March 8, 2012
No. 2-ranked Stanford (11-1) will host No. 4-ranked Rice (12-2) in a three-game series starting on Friday at 5:30 p.m., and continuing on Saturday at 1 p.m. and Sunday at an earlier than scheduled noon start (Sunday is also when clocks are sprung forward). The Cardinal will then be off for its finals break until the USC series at the end of the month.
• Stanford dropped to No. 2 in the USA Today Coaches Poll and remained at No. 2 in Baseball America and No. 3 in Collegiate Baseball. Stanford was ranked No. 1 in the USA Today Coaches Poll the last week of February, the first No. 1 ranking since 2004 and 10th time during th regular season since 1989 the Cardinal have hit No. 1. In 12 of the last 25 seasons Stanford has been ranked at No. 1 sometime during the year (also after 1987 and 1988 seasons).
About the Owls
(Bat: .294, Pitch: 2.88, Field: .977)
• Rice won nine in a row to start the season before dropping an 11-8 game to Texas last weekend and a 3-2 decision to red hot Texas State this past Tuesday. CF Michael Fuda leads the team with a .424 average and is one of three players with 11 RBIs (.325 hitting C Craig Manuel and .261 hitting 3B Shane Hoelscher are the others). On the mound, RHP John Simms (2.63 ERA) and RHP Tyler Dufey (3.38 ERA) are formidable out of the bullpen. Righthanded Starters Matthew Reckling (23 strikeouts in 22.0 innings) and Andrew Benak (24 strikeouts in 17.1 innings) are the team's strikeout leaders. Rice returns seven starters to a team that won 42 games last year for Wayne Graham, who has led his club to an NCAA Regional in each of the last 16 years.
• The team’s third top-10 matchup of the season will feature RHP Mark Appel (2-1, 3.68) on Friday, LHP Brett Mooneyham (3-0, 1.71) on Saturday and LHP John Hochstatter (3-0, 1.50) on Sunday against Rice RHP Matthew Reckling (2-0, 0.82), RHP Austin Kubitza (1-0, 4.72) and RHP Jordan Stephens (1-0, 1.88).
Series Win in Fresno
• Sporting the No. 1 ranking for the first weekend of the year, Stanford took its first road series of the year, at Fresno State (L 4-7, W 16-0, W 9-2) despite its first loss of the season after an 8-0 start. In Friday’s opener, despite a career-high 11 strikeouts from Mark Appel (2-1), Chris Mariscal hit a three-run double in the sixth, leading to a 7-4 win. That would be the last runs FSU would score until the sixth inning on Sunday, a span of 16 innings as Stanford pounded out 16 runs on 18 hits (four hits by Stephen Piscotty and four RBIs including a three-run homer by Jake Stewart) in a 16-0 win. The Cardinal pounced with a three-run first, four-run second and six-run fifth. Brett Mooneyham (3-0) struck out a career-tying 13 and had a no-hitter until two outs in the sixth. Mooneyham gave up two hits and two walks. In the rubber game, Stanford pounced early, with four runs in the first to give freshman John Hochstatter (3-0) enough breathing room for his third-straight win. After FSU came close to 5-2, Dean McArdle shut the door with 2.2 scoreless innings and Stanford’s offense but the game out of reach with a four-run seventh.
Road Trip Ends with Win at SMC
• Stanford (11-1) closed out a mini four-game road trip with a 5-0 win at Saint Mary’s as A.J. Vanegas (1-0) posted career-highs in innings (5.0) and strikeouts (5). Kenny Diekroeger drove in three and Austin Wilson drove in the other two.
• With all the big name starters returning to the Cardinal, a first year former reserve is racking up the RBIs. After taking over the starting catching duties this season, Eric Smith is surprisingly second on the team in RBIs entering the week with 14 thanks to a 3 RBIs on Saturday and another two on Sunday. He also is the leader in multi-RBI games.
Pouncing on Opponents
• Stanford enters the weekend with a .327 batting average paced by Brian Ragira’s four, three-hit games and .358 average and leadoff hitter Jake Stewart’s team-high .404 average and team-high 18 runs. Kenny Diekroeger (.360), Austin Wilson (.361) and Stephen Piscotty (.370) round out five batters with averages of .350 or better.
First Inning Rallies
• Stanford has scored in the first inning in eight of its first 12 games, not surprisingly winning all eight of those contests. Stanford has outscored opponents 15-0 in the first inning this year.
