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NCAA baseball regionals: Mark Marquess' career ends at Stanford, Arizona wins in extras

Jun 3, 2017

Stanford Regional: Cal State Fullerton 4, Stanford 2; Earlier: Stanford 9, BYU 1


This is a foreign moment: 41 years, 1,627 wins, and two national titles after signing on as Stanford baseball's head coach, Mark Marquess' career is over. 

Cal State Fullerton beat the Cardinal, 4-2, to win the Stanford regional on Saturday and eliminate its host team, bringing Marquess' illustrious career at the helm to an end. He had announced his pending retirement before this season. 

Marquess acknowledged the cheering crowd after the final out while his own players lined up for handshakes and the Fullerton team tipped its caps toward the revered coach, who is commonly nicknamed "Nine" because of his No. 9 jersey. 

The ending, of course, was undoubtedly difficult to swallow for a leader who had done so much winning during his four-plus decades in charge of Stanford, but Fullerton silenced the Cardinal's bats yet again. 

Stanford mustered only one run against the Titans in a 4-1 loss Friday that pushed them into the loser's bracket. Though the Cardinal offense roared to life in the sixth inning of its elimination contest against BYU, exploding for nine runs in three frames to do away with the Cougars 9-1, it again fell victim to excellent Fullerton pitching in the doubleheader's nightcap. Stanford mustered only two hits through the game's first eight innings before a last-gasp rally in the ninth came up short. 

The Cardinal finish 2017 with a 42-17 record. They entered the postseason on a roll, having won 21 of 23 games, but that wasn't enough to topple a similarly surging Titan team. So, the focus on The Farm turns to replacing Marquess, a man who became the fixture of the program.

Marquess was a two-sport athlete in football and baseball upon arriving at Stanford in 1965, when he was the freshman roommate of future presidential candidate Mitt Romney. Marquess produced 60 major league players during his tenure, 52 of which earned their Stanford degrees. The Cardinal's back-to-back College World Series titles in 1987 and 1988 are considered the apex of a storied program history. 

A new era of Stanford baseball begins now, one which has gargantuan shoes to fill. 

Lubbock Regional: Arizona 6, Delaware 5 (12 innings)


The Wildcats are exhausted, but they're still alive. Arizona finished an absolute marathon of an elimination game Saturday -- an extra-inning affair that was delayed more than two hours by lightning -- thanks to Alfonso Rivas' majestic swing of salvation in the 12th. 

Rivas whacked an outside offering high into the air toward the opposite field. The blast had enough juice to clear the left field wall. When reliever Juan Aguilera pinned down the final out in the 12th, the Wildcats had officially survived an epic war of attrition: They had been at the ballpark for 10 hours, and the game iself lasted nearly eight hours from start to finish, including the delay that featured plenty of antics to pass the time:

Arizona now faces more elimination action on Sunday; The Wildcats will face another must-win game at 11 a.m. PT, this one a rematch against Sam Houston State -- the team which beat Arizona on Friday night. A doubleheader sweep over the Bearkats and then host Texas Tech will be required to stay alive. 

Corvallis Regional: Oregon State 11, Yale 0

Oregon State

Winning has come easily for Oregon State this season, so it comes as no surprise that the Beavers are cruising through their Regional. The No. 1 Beavers blasted Yale, 11-0, to advance to the weekend's championship game. With a win at 7 p.m. Sunday night, Oregon State will advance to the Super Regional round -- which it would also host. 

While Beaver hitters overwhelmed Yale pitching on Saturday night, Luke Heimlich mowed the Bulldogs down from the mound. The lefty pitched seven strong innings, throwing only 88 pitches while showing exceptional control -- 62 of those were strikes.

At this point, no team has challenged the poll's assertion that Oregon State is the best team in college baseball. Now 51-4, the Beavers are chugging along, destroying anything that steps in their path. 

Long Beach Regional: San Diego State 3, UCLA 2 (13 innings)


The Bruins scrapped to extend their season, tying the Aztecs behind pinch hitter Jack Stronach's single in the eighth inning:

That hit pushed this elimination game into extra innings, but it was all UCLA's offense could muster. The Bruins struggled to produce any more as this game dragged on, and San DIego State eventually broke through in the unlucky 13th thanks to UCLA sloppiness. An error allowed the Aztecs' leadoff hitter to reach, before reliever Scott Burke hit San Diego State shortstop Danny Sheehan with the bases loaded. The Aztecs held on in the bottom half for the 3-2 win.

The Bruins are the first Pac-12 regional contender eliminated in 2017. They finished the season with a 30-27 record.