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Bubble Watch

May 22, 2014

Stanford (27-23, 13-14 Pac-12)
at Utah (16-33, 4-23 Pac-12)
Friday, May 23 • 11 a.m. PT
Saturday, May 24 • 11 a.m. PT
Sunday, May 25 • 11 a.m. PT

Pac-12 Networks (Sat.) • Live Video (Fri., Sun.)

• Friday: Cal Quantrill (4-5, 3.20) vs. Mitch Watrous (3-6, 3.97)
• Saturday: John Hochstatter (9-1, 2.18) vs. Zach Adams (0-6, 3.66)
• Sunday: Logan James (2-3, 4.41) vs. Dalton Carroll (1-4, 5.50)

STANFORD, Calif. --
 Stanford travels to Utah Friday-Sunday for its final weekend of the regular season in hopes of solidifying its NCAA postseason resume. All three games of the series start at 11 a.m. PT with the Saturday matinee aired on Pac-12 Networks.

The Cardinal (27-23, 13-14 Pac-12) sits in good position in the RPI, a major factor in tournament selection, thanks to its rigorous schedule. Stanford has played 24 games, nearly half its schedule, against the RPI top 36 and has gone 9-15 versus the nation’s best. Oregon (RPI 23), Arizona State (RPI 35) and Kansas (RPI 36) have all lost three-game series to Stanford.

“I don’t know,” said Mark Marquess, the Clarke and Elizabeth Nelson Director of Baseball, about his team’s NCAA chances. “All I know is that we have to try to keep winning. This weekend is big.”

Marquess will send the recently established rotation of Cal Quantrill, John Hochstatter and Logan James to the mound in each of the respective games. The trio has been dominant in the last two weeks, owning a 2.62 ERA while averaging over seven innings per game in the last two weekend series.

The rotation, along with improved hitting, has the Cardinal “playing the best baseball we’ve played all year,” said Hochstatter. Stanford has won eight of its last 11 and 16 of its last 23 to get back in the postseason picture.

The offense is led by Austin Slater, who is riding a career-long 14-game hitting streak. Slater is batting .481 (24-56) during the run and could become just the 17th Stanford to hit safely in 15 straight games since 1988. The junior centerfielder is joined in the lineup by hot-hitting Zach Hoffpauir and Wayne Taylor, who are each over .400 in the last ten games, and the Pac-12’s No. 2 home run hitter in Alex Blandino.

Utah (16-33, 4-23 Pac-12) has lost five straight Pac-12 games, including a series sweep at Arizona State last weekend. Although the Utes have struggled in 2014, Stanford cannot afford to look past Utah. Last season the Utes took two of three at Klein Field at Sunken Diamond to start the Pac-12 season.

The Utes entered the week at No. 172 in the RPI, while Stanford was at No. 48 prior to a home win against Pacific. A series win could move the Cardinal to the 30s. 

The NCAA selection show will be aired on ESPNU Monday, May 26 at 9 a.m. ET. The 16 regional hosts will be announced at approximately 6 p.m. PT Sunday, May 25.