Stanford Open Pac-10 Play at Home versus USC, Host USF Monday
March 25, 2010
• No. 19-ranked Stanford (10-5), picked to finish fourth in the Pac-10, will open up conference play this weekend with USC (11-10) on Friday at 5:30 p.m., Saturday at 1 p.m. and Sunday at 1 p.m. The team remains at home on Monday when it hosts the University of San Francisco at 5:30 p.m. before traveling to UCLA for a Thursday-Saturday affair prior to Easter. USC has announced its rotation of RHP Andrew Triggs (1-2, 4.13), RHP Ben Mount (2-1, 3.21) and RHP Kevin Couture (2-0, 5.54). Stanford has not set its rotation as of Thursday.
The Cardinal, which has won six of eight heading into the weekend are led by three freshmen at the plate, 1B/OF Stephen Piscotty (.383), outfielder and two-sport athlete Tyler Gaffney (.367) and 3B Kenny Diekroeger (.347). Piscotty and Diekroeger have been starters all season, Gaffney, a back-up at running back in the fall, earned a spot in the lineup based on his hustle (9 runs, five extra base hits in 30 at-bats). He is also, at times, practicing in the spring, with the football team.
Since 1959, Stanford has a 142-134-2 record against the Trojans. Since 1997, the Cardinal have won 11 of the 13 conference series.
Former Major Leaguer, Chad Kreuter, in his fourth season at the helm of USC has his Trojans at 11-10 on the season. USC is 8-4 on the road this season, but just 3-5 at home. Cade Kreuter, the coach’s son and freshman designated hitter, is hitting a team-best .346 enter the weekend with 14 RBIs and four homers. First baseman Ricky Oropesa has six homers and 19 RBIs and a .341 average, while outfielder Matt Foat is hitting .321 with a team-best 24 RBIs. The team checks in with a .301 average and .977 fielding percentage. On the mound, the Men of Troy have a 4.69 ERA with two relievers posting ERAs under 3.00, Chris Mezger (2.51) and Brandon Garcia (2.77). The team’s four established starters have ERAs ranging from 3.21 (RHP Ben Mount) to Kevin RHP Couture (5.54). RHP Chad Smith (4.05) and RHP Andrew Triggs (4.13) both have ERAs in the 4.00’s, but are a combined just 2-5.
Monday USF Series
Entering its weekend series at UC Santa Barbara, the University of San Francisco under Nino Giarratano are 11-11. USF is 4-4 over its last eight entering the weekend.
Out of Left Field
• Former Major Leaguers and current college skippers Ed Sprague (Pacific) and Chad Kreuter (USC) played against each other in the American and National Leagues, first with Sprague’s Blue Jays and Kreuter’s Rangers and Tigers in the 1990s, and then near the end of their careers in the 2000s with the Dodgers (Kreuter) and Padres (Sprague). Each will play against Stanford this week.
In the Rankings
• Stanford, following the weekend sweep of Pepperdine, moved up to No. 19 in Baseball America (from No. 23), to No. 26 in Collegiate Baseball (from No. 29) and No. 29 in the USA Today/Coaches Poll (from No. 30). The team’s highest ranking was No. 18 during week two. The Cardinal began the season ranked as high as No. 25 nationally in USA Today in the preseason.
• Stanford scored 30 runs and hit .375 in its three-game sweep of Pepperdine raising its team average to .306. Fourteen more hits at UOP sits it at .309
• The Cardinal have reached double digits in hits in eight straight games.
• Stanford’s bullpen has eight of the team’s 10 wins entering the week, led by Alex Pracher’s 3-0 record and two saves. Pracher has a 2.19 ERA in eight appearancees, Mark Appel has a 3.86 ERA and 2-0 record in seve games.
• The Cardinal have won four games in its last at-bat, with four different players, Zach Jones (GW hit versus Pepperdine), Kenny Diekroeger (GW double versus Rice), Jonathan Kaskow (GW hit versus UCSB), and Jake Schlander (walk-off solo homer in the 11th vs. UCSB).
Cardinal Fall at Pacific
Pacific (13-7) scored six runs over the fifth and sixth innings as the Tigers split the midweek series with a 9-4 win over visiting No. 19-ranked Stanford (10-5) on Tuesday evening. John Haberman (1-0) pitched five innings, giving up three runs on eight hits for the win. Hunter Carnevale pitched the final 3.2 innings for his second save. Stanford left hander Brett Mooneyham (0-3), in a predetermined start, gave up two runs on two hits in the first as the Tigers took an early 2-0 lead. Stanford left 14 men on base despite 14 hits.
