Baseball Hosts Rice to Open up 2010 Campaign

Feb. 15, 2010


Upcoming Series
#4 RICE (0-0) vs. #25 STANFORD (0-0)
Sunken Diamond | Stanford, CA

Friday, February 19 | 5:30 p.m. | KZSU 90.1 AM
tba, Rice vs. L-Mooneyham, STAN (0-0, 0.00)

Saturday, February 20 | 1:00 p.m. | KZSU 90.1 AM
tba, Rice vs. R-Pries, STAN (0-0, 0.00)

Sunday, February 21 | 1:00 p.m. | KZSU 90.1 AM
tba, Rice vs. L-Snodgress, STAN (0-0, 0.00)

ON DECK: Tuesday vs. Pacific (5:30), Feb. 26-28 at Texas

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• Rice (0-0) and Stanford (0-0) open up with a three-game series at Sunken Diamond from February 19 to 21, with games times at 5:30 p.m. on Friday and Saturday and Sunday at 1 p.m. Starting assignments for the Cardinal for the weekend are LHP Brett Mooneyham (0-0, 0.00), RHP Jordan Pries (0-0, 0.00) and RHP Scott Snodgress (0-0, 0.00). Rice as of Monday has not announced a rotation. Since 2002, the Cardinal have won seven of the last eight opening series. The Cardinal remain home on Tuesday, February 23 to host Ed Sprague’s Pacific Tigers. All home games this year will be webcast and gametracker will provide live at-bat by at-bat updates through gostanford.com.

In the Dugouts
• Rice University is led by Wayne Graham, who has spent the last 18 years with the Owls winning over 800 games. Stanford is coached my alum Mark Marquess, who is in his 34th year at Stanford, winning over 1500 games. The two programs have combined for 23 College World Series appearances.

About the Owls (0-0)
Team History:
15 NCAAs, 1 national title, 9 Major Leaguers in 2009
Notable Major Leaguers: Lance Berkman, Norm Charlton

• The Owls are ranked fourth (USA Today), fifth (Baseball America) or 11th (Collegiate Baseball), depending on the poll. The Owls welcome back eight starters from a 43-18 team, including National Freshman of the Year Anthony Rendon (.388 average, .702 slugging). Rice has won 14 consecutive conference titles, spreading over three conferences.

Series Notes

• This will be just the third meeting between the two teams, following the 1991 series at Stanford (in which the Cardinal won all three) and the 2003 CWS (Rice won two of three). Stanford leads the all-time series 4-2. Their last meeting came in the inaugeral best-of-three CWS National Championship game, when the Owls beat the the Ryan Garko and Carlos Quentin led Stanford team in game one and game three for their first and only national title. Game scores were Rice 4-3 in 10 innings, Stanford 8-3, Rice 14-2.

Out of Left Field

• Rice Coach Wayne Graham wears No. 37, honoring two of his heroes, Casey Stengal, his manager with the Mets and Doak Walker, the star running back at SMU.

In the Rankings
• The Cardinal lead off the season ranked No. 25 in the USA Today/Coaches Poll and No. 26 in Collegiate Baseball’s preseason poll. Five opponents rank in the top-25, paced by No. 1 Texas and No. 4 Rice. Arizona State, UCLA and Oregon State are all ranked in the top-25 in the preseason amongst Pac-10 teams.

Leading Off
• The Cardinal return five starters from last year’s club that won 30 games (30-25), but were left outside the field of 64 and the NCAA Regional Tournament.
• The team’s double play combo of Jake Schlander at short and Colin Walsh at second base return for their third season together. Schlander was the Pac-10’s Defensive Player of the Year, Walsh is the team’s top returning hitter (.320). Both are listed as the conference’s top defensive players at their respective positions by Baseball America.
• One of the West Coast’s top defensive catchers, Zach Jones, returns behind the dish having thrown out 24-of-60 (60%) would-be base stealers in 2009.
• The top of the weekend rotation will be anchored by sophomores Brett Mooneyham (6-3, 4.14) and Jordan Pries (4-4, 4.62). The freshmen duo combined for 22 starts last year.
• The Cardinal look to replace first round pick Drew Storen, who led the team in wins (7), ERA (3.80) and saves (7) last year. Michael Marshall (21 appearances, 4.10 ERA) and Alex Pracher (20, 5.53 ERA) are the team’s most experience relievers.
• Led by freshmen Kenny Diekroeger, Stephen Piscotty, Jake Stewart and Mark Appel, the Cardinal’s recruiting class was rated No. 2 by Baseball America.

