1996 Cardinal Streaks into Postseason
Record-setting 18 game win streak brings West Regional to Sunken Diamond
With less than a month to go in the regular season, the 1996 Stanford baseball team was 23-17 overall and 10-11 in the Six-Pac. Then came "The Streak."
The 1996 Cardinal left a permanent mark in the school record book by reeling off 18 consecutive victories over a span of 38 days. The record-breaking streak clinched second place in the Six Pac for the Cardinal, and also earned it the right to host the NCAA West Regional at Sunken Diamond.
The streak also included several individual and team accomplishments that will be long remembered on The Farm:
- Brian Dallimore became the first Cardinal player on record to
- record six hits in a game when he went 6-for-6 with six RBI in a
- 22-4 win at Arizona on April 21.
- Cardinal head coach Mark Marquess picked up career win No.
- 800 with a 9-2 home victory over California on May 3.
- With the Cardinal riding a 16-game streak entering
- post-season play, 19,498 fans walked through the turnstiles as
- Sunken Diamond played host to the four-day NCAA West Regional on
- May 23-26.
But the Cardinal's success was not limited to the final month of the season. In what Baseball America called one of the most exciting moments of the 1996 season, the No. 2 Cardinal defeated No. 1 Cal State Fullerton 5-0 on February 2 in the first-ever night game at Sunken Diamond. To add to the drama, Peterson carried a no-hitter for 7.2 innings to keep the crowd of 3,324 on the edge of their seats.
When all was said and done, Stanford finished the regular season with a 41-19 mark. The Cardinal also placed third at the NCAA West Regional with a 2-2 mark.
The Cardinal opened up regional play with a 10-5 win over Cal State Northridge. Stanford led 9-2 after six innings behind the hitting of three-time All-American A.J. Hinch and the pitching of Peterson, who reached the 10-win mark for the second consecutive season.
Stanford's 18th consecutive win came the next night, when it held on for an 8-6 win over Mississippi State. Closer Tom Reimers came out of the pen to record his fifth save of the year, while All-West Regional selection Jon Schaeffer belted three doubles.
But the winning streak would come to an end 20 hours later as Florida State's Geoff Sprague hit a solo homer with one out in the bottom of the ninth to give the Seminoles a 5-4 victory. The Cardinal was eliminated later in the day with a 4-3 loss to Cal State Northridge.
Stanford qualified for its 14th post-season appearance in the last 16 years behind a host of outstanding individual performances. Leading the way was catcher A.J. Hinch, who became the first three-time All-American in Cardinal history and was also named the Pac-10 Player of the Year for the second straight time. Hinch, who went on to compete in the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta after the Cardinal's season, hit .381 with 11 homers and 59 RBI.
Stanford also once again had one of the top pitching staffs in the nation. Sophomore Kyle Peterson went 10-5 to improve his career record to 24-6, while earning All-Pac-10 and All-American honors. Freshman All-Americans Jeff Austin and Chad Hutchinson combined to go 13-6, while junior Tom Reimers won the Pac-10 ERA title (2.92 ERA) and senior Mario Iglesias won a career-high 10 games (10-1).
Hinch was also surrounded by a strong supporting offensive cast. Six members of Stanford's starting lineup hit .300 or better, including all-Pac-10 selections Joe Kilburg (.358) and Dallimore (.335).
1996 Quick Review Overall Record 41-19 Pac-10 Record 19-11 (.633) - 2nd place Post-Season 2-2, NCAA West Regional at Stanford All-America Honors C A.J. Hinch, RHP Kyle Peterson All-Six-Pac Honors 2B Brian Dallimore, C A.J. Hinch (Player of the Year), RHP Kyle Peterson, OF Joe Kilburg