May 23, 2012
Watch the Live Pre-Game Show on TheCardinalchannel.com from 4:20 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. on Friday
Winners of eight in a row, No. 11-ranked Stanford (36-14, 17-10 Pac-12) welcomes back its 1987 and 1988 championship team, while hosting Cal (27-24, 10-17 Pac-12) on Friday at 5:30 p.m., Saturday at 1:15 p.m. and Sunday at 1:15 p.m. The Cardinal have won six-straight Pac-12 games and are now 17-10 after starting the conference season 4-7. Friday’s game will be tape delayed on Saturday and Sunday on Fox, Root and Comcast sports networks. Mark Appel is scheduled to throw on Friday with his Pac-12 leading 108 strikeouts.
In the Rankings
• Stanford’s moved up to No. 11 in the USA Today/Coaches poll, No. 12 in Collegiate Baseball and No. 14 in Baseball America. Stanford spent 12 weeks in the top-10 to open the season and in the top-five for the first 10 weeks. 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. In 12 of the last 25 seasons Stanford has been ranked at No. 1.
About the Golden Bears
(Bat: .294, ERA: 3.93, Field: .956)
• After a College World Series last year, Cal is 10-17 in the Pac-12 and 27-24 overall for David Esquer. The Bears have dropped five of the last seven heading into the weekend. All-conference infielder Tony Renda leads the club with a .365 average with a team-best five homers. Mitch Delfino leads the club with 35 RBIs. Chris Muse-Fisher (1.82) and Joey Donofrio (2.12) are the top arms out of the bullpen. Cal has dropped six Pac-12 series this year, defeating Utah, Washington and Washington State.
• Muddled. That best describes the final weekend of the regular season. Oregon (19-8) has a 1.0 game lead over Arizona (18-9) and is 2.0 games in front of 17-10 UCLA, Stanford and Arizona State. Teams play its in-state rivals this week, with ASU at Arizona, Oregon at Oregon State, USC at UCLA and WSU at Washington.
• The annual MLB draft (this year reduced to 40 rounds from 50) will take place on June 4-6. The first round and compensation picks will occur at 4 p.m. PT on the MLB Network. Rounds 2-15 will take occur on June 5 and rounds 16-40 will take place on June 6. The MLB Network will televise all the picks. The Cardinal have had 19 first round picks since 1987.
Field of 64
• The annual field of 64 will be announced on Memorial Day at 9 a.m. on ESPNU with the 16 regional sites announced the day before. Teams with an RPI in the top-20 are seriously considered as first round hosts of the four-team regionals. There are eight national seeds, which are guaranteed hosting duties in each of the first two rounds prior to Omaha. Stanford has reached 30 NCAA Regionals (27 under Marquess). Under Marquess they have hosted 14 Regionals since 1983.
Ticketing for the NCAA Regionals
• Should Stanford be selected to host, all-session tickets ($60-full price reserved, $40-full price general admission, $25-discounted general admission) will go on sale on Tuesday at 9 a.m. Single game tickets will go on sale the day of the game. Game times are scheduled for 1 p.m. and 6 p.m. on Friday, Saturday and Sunday and if necessary, Monday at 6 p.m. Tickets will be available online at gostanford.com, at the box office and at 1-800-STANFORD (232-8225). Season ticket holders should have already received a flyer to put down a reservation.
Cardinal Shutdown Utes in Sweep
• In the first three-game series between the two clubs, No. 12-ranked Stanford swept past the Utes in Salt Lake City, 4-0, 8-1 and 4-1 to move to within 2.0 games of first place in the Pac-12. In the opener, Mark Appel (9-1) pitched a four-hit shutout, striking out 13 en route to Collegiate Baseball and Pac-12 Pitcher of the Week honors. On Saturday, Brett Mooneyham (7-4) gave up one run on four hits over 8.1 innings, striking out 10 in the process. In the Sunday finale, Stephen Piscotty (4-2) limited the Utes to one run on seven hits, before A.J. Vanegas secured his fifth save with 2.2 scoreless frames. Eric Smith was 6-for-12 for the weekend.
Stewart Takes Care of Santa Clara
• Jake Stewart went 4-for-4 with four runs, two homers and a double to lead No. 11-ranked Stanford (37-14) to its eighth-straight win, defeating Santa Clara in its final regular season road game, 10-5. The Cardinal built a 5-1 lead, before SCU closed to 6-5. Four runs in the final two innings upped the advantage.
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 Memorial Day Weekend both championship teams will be honored on the field in a pregame ceremony on Saturday. That Cal team is coached by former shortstop David Esquer, who was the starting shortstop in 1987. Three members of those teams are now head coaches in Esquer, Ed Sprague (Pacific) and Mark Macholf (Gonzaga). Seventy-five players and their families are projected to be at the pre-game BBQ and ceremony.
Seniors Final Regular Season Weekend
• The Cardinal will honor its seniors on Sunday-- LHP Brett Mooneyham, DH/C Christian Griffiths, RHP Brian Busick, RHP A.J. Talt and RHP Elliott Byers. The team’s starting DH earlier this year, Griffiths has appeared in 53 career games; Mooneyham has a 16-14 and 4.21 career ERA in 40 starts; the most experienced reliever, Busick has a 8-3 record and 3.65 ERA over 44 career games; Byers has appeared in 13 games out of the bullpen over three seasons and Talt, who changed his delivery to a sidearm style, has appeared in 11 career games in two years.
