April 18, 2012
No . 10-ranked Stanford (22-10, 5-7 Pac-12), will return to Pac-12 play this weekend with No. 20-ranked and second place Arizona State (24-13, 9-6 Pac-12). Friday is at 5:30 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday are at 1 p.m. The home stand closes out on Tuesday with BYU. Stanford dropped a series to No. 10 Oregon this past weekend, its second-straight top-10 Pac-12 series of the year. Stanford is 9-6 overall against top-25. Stanford managed just five hits in the loss to San Jose State on Tuesday. With the win on Sunday, Mark Marquess is now No. 5 all-time in Division-I history with 1444 career wins.
In the Rankings
Stanford dropped to No. 10 in the USA Today / Coaches poll, to No. 14 in Baseball America and No. 19 in Colleigate Baseball. A preseason No. 2, 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. In 12 of the last 25 seasons Stanford has been ranked at No. 1.
About the Sun Devils
(Bat: .293, Pitch: 2.66, Field: .964)
The Sun Devils are a game out of first place, entering the weekend, behind 10-5 UCLA, Oregon and Arizona. ASU leads the Pac-12 in pitching (2.66) and are fourth in batting (.293). Due to sanctions, it is ineligible for post-season play. ASU has swept USC and Oregon State the last two weekends and are riding and including Tuesday's win over Arizona have won seven-straight over Pac-12 opponents. Overall they have won eight of nine. Sporting a 17-5 and home record, ASU is just 4-7 on the road this year. Brady Rodgers leads the Pac-12 in ERA (1.12), while Trevor Williams (1.41) is second. Joey DeMichelle, who sports a team-best .358 average is second in the Pac-12 with 37 RBIs and first in triples (5).
Stanford will pitched RHP Mark Appel (4-1, 2.86), LHP Brett Mooneyham (5-3, 3.18) and RHP A.J. Vanegas (2-0, 2.61) in the three-game series with ASU. The Sun Devils will send RHP Brady Rodgers (6-1, 1.12), Trevor Williams (7-2, 1.41) and Darin Gilles (1-3, 3.67) to the hill.
Shortstop Lonnie Kauppila, a starter on the infield for 29 games this year, will miss the rest of the season with a left knee injury suffered on Sunday. The sophomore was hitting .280 with 16 runs and 13 RBIs this year. In his place, Kenny Diekroeger will move back to short and Brett Michael Doran and Alex Blandino will play on the infield.
Mark Marquess is tied with Virginia Tech's Chuck Hartman's 1444 wins (1960-2006). at No. 5 all-time in Division-I wins. Augie Garrido, Gene Stephenson and Mike Martin rank 1-2-3 all-time in wins and are all active coaches. Retired coach Larry Hayes has 1508 wins for fourth place.
From Bench to `Bench'
Converted infielder Eric Smith was one of five additional catchers added to the Johnny Bench Award watch list, named for college's top catcher. Former start Ryan Garko was a previous winner of the award. Smith leads the club with a .346 average, and is second with a .495 slugging percentage.
Spartans Edge Cardinal 3-2
Two Spartans pitchers limited the No. 10-ranked Cardinal to five hits as the Spartans' scored the go-ahead run in the eighth in a 3-2 game. Alex Blandino's third home run of the season, a two-run shot in the third gave the Cardinal a 2-0 lead. The game also saw a few defensive switches with 3B Stephen Piscotty playing his first game in left since his freshman year, Brett Michael Doran (2B) and Blandino (3B) gettting starts on the infield and Brian Ragira playing his first collegiate game in left after being a prep outfielder.
Oregon Shuts Down Cardinal
No. 5-ranked Stanford (22-9, 5-7 Pac-12) dropped its second-straight top-10 series, this time to No. 10 Oregon, managing just one run in the first two games, before salvaging the finale, 4-2. In the opener, a 1-1 battle ensued between Mark Appel, who struck out 13 and gave up an unearned run in the first and Andrew Keudell, who got the eventual win with one run on five hits. Three errors and a wild pitch in the tenth gave Oregon the opener as the Ducks scored three times in the tenth to win 4-2. On Saturday Jake Reed and Jimmie Gold combined on a three-hiter to take the series. On Sunday, A.J. Vanegas stopped the bleeding on the mound with a solid 5.2 innings, giving up two runs (one earned) on five hits, before David Schmidt returned to form with 3.1 shutout innings for the save. Brett Michael Doran, an injury replacement in the second, drove in the first two runs and scored the last two in the 4-2 win.