Tickets Available

• Tickets for 32 of the team’s home games are available at www.gostanford.com or by calling 1-800-STANFORD. Three-game series include: Rice, UC Santa Barbara and Pepperdine. The schedule also includes non-conference weekday series with area teams, Pacific, Cal, San Francisco, UC Davis, Saint Mary’s, San Jose State and Santa Clara. The Pac-10 breakdown for home games is as follows: (USC, Mar. 26-28, Oregon, Apr. 9-11, Cal, Apr. 23-25, Washington State, May 14-16, Arizona State, May 28-30). There will also be an exhibition game with Rikkyo Japan on March 2 at Sunken Diamond. Rikkyo’s head coach is Masahisa Sakaguchi, who has also coached with the Japanese National Team.

Glad to See Ya
•  The Texas series continues a series dating back to 2006, while the Cardinal will host Rice (1991), UC Santa Barbara (1997) and Pepperdine (1992) for the first time in three-game series since the 1990’s. The three-game series at Long Beach State, long-time playoff rivals, will be the first three-game series between the two California programs.

Veteran Middle
• Veteran catcher Zach Jones (119 games), shortstop Jake Schlander (122) and second baseman Colin Walsh (87) make up an experienced middle of the diamond. Their strength also lies in their defense, as rookie outfielder Jake Stewart is slated to patrol centerfield as a top athlete out of Colorado.

Gerhart Enters Draft... to the NFL

• Two-sport standout Toby Gerhart, following his Heisman Trophy runner-up performance on the gridiron has withdrawn from the university to focus on the upcoming NFL Draft. Gerhart hit .288 last year with seven home runs and 36 RBIs. He twice set the school-record for rushing over the past two years and this year led the nation in rushing touchdowns (28), while running for 1,871 yards (143.9 yards per game). Despite winning the Doak Walker Award, for the nation’s top running back, he finished 28 points behind Alabama’s own back, Mark Ingram for the Heisman.

Cardinal Picked Fourth by Pac-10 Coaches
• Stanford Baseball was picked to finish fourth in the preseason Pacific 10 Conference coaches poll. The Cardinal received 59 points, behind three-time defending champion, Arizona State (78 points and 7 first place votes), Oregon State (67, 2) and UCLA. The rest of the Pac-10 preseason picks are: Arizona (fifth), Washington State, Cal, USC, Washington and Oregon.

Pitching Dominates Conference Race
• The Pacific-10 Conference features four teams ranked in various polls in the top-25, led by Arizona State and followed by Oregon State, UCLA and Stanford. In a pitching rich conference race, Arizona State’s Josh Spence, UCLA’s Gerrit Cole and Trevor Bauer, Oregon State’s Kevin Rhoderick and Sam Gaviglio are all preseason All-Americans in Collegiate Baseball or Baseball America.

Preseason All-Conference
• Outfielder Kellen Kiilsgaard, who hit .313 last year and Brett Mooneyham, who went 6-3 as the team’s top starter, were picked by Baseball America as pre-season all-conference selections. Kiilsgaard was a first team pick a year ago, while SS Jake Schlander and 2B Colin Walsh also made the all-conference team. Mooneyham, only a sophomore, is slated as the second-best prospect in the 2011 draft by Baseball America in the conference. Kiilsgaard and Colin Walsh are both preseason all-conference picks by Rivals.com

Don’t Run on Them
• According to a survey by Baseball America, shortstop Jake Schlander, the Pac-10’s Defensive Player of the Year, is again the best defensive shortstop in the conference. Combo mate, second baseman Colin Walsh is noted as the best defensive second baseman. Schlander is also noted as the infielder with the best arm. Kellen Kiilsgaard is noted as the outfielder with the best arm and the best defensive outfielder. Zach Jones, who was not listed, threw out 40 percent of would-be base stealers last year.

