April 12, 2012
Stanford (21-7, 4-5 Pac-12) will host No. 10-ranked and second place Oregon (21-9, 8-4) this weekend starting on Friday at 5:30 p.m. and continuing on Saturday at 1 p.m. and Sunday at noon. Stanford has won five of six, including two midweeks game this week, after dropping three-straight at No. 8 Arizona two weekends ago. Eric Smith continues to be on a tear, leading the club with a .366 average, while Brian Ragira, with a 13-game hit streak, is right behind him at .363. Stanford has won three of four top-10 series this season.
In the Rankings
• Stanford moved up to No. 5 in the USA Today/Coaches poll, and remained at No. 6 in Baseball America and No. 16 in Collegiate Baseball. Stanford was ranked No. 1 in the USA Today Coaches Poll the last week of February and were in the top-two in each of the first seven weeks of the season. It was the first No. 1 ranking since 2004 and 10th time during the regular season since 1989 the Cardinal have hit No. 1. In 12 of the last 25 seasons Stanford has been ranked at No. 1.
About the Ducks
(Bat: .262, Pitch: 2.968, Field: .977)
• George Horton’s Ducks sit in second place in the Pac-12, taking series with Arizona State (3-0), at UCLA (2-1), Utah (2-1). Its only series loss was at UW (1-2). The Ducks rank second in the Pac-12 in ERA (2.96) and third in fielding (.977), but are tenth in batting (.262). Three pitchers rank in the top-10 in ERA led by starter Alex Keudell (2.06) and continuing with Jake Reed (2.47) and closer Jimmie Sherfy (2.53). Kyle Garlick is the leading hitter at .357 while Aaron Jones has a team-best five homers and 28 RBIs.
• RHP Mark Appel (4-1, 3.32) and LHP Brett Mooneyham (5-2, 2.68) will pitch against Oregon RHPs Alex Keudell (4-3, 2.10) and Jake Reed (3-2, 2.47). Sunday’s starters are TBA.
New Leader at the Top
• Converted infielder Eric Smith
continues to go on a tear as of late, taking over the team lead in batting at .366, ranking fourth on the team in RBIs (22) and runs (24). Smith’s 34 hits surpasses his two-year total (29) as a reserve infielder the previous two years. He is second on the team with eight multi-RBI games and fourth with 11 multi-hit games.Home Stand
• Stanford began a nine-game home stand on Wednesday (where Stanford is currently 14-2), playing Oregon, ASU, Pacific, San Jose State and BYU.RPI Reports
• The NCAA came out with its latest RPI report and the Cardinal are No. 8, tied with Baylor. UCLA (7), Oregon (21) and Arizona (22) are also in the top-25. Washington (28), Oregon State (32) and USC (34) give the Pac-12 seven with possible regional bids.Marquess Rising
• Mark Marquess
is slated to move further up the all-time wins list as he has 1443 wins, right behind Virginia Tech’s Chuck Hartman’s 1444 wins (1960-2006). Hartman sits at No. 5 among Division-I head coaches. Augie Garrido, Gene Stephenson and Mike Martin rank 1-2-3 all-time in wins and are all active coaches. Larry Hayes has 1508 wins.
Hughes Takes Care of Pacific
• Lefthander Garrett Hughes (1-0) after missing all of last year with a foot injury, went 5.0 innings against visiting Pacific, giving up a single run on four hits to earn his first career win. The Offense continued to click, leading 7-1 after four innings and paced by Kenny Diekroeger’s 3-for-3 day which included a solo homer and two doubles.
Piscotty and Ragira Drive in 12 at Cal
• Stephen Piscotty drove in seven for the second time this season, Brian Ragira added five hits and five RBIs and No. 5-ranked Stanford (20-7) crushed host California 19-6 in a midweek showdown. The Cardinal jumped out to a 11-0 lead after three innnings to make a winner out of Sahil Bloom (1-0), who gave up two runs over 5.0 innings. Eric Smith, Austin Wilson and Kenny Diekroeger added three hits a piece.
Cardinal Win in Seattle
• No. 6-ranked Stanford (19-7, 4-5 Pac-12) won a hard fought series at Washington (W 5-2, L 4-6, W 8-6) to get back on track after dropping all three in Arizona the previous weekend. In the opener, Mark Appel (4-1) pitched a four-hitter for his third complete game, at one point retiring 15 in a row. On Saturday, the Huskies evened the series after Brett Mooneyham (5-2) lost for the second-straight start, giving up a season-high five runs over 5.2 innings--his shortest outing of the year. In a wild rubber game, Stanford scored twice in the ninth on a interference at the plate and double steal of home to win 8-6. The victory made a winner out of Stephen Piscotty (2-0) for the second time on the week. Piscotty led UW tie it in the eighth, before pitching a scoreless ninth. Eric Smith took over the team lead in average (.345) and Austin Wilson took over the team lead in RBIs (26).
• According to Baseball America’s midseason top-60, Mark Appel (No. 4) and Stephen Piscotty (No. 20) are two Cardinal projected to go in the first 60 picks. In the preseason, BA rated six Cardinal players among the top-100 college prospects. According to BA columnist Jim Callis, Appel has “the best pure stuff of any pitcher available.” The Astros, where Appel grew up, have the No. 1 pick.
