Stanford can still climb to third in the Pac-10 standings, as it enters the final weekend trailing Washington and Oregon State (both 13-11) by 1.0 game for fourth. The Cardinal is also just 2.0 contests behind UCLA (14-10) for third. Stanford owns the tiebreaker edge over both the Huskies and Bruins, having won the three-game series against both clubs.
Most impressively, when compared with the top 64 teams in the latest NCAA D-I RPI (released May 19), Stanford has the 28th-best winning percentage in the country since March 25 at .658 (25-13). The Cardinal's run began after starting out the season 4-10 while playing the nation's 11th-toughest schedule (according to respected college baseball web site Boyd's World), while the 25-13 mark is second-best in the Pac-10 over the last two months (behind only Arizona State's 24-8 ledger).
Stanford is now 29-23 overall for a .558 winning percentage that is the third-best in the Pac-10 Conference, behind only Arizona State (.792) and Oregon State (.673).
Marquess, who has spent his entire 33-yearhead coaching career at the helm of his alma mater, has the most victories by any coach of any sport in Stanford history.
Winning Baseball: Stanford is assured of at least a .500 record for the 16th straight season.
This weekend's series against Oregon State will mark the final home games at Klein Field at Sunken Diamond for six Stanford seniors - OF Joey August, RHP Max Fearnow, LHP Blake Hancock, IF J.J. Jelmini, 1B Brent Milleville and OF Jeff Whitlow. The Class of 2009 has helped Stanford to a 131-102 record over the last four years, along with two NCAA Tournament appearances, a pair of Regional championships, a Super Regional title and a third place finish (tied) at the 2008 College World Series.
Stanford will look to win its fourth straight series this weekend, as the Cardinal took two of three games May 1-3 at Washington State, May 8-10 vs. New Mexico and last weekend at USC. The Cardinal has won six of its last eight series during its impressive 25-13 run.
Over the longer haul, Stanford is 20-7 (won-lost) in its last 27 weekend series, dating back to the final three sets of the 2007 campaign.
With a 29-23 record and three regular season games remaining, Stanford has assured itself of at least a .500 finish for the 16th straight season and for the 32nd time in 33 campaigns under head coach Mark Marquess. Stanford's next victory will allow the program to reach the 30-win plateau for the 30th time in Marquess' tenure. A pair of wins would clinch the Cardinal's 25th season of at least .500 baseball in Pac-10 play under its venerable skipper.
The Cardinal has also advanced to the NCAA Tournament in 25 of the last 28 years (since 1982), while advancing to the College World Series 14 times over that span. By virtue of that success, players on 28 of the last 30 four-year graduating classes at Stanford have played in Omaha.
Stanford at the Plate
Stanford has raised its team batting average .16 points since April 20 (from .267 to its current .283) by hitting at a .307 clip (231-for-753) in its last 21 games...the Cardinal has averaged 7.2 runs per game during that span (152 total)...Stanford's overall .283 mark ranks fifth in the Pac-10...four of the first five hitters in the regular Cardinal lineup are batting over .300 (leadoff batter Colin Walsh - .322; No. 2 hitter Joey August - .311; cleanup man Kellen Kiilsgaard - .316 and No. 5 hitter Brent Milleville - .324)...Stanford's third-place hitter, Toby Gerhart, has his average up to .295...Stanford is hitting .298 and scoring 7.2 runs per game at Klein Field at Sunken Diamond...the Cardinal has played long ball during Pac-10 games, ranking third in the league with 24 homers in conference-only games.
Stanford on the Mound
Stanford ranks third in the Pac-10 by holding opponents to a .252 batting average in conference play, behind only Arizona State (.233) and UCLA (.247)...11 different Cardinal pitchers have earned wins this season, including four freshmen and three sophomores...Stanford starters have worked at least 6.0 innings in six of the last nine weekend contests, including a pair of complete games and a third 8.0-inning effort.