Youngsters Gain Notice
• Baseball America rated Stanford’s incoming baseball class second nationally for recruiting coordinator Dean Stotz and head coach Mark Marquess, both in their 34th years at Stanford. The publication noted that “Stanford’s class is rich with players who have the potential to be major league stars if everything breaks right; the key for the Cardinal will be developing those talents on an accelerated timetable.” The top two incoming players are infielder Kenny Diekroeger, out of Woodside, Calif., and outfielder Jake Stewart, out of Ft. Collins, Colo. Collegiate Baseball rated the class 10th-best.

Mooneyham Getting Noticed

• Sophomore LHP Brett Mooneyham has begun to get noticed across the nation following freshman All-American honors in 2009. He is listed as one of three preseason all-conference candidates by Baseball America in a pitching rich Pac-10, and according to former BA writer Allan Simpson, now a part of pgcrosschecker.com, he is the 21st overall collegiate prospect for the 2011 draft. Baseball America lists Mooneyham as the 15th-best sophomore in the country.

Young Trio Garner Best in the Conference
• Freshmen Kenny Diekroeger (1st), Jake Stewart (5th) and Mark Appel (7th) are rated by Baseball America as three of the top newcomers in the Pac-10 Conference according to their preseason publication. Stewart is listed as the conference’s best athlete. The trio are also rated as the fourth, sixth and 17th-best freshmen in the country.

Nice Summer Away from the Farm
• Three Stanford baseball players, outfielder Kellen Kiilsgaard and pitchers Alex Pracher and Scott Snodgress, were named to Baseball America’s annual list of top prospects across various summer leagues. Snodgress and Kiilsgaard were rated as the No. 4 and No. 7 best prospects in the Alaska Summer League, while Pracher was the No. 7-best prospect in the Atlantic Collegiate League. Snodgress (Yucaipa, Calif.), pitching for the Peninsula Oilers, went 2-3 with a 2.93 ERA over 10 games and eight starts, striking out 55 over 43.0 innings. For Kiilsgaard (Auburn, Wash.), he batted .295 over 39 starts, with 24 runs and 26 RBIs. He also stole nine bases. Pracher (Marlton, N.J.) produced an 0.82 ERA over five games and three starts, going 3-1 with 25 strikeouts over 22.0 innings.

Two-Sport Tradition
• Including Heisman runner-up Toby Gerhart (running back and outfielder), current head coach Mark Marquess (who was a quarterback, defensive back and punt returner) and NFL Hall of Famer John Elway (and outfielder and quarterback), the 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 Centruy. That list has included: Major League pitcher Joe Borchard (also a QB), NFL and MLB player Chad Hutchinson (RHP and QB), Brian Johnson (QB) and John Lynch (QB and RHP). Backup running back Tyler Gaffney, a freshman outfielder on the team, is the latest two-sport athlete.

Quentin One of Decade’s Best

• Stanford Major Leaguer Carlos Quentin was named one of Baseball America’s players of the decade for the first 10 years of the new century, joining four other Pac-10 players on the national publication’s look back at the decade. A four-year Major Leaguer with the Diamondbacks and White Sox, Quentin starred for the Cardinal from 2001 to 2003 hitting .350 with 170 RBIs and 35 homers. Quentin hit .396 as a junior in 2003 with 24 doubles, 12 homers and 64 RBIs leading Stanford to the CWS Championship Game against Rice. Other Pac-10 players included: UCLA second baseman Chase Utley, Oregon State outfielder Jacoby Ellsbury, USC pitcher Mark Prior and Washington pitcher Tim Lincecum.

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