance by striking out 12, while limiting the Trojans to just two runs and five hits over the first eight innings of the Super Regional's second game. Senior reliever Tony Cogan would retire USC in the ninth to pick up what would be the final save of his illustrious career.
Stanford continued its hot streak by opening the College World Series with victories over Cal State Fullerton and Florida State to gain the upper hand in its half of the bracket. Jason Young was again brilliant in the team's 9-2 win over the Titans in the CWS opener, tossing a complete game six-hitter. Josh Hochgesang was the squad's offensive star, hitting a three-run homer in the top of the third to open up the game's scoring. The Cardinal then defeated the Seminoles in the second game of the CWS, 10-6. Stanford jumped out to an 8-1 lead after five innings as Craig Thompson's two-out three-run double in the second inning highlighted the Cardinal's early offensive attack.
Needing to win just one of its next two games to reach the CWS final, the Cardinal was handed back-to-back defeats by Florida State. In its first win over Stanford, the Seminoles rallied from a 6-2 deficit to beat the Cardinal, 8-6, forcing a rubber game between the clubs. The Cardinal's season would end in heartbreaking fashion the next day when Stanford was unable to hold a two-run ninth-inning lead versus Florida State. The Seminoles would eventually claim a 13-inning 14-11 victory in a game that arguably will go down as one of the best in CWS history.
Stanford's conference season was highlighted by a 9-0 Pac-10 start which had the Cardinal and USC battling down to the wire for the conference title. Stanford would eventually capture the pennant by winning seven of its final eight league contests to finish two games ahead of the second-place Trojans.
The Cardinal's individual accomplishments throughout the season made a significant impact in the school's record book and on the team's final statistics pages.
Jason Young, who led the nation with 178 strikeouts, set new school single-season records for both strikeouts and innings pitched (154.2). He led the Pac-10 in both categories, as well as wins (12), games started (21) and complete games (10). Young was the ace of a pitching staff that set new school and Pac-10 records of 605 strikeouts. The starting rotation - Jason Young, Justin Wayne, Brian Sager - combined for a 28-4 record and a 4.11 ERA after having not started a single collegiate game between them entering the campaign. As a staff, the Cardinal set a new school single-season team record with 605 strikeouts.
Josh Hochgesang led a potent offense by pacing the Cardinal in a total of eight offensive categories with 17 homers, 73 RBI, 67 runs scored, 17 doubles (tied for team lead), 13 hit-by-pitches, 13 stolen bases, 153 total bases and a .610 slugging percentage. His season totals for home runs (7th-T), hit-by-pitches (7th-T) and RBI (8th) rank among the top single- seasons in Stanford history. Hochgesang finished his four-year collegiate career among the Cardinal's all-time leaders in home runs (46, 2nd), runs batted in (200, 3rd-T), doubles (56, 5th) and runs (195, 8th).
Pitchers Justin Wayne and Tony Cogan also made a dent in the record books. Wayne's 10-1 record and .909 winning percentage tied for the fourth best in school history, while his 135 strikeouts rank sixth in single-season history. Cogan broke the Cardinal's all-time appearance record with 109 and saved eight games, good enough to rank tied for the fifth-best season ever by a Cardinal closer.