Stanford With the Gloves
Stanford leads the Pac-10 and ranks sixth in the country with a .978 fielding percentage, having committed only 44 errors in 2,028 total chances...the Cardinal has a chance to set school records for best fielding percentage (currently .9773 by the 2005 club) and fewest errors (currently 51 by that same 2005 team)...Stanford has committed just six errors in its last 12 games, with a .988 fielding percentage (484 total chances)...1B Brent Milleville leads the Pac-10 with 448 putouts, while SS Jake Schlander is second with 156 assists...three of the 10 qualifying Pac-10 players with a perfect 1.000 fielding percentage in conference-only games wear the Stanford uniform: CF Joey August, C Zach Jones and 2B Colin Walsh.
Stanford Looking to Continue Pac-10 Roll
Stanford has won four of its last five Pac-10 games, a stretch starting with the second game of its May 1-3 series at Washington State. The Cardinal has a team batting average of .310 (54-for-174) in those contests, while scoring 31 runs (6.2 per game). Stanford's pitchers have forged a 4.09 ERA (20er, 44.0ip) during the 4-1 stretch.
Home Sweet Home
Stanford has won 14 of its past 20 games at Klein Field at Sunken Diamond, and is 18-11 (.621) overall at home this season. The Cardinal, which has won at least 17 home games for the 14th consecutive season, is 347-122 (.740) on The Farm since 1996.
Five is Fine
Stanford is 25-8 (.758) this season when scoring at least five runs in a game.
Stanford is a perfect 4-0 in extra inning games this season, remaining unbeaten with a 6-5, 13-inning victory May 12 at San Jose State. The Cardinal also beat Vanderbilt 6-5 in 10 frames on Opening Night (Feb. 20), posted a 6-5, 12-inning win March 22 at California and rallied for a 4-3, 10-inning triumph April 9 vs. UCLA.
First 14, Last 38
Following an 11-4 loss at California on March 23, Stanford's record stood at 4-10 (.400). Beginning with a 5-2 win March 25 at UC Davis, the Cardinal has gone 25-13 (.658). Not surprisingly, Stanford's offensive numbers, pitching stats and fielding marks are dramatically better in the last 38 games as compared to the first 14. Here is the breakdown:
FIRST 14 GAMES (4-10, .400)Saves: 7
Fielding Pct.: .980
Non-Conference Success - Stanford is 14-3 in Its Last 17 Outside of the Pac-10
Beginning with a March 25 victory at UC Davis, Stanford is 14-3 (.824) in its last 17 non-conference games. A May 6 loss at Santa Clara snapped the Cardinal's 10-game, non-conference winning streak - the club's longest since March 19-May 15, 2000.
Stanford is 10-2 in its last 12 home games against non-conference foes, while going 4-1 on the road. The Cardinal's success has featured a 3-0 mark against the Western Athletic Conference, 3-1 versus the Big West Conference, 2-1 against the Mountain West Conference, 4-1 against the West Coast Conference and a pair of wins against Pac-10 foe California in a non-conference setting.
In those 16 games, Stanford has a team batting average of .332 (210-for-633), while scoring 158 runs (9.3 runs per game).
Seven of Stanford's last 11 victories have been of the comeback variety, featuring Cardinal rallies from deficits of one, four, four, six, one, three and one run, respectively. The biggest comeback to date by runs was May 5, when Stanford erased a six-run, third-inning deficit of 7-1 en route to a 9-8 victory over visiting San Jose State. The most dramatic of comebacks, however, was May 13 at Klein Field, when the Cardinal trailed 13-10 entering the bottom of the ninth only to score four runs and walk-off with a 14-13 win over Pacific.