Opening Day on the Farm
• Stanford has had at least one major leaguer in each of the last 54 years, as this year five players are slated to be on opening day rosters. Jeremy Guthrie, traded to the Rockies in the off season, will be the Opening Day starter on Friday when the Rockies are in Houston to take on two Cardinal starters in catcher Jason Castro and shortstop Jed Lowrie. John Mayberry, Jr. is slated to start at first for the Phillies; Sam Fuld is a returning starter for the Rays. New Padres outfielder Carlos Quentin and Nationals closer Drew Storen, will begin the season on the disabled list with a possible return by mid-April. In addition, Ruben Amaro, Jr. (GM with Phillies), Kenny Williams (GM with White Sox) and AJ Hinch (VP of Scouting with Padres) are all in the executive wing. And it doesn’t stop there-- Dave Flemming (Giants), Kris Atteberry (Twins) and Dave Raymond (Astros) are all former Stanford students calling games in the big leagues.
• Stanford has five wins in its last at-bat following two more last week. On Sunday an interference call at home followed by a double steal gave Stanford a 9-8 victory at Washington. Five days earlier, the Cardinal won 9-8 in 12th innings as Danny Diekroeger drove in the winning run in the 12th after Stanford scored five in the ninth to send it to extra innings against Saint Mary’s on April 2. Homers won three games this year-- Austin Wilson’s walk-off two-run homer in the ninth against USC, Stephen Piscotty’s two-run homer at Pacific in the 11th and Justin Ringo’s two-run homer in the bottom of the ninth against Rice.
Driving Them In From All Over
• Stanford’s offense continues to be a tough out, up and down the lineup. Following Stephen Piscotty’s 34 RBIs, four other players have at least 22 RBIs-- Brian Ragira (27 RBIs), Austin Wilson (25 RBIs), Kenny Diekroeger (23 RBIs) and Eric Smith (22 RBIs).
Ragira Rides Hit Streak
• First Baseman Brian Ragira is riding a 13-game hit streak which has watched his average rise to .363 on the season. Ragira’s five hit, five RBI day on Monday and two-hit Wednesday against Pacific gave him 45 hits, fifth-best in the Pac-12. His 27 RBIs ranks second on the team.
Consistent Threat from Diekroeger
• Second baseman Kenny Diekroeger comes into the game batting .336 with 24 runs and 23 RBIs, while leading the team with 13 doubles this season. The junior infielder, who has started at third, short and second in his career, leads the Cardinal with a team-best 14 multi-hit games. He also has a .972 fielding percentage. He has made just one error since March 3.
Smart Base Running
• The Cardinal make not rank up there in steals, just 20-of-25 attempts, ranking ninth in the Pac-12, but they will take the extra base, smartly. Tyler Gaffney induced an interference call at home plate in Washington and Austin Wilson stole home in the ninth inning, leading to the winning rally. Wilson (five steals), Jake Stewart (3) and Gaffney (5) lead the teams in steals, as the trio is 13-of-15.
Wilson Slugs it Out for the Cardinal
• By reducing his strikeouts this season, now at 17 compared to 33 at this point last year, right fielder Austin Wilson has become an even bigger threat to opposing pitchers. Wilson has a team-high .550 slugging percentage thanks to eight doubles, one triple and team-high four homers, while also hitting .330. Thanks to six runs this week (including five at Cal), he has 27.
Speaking of Last Year...
• After the first 27 games last year, the Cardinal were 16-11, but statistically very similar. This year’s club is hitting .300 (.299 at this point last year). The Cardinal ERA is 3.24 (compared to 3.33) and the fielding percentages are nearly identical at .968. Last year, four players were batting over .300, this year the Cardinal have six.
Vanegas Returns to the Rotation
• A.J. Vanegas has given up just three earned runs over his last 21.0 innings, returning the sophomore righthander to the weekend rotation and lower his ERA to 2.84 over seven appearances this season. He is coming off a 6.0 inning no-decison on Saturday in an eventual win at Washington.
Appel A Top the Rankings
• Righthander Mark Appel enters his Friday start by ranking third in the Pac-12 in strikeouts (55) and second in opponent batting average (.193) to go along with his 4-1 record and 3.32 ERA. He has thrown three complete games (57.0 innings).
Cutting Down the Hits
• Friday and Saturday starters Mark Appel and Brett Mooneyham has limited opponents hits this season. Appel ranks second in the Pac-12 in opponent average (.193), allowing 39 hits in 57.0 innings. Mooneyham has allowed 40 hits in 47.0 innings for a .234 opponent average.
Bloom Picks up the Pace
• Reliever Sahil Bloom, who appeared in 12 games in each of his first two seasons out of the bullpen, has already pitched in nine games this year producing a 2.66 ERA over 20.1 innings of work. Opponents are hitting .247 against him.
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 to begin the year, Collegebaseball360 honored a Cardinal performer for its national weekly honor, 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 of relief work.
Notables Off the Bench
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
Number of Straight Years with an Active Major Leaguer
• According to research by Washington State, Stanford has had 54-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).Marquess himself was a politics major, whose freshman roommate just happened to be Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney.
• 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.