Jan. 31, 2008
Stanford, Calif. -
Stanford Baseball will begin official team practice for the 2008 season at Sunken Diamond this Friday, February 1. The Cardinal will conduct three weeks of team practice sessions before opening its 2008 campaign with a four-game set against perennial national power Nebraska of the Big 12 Conference at Klein Field at Sunken Diamond from Friday-Sunday, February 22-24. The series begins with a Friday doubleheader (2 pm, PT) and continues with single games Saturday (1 pm, PT) and Sunday (1 pm, PT).
"We are excited to get going once again in 2008," said Stanford head coach Mark Marquess, who will begin his 32nd campaign at helm of the program in 2008. "We look forward to continuing the legacy we've built here at Stanford and starting another college baseball season."
Stanford's 45-player roster in 2008 includes 29 players from last year's team as well as 16 newcomers. The Cardinal has a total of 22 letterwinners returning. Seven position player starters are back in 2008, while the Cardinal has three of its four primary members of the 2007 rotation as well as 13 of 14 pitchers who saw action on the hill for the Cardinal in 2007 returning.
Stanford has been involved in NCAA postseason play 27 times, including a school record 13 consecutive years from 1994-2006 before the Cardinal finally fell short in 2007 with a 28-28 overall mark and a 9-15 showing in the Pac-10. The Cardinal has won a pair of national titles (1987, '88) in its 15 CWS appearances and been runners-up on three other occasions (2000, '01, '03), the latter during a recent school record run of five straight trips to Omaha (1999-2003). Stanford has also won five NCAA Super Regional crowns (1999, 2000, '01, '02, '03), 14 Regional titles (1982, '83, '85, '87, '88, '90, '95, '97, '99, 2000, '01, '02, '03, '06) and 20 conference championships (1924, '25, '27, '31, '50, '53, '66, '67, '83, '84, '85, '87, '90, '94, '97, '98, '99, 2000, '03, '04) including shared and Pac-10 Southern Division titles.
Stanford's 2008 schedule is once again challenging. Half of Stanford's 24 Pac-10 games come against four teams (No. 1 UCLA, No. 2 Arizona, No. 7 Oregon State, No. 9 Arizona State) that Baseball America has ranked among the Top 10 in its 2008 preseason poll.
"The Pac-10 is probably the strongest it has been in 25 years," offered Marquess. "Most of the teams in the conference have almost everyone back and are really pitching rich. We think we're stronger, more capable and more talented than we were last year, but so does just about everyone else."
Things are not much easier prior to the start of league play as the Cardinal will host Cal State Fullerton (February 29 - March 1) and travel to preseason No. 16 Texas (March 7-9) for its annual series against the national powers.
Stanford is hoping to return to the 64-team NCAA field, which will be announced on May 26 - one day after the end of the regular season. The postseason tournament begins with Regional action at 16 sites around the nation May 30 - June 2. The winners of the 16 Regionals will advance to Super Regional competition June 6-9 at eight locations with each of those winners moving on to the 62nd College World Series in Omaha from June 14-25. The ESPN network will televise every Super Regional and College World Series game for the fifth consecutive season, as well as selected Regional contests.