Stanford's recent string of comebacks began in the April 27 midweek game against visiting San Francisco, when the Cardinal turned a 4-3, seventh-inning deficit into a 12-4 victory. On April 29,Stanford trailed visiting Sacramento State 4-0 entering the bottom of the eighth; however, the Cardinal exploded for six runs in the frame and won 6-4. Stanford roared back from a 7-3, fifth-inning hole and an 8-7, eighth-inning defict May 2 to post a 12-9 win at Washington State.
Stanford now has 13 comeback victories this season, including winning four games in which it trailed by at least four runs at some point.
Setting the Table
Sophomore second baseman and Stanford leadoff hitter Colin Walsh reached base safely via hit, walk or hit-by-pitch in 34 straight games during a tremendous streak that ran from March 29 through May 17, before finally being snapped Tuesday night. The switch-hitting Walsh batted .373 (47-for-126) with a .518 on-base percentage during the stretch, while adding 36 runs scored, eight doubles, 18 RBI, 37 walks and one hit-by-pitch.
Going back even further, Walsh has reached base safely in 41 of the 43 games since he was permanently inserted into the leadoff spot on March 7. Walsh has hit at a .344 clip (55-for-160) during the stretch, with a .498 on-base mark.
In the NCAA Division I rankings released May 19, Walsh ranked fifth in the country with an average of 0.98 walks per game (now 0.96) and was eighth with a Pac-10 leading 49 walks overall. He ranks third in the Pac-10 with an overall .478 on-base percentage.
Walsh has drawn five more walks than Arizona State's Jason Kipnis (44), as the Stanford sophomore attempts to become the first Cardinal to lead the league in bases on balls since current Boston Red Sox infielder Jed Lowrie did so with 50 in 2004. Walsh is also five walks shy of entering Stanford's all-time, single-season top-10 (needs 54).
Hot August Nights in the Spring
Senior center fielder Joey August is enjoying one of the best stretches of his superb four-year career, batting .348 (23-for-66) with four doubles, a home run and eight RBI while hitting safely in 12 of his last 14 games (including eight multi-hit efforts).
Taken back even further, August has hit safely in 23 of his last 27 contests, going 42-for-120 (.350) with 19 RBI. This recent surge has lifted August to tied for sixth in the Pac-10 with a career-high 68 hits overall in 2009.
Throughout his four years on The Farm, August has been a picture of consistency at the plate. Stanford's active leader in batting average and hits, he owns a career .316 batting average (217-for-687) in 194 games (155 starts). He is also a lifetime .326 hitter (91-for-279) in 77 career Pac-10 contests.
Heavy in the Middle
Stanford has averaged 7.1 runs per game (271 total) while going 25-13 (.658) over its last 38 contests. A big reason behind the offensive resurgence has been the middle of its order, which has primarily consisted of LF Toby Gerhart batting third, RF Kellen Kiilsgaard hitting cleanup and 1B Brent Milleville batting fifth.
Beginning March 25, the trio of Gerhart, Kiilsgaard and Milleville is a combined 144-for-427 (.337) with 97 runs, 25 doubles, three triples, 25 home runs and 113 RBI. Gerhart is batting .331 (47-for-142) with 10 doubles, two triples, seven homers and 31 RBI. Kiilsgaard has 47 hits in 147 at-bats (.320) with 10 doubles, one triple, four homers and 33 RBI. Milleville is hitting at a .362 clip (50-for-138) with five doubles, 14 homers and 49 RBI.
Gerhart Picking up the Pace
Junior left fielder Toby Gerhart has at least one RBI in eight of his last 11 games, while driving in 14 runs total during the span (beginning May 5). Gerhart has gone 16-for-43 (.372) with four doubles and two home runs, while also adding a pair of sacrifice flies. He also has eight hits in 15 at-bats with runners in scoring position (.533) during the hot stretch.
Gerhart has been at his best when it matters most - in conference play. He is a .323 hitter (30-for-93) against Pac-10 pitching, while he ranks among the league leaders in conference-only games for total bases (t-6th - 53), sacrifice flies (t-7th - 2), doubles (t-8th - 7), triples (t-8th - 2), runs (t-9th - 20), slugging percentage (10th - .570) and hits (t-10th - 30).
