Stanford Travels to UCLA For Weekend Series

March 30, 2010

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Upcoming Series
• No. 19-ranked Stanford (12-7, 2-1 Pac-10), winners of eight of its last 12 will travel to the home of one the hottest teams in the nation, No. 2-ranked UCLA (20-0, 0-0 Pac-10) on Easter weekend starting on Thursday at 6 p.m., and continuing on Friday at 6 p.m. and Saturday at 2 p.m. Stanford is coming off a 5-1 loss to USF on Monday. UCLA hosts Pepperdine Tuesday night. RHP Gerrit Cole (6-0, 2.63), RHP Trevor Bauer (6-0, 2.33) and LHP Rob Rasmussen (3-0, 2.64) will twirl for the Bruins. Stanford’s weekend rotation has not been announced, but RHP Jordan Pries (2-1, 3.44) and LHP Brett Mooneyham (0-3, 6.85) combined for a 2.77 ERA in two starts against USC last weekend. Stanford is coming off a series win over USC to open up Pac-10 play, in which the Cardinal won the final two games of the weekend series at Stanford. Starting with the UCLA series, Stanford will begin April playing nine times in 13 days. The team plays a nonconference game at Cal on April 5 and host Saint Mary’s on April 7.

About the Bruins
• The Bruins enter its game with Pepperdine on Tuesday with a .364 average, second-best in the Pac-10 and the nation’s top ERA (2.30). Second baseman Tyler Rahmatulla leads the club with a .453 average, while designated hitter Blair Dunlap is hitting .417. Rahmatulla has driven in 22 runs, while first baseman Dean Espy is batting .415 with a team-best 23 RBIs. RHP Dan Klein has yet to allow a run in 13 appearances and 15.0 innings, with four saves. LHP Matt Grace has yet to allow a run in 10 appearances and 7.2 innings. Opponets are batting .188 against John Savage’s entire staff.

UCLA Series

Stanford leads the all-time series with the Bruins 147-99 (.598) since 1959. Since 1998, Stanford has won 10 of the last 12 conference series.

In the Rankings
• Stanford remained at No. 19 in the rankings in Baseball America, moved up to No. 26 in the USA Today/Coaches Poll and fell two spots to No. 28 in Collegiate Baseball. 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.

Leading Off
• Stanford has won eight of its last 12 games, riding an offense that enters the weekend batting .298. The offense hit double digits in nine straight games (a 6-3 record) prior to last Saturday’s win over USC.
• Stanford’s bullpen has a 10-1 record this season, producing a 4.91 ERA with Alex Pracher (4-0) leading the way with four of those 10 wins. He also has two saves.
• Stanford has won four of its first five weekend series, only losing to No. 3 Texas, with series wins over No. 5 Rice, USC, UC Santa Barbara and Pepperdine.
• The Cardinal have won five games in its last at-bat, with four different players, Zach Jones (GW hit versus Pepperdine, GW single versus USC), 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 to USF on Monday
• The University of San Francisco (13-13) scored four runs in the first and No. 19-ranked Stanford (12-7) dropped its second midweek game of the season, falling 5-1 on Monday evening. Five Don pitchers combined on a four-hitter, as Haden Hinkle (1-0) picked up the win with three scoreless innings of relief.

Stanford Wins Pac-10 Opening Series
• Stanford opened up Pac-10 play by winning the final two games against USC after a rough Friday game (L 8-13, W 5-4, W 3-1). On Friday, Cardinal pitching walked eight and gave up 11 runs over the first six innings as freshman Mark Appel could not get out of the third in his first collegiate start. The tides turned on Saturday, when Jordan Pries pitched seven solid innings as each team traded leads until Zach Jones evened the series with the team’s fifth walk-off win of the season, a two-out, two-run single in the ninth. On Sunday, Stanford’s pitching of Brett Mooneyham and Alex Pracher allowed just one run on five hits as Colin Walsh delivered the go-ahead two-run single in the seventh to clinch the series. Mooneyham, who had struggled with an 8.85 ERA over his first five starts, struck out seven over six innings, before Alex Pracher won the bullpen’s 10th win following three scoreless innings.

Top-Five Scheduling
UCLA will be the third top-five program Stanford has faced this season. Stanford swept No. 5 Rice to open the year, and dropped three straight at No. 3 Texas two weeks later.

First Projections Are In
• Following nearly a month of college baseball, Rivals.com was the first outlet to provide a guess at the postseason field of 64. Stanford, which missed last year’s tournament, is projected as a No. 2 seed at host TCU, along with Wichita State and Ohio State.

Piscotty Tops Team in Hitting
• Freshman Stephen Piscotty, a prep infielder, is playing two new positions at Stanford, starting the majority of the season either in left field or at first base. Piscotty, whose 10-game hit streak was snapped on Sunday, leads the club with a .356 average with 19 runs. He has also driven in a team-best 15.

Gaffney Earns Spot in Right
• Speedy two-sport athlete Tyler Gaffney, who backed up Heisman Trophy runner-up Toby Gerhart (also a two sport athlete and outfielder) at running back, has earned a spot in the starting lineup after starting the season on the bench. Gaffney is hitting .349 over 11 starts with a .512 slugging percentage as an outfielder.

Don’t Forget About the Veteran

• Junior second baseman Colin Walsh, the team’s leading returning hitter, is batting .333 heading into the weekend. He is the co-leader in RBIs with 15. Walsh has also scored 15 runs, as he and Stephen Piscotty have started all 18 games.

Trouble in the First Inning

• Stanford has given up 28 first inning runs this year and its starting pitchers have a 5.98 combined ERA. Things may be turning around for the starting staff, as RHP Jordan Pries has a 1.69 ERA over his last two starts, which included a two-hit shutout of Pepperdine two weeks ago, and Brett Mooneyham struck out seven over six innings against USC last week.

The Iron Man of the Farm
• Prior to Monday’s game with USF, Jake Schlander had started all 140 games in his varsity career at shortstop for the Cardinal. Schlander, the Pac-10’s Defensive Player of the Year in 2009. He is batting .246 with 13 RBIs and 14 runs.

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 Available
• 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.

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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