STANFORD, Calif. -- The Stanford baseball team will begin its 2014 campaign Friday afternoon at Klein Field at Sunken Diamond. The 4:30 p.m. matchup with Rice, televised live on Pac-12 Networks Bay Area, is the only three-game series of the weekend between two teams in USA Today's top 25 poll.
Cardinal faithful can expect a different look to the 2014 squad, mainly in its starting pitching. With the departure of No. 1 overall draft pick Mark Appel, changes in the roation were inevitable.
No. 25 Stanford is slated to start freshmen Cal Quantrill and Brett Hanewich in the first two games against No. 15 Rice. Quantrill would become the Cardinal’s first freshman opening day starter since Mike Mussina in 1988.
Mussina took the loss in his collegiate debut against Santa Clara before putting together eight straight wins over the next three months. Later that year, another freshman, Stan Spencer, threw seven innings to pick up the win in the national championship game against Arizona State.
John Hochstatter is the only returning weekend starter, as Bobby Zarubin has moved to the infield due to an injury and Appel, unfortunately, has finally run out of eligibility. Sunday’s starter is TBA, but could be filled by freshman Chris Viall.
Here's a look at the rest of the Cardinal:
Sophomore Logan James and redshirt-junior Sam Lindquist return to the ’pen, along with highly-touted right-hander A.J. Vanegas. Stanford expects to have Vanegas, who continues to rehab from a back injury, return later in the year. Lindquist will likely serve as the closer during the opening series.
Senior Danny Diekroeger is expected to start at first on opening day after the loss of Brian Ragira. Diekroeger started all 54 games at second base a season ago. Austin Barr could also be in the mix at first.
Junior Alex Blandino will once again start at third. He started all 54 games at the position last year and is a preseason All-America this season.
Junior Austin Slater is expected to move to center from right field, where he started 45 games in 2013. Austin Wilson started the most games in center last year (20), but five other returners have experience in the spot, including Jackson, Taylor, sophomore Jonny Locher, junior Dominic Jose and sophomore Zach Hoffpauir.
Left and Right Field
Junior Dominic Jose, sophomore Zach Hoffpauir, sophomore Jonny Locher, freshman Jack Klein and freshman Alex Dunlap are competiting for the starting spots in left and right. Wayne Taylor will also see time in the outfield.
Junior Wayne Taylor looks to serve in the DH spot when he is not catching or in the outfield.
• The Pac-12 Conference coaches picked Stanford to finish in sixth place of the league, behind Oregon State, Oregon, UCLA, Arizona State and Arizona in spots 1-5.
• Stanford returns seven position players that started more than 20 games a year ago.
• Third baseman Alex Blandino has been named to
a trio of preseason All-America teams.
• Perfect Game - Second Team
• Baseball America - Second Team
• Louisville Slugger - Third Team
• Former RHP Mark Appel will be the toughest departure to replace. The No. 1 overall draft pick was a first team All-American in 2013, broke the Stanford career strikeouts record and was also named Pac-12 Scholar-Athlete of the Year.
• Stanford will play a 54-game schedule against some of the best competition in the nation.
• This weekend’s series is the only one between two top 25 teams.
• The Cardinal will face familiar non-conference foes Rice, Texas and Vanderbilt in three-game sets, as well as Kansas.
• The Jayhawks have not been on Stanford’s schedule since 2007.
• The season opener against Rice (Pac-12 Networks) is one of the Cardinal’s 13 televised games.
• For the first time in 37 years, Dean Stotz will not be by Mark Marquess’ side in the Stanford dugout. Stotz, one of the most respected assistants in the country, retired after the 2013 season.
• Stotz was a part of 1,495 wins with Marquess.
• He started at Stanford with a nine-month coaching contract prior to the 1977 season.
• Ryan Garko has been added to the Stanford staff. A College World Series Legends Team member, Garko was standout catcher for the Cardinal from 2000-03.
• Garko played five seasons in MLB, primarily with the Cleveland Indians.
• He was a .275 career hitter with 55 home runs and 250 RBI in MLB.
• Mark Marquess enters the season seventh all-time with 1,495 wins.
• Among active coaches, only Texas’ Augie Garrido (1,874) and Florida State’s Mike Martin (1,771) have more wins.
• Last season, Stanford missed the NCAA tournament for the first time since 2009 and just the fifth time since 1981.
• The Cardinal went 32-22 overall and 16-14 in the Pac-12 to tie for fourth place.
• Stanford beat eventual national champion UCLA twice in a three-game series to end the year.