Kellen in the Clutch
A year after getting just three at-bats, sophomore right fielder Kellen Kiilsgaard has posted an excellent 2009 campaign which has seen him emerge as one of Stanford's top clutch performers. He enters the final weekend of the regular season tied for eighth in the Pac-10 with 45 RBI, while he is batting .316 (60-for-190) with a team-high 13 doubles (tied), one triple and nine home runs. The left-handed slugger has also logged a .955 OPS, combining a .537 slugging percentage with a .418 on-base mark.
Kiilsgaard's season has been marked by big moments. He lifted the Cardinal to a pair of midweek victories May 12 and 13 with consecutive game-winning hits, including perhaps the most memorable at-bat of Stanford's 2009 campaign in the latter contest. After Stanford had cut a 13-10 deficit entering the bottom of the ninth against Pacific to 13-12, Kiilsgaard came to the plate with the bases loaded and two out. After falling behind 1-2, he worked the count even before lining a sharp single into left-center field that plated a pair of runners and gave Stanford the 14-13, walk-off win. The previous night at San Jose State, Kiilsgaard delivered a two-out, RBI-single in the ninth that put Stanford ahead 5-4 and, with the game tied again in the 13th, his run-scoring single proved the difference in a 6-5 Cardinal triumph.
Kiilsgaard also carried Stanford to a 6-5, 12-inning win March 22 at California when he homered to tie the game in the ninth, homered again in the 11th to give the Cardinal a brief lead before eventually plating the winning run with a bases-loaded walk in the 12th. His two-out, eighth-inning, RBI-single snapped a tie and lifted Stanford to a 6-5 win over Santa Clara April 1, while he fell just a homer shy of the cycle while driving in six runs in a 14-4 victory over Cal April 13.
Milly is Mashing
Senior first baseman Brent Milleville has been among the Pac-10's top hitters over the last two months (beginning March 25), and has been even hotter as of late. Beginning with Stanford's May 2 win at Washington State, he is 19-for-50 (.380) with five homers and 23 RBI over his last 13 contests. The slugger is also batting .366 (41-for-112) with 11 homers and 42 RBI in his last 29 outings, and was named the Pac-10 Player of the Week for May 4-10.
Milleville leads the club with a career-high 14 homers to tie for fourth in the Pac-10, while he ranks fourth in the conference with 52 RBI and seventh with a .601 slugging percentage. He is third in conference-only games with seven home runs, and seventh with a .613 slugging mark in those contests.
Clowe in the Flow
Sophomore designated hitter and catcher Ben Clowe has found his swing as of late, going 14-for-42 (.333) with two doubles, three home runs and six RBI in his last 13 games. After batting .152 prior to Stanford's break for winter quarter finals, he has gone 32-for-101 (.317) since.
I'll Do The Running Around Here
Sophomore Zach Jones, who has started the last 33 games at catcher (and 40 overall behind the dish, in addition to 12 at third base), has thrown out an excellent 42.6 percent of attempted base stealers (23 of 54). Jones leads the Pac-10 by nailing 23 would-be base thieves, while he has also picked off five runners. Last weekend at USC, the Stanford backstop threw out four of five Trojan runners attempting to steal, while picking off a pair.
On the flip side, Jones has made a habit of making life rough on opposing catchers. After leading Stanford with 11 stolen bases as a freshman in 2008, he paces the Cardinal with 18 thefts in 2009 to rank second in the Pac-10. He has been caught just four times this season, while he has been successful on 15 of his last 16 theft attempts. Jones' 18 steals are the most by a Stanford player since Brian Hall also swiped 18 in 2003, while no Cardinal player has more since 1996 (Joe Kilburg - 23).
Stanford has posted a 25-15 (.625) record in Jones' starts behind the plate.
