Feb. 20, 2012
• The No. 2-ranked Cardinal (3-0) will play its first midweek game of the season, at Pacific (0-3) and former Cardinal third baseman Ed Sprague’s club, on Tuesday at 6 p.m. The Cardinal then hosts its second-straight top-10 team when No. 7-ranked Texas (2-1) comes to town in a three-game series on Friday at 5:30 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday at 1 p.m. The Cardinal is coming off of a 35-run weekend as three pitchers went at least six innings as Stanford swept No. 10-ranked Vanderbilt to begin the year.
Stanford in the Rankings
• Stanford remained at No. 2 in Baseball America and No. 3 in Collegiate Baseball, opening the season with the same rankings in the preseason. It is the highest preseason rating since 2003. This is the eighth time since 1988 Stanford has been a preseason No. 1 or No. 2. Five of those years Stanford reached the CWS.
Stanford will send to the hill RHP Mark Appel (1-0, 1.29) and LHP Brett Mooneyham (1-0, 4.50) against Texas RHP Nathan Thornhill (0-0, 0.73) and LHP Hoby Milner (3-3, 2.91) in the first two games of the series.
About the Tigers
• Ed Sprague, now in his eighth season, dropped three-straight to Cal over the weekend after coming off a 17-37 and last place finish in the Big West last season. The Tigers hit just .211 on the opening weekend giving up 24 runs. The Tigers return all eight starters from last year and return 20 players overall. Dustin Torchio is the defending BWC batting champion and was 4-for-12 against Cal.
• No. 2-ranked Stanford (3-0) opened up the season with a sweep of No. 10-ranked Vanderbilt 8-3, 9-5 and 18-5, hitting .352 while scoring 35 runs. On Friday in what should be one of many impressive starts for RHP Mark Appel (1-0), the preseason All-American went 7.0 innings giving up a single run on two hits thanks to four no-hit innings to start. Stephen Piscotty homered with help from Christian Griffiths and Eric Smith. Smith’s was an inside the park homer. On Saturday Brett Mooneyham (1-0) struck out eight and walked four over 6.0 innings, giving up three runs on five hits as Brian Ragira delivered his second-straight three-hit day. On Sunday, after Vandy chased starter AJ Vanegas in the second to lead 4-0, Stanford scored eight runs in the bottom of the second and then added another seven-run sixth en route to the rout. Stephen Piscotty drove in seven, which included a grand slam and three-run double and Griffiths delivered four RBIs. Freshman John Hochstatter (1-0) pitched 6.1 no-hit innings for the win in his collegiate debut. Vandy committed 11 errors (.904 fielding) in three games.
Closing in on Sixth
• Mark Marquess with 1425 wins in his 36-year career is two wins away from No. 6 all-time among Division-I coaches. He trails former Texas coach Cliff Gustafson’s total (1968-96) of 1427 wins over 29 years by two wins. Virginia Tech’s former skipper Chuck Hartman has 1444 wins for fifth place.
Gaffney’s Streak Ends
• Someone finally got outfielderTyler Gaffney out. It took 25 games over two seasons, but it finally ended on February 19 against Vanderbilt after Gaffney’s streak ended at 24-straight games. It was the fourth-longest streak since1988
Hit Streaks (since 1988*)
37, Jeffrey Hammonds, 1990
28, Troy Paulsen, 1988
26, Carlos Quentin, 2003
24, GAFFNEY, 2011-12
23, DIEKROEGER, 2010
21, Brian Hall, 2004
20, Ryan Garko, 2001
19, Josh Hochgesang, 1997
17, Sam Fuld, 2003
16, John Mayberry, Jr., 2003
16, DIEKROEGER, 2011
Reserve to Starter
• On the trip back from the Super Regional at North Carolina, reserve infielder Eric Smith was asked to change positions. The junior from Southern California took the advice and started all three games against No. 10 Vandy at catcher, hitting the Cardinal’s first inside the park homer since Cord Phelps in 2008 and scoring four runs and driving in four over the first weekend of the season.