Batting (.327, 17th), Runs (9.6, 4th), ERA (3.06, 53rd), SO/9IP (8.2, 60th)
• The first national statistical report came out on Tuesday with Stanford ranking fourth nationally in runs per game (9.6) and 17th in average (.327). The 3.5 doubles per game is second, while the slugging (.521) is tenth. On the mound, the team ERA of 3.06 is 53rd, as the hits allowed per nine innigns (6.6) is 15th. Individually, Jake Stewarts and Tyler Gaffney’s runs were 10th nationally and Kenny Diekroeger’s six doubles was 18th. Stephen Piscotty’s 21 RBIs ranked fifth. Just four pitchers havefour wins this year, just ahead of Brett Mooneyham and John Hochstatter. Mooneyham’s 28 strikeouts ranks seventh.
Scoring from the Top
• The top of the order features leadoff hitter Jake Stewart and No. 2 hitter Tyler Gaffney, who enter the weekend with a combined 33 runs. Gaffney is hitting an even .300 after not swinging a bat all fall (due to football), while Stewart leads the club with a .404 average and current eight-game hit streak. Gaffney also has a team-best 10 walks and .500 on-base percentage. Gaffney entered the season on a 24-game hit streak and has hit safely in eight of 11 games.
Piscotty Heats Up
• Preseason All-American Stephen Piscotty, despite hitting the ball hard, saw his average dip to .241 during the early season, while also leading the club in RBIs. Well Piscotty is still leading the team in RBIs (21), but after an 8-for-16 week is now batting .370. Piscotty led the Cardinal in batting last season, as well as the Cape Cod League. Piscotty along with Tyler Gaffney are the only players to reach base safely in each of the first 12 games.
Striking Them Out
• The front of the rotation of RHP Mark Appel and LHP Brett Mooneyham racked up the strikeouts this past weekend, combining to strike out 24 over 15.0 innings. Appel who has set career-highs in strikeouts in each of the last two weeks, struck out 11 at Fresno State after 10 against Texas. Mooneyham struck out 13 on Saturday at Fresno State, the most since a 2010 start at Washington State. Opponents are hitting .139 against Mooneyham this season and .169 against Appel. On Tuesday AJ Vanegas set his own career-high in strikeouts (5).
Rookie Lefthander on Sunday
• John Hochstatter has earned a spot in the rotation after back-to-back quality starts against Texas and at Fresno State. This past Sunday, Hochstatter gave up two runs on six hits over 5.1 innings after back-to-back 6.1 outings. He began his career with 6.1 no-hit innings and then followed that up with 6.1 innings in his first start. Hochstatter is 3-0 with a 1.50 ERA this season.
Tough to Hit
• Though early in the season, Stanford opponents are hitting just .195 against the Cardinal staff, posting a 2.81 team ERA. Appel (.169) and Mooneyham (.139) were expected to be the toughest to hit, as freshmen reliever David Schmidt (.161 in 6 games) and John Hochstatter (.169 in 3 games) are equally tough.
Ragira Can Hit and Field
• A prep outfielder, last year’s Pac-10 Freshman of the Year Brian Ragira learned a new position last season, first base. In the preseason he was named the Pac-12’s top defensive first baseman after four errors and a .993 fielding percentage. Ragira is fifth on the team with a .358 average and also has yet to make an error at first in 105 tries.
Consistent Lineup Card
• Over the first 12 games of the season the Mark Marquess’ lineup card has featured five players who have started every game, while the other four (including DH) have started 11 times. The only major move from the preseason is flipping Kenny Diekroeger and Lonnie Kauppila from second to short. Both played each position in fall ball, as Diekroeger has been a starter at third, short and second throughout his career and Kauppila has started at both short and second in his two seasons.
U2 Said It About Sundays
• Stanford opened up its Sunday schedule with No. 10 Vanderbilt two weeks ago and after Vandy went up 4-0, proceeded to win 18-5. On Sunday against No. 7 Texas, another 15 runs, and a 15-1 thumping. Stanford scored nine runs at Fresno State, giving the team 42 runs in three games.
Regular Season Honors
• Stanford righthander Mark Appel was named the Pac-12’s Pitcher of the Week after a career-best 10 strikeouts in the win over No. 7 Texas. For the second-straight week, Collegebaseball360 honored a Cardinal performer for its national weekly honor, last week choosing centerfielder Jake Stewart for his .538 average against Texas as well as his defensive efforts in center. Freshman LHP John Hochstatter was honored the first week after 6.1 no-hit innings.
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
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.
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).
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.
• 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 Century. 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.