Gaylord Getting it Done
Junior Adam Gaylord has started 36 of Stanford's last 37 games at third base, and has been a consistent performer for the Cardinal. He has hit safely in 26 of those 36 contests, batting .275 (36-for-131) with 21 runs, nine doubles, two home runs and 21 RBI.
A year after getting just one hit and one RBI in very limited action, Gaylord is batting .280 overall with 42 hits and 25 RBI as a key component of the 2009 Cardinal. In Pac-10 only games, the fundamentally sound player is tied for fourth with six sacrifice bunts and tied for seventh with a pair of sacrifice flies.
Iron Man Schlander Reaches Century Mark
Sophomore shortstop Jake Schlander has started each of Stanford's 119 games during his collegiate career, reaching the century mark with the Cardinal's 11-7 victory over California April 22. One of the conference's top defensive shortstops, Schlander has been errorless in 12 straight games and 31 of his last 33 contests. He has an overall .975 fielding percentage, while ranking second in the Pac-10 with 156 assists.
Schlander has also been on an offensive surge of late, going 12-for-35 (.343) with four doubles and eight RBI in his last 10 games.
In 2008, Schlander became the first Stanford freshman to start every game at shortstop since games played became an officially kept statistic in 1960. The Scottsdale, Ariz. native was the first Cardinal rookie to start each contest at any position since current San Diego Padres outfielder Jody Gerut did so in 1996.
Senior outfielder Jeff Whitlow has come alive over the last two weeks, going 8-for-22 (.364) with seven runs scored, two doubles, one triple, one home run and seven RBI in his last seven games. In fact, he hit for the cycle in four consecutive at-bats spread out over three games. Whitlow connected for a pinch-homer last May 9 vs. New Mexico, singled and doubled (to start the game-winning rally) May 12 at San Jose State, then tripled in his first at-bat May 13 against Pacific. He also started the Cardinal's four-run, ninth-inning rally against the Tigers by drawing a leadoff walk.
Although Stanford's scheduled Friday and Saturday starters - RHP Jordan Pries and LHP Brett Mooneyham - are both freshmen, the duo has proven to be among the nation's toughest pitchers to hit. Mooneyham ranks 14th among all NCAA Division I pitchers by yielding just 6.46 hits per 9.0 innings (44h, 61.1ip), while Pries is 29th in the same category at 7.04 (54h, 69.0ip). Mooneyham's staff-best .214 opponents' batting average (44-for-206) ranks fifth in the Pac-10, while Pries is sixth with a .224 mark (54-for-243).
Anchored by closer Drew Storen (6-1, seven saves, 3.83 ERA), Stanford's bullpen has helped shorten games this year. The Cardinal is a perfect 23-0 when leading after 8.0 innings, while also going 19-1 when leading after 7.0 frames. Taken back another inning, Stanford is 19-3 when leading after 6.0 innings.
Sophomore RHP Drew Storen has continued to demonstrate the electric stuff that made him a freshman All-American in 2008, as he has compiled 58 strikeouts in just 40.0 innings of work - an average of 13.05 punchouts per 9.0 innings. Even more impressive, Storen has issued just eight walks, for a 7.3:1 strikeout-to-walk ratio. Stanford's closer has also yielded just a .219 average against (33-for-151).
Storen is tied for sixth in the Pac-10 (and is 70th in the nation) with seven saves, while tying for seventh in the conference for wins with a 6-1 record. The right-hander has forged a 3.83 ERA (17er, 40.0ip) in a staff-high 27 appearances (t-4th Pac-10). Storen currently leads the club in wins (tied) and saves, a feat no Stanford pitcher has accomplished since future major leaguer Jeff Ballard in 1984 (co-lead with eight wins, while he was tops with three saves).