• Freshman LHP John Hochstatter made an impressive debut, pitching 6.1 no-hit innings in relief on Sunday after Vanderbilt took a 4-0 lead. Stanford scored eight runs in the bottom of the second en route to the freshman’s first win.
Vandalizing the Weekend
• Stanford up ended Vanderbilt over the first weekend of the series, scoring 35 runs while batting .352. Stanford’s slugging percentage was .546 thanks to nine doubles and four homers. Stanford had a .410 slugging percentage in 2011.
No Name Tags This Year
• Stanford returns seven starters to the field, only losing four-year starter and catcher Zach Jones from last year. The outfield of Tyler Gaffney and Jake Stewart have played together for three years, while sophomore Austin Wilson was a starter as a freshman. On the infield, sophomores Lonnie Kauppila and his .992 fielding percentage at second and Brian Ragira at first (.993 fielding), return to the right side, while juniors Stephen Piscotty (3B) and Kenny Diekroeger (SS) are on the left side. Both Piscotty and Diekroeger are two years starters. Ragira led the team in RBIs (46) while Piscotty was the leading hitter during the season (.364) and in the Cape (.349).
• Cardinal Trio Kenny Diekroeger, Stephen Piscotty and Mark Appel are on the initial 50-man watch list for the Golden Spikes Award. This past weekend, Piscotty drove in eight and hit .286, Diekroeger hit .417 and Appel struck out five over 7.0 innings. The trio represent one third of the nine Pac-12 nominees. Stanford has had 10 finalists for USA Baseball’s national player of the year since the award was created in 1978. Jeff Austin (1998) and David McCarty (1991) were named players of the year by Baseball America and were finalists along with AJ Hinch, Ed Sprague, Jeffrey Hammonds, Jack McDowell, Jeremy Guthrie and Carlos Quentin among others.
• According to Baseball America’s very early draft projections, Stanford has six players in its top-100 college players. Leading the list is RHP Mark Appel (No. 1), followed by third baseman Stephen Piscotty (14) and infielder Kenny Diekroeger (17). LHP Brett Mooneyham (31) and outfielders Tyler Gaffney (54) Jake Stewart (86) round out the list.
• Stanford has three preseason All-Americans by various publications, RHP Mark Appel, SS Kenny Diekroeger and 3B Stephen Piscotty. Appel and Piscotty were both first team selections, while Diekroeger was a second pick of Collegiate Baseball and third teamer for Perfect Game. Appel has also been projected as the national pitcher of the year.
• As if the June draft isn’t far enough off for the junior class, how about the sophomores? Four second-year players are rated by Baseball America amongst the nation’s top sophomores: OF Austin Wilson (No. 16), RBI leader 1B Brian Ragira (No. 18), 2B Lonnie Kauppila (No. 28), RHP AJ Vanegas (No. 36).
Breaking Down the Rankings
• A number of Stanford players have received recognition in the preseason, here is why. Perfect Game ranks the top players by position each week, with Mark Appel coming in as the No. 1 pitcher and Stephen Piscotty as the No. 1 third baseman. Kenny Diekroeger is the No. 3 middle infielder. For Baseball America, Tyler Gaffney is rated as the Pac-12 player with the best strike zone discipline (29 walks last year) and the nation’s best athlete. Brian Ragira (1B) and Stephen Piscotty (3B) are rated as the best defensive players at their positions in the Pac-12. Austin Wilson has the Pac-12’s strongest outfield arm, while Appel has the nation’s best fastball and Pac-12’s best breaking ball.
25th Anniversary of Back-to-Back Champions
• The 2012 season marks the 25th Anniversary of the 1987 and 1988 national champions under Mark Marquess. During the final weekend of the year the teams will be honored. That Cal team is coached by former shortstop David Esquer, who was the starting shortstop in 1987. The pregame ceremony will occur May 26. For more information email the baseball office at email@example.com
Could No. 1 Picks Make History?
• Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck is the projected No. 1 pick in this year’s NFL draft after leading the Cardinal to back to back BCS Bowl berths. RHP Mark Appel is projected as the No. 1 pick in the June draft. No school has ever had a No. 1 pick in the NFL and MLB in the same year. The only program with two No. 1 picks from major sports in the same year was Utah with Alex Smith and Andrew Bogut in 2005.
Number of Straight Years with an Active Major Leaguer
• According to research by Washington State, Stanford has had 53-straight years with at least one Major Leaguer, dating all the way back to 1958 and Chuck Essegian (Phillies) and Dave Melton (Kansas City A’s). USC has had a Major Leaguer every year since 1939, a span of 72 years.
Consecutive Years with a Major Leaguer, Years
USC, 1939-2010, 72
Oklahoma, 1945-2010, 66
Washington State, 1948-2010, 63
Texas A&M, 1949-2010, 62
Minnesota, 1953-2010, 58
Arizona, 1957-2010, 54
Houston, 1958-2010, 53
Stanford, 1958-2010, 53
Get Your Degree Under Marquess and Make the Majors
• Of Stanford’s 56 Major Leaguers under Mark Marquess, 47 have earned their degrees. Four of those players-- Drew Storen, Jason Castro, Michael Taylor and Cord Phelps are current major leaguers, who take classes in the off season. A 2011 Wall Street Journal report said that only two dozen Major Leaguers had earned their degrees in 2010. Some Cardinal Major Leaguers who have earned their degrees include: Gold Glove catcher Bob Boone, Cy Young Award winner Jack McDowell (communications), All Star Mike Mussina (economics), Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro, Jr., (biology) former manager A.J. Hinch (psychology) and long-time Major Leaguers Mike Aldrete (communications) and Jeffrey Hammonds (history).
Major League Style
• Since the turn of the Century, Stanford has had 89 players all-time reach the Majors. Marquess has coached 56 Major Leaguers since 1977 (58 over that time have made the Majors with current White Sox GM Kenny Williams only playing football at Stanford and All-Star Shawn Green accepting a baseball scholarship but instead going to the draft and currently being one year from his degree).
• Cardinal have had a number of great two-sport stars. One of the first was Ernie Nevers, who starred for the Cardinal in the early part of the 20th Centruy. That list has included: NFL Hall of Famer John Elway, current coach Mark Marquess (a punter, wide receiver and QB with Jim Plunkett in the late 1960s), NFL Executive Ray Anderson, Major League pitcher Joe Borchard (also a QB), NFL and MLB player Chad Hutchinson (RHP and QB), 1940s Major Leaguer and Korea War pilot Lloyd Merriman, Brian Johnson (QB), Toi Cook (NFL veteran and member of the 1987 CWS team) and John Lynch (QB and RHP).
2011 in Review
Stanford embarked on the 2011 campaign with the nation’s last two top recruiting classes. The Cardinal featured upwards of seven or eight underclassmen in its everyday lineup, surviving top-15 road trips to No. 17-ranked Rice, No. 3 Vandy and No. 6 Texas to begin the year and a road schedule that featured 28 road games. Following a 15-day layoff for finals and unexpected rain, Stanford won nine of 11 to end March and rose to No. 11 nationally. April featured an unexpected series loss at USC and then three-straight weekends against the top-15 of Oregon State (loss), UCLA (win) and at Arizona State (loss). Stanford won six-straight to begin May and after briefly dropping out of the top-25, finished the year as high as No. 13. The Cardinal fought through a tough Fullerton Regional, beating the host Titans 1-0 on day two, before dropping two-straight at North Carolina in the Super Regional to finish the year at 35-22. Following a preseason loss to weekend starter Brett Mooneyham (finger), the weekend staff was relatively stable in Mark Appel and Jordan Pries, with senior Danny Sandbrink replacing Dean McArdle at midseason. Appel has had maybe the toughest road, pitching against a half dozen starters that are likely on the fast track to the majors in the next two years. First round pick and closer Chris Reed anchored the bullpen.