Cardinal Head to No. 3 Texas For Three

Feb. 25, 2010

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Upcoming Series
• No. 18-ranked Stanford (4-0), off to its first 4-0 start since the 2000 College World Series runner-up season, will head to No. 3-ranked Texas (2-2) for a weekend series with the Longhorns. The two programs have gone back and forth between the Lone Star and Golden States in three-game series since 1998.

The Cardinal, coming off an 11-6 win over Pacific on Wednesday, enter the series averaging nine and a half runs a game while batting .336. Uncharacteristic of the club is its nine errors and .944 fielding percentage, including five of those errors coming from its middle infielders, shortstop Jake Schlander and second baseman Colin Walsh. The Cardinal are posting a 4.25 ERA on the mound.

Stanford will send to the hill this weekend, RHP Jordan Pries (1-0, 1.17), who is the only Cardinal starting pitcher with a win this season; LHP Scott Snodgress (0-0, 4.26), who is coming off a career-best 6.1 innings and LHP Brett Mooneyham (0-0, 5.06), the third sophomore in the starting rotation.

About the Longhorns (2-2)

Team History: 34 College World Series, 50 NCAA Regionals, 4 MLBers in 2009
• The Longhorns, the preseason No. 1 return five starters and arguably have the nation’s best pitching staff, returning its entire weekend rotation. Last year’s team posted the second-lowest ERA in the country (2.95). Texas won 50 games last year, going 50-16-1, winning the Big 12. RHP Taylor Jungmann, who posted the only win against New Mexico, is their top pitcher, having gone 11-3 with a 2.00 ERA last year. His battery mate, catcher Cameron Rung hit .292 with 11 homers last year. They were noted by Baseball America as the team of the first decade of 2000, featuring recent greats as Kyle Russell and Huston Street. Texas, after beating Dallas Baptist 7-2 on Wednesday and losing a weekend series at home to New Mexico, enter the young season at 2-2. In 2010, it has allowed just 10 earned runs over the first 36.0 innings (2.50 ERA) and an opponent batting average of .257.  The weekend rotation will be righthanders Taylor Jungmann (1-0, 1.29), Brandon Workman (0-0, 4.50) and Austin Dicharry (0-1, 2.70).

Texas Series Notes

• Stanford leads the all-time series 24-22-1, with the two College World Series powerhouses meeting each year in a three-game series since 1998. Since that time, Stanford leads the best-of-three regular season series, 16-13-1. The two programs, despite a combined 50 CWS appearances, have met just three times in Omaha, 1982, 1987, 2002.

In the Dugouts

• Texas features one of the legends of the coaching game, Augie Garrido, who has won 1700 games with the Longhorns and CS Fullerton... Stanford is coached my alum Mark Marquess, who is in his 34th year at Stanford, winning over 1500 games, winning two national titles and going to 14 CWS.

Out of Left Field

• Richard Linklater, who directed the 1993 hit, Dazed and Confussed, did a two-hour documentary for ESPN about Texas Coach Augie Garrido. Garrido is also tied to CS Fullerton graduate (where Garrido also coached and won a national title) and “Field of Dreams” star Kevin Costner.

In the Rankings

• Baseball America and Collegiate Baseball both rank the Cardinal No. 18 in the national polls. USA Today will not release another poll until March 1. Stanford was previously unranked by BA and No. 26 in Collegiate Baseball. The Cardinal began the season ranked as high as No. 25 nationally in USA Today in the preseason.

Leading Off

• Stanford is coming off a three-game sweep of No. 5 Rice and a win over Pacific and are averaging 9.5 runs per game while batting .336.
• 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. The duo made an uncharacteristic four errors against Rice.
• One of the West Coast’s top defensive catchers, Zach Jones, returns behind the dish having thrown out 24-of-60 (40%) would-be base stealers in 2009 and 1-of-2 in 2010.
• Three sophomores, RHP Jordan Pries, LHP Scott Snodgress and LHP Brett Mooneyham will began the year in the weekend rotation. Pries and Mooneyham had 22 starts last year, Snodgress was a spot starter.
• Three freshmen from Baseball America’s second-rated recruiting class have started all four games, CF Jake Stewart (.350), LF Stephen Piscotty (.333, who had three hits in the season opener) and SS Kenny Diekroeger (.429, had a walkoff two-run single in game three against No. 5 Rice).

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.

Cardinal Sweep No. 5 Rice to Open Seaso
n
• No. 25-ranked Stanford scored 27 runs and three freshmen started for Mark Marquess club during the first weekend of the season, as it swept No. 5 Rice (6-4, 14-5, 7-6). In the opener, Jordan Pries rebounded from a rough start in which he gave up five hits over the first eight batters to go 7.2 innings, giving up four runs (one earned) as freshman Stephen Piscotty had three hits in his debut. On Saturday, in a pushed-forward doubleheader due to potential rain, the Cardinal swept the doubleheader thanks to an 11-run seventh inning in game one to erase a 4-2 lead, and freshman Kenny Diekroeger’s walk-off two-run single in the ninth of game two, after Rice took at 6-5 lead in the top of the inning. Jonathan Kaskow drove in runs in each game and five for the series.

Hot Starts

•  Three starters are batting over .400 the Cardinal, first baseman Jonathan Kaskow (.455), Schlander (.429) and freshman infielder Kenny Diekroeger (.429). Walsh, following his first career homer, a grand slam against Pacific, leads the team with six RBIs, while freshman Stephen Piscotty has a team-best six runs. Of the team’s 22 extra base hits, 16 have been doubles, producing a .564 slugging percentage.

Glad to See Ya

•  The Texas series continues a series dating back to 1998, 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 (123 games), shortstop Jake Schlander (126) and second baseman Colin Walsh (91) 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.

Preseason All-Conference

• Outfielder Kellen Kiilsgaard, who hit .313 last year and Brett Mooneyham, who went 6-3 as the team’s top starter in 2009, 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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