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.
Twice this season, Stephen Piscotty has driven in seven RBIs in a game, doing it again last Monday at Cal. The preseason All-American and likely first round pick ranks second in the Pac-12 in RBIs with 37, while batting .301 on the year. He leads the Cardinal in slugging (.493) and is the co-leader in homers (4).
Reserves Get Chance to Shine
This past week saw three players step up and prove just out deep the bench is. Last Wednesday, LHP Garrett Hughes, who missed all of last season with a foot injury, won his first career game with 5.0 innings. On the year the lefthander has now pitched in five games, producing a 2.08 ERA. RHP Sahil Bloom, who had 12 career appearances coming into the season, has appeared in 11 games and produced a 2.08 ERA over 26.0 innings. Last Sunday, Brett Michael Doran drove in two runs and scored the last two in a 4-2 win over No. 10 Oregon. It was Doran's second and third career RBIs. With the injury to Kauppila, expect more story lines to develop.
Double Trouble at Second
Kenny Diekroeger enters the weekend second in the Pac-12 with 13 doubles to go along with his .305 average. After starting the season at short, a position he played all of last year, the versatile Diekroeger has played second for much of the 2012 season, fielding at a .975 clip. With three more assists, he will have reached the 100-assist plateau in each of his three seasons, playing third (freshman year), short (all three) and second (this year).
Hit Streak Ends for Ragira
First Baseman Brian Ragira, one of four players to start all 32 games this season, watched his 13-game hit streak end on Friday, in which hit .397 during the streak. Ragira enters the weekend batting .326 with 19 runs and 27 RBIs. Ragira and Austin Wilson lead the club with eight multi-RBI games.
Wilson Continues Impressive Campaign
Rightfielder Austin Wilson caught up to fellow outfielder Tyler Gaffney for the team lead in runs with 30, while batting .299 with 25 RBIs and a .487 slugging percentage. Wilson also is perfect on the base paths, at 5-for-5.
Troubles Multiply in Losses
Stanford has dropped 10 games this season, six by two runs or less. Overall in the team's nine losses, the Cardinal are hitting just .185, but pitching with a respectable 3.65 ERA. Seventeen of the team's 42 errors (.953 fielding) have come in those nine losses, leading to 17 unearned runs.
But When It's Going Good...
In the Cardinal's first 22 wins this year, the Cardinal are hitting .330 with a combined 2.78 ERA, outscoring opponents 192-71. They are also fielding at a .971 clip.
Pac-12 Leader in Strikeouts
Projected first round pick Mark Appel reached double digits in strikeouts for the fourth time this season, striking out 13 in a nine inning no-decision on Friday. He gave up one unearned run in the first as the game was lost in extra innings. Appel, who ranks third in the conference with a .205 opponent average, leads the Pac-12 with 68 punchouts. Saturday starter LHP Brett Mooneyham is second with 65 strikeouts.
Keeping it Close
Over the last two years, Mark Appel has dropped eight games, all which have been decided by three runs or less at the conclussion. Overall he is 10-8 over his two year's as the team's No. 1 starter.
Vanegas Reaching Potential
A.J. Vanegas put together another strong outing on Sunday, going 5.2 innings, while limiting No. 10 Oregon to two runs (one earned) on five hits. Since giving up five runs in his first two outings (3.1 IP) and knocking him from the weekend rotation, Vanegas has given up three earned runs over 28.2 innings and six games (1.26 ERA). In his last two weekend starts, he has limited Oregon and Washington to two earned runs over 11.2 innings (1.54 ERA).
Stanford has five wins in its last at-bat. On Sunday at Washington, an interference call at home followed by a double steal gave Stanford a 9-8 victory. 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.
Notables Off the Bench
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.
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.
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).