Season in Review: Back to Omaha
» STANFORD finished the year ranked No. 5 according to Collegiate Baseball and in the NCBWA poll, No. 7 according to Baseball America and the USA Today Coaches poll, and No. 8 according to D1Baseball ... made its 17th College World Series appearance, including its first since 2008 … 17 appearances are 10th most in the nation … entered the College World Series as the No. 9 national seed ... made its 33rd appearance in the NCAA Regional round (36th postseason appearance overall) and hosted a regional for the 19th time … became one of three programs to have hosted an NCAA Regional in each of the last four seasons, joining Arkansas and Texas Tech … made its 12th Super Regional appearance overall, including its second in as many tournaments after advancing to the Starkville Super Regional in 2019 … dropped just one weekend series in the regular season (12-1) – posting notable series wins over UC Irvine, UCLA, Arizona State, Arizona, Oregon and Oregon State … finished third in the Pac-12 standings … dropped back-to-back games just once this season … finished 6-1 in extra-inning affairs … hit 22 home runs in the postseason - the most of any team in the field ... outscored the opposition 32-17 in the ninth inning or later, including 12-2 in extras … hit seven home runs in the first three games of the season, and launched 85 over 56 games, after connecting for just two in 16 games in 2020 ... welcomed the seventh-ranked recruiting class according to Perfect Game and Baseball America (11th according to D1Baseball) ... returned to campus on Jan. 23 to begin its mandatory 10-day travel quarantine and medical onboarding process in preparation for the 2021 season.
» BRENDAN BECK drafted in the second round of 2021 MLB Draft (55th overall) by the New York Yankees ... earned All-America honors according to the ABCA (first team), Collegiate Baseball (second team), D1Baseball (second team), NCBWA (second team), Perfect Game (third team) and Baseball America (third team) ... ABCA/Rawlings All-Region first team … named Pac-12 Pitcher of the Year and All-Pac-12 first team ... CoSIDA Academic All-America of the Yer and first team selection ... Stanford Regional All-Tournament team … Collegiate Baseball national pitcher of the week on May 31 after tossing a three-hit shutout to beat Oregon State 1-0 on May 27 … turned in a quality start in 12 of 15 starts this season … averaged 11.84 strikeouts per nine innings and a 5.50 strikeout-to-walk ratio … 8+ strikeouts in 12 of his 15 starts this year ... 143 strikeouts are the sixth-most in a single season in Stanford history … went 4-0 with a 2.12 ERA and 36 strikeouts over four starts from March 12-April 9 (7 ER, 29.2 IP).
» DREW BOWSER drove in 41 runs to rank third on the team, compiling 11 multi-RBI games this year … led the team with 16 doubles ... 3 for 4 with a double, a home run and two RBIs on May 22 at No. 13 Oregon … tied the game with his sixth homer of the year leading off the fourth inning before delivering an RBI-double to plate the go-ahead run in the fifth in that win at Oregon … three hits against Arizona in a victory at the College World Series on June 21 ... closed the year on a seven-game hit streak ... batted .315 (34 for 108) with 11 runs scored, nine doubles, five homers and 24 RBIs in Pac-12 play.
» NICK BRUESER signed a free agent contract with the Oakland Athletics ... named All-Pac-12 first team ... hit safely in 12 straight games from March 7 through April 1 (.435, 9 R, 3 2B, 2 HR, 8 RBIs) … had a seven-game hit streak snapped at Oregon on May 21 (.393, 11x28, 5 R, 2B, 3 HR, 8 RBIs) …. reached in 35 straight games from March 7 to May 28 and all but five with an at bat this year … belted a pair of homers to record his first career multi-homer game in the series-clincher over No. 17 UCLA on April 10 … 3 for 5 with a homer and three RBIs at Texas Tech on June 11 … amassed 17 multi-hit games … slugged .536 while collecting 10 doubles, a triple and 11 home runs … batted .322 (29 for 90) with 13 runs scored, five doubles, a triple, seven homers and 17 RBIs in Pac-12 play.
» OWEN COBB garnered the NCAA Elite 90 Award, presented to the student-athlete with the highest cumulative grade-point average (3.84) participating at the finals site for each of the NCAA's championships
» ADAM CRAMPTON amassed 15 multi-hit games, including posting multiple hits in five straight from March 28 to April 3 … batted .306 (30 for 98) with 10 runs scored, three doubles, two homers and 10 RBIs in Pac-12 play.
