Cardinal is a New Team in 1997
With team's youth, pitching will be key to Stanford's success
The formula for success for the 1996 Stanford University baseball team was simple: an
experienced starting lineup mixed with some of the best young pitching in the nation.
That combination led to a 41-19 season and a third place at the NCAA West Regional at Sunken
Diamond. The Cardinal also put together a school record 18-game winning streak in 1996, as it
went more than a month between losses (April 14-May 25).
A year later, Stanford's makeup couldn't be more different. Mark Marquess, veteran assistants
Dean Stotz and Tom Dunton and first-year assistant Dave Nakama now have a young starting
lineup and an experienced starting pitching staff that may be the best in the country.
"Because of our starting pitching you can't count us out of any games," Marquess said. "Our
three starters (Kyle Peterson, Chad Hutchinson and Jeff Austin) match up with any team in the
country. But offensively, we lost a lot in A.J. Hinch, Troy Kent and Brian Dallimore. But we
feel with Jon Schaeffer, Joe Kilburg, Luke Quaccia and Jody Gerut we have enough coming
back to have a good offensive team.
"We also have an outstanding freshman class. It's not as high profile as others we've had, but
collectively it's very good. The question is how well will they make the adjustment?"
In Peterson, Hutchinson and Austin, Stanford has 1-2-3 starting punch that was a combined
23-11 last season. Peterson is 24-5 in his career, which ranks him tied for ninth on Stanford's
all-time win list.
Offensively, four regulars who hit .290 or better are back in the starting lineup. Senior Luke
Quaccia (.369), junior Joe Kilburg (.358, 23 SB), sophomore Jody Gerut (.321) and junior Jon
Schaeffer (.292, 11 HR) form the core of Marquess' starting lineup.
One things hasn't changed from last year. The strength of the Six Pac. Led by experienced
squads from USC and UCLA, the conference figures to once again be tough from top to bottom.
"UCLA is probably the team to beat this year, because they've got a veteran squad," Marquess
said. "USC has all of their pitching back from a team that won the conference title by five games.
Those teams just jump out at you."
And where do the Cardinal fit in?
"We could be very good if a couple of our freshman play well and our returners have outstanding
years," said the 21st year coach. "This could be a really good team by the end of the year."
Here is a position-by-position look at the 1997 Stanford Cardinal:
It doesn't get much better than this as the Cardinal returns Kyle Peterson, Chad Hutchinson and
Jeff Austin to the starting rotation.
Peterson, a two-time All-American, who was 10-5 last season, will be the Friday starter.
Peterson needs 13 wins to tie Jeff Ballard (1982-85) for Stanford's all-time lead, and is just one
career win behind Mike Mussina (1988-90).
"I feel that Kyle is one of the premier pitchers in college baseball," said Marquess. "He's a
tremendous competitor. For a year-and-a-half he's been our No. 1 pitcher, and he will be again n
1997. He has always possessed an outstanding fastball and changeup, but has now added an
outstanding curve ball."
The battle for the No. 2 spot is between sophomore right-handers Austin and Hutchinson. Austin
had an outstanding first half which included a complete game six-hit, 13 strikeout performance at
"Jeff was one of our better pitchers in the first half of the season, but wore down because he's
not used to throwing that many innings (89.2 IP). He has three pitches, including an outstanding
curve ball. We expect him to have a great year."
After serving as the starting quarterback on the Stanford football team that advanced to the Sun
Bowl this season, Hutchinson has added his name to the long list of the Cardinal's two-sport
stars along with John Elway, Brian Johnson, John Lynch and Marquess. The hard-throwing
right hander won six of his last seven decision last year and was a Freshman All-American.
"I think Chad will have a much better year, because he has now adapted to this level. It took the
first half of last season to make the adjustment, because he missed fall practice in order to play
The rest of the pitching picture is not so clear. Five players will battle for the fourth starting spot
and time in the bullpen.
Sophomore Tony Cogan, who was 1-0 with a 4.76 ERA in 17 relief appearances last year, is the
favorite for the closer role. Others expected to contend for time are junior left-hander Josh Koons
(0-0, 0.69 ERA in 1996), junior right-hander Adam Harris (0-0, 27.00 ERA), sophomore
left-hander Brent Hoard (0-0, 11.57 ERA) and freshman right-hander Geoff Linville
(Woodinville, WA/Redmond HS).
"I think our top three pitchers are as good as anyone in the nation," Marquess said. "The
question marks for us are our fourth starter and short relievers. We have quality arms, but our
depth is unproven.
"Cogan has a durable arm that's suited for the bullpen. One of our keys to success is how he
pitches in his role. Hoard has one of the best arms on the staff, and is coming off an outstanding
summer in the Cape Cod League. Linville had an impressive fall for us - he throws hard and has
an outstanding slider. Koons is a guy that's tough on left handers, and will compete for the
fourth spot in the rotation. Harris has the best curve on the staff, and is an ideal set-up man."
The Cardinal staff will also get a lift with the return of long-time pitching coach Tom Dunton.
Dunton, who is in his 23rd season on The Farm (1968-76, 1980-92), returns after a three-year
hiatus. His pupils on The Farm include Mike Mussina, Jack McDowell, Jeff Ballard, Stan
Spencer and Steve Chitren.
Junior Jon Schaeffer and sophomore John Salter will battle for the starting spot vacated by
three-time All-American and 1996 Olympian A.J. Hinch.