Cardinal Crash Waves with Sweep
• The Cardinal offense hit .375 and scored 30 runs and Stanford returned from finals after an 11-day layoff and swept visiting Pepperdine (W 9-8, W 10-0, W 11-6). Zach Jones went 6-for-9 in the series with the game-winner in the opener, in a contest that saw the Stanford pitching staff allow 10 walks and hit four batters, but come away with the 9-8 win in the ninth inning. On Saturday it was all Jordan Pries, who pitched the to minimum into the sixth, including 12 in a row, firing off a two-hit shutout as the Cardinal won the series powered by nine runs over the final three innings. It was Pries first career shutout and second complete game. On Sunday, the offense scored seven runs over the first three innings and Kenny Diekroeger drove in four for the sweep. From Alex Pracher’s scoreless ninth on Friday, combined with Pries shutout on Saturday and the first three scoreless innings on Sunday, Stanford’s staff secured 13 scoreless innings while scoring 18 runs.
Rookies Riding the Offense
The Cardinal, who hit .375 last weekend in its sweep of Pepperdine, have risen to over .300 as a team, checking in at .309 heading into the weekend. Three freshmen are hitting over .300. Prep infielder Stephen Piscotty, who has started in left and at first, is batting a team-best .383 with a team-leading 18 runs, Tyler Gaffney has a .600 slugging percentage and Kenny Deikroeger has driven in 12 and scored 16 runs.
The Iron Man of the Farm
Each and every day, No. 6 is at 6 on the lineup card, as Jake Schlander has started all 137 games in his varsity career at shortstop for the Cardinal. Schlander, the Pac-10’s Defensive Player of the Year in 2009, is having his best year offensively, entering the weekend batting .2983 with a team-best 13 RBIs and 12 runs.
Jones’ Weekend Jolts Average
Starting catcher Zach Jones entered the weekend series with Pepperdine batting .179 despite starting all but one game. After a 6-for-9 weekend that got him noticed on collegebaseball360.com’s weekly team, he added two hits at Pacific on Tuesday to raise his average to .309.
Big Innings So Far
• Trailing early, the Cardinal have been able to put together big innings to get back into the game. Against Rice during the opening weekend, trailing 4-2, Stanford scored 11 runs in the seventh. At UC Davis, after trailing 4-2, Stanford exploded for six runs in the sixth to lead 8-4. The team also scored eight runs to close a 14-3 deficit in the Sunday finale against UC Santa Barbara. Though not one “big inning”, the Cardinal scored nine runs over its final three innings to take its series with Pepperdine on Saturday, scoring another seven runs in the Sunday finale over the first three innings en route to the sweep.
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.
Cardinal to Play at Safeco Field in Seattle
In the first time since the early 1990s, the Stanford Cardinal will play in a Major League Ballpark, when the team travels to Seattle to play one if its three games with the University of Washington at Safeco Field. Stanford previously played at the Metrodome in Minneapolis during the 1990 and 1991 seasons. The Saturday game will be a part of a day-night doubleheader with the Seattle Mariners, who host the Texas Rangers at 12:10 p.m. The collegiate game with the Huskies will be at 6:30 p.m. The Friday and Sunday’s games of the series will be played on the University of Washington campus. Tickets are currently on sale at the Husky Ticket Office, online at gohuskies.com, or by phone at (206) 543-2200. Tickets are $8.
2000s Heroes Amongst Nominees for All-CWS Team
• Former Stanford stars John Hudgins and Ryan Garko are amongst the nominees for the College World Series All-Legends team, selected in part, by fan voting at ncaasports.com/cws. Hudgins, the former CWS Most Outstanding Player from the early 2000s, is one of 14 pitchers on the ballot. He went 3-0 as he stuck out 15 and only gave up five earned runs in 24 innings of work during the 2003 classic earning All-America and Pac-10 Pitcher of the Year honors as a junior. Garko, the Johnny Bench Award winner, is one of nine catchers on the ballot. The current Major Leaguer helped guide Stanford to the national championship game in 2001 and 2003.
Former Major Leaguer Joins City’s Hall of Fame
• Former Stanford Major Leaguer Steve Davis will be inducted into the inaugural Campbell (Calif.) City Baseball Hall of Fame on April 10. Davis spent four seasons with the Cardinal from 1973 to 1976, earning team MVP honors as a senior after batting .298 with a team-high 12 homers and 49 RBIs. The two-time first team all-conference shortstop hit .307 over 214 career games. Davis reached the Major Leagues in 1979 with the Cubs. The ceremony will occur on April 10 at 7 p.m. at the Sonoma Chicken Coop, 200 E. Campbell Ave. in downtown Campbell. More information can be obtained at: www.thelastbaseballtown.com. Davis will throw out the first pitch of the Oregon opener as Friday has been deemed “City of Campbell” night.
• Tickets for 32 of the team’s home games are available at www.gostanford.com or by calling 1-800-STANFORD. The schedule also includes non-conference weekday series with area teams, 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).
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. Jones has thrown out 5-of-9 this 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.”
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.
• 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.