No. 12-ranked Stanford (41-16) winners of 12 of its last 14, head across the country to No. 3 Florida State (46-15) for the program’s ninth Super Regional. It is the 31st NCAA Tournament overall (28th under Marquess). Stanford has reached 16 College World Series (14 under Marquess). Stanford features two first round picks in Mark Appel (No. 8) and Stephen Piscotty (No. 36). The Cardinal swept its own Regional, as did Florida State.
On the Call Mike Patrick and Nomar Garciapara will call the games for ESPN2 with games times on Friday at 4 p.m. PT, Saturday at 3 p.m. PT and Sunday at 4 p.m. PT in the best two-out of three-series.
About the Seminoles • Making its fifth-straight Super Regional, the Seminoles (46-15) come in with two players hitting near .400 in Jayce Boyd (.390) and first round pick James Ramsey (.385). Ramsey also has 55 RBIs, 72 runs and 13 homers, while Boyd has 21 doubles. FSU is averaging 6.5 runs per game, while Stanford is averaging a smidge better at 6.7 runs per game. The series also features two of the winningest coaches in Mark Marquess (1463 wins ) and Mike Martin (1719). On the mound, clsoer Robert Benincasa has a 1.29 ERA and 15 saves.
In the Rankings • Stanford enters the post-season No. 12 in the USA Today poll, No. 19 in Baseball America and No. 13 in Collegiate Baseball. 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.
Drafting the Cardinal • Over the first two days of the MLB Draft, Stanford had five players selected--- first rounders, Mark Appel (No. 8 to the Pirates) and Stephen Piscotty No. 36 to Cardinals) followed by third rounder Brett Mooneyham (Nationals, No. 111), four roudner Kenny Diekroeger (No. 133, Royals), and ninth rounder Jake Stewart (No. 304, Tigers).
Awards Season • Stephen Piscotty was named one of five finalists for the John Olerud Award, given to college baseball’s top two-way player. Mark Appel is one of three finalists for the Golden Spikes Award and is on the radar of the NCBWA’s pitcher of the year award as well as the Dick Howser Trophy. 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.
Wild Regional • The top-seeded Cardinal (41-16) survived two close games with second-seeded Pepperdine to advance to its ninth Super Regional. The Regional not only saw a triple play (by Michigan State’s Anthony Cheky against Fresno State; but a game-tying three-run wild pitch and error (by Stanford in the Saturday game versus Pepperdine) and a go-ahead elimination game grand slam (by Pepperdine’s Matt Forgatch to eliminate FSU on Sunday). In the opener, Mark Appel (10-1) in his final start before the draft, struck out 11 and pitched a four-hitter over Fresno State. Saturday’s game saw Pepperdine scored four runs against Brett Mooneyham in the third, before Dean McArdle (3.0) and A.J. Vanegas (4-0, 3.2) pitched 6.2 scoreless innings. Vanegas struck out a career-high eight, including the side in the ninth. The three-run wild pitch tied the game at 4-4 in the sixth, before Kenny Diekroeger’s go-ahead double in the eighth won it. On Sunday Stephen Piscotty (4-2) moved to 4-0 as a starter after the Cardinal held on for the 8-7 win. Again down by four, Stanford chipped away, before a five-run fourth put the Cardinal up 8-4. Alex Blandino’s eighth homer of the year, a three-run shot, capped the rally. The Waves then scored three against Piscotty in the seventh, before Sahil Bloom recorded his second career save with 2.2 scoreless innings.
Numbers in the NCAA Tournament • Stanford in eight previous Super Regionals is 12-6 and has an overall post-season record of 137-67 in its 31 NCAA appearances. Since the new format was instituted in 1999, the Cardinal beat USC (2-0, 1999), Nebraska (2-1, 2000), South Carolina (2-1, 2001), USC (2-0, 2002), Long Beach State (2-0, 2003) and CS Fullerton (2-0, 2008) and lost at Oregon State (0-2, 2006) and at North Carolina (0-2, 2011). Stanford has made 16 College World Series, making 14 under Mark Marquess. Marquess has an NCAA Tournament record of 123-59.
Cape Cod Connection • Summer League teammates in the Cape Cod League will face off in the Super Regional. Mark Appel, A.J. Vanegas and Stephen Piscotty were teammates Seminoles Robert Benincasa and Justin Ramsey this past summer.
All-American Cardinal • RHP Mark Appel added to his mantel by being named a first team All-American by Collegiate Baseball. Appel went 9-1 with a Pac-12 leading 116 strikeouts during the regular season. SS Kenny Diekroeger was named a second team Academic All-American as he carries a 3.59 cumulative GPA in management, science and engineering.
All-Pac-12 Honors • RHP Mark Appel and 3B Stephen Piscotty were each named first team All-Pac-12. Piscotty was named a first team selection for the second year and third overall (he was an honorable mention pick as a freshman). Austin Wilson and Brian Ragira were named honorable mention for the second-straight year. Eric Smith and Alex Blandino were honorable mention picks for the first time.