Storen has a career 4.7:1 strikeout-to-walk ratio, fanning 108 against 23 free passes in 96.1 innings pitched. His 15 career saves match Tony Cogan (1996-99) and Tom Reimers (1994-96) for the fifth-most in Stanford history. On April 10, the draft-eligible sophomore was named the lone relief pitcher on ESPN.com's Mid-season Draft Prospect All-Star team.
Marshall-ing in Zeroes
Sophomore Michael Marshall has made his first two starts of the season (and just the second and third of his career) over his last two starts, and has responded by allowing just three runs in 9.1 innings. The right-hander tossed 5.0-innings of three-hit, shutout ball May 12 at San Jose State, and was effective into the fifth inning last Sunday at USC before tiring and allowing two of his three runs in that frame.
Marshall has fashioned a 2.42 ERA (6er, 22.1ip) in his last 12 appearances overall, including the two starts.
Fearnow Providing Relief
Senior right-hander Max Fearnow has been very impressive since moving to the Stanford bullpen, forging a 3.52 ERA (15er, 38.1ip) over 17 relief outings. He has allowed just 35 hits in 145 at-bats (.241), with 16 walks and 27 strikeouts.
Fearnow improved to 4-1 out of the Cardinal `pen by earning an impressive win in Stanford's 9-4 victory may 10 against New Mexico. Forced into action with little warning after Jeffrey Inman departed due to injury after facing only the leadoff batter, Fearnow responded by working a career-best 5.2 innings. He also limited a Lobos team that led the country in batting average and hits to three runs on six hits, while the Cardinal offense put nine on the board for the win.
Thompson Tossing Blanks
Junior right-hander Kyle Thompson has worked 4.2-scoreless innings over his last four relief outings. He pitched 2.0 frames in Stanford's 13-inning win May 12 at San Jose State, and tossed a perfect ninth to earn the win in the Cardinal's walk-off, 14-13 victory over Pacific May 13.
Inman Named to Golden Spikes Award Watch List; Third-Team All-America
Junior right-handed pitcher Jeffrey Inman was been named by USA Baseball as one of 50 players on the preseason Golden Spikes Award Watch List, while he was also a preseason third-team All-America selection by Baseball America.
Storen Named to NCBWA Stopper of the Year Watch List
Stanford sophomore right-hander Drew Storen was one of 40 players selected to the initial watch list for the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association Stopper of the Year Award. The award is in its fifth season, and honors the top relief pitcher in NCAA Division I baseball.
From the Gridiron to the Diamond
Junior OF Toby Gerhart is the latest in a proud Stanford tradition of two-sport athletes. During the 2008 football season, the running back established Stanford's single-season rushing record with 1,136 yards. The bruising runner averaged 5.4 yards per carry (210 attempts), while scoring 15 rushing touchdowns - good for second in school history.
Stanford Among the All-Time Best
Currently in its 116th season of college baseball, Stanford has posted the fifth-most wins of any NCAA Division I program with a 2,588-1,625-34 (.613) all-time record. That ledger includes 128 NCAA Tournament wins over 28 appearances, tied for the sixth-most all-time.
Leading the Pac
Since the Pac-10 disbanded the two-division system and realigned prior to the 1999 season, Stanford leads all conference teams with 460 wins, four league titles and six trips to the College World Series.
Seven Former Stanford Players on 2009 MLB Opening Day Rosters
Continuing the proud tradition of Stanford baseball at the highest level, seven former Cardinal players are on Opening Day 25-man Major League Baseball rosters - infielder Eric Bruntlett (Philadelphia Phillies), outfielder Chris Carter (Boston Red Sox), first baseman Ryan Garko (Cleveland Indians), outfielder Jody Gerut (San Diego Padres), pitcher Jeremy Guthrie (Baltimore Orioles), infielder Jed Lowrie (Boston Red Sox) and outfielder Carlos Quentin (Chicago White Sox).
Carter and Lowrie experienced the pomp and circumstance of Opening Day for the first time, while Guthrie earned a pitcher's top regular season honor - the Opening Day start for Baltimore.