• The team’s eight game win streak ties the longest win streak of the season. Stanford was also 8-0 to begin 2012... the team’s 23-5 record at home is the best home mark since the Cardinal went 29-5 in 2004... if the Cardinal reach the 40-win plateau, it will be the first time since 2008 (41-24). Stanford has won at least 40 games, 20 times.
In Stitches Since Tax Day
• Since Tax Day, the Cardinal are 15-5, winning four of five Pac-12 series and batting .297 over that stretch. Nine wins have come when the Cardinal have scored five or more runs. Over the team’s eight-game win streak, the Cardinal are hitting .320, but even more impressive, producing a 1.50 ERA and .227 opponent average, allowing three or less runs in seven of the games.
• Stephen Piscotty was named a finalist for the John Olerud Award, given to college baseball’s top two-way player. Teammate Mark Appel remains on the 25-man watch list for the college baseball’s pitcher of the year award, formerly the Roger Clemens Award, as well as the Dick Howser Trophy. He is also on the watch list for the Golden Spikes Award, given to the nation’s top player and presented by USA Baseball. In conjunction with the College Baseball Hall of Fame, the award for player and pitcher of the year, along with the Howser Trophy, Olerud (utility), Wallace (shortstop) and Bench (catcher) Awards and NCBWA Stopper of the Year, will all be presented at the “College Baseball Night of Champions” in Lubbock, Texas on June 30.
Appel Dominates the Pac-12
• Friday night starter Mark Appel (9-1) continues to lead the Pac-12 in strikeouts, picking up 13 in his four-hit shutout of Utah to earn his second Pac-12 Pitcher of the Week nod. The projected first round pick has struck out at least 10 in seven starts this year-- four against the top-10. In the Pac-12, he has been even better, going 7-0 with a 2.12 ERA in nine starts. His .215 overall opponent batting average ranks third in the Pac-12. The last 10-game winner for the Cardinal was Jeff Gilmore in 2005, a streak of 12-straight years of double-digit win-total arms. He was named the national pitcher of the week for last week’s performance.
Piscotty Can Do It All
• Since moving into the starting rotation two weeks ago at Washington State, Stephen Piscotty, the team’s left fielder and third baseman this season, has gvien up two earned runs in 12.2 innings for a 1.42 ERA in his first two career starts on the mound. Piscotty, also is the team’s leading hitter (.335) and RBI man (53), and has twice driven in seven this year. He has started every game in three seasons (161 and counting) in left, third, first, pitcher and designated hitter. Piscotty pitched for the first time this season on March 28, having previously pitched in fall ball, the Cape in 2011 and as a freshman in 2010. He was a pitcher and shortstop in high school.
Wilson Coming Into His Own
• Sophomore Austin Wilson, along with his incredible defensive plays (see below), leads the Cardinal in homers (9) and runs (52) while batting .294. He has started every game in right field.
More Defensive Wonders From Wilson
• Austin Wilson showed off his glove work on Sunday at Utah, using every inch of his 6’5” frame to track down a ball in the alley, stretch, diving and rolling to make the catch. On Sunday agasint Washington State, Austin Wilson threw out a player at the plate (the third time this year he has done that) and in the sixth inning made back-to-back defensive efforts for the highlight reel. He caught a ball at the warning track crashing into the wall in a two-run game in the sixth, and then three pitches later, chased another ball down in the gap to keep Stanford in front.
Vanegas Solid Out of the Pen
• A.J. Vanegas has picked up four of five saves since May 4, moving primarily to the bullpen after begin the team’s weekend start in four games this year. Since picking up his first save on April 22 against Arizona State, Vanegas has five saves in eight appearances and given up three earned runs over 19.0 innings for a 1.42 ERA.
• At the beginning of the year, Alex Blandino was a talented freshman out of Palo Alto. Fast forward to April, where he hit four home runs in a one week stretch to garner national player of the week honors, and the freshman infielder earned a permanent spot in the lineup. Overall Blandino has seven home runs and a .545 slugging percentage to go along with a .293 average and 35 RBIs. Consider those nubmers have come in just 35 games.
Getting Their Chance
• Freshman Dominic Jose and sophomore Danny Diekroeger have both earned time in the lineup. Diekroeger is hitting .343 in 28 games this season, moving into the everyday lineup at second base the last seven games. Jose in 17 games is batting .393.
Mooneyham Finds His Way
• After going 0-4 and giving up 19 runs over 27.0 innings over a span of five starts, Brett Mooneyham has gone 2-0 with an 0.59 ERA over two starts and 15.1 innings (one earned run). Overall the lefthander is 7-4 with a 3.30 ERA over 12 starts.
• Stanford has seven wins in its last at-bat, doing it against San Francisco with four runs in the bottom of the eighth at home against USF. Eric Smith’s RBI double started the four-run rally. Versus ASU, Alex Blandino’s two-out RBI single against the Sun Devils, on Saturday, gave the Cardinal the series en route to the sweep. 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.
• 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 versus Oregon. 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.
Notables Off the Bench
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 without a degree-- Drew Storen, Jason Castro, Michael Taylor and Cord Phelps are 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.
Could No. 1 Picks Make History?
• Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck was the No. 1 pick in the NFL draft after leading the Cardinal to back to back BCS Bowl berths. In the preseason, RHP Mark Appel was 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.
• 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).