Friday Night Lights • First round pick RHP Mark Appel has struck out at least 10 in seven starts this season, four against top-10 foes including a career-best 14 against No. 4 Rice earlier this year. His only blemish was a March loss to Fresno State, which he avenged in the Regional with a four-hitter with 11 strikeouts in an 9-1 win. He is the first 10-game winner for Stanford since Jeff Gilmore in 2005.
The Cal Ripken of Stanford • Stephen Piscotty has played every game in his Stanford career-- 170 and counting, as the first round pick leads the club in RBIs with 55, while batting .318. The list of positions has increased from first base and left as a freshman to third base as a sophomore All-Pac-10 pick, to left field, third and now pitcher as an All-Pac-10 junior. As a weekend starter the last four weekends he is 4-0 with a 3.12 ERA. He is 6-2 with a 3.05 ERA in 12 games overall, having not gotten in a game on the mound until March 28.
Bullpen Relief • Both former starters, A.J. Vanegas (4-0, 2.24 ERA) and Dean McArdle (3-1, 3.41) have filled many roles in their years on the mound for the Cardinal. Vanegas has been the team’s closer since May, converting four of his five saves. McArdle has a 1.75 ERA over the last 12 games, while Vanegas has a 1.32 ERA over the last nine.
Gaffney Makes Things Happen • Outfielder Tyler Gaffney seems to be always around when the unique play occurs. At last weekend’s Regional, he was at the plate versus Pepperdine, when a bases clearing three-run wild pitch and error tied the game at 2-2 (the third run scored when the Wave catcher threw off an unsuspecting Cardinal runner who had already scored). At Washington, he got in run-down between third and home, resulting in a run and an interference call. At the 2011 Regional at Fullerton, his trap of a ball in a 1-0 game, was called out. His freshman year, at UCLA, after slipping around third, he nearly lept the catcher, getting tagged out by his batting glove.
Powerful Cardinal • Stanford enters the Super Regional at Florida State with a combined 46 homers paced by Austin Wilson’s nine, Alex Blandino’s eight and Jake Stewart’s seven.
Scoring in Bunches • Thirty of the Cardinal’s wins this year have come when the Cardinal have scored six or more runs. Stanford posted 35 runs against Vanderbilt, another 34 against Arizona State and 28 against Texas.
The Great Blandino • Following another long-ball in the NCAA Regional against Pepperdine-- a three-run shot in the championship game, Palo Alto freshman Alex Blandino is making the most of his opportunities for his hometown team. Bladnino is hitting .295 with 39 RBIs and a .534 slugging percentage. Thirty-eight of his starts have come after the team’s finals break starting in late March after playing in just two games the first six weeks of the season.
Hitting Their Strides • Three players enter the Super Regional on extended hit streaks in Danny Diekroeger (11 games), Jake Stewart (10) and Alex Blandino (10). Brian Ragira has the team’s longest hit streak this year at 13 games, ending in April. Eric Smith had his own 12-game hit streak. The two longest among this current group are Tyler Gaffney and Kenny Diekroeger. Gaffney’s two-year hit streak of 24 games ended in February, while Diekroeger had a 23-game hit streak as a freshman.
Newcomers to the Mix • Following the injury to SS Lonnie Kauppila during the Oregon series, the Cardinal had to shuffle its deck. Add to that a few slumps in the outfield and freshman Dominic Jose (.385 in eight starts and 19 games) and sophomore infielders Danny Diekroeger (.360 in 20 starts) and Brett Michael Doran (.246 in 17 starts) have played as of late.
Versus the Regional Field • The Cardinal went 14-10 against the Regional field during the regular season, including series wins over Vandy (3-0), Rice (2-1), Fresno State (2-1), Arizona State (3-0), UCLA (2-1) and series losses to Arizona (0-3), Oregon (1-2) and Oregon State (1-2).
Game-Winners • 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. 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.
Kauppila Out • 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
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.
Two-Sport Tradition • 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 outfielder 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), Mike Dotterer (only Stanford four-year letterman in football and baseball and won Super Bowl ring with Raiders) and John Lynch (QB and RHP).
GAMES BEGIN FRIDAY, JUNE 8 – All Times are Eastern Stony Brook (50-12) at No. 7 LSU (46-16) Noon (ESPN2HD), Noon (ESPN2HD), 1 p.m. (ESPN2HD)
St. John’s (NY) (40-21) at Arizona (41-17) 3 p.m. (ESPN2HD), 3 p.m. (ESPN2HD), 4 p.m. (ESPN2HD)
Stanford (41-16) at No. 3 Florida St. (46-15) 7 p.m. (ESPN2HD), 6 p.m. (ESPN2HD), 7 p.m. (ESPN2HD)