Schaeffer, who was an All-Star in the Cape Cod League over the summer, hit .292 with 11 home
runs and 44 RBI for Stanford in 1996. Salter is a home run threat who improved defensively
over the summer.
"Salter and Schaeffer might split time at catcher and designated hitter. Schaeffer is one of the
outstanding hitters in the conference in terms of both average and power. He was sidelined by a
bad back in the fall, but should be fully recovered by January. Our coaching staff has been
impressed with the way Salter has hit for both average and power. He's also really coming on
Backing up Salter and Schaeffer will be freshman Damien Alvarado, a converted infielder, and
sophomore Cabe Nicksic.
The starting spot belongs to senior Luke Quaccia, who had an outstanding first season on The
Farm after transferring from Modesto Junior College. The Cardinal went 22-7 after Quaccia
broke into the starting lineup in late March.
"Luke had a great year for us," said Marquess. "His presence in the starting lineup sparked our
18-game winning streak."
Quaccia will be backed up by three freshmen - John Gall (Mountain View, CA/St. Francis HS),
Joe Savig (Stockton, CA/St. Mary's HS) and Craig Thompson (Dallas, TX/Lake Highlands
Marquess expects either junior Joe Kilburg or sophomore Tony Schrager, a transfer from Yale
University, to replace three-year starter Brian Dallimore.
Schrager was one of the team's biggest surprises during the fall with his excellent defensive play
up the middle. If Schrager doesn't win the job, Kilburg will be brought in from right field. The
1996 First Team All-Pac-10 selection hit .358 with 23 stolen bases last season while playing in
"We expect Joe to be one of our premier players. He is one of the fastest guys on the team, and
hits for average and occasional power. Whether it turns out to be second base or right field, he
will definitely play somewhere.
"Schrager has outstanding speed and is a solid hitter. We've also been very impressed with his
defensive ability at second."
The battle between Jay Pecci and Josh Hochgesang will also decide who starts at third base.
Pecci started the second half of the season at shortstop, and quickly established himself as one of
the top defensive infielders in the conference. Hochgesang came to The Farm as a shortstop, but
was moved to third base last fall. If Pecci wins the starting job at short, look for Hochgesang to
move back to third.
"I expect a big year from Josh - he is one of our best offensive and defensive players. He was
inconsistent last year, because he was plagued by an arm injury all season. Jay came in and
played well for us at the end of last year. He is an outstanding defensive player."
Freshmen John Barneson (Spokane, WA/Mead HS) and Eric Bruntlett (N. Lafayette/Harrison
HS) also expect to see playing time up the middle.
See shortstop. If Pecci starts at short, look for Hochgesang to handle the hot corner. If
Hochgesang wins the job, freshmen Jeff Rizzo and Craig Thompson will battle for time.
Rizzo was selected by the St. Louis Cardinals in the fifth round of the June draft, while
Thompson has the ability to play all four infield positions.
"I'm very high on our freshmen infielders. I'm sure they will continue to push our regulars for
The only sure thing here is sophomore center fielder Jody Gerut. He burst onto the scene last
year by hitting .321, and earning Freshman All-America honors. He also established himself as
one of the top defensive outfielders in the country, and maybe one of the best ever on The Farm.
"Jody is without question one of the best defensive center fielders in the country. And
offensively you don't see many college freshman hit .321 - he's probably one of the best hitters
on the team. He's also starting to hit with more power (5 HR in 1996)."
As Joe Kilburg goes, right field goes. If Tony Schrager wins the job at second base, Kilburg
will once again start in right. If Kilburg does start at second, the job belongs to one of five
freshmen - Stephen Chan (Moraga, CA/Campolindo HS), Chris Collins (Dana Point, CA/Santa
Margarita HS), Nick Day (Las Vegas, NV/Green Valley HS), John Gall (Portola Valley, CA/St.
Francis HS) or Edmund Muth (Long Beach, CA/St. John Bosco HS).
"I'm impressed with all five of these players. They're all capable of contributing as freshmen."
The situation in left field is similar. Senior Chris Clark hit .289 in 18 starts there last year, but
will be pushed by that same group of freshmen.
The catching duo of John Salter and Jon Schaeffer will also probably handle the duties here.
Schaeffer has been the Cardinal's designated hitter for most of the past two seasons.
Beyond Schaeffer and Salter, Marquess has a group of freshmen - Nick Day, John Gall,
Edmund Muth, Jeff Rizzo and Craig Thompson - who will also compete for time here.
Lettermen Returning/Lost 12/10
Position Starters Returning/Lost 6/3
Pitchers Returning/Lost 10/6
RHP Jeff Austin, OF Chris Clark, LHP Tony Cogan, CF Jody
Gerut, IF Josh Hochgesang, RHP Chad Hutchinson, IF/OF Joe
Kilburg, LHP Josh Koons, INF Jay Pecci, RHP Kyle Peterson,
1B Luke Quaccia, C John Salter, C/DH Jon Schaeffer
RHP John David Brammer, LF Cale Carter, 2B Brian Dallimore,
C A.J. Hinch, RHP Mario Iglesias, 1B/3B Troy Kent, RHP Jason
Middlebrook, RHP Tom Reimers, SS Eric Sees, RHP Brendan
OF Nick Day, RHP Geoff Linville, IF Jeff Rizzo,
IF Tony Schrager
Seniors (2), Juniors (9), Sophomores (11),
California (18), Nebraska (3), Illinois (2), Indiana (2),
Texas (2), Washington (2), Arizona (1), Connecticut (1),
Nevada (1), New York (1), Ohio (1), Oregon (1), Tennessee