Stanford still stands, will represent Pac-12 baseball in NCAA super regionals
In one of the most unpredicatable regional rounds of the Division I Baseball Championships since the NCAA adopted the current format in 1999, five of the eight national seeds failed to advance to the Super Regional round, including No. 1 overall seed and two-time Pac-12 Champion OREGON STATE. It was just the second time that many national seeds had lost in regional play and only the second time the top seed in the tournament had failed to make it out of its own regional. While OREGON and WASHINGTON fought hard against SEC foes Vanderbilt and Ole Miss, they couldn’t pull out the close games that they needed to reach the field of 16. ARIZONA STATE, who had won nine of 10 entering the weekend, couldn’t sustain the momentum and dropped two-straight to make an early exit. In a surprise turn of events, STANFORD, who finished tied for fifth in the Pac-12 standings and was widely considered one of the last few teams to get an at-large bid, contibuted to the wild and wacky weekend by winning the Bloomington Regional and carry the torch for Pac-12 Baseball into the next round. It took two come-from-behind efforts in elimination games to beat host Indiana, capped by a two-run walk-off home run by freshman Tommy Edman--the regional’s most outstanding player. The Cardinal hit an opening round-best nine home runs over five games to shock the Hoosiers. Stanford will now travel to Nashville to face Vanderbilt for a three-game set from Friday-Sunday with all three games televised live on ESPN2. The Cardinal, who are making a second trip to Nashville in 2014, will try to reverse the outcome of the first series in which they dropped all three games. The Golden Spikes Award list was trimmed three finalists Tuesday, and two-time Pac-12 Player of the Year Michaeal Conforto (Jr., OF, Oregon State) made the cut. The winner will be announced on June 17.
Nashville Super Regional (Nashville, Tenn)
Friday, June 6: Stanford at Vanderbilt, 12 p.m., (ESPN2) (Sirius 220/XM 190)
Saturday, June 7: Stanford at Vanderbilt, 2 p.m., (ESPN2) (SiriusXM 91)
Sunday, June 8: Stanford at Vanderbilt, 2 p.m., (ESPN2)*
Sat.-Mon./Tues., June 14-25
College World Series, TBA
*If necessary. All series are best of three.
Game times are local to site and subject to change.
PAC-12 BASEBALL POSTSEASON NOTES
Stanford (34-24, 16-14)
Stanford, who finished tied for fifth in Conference, used a two-run walk-off home run in the bottom of the ninth to take down the Bloomington regional host Indiana as the three-seed and advance to Super Regionals. After losing to the Hoosiers on day two, the Cardinal would need to win three in a row, including two against the hometown team to advance. That’s exactly what they did behind a slew of home runs that helped Stanford to come-from-behind wins in back-to-back elimination games against the Hoosiers. Indiana had been 39-0 when leading after the seventh before giving up late leads to the Cardinal in both the losses. Stanford now represents the only Pac-12 team remaining in postseason play as they try to extend the Conference’s streak of 17-straight College World Series appearances as well as make the program’s first appearance since 2008. It won’t be an easy road, however, as they will have to travel to Nashville to take on Vanderbilt for a second-time this season for a three-game series from Friday-Sunday (if necessary). In the first series back in early March, the Commodores swept the three-game set at home; however, that was well before Stanford made vast improvements during the second half of the season. The team has gone 23-8 in its last 31 games and 8-2 in its last 10. That stretch included four-straight league series victories to close the season. Stanford is a battle-tested team as it faced one of the toughest schedules in the nation, recording 18 regular season wins over ranked opponents and league series wins over Oregon and Arizona State. The Cardinal really stepped it up on regional weekend, batting .303 with nine home runs in five games--marks that ranked sixth and first out of the 64 teams that participated in regional play. All three Stanford-Vanderbilt games will air on ESPN2 this weekend.
NCAA CHAMPIONSHIP NOTES
-The Pac-12 has been represented in each of the last 17 College World Series. Since 1996, at least one Conference squad has made every trip to Omaha.
-The Conference has advanced two teams to the College World Series each of the last two years, with Arizona (2012) and UCLA (2013) winning the last two. Dating back to Oregon State’s back-to-back championships in 2006 & 2007, a Pac-12 school has won four of the last eight CWS titles.
-Stanford, the Conference’s lone remaining team in the Super Regional field account has made 16 appearances in the College World Series.
-The Pac-12 has produced at least three 40-win teams in six of the last eight seasons. Oregon State (45) has reached the plateau five times during that stretch, while Oregon (48) has won at least 40 games four times since the program was reinstated in 2009. Washington (41) won 40 plus games for the first time since 2003 and reached the plateau for just the fifth time in school history.
-Fourteen Pac-12 players were named to All-Regional teams following last week’s action, and one was named Most Outstanding Player of their respective regionals. The list is as follows:
Bloomington Regional (Stanford): Alex Blandino, Jr., 3B; Tommy Edman (Most Outstanding Player), Fr., SS; Zach Hoffpauir, So., OF; Cal Quantrill, Fr., RHP; Austin Slater, Jr., OF.
Corvallis Regional (Oregon State): Michael Conforto, Jr. OF; Jeff Hendrix, So., OF; Ben Wetzler, Sr., LHP;
Nashville Regional (Oregon): A.J. Balta, Fr., 1B; Tyler Baumgartner, Sr., OF; Shaun Chase, Jr., DH Mitchell Tolman, So., 3B.
Oxford Regional (Washington): Branden Berry, So., IF; Tyler Davis, Jr., RHP.
-The 2014 MLB Draft will be held Thursday, June 5 - Saturday, June 7 (Thu: Rounds 1-2; Fri: Rounds 3-10; Sat. Rounds 11-40). The Pac-12 has produced 29 first round draft picks since 2006 and has seen at least one player come off the board in the first round every year during that span, including the first overall pick in 2013.
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