» JOEY DIXON was named All-Pac-12 honorable mention ... logged 10 1/3 consecutive scoreless innings over five appearances from May 15-28, compiling a win and a save over the span … 1-1 with two saves and a 1.84 ERA over 19 relief appearances (29 1/3 IP).
» DAVID ESQUER won his 100th game at the helm of the program on March 4 as Stanford walked off with a 7-6 victory over San Francisco in 10 innings ... has amassed a 135-54 overall record at Stanford and owns a 660-521-2 record as a Division I head coach (18 seasons at California) … made his eighth postseason appearance as a head coach (third with Stanford) … previously guided California to Omaha in 2011 while earning National Coach of the Year honors.
» ZACH GRECH signed a free agent contract with the Los Angeles Angels ... earned Pac-12 Scholar-Athlete of the Year … All-American according to NCBWA (second team) … ABCA/Rawlings All-Region first team … All-Pac-12 first team selection ... finalist for NCBWA Stopper of the Year award … made a team-best 31 appearances and factored into the decisions in 23 of the 31 – compiling a 5-5 record and 13 saves to rank first in the Pac-12 and fourth nationally.
» KODY HUFF was named to Stanford Regional All-Tournament team … CoSIDA Academic All-District ... hit safely in each of the first nine games to start the season (.361, 7 R, 2 2B, HR, 6 RBIs), and had a hit in 38 of the 55 games he played … had an eight-game hit streak snapped on May 22 at Oregon (.344, 11x32, 9 R, 2 2B, HR, 6 RBIs), but hit safely in 19 of the last 22 … reached safely in all but 10 games played this year … belted a pair of grand slams vs. No. 17 UC Irvine on June 5 to finish 3 for 4 with eight RBIs … connected for a walk-off solo home run in the bottom of the ninth to post a 3 for 4 day and hand Stanford an 8-7 win over San Jose State on May 11 … 3 for 6 with three runs scored and an RBI at No. 13 Oregon on May 23 … homer shy of the cycle in a 5-0 victory over Oregon State on May 28.
» BROCK JONES All-American according to Baseball America, D1Baseball and Perfect Game (second team) … Freshman All-America first team according to Baseball America ... named to ABCA/Rawlings All-Region second team … All-Pac-12 first team selection ... College World Series All-Tournament team ... named to 2021 USA Baseball Collegiate National Team ... CoSIDA Academic All-America second team ... named Collegiate Baseball national player of the week on March 8 after going 8 for 18 (.444) with four runs scored, two doubles, a triple and three homers to the tune of 12 RBIs and a 1.167 slugging percentage in a series sweep over San Francisco … hit a pair of home runs in the opening weekend series with Santa Clara before adding three more, including his first career multi-homer game on March 7, in the series vs. San Francisco … contributed a walk-off single in the 13th to beat No. 9 Arizona 5-4 on May 7 … provided a solo home run to hand Stanford a 1-0 victory over Oregon State on May 27 … connected for three home runs, including a grand slam, against Texas Tech on June 12 to total six RBIs and help send Stanford to the College World Series … managed a pair of three-hit games at the College World Series, batting .429 overall with three runs scored, two doubles, two homers and eight RBIs ... went 3 for 6 with two runs scored, a double, a homer and five RBIs in the win over Arizona on June 21 ... added another double and home run against Vanderbilt on June 23, finishing 3 for 4 ... hit .361 with 13 runs scored, five doubles, five home runs and 18 RBIs in postseason play - the most RBIs of any player in the tournament ... is just the third player since BBCOR bats were adopted in 2011 to have 18 or more postseason RBIs (20 - Adley Rutschman, Oregon State, 2018; Preston Tucker, Florida, 2011) ... reached safely in all but five games this year while hitting .311 with 18 home runs to rank first in the Pac-12 and 16th nationally ... compiled a team-high 62 RBIs, 56 runs scored and a .453 on-base percentage … amassed 32 extra-base hits, including 13 doubles and a triple, while compiling a .646 slugging percentage to rank third in the Pac-12 … walked a team-best 49 times to rank third in the Pac-12 and 11th nationally ... recorded 16 multi-hit and 13 multi-RBI games … finished with 23 runs scored, three doubles, six homers and 22 RBIs in Pac-12 play.
» VINCENT MARTINEZ was named All-Pac-12 honorable mention ... homered in three straight games beginning on March 7 at San Francisco and ending with game one of a doubleheader against UC Irvine on March 13 … hit safely in eight straight games from March 6 to March 20 (.452, 9 R, 3 HR, 5 RBIs) and strung together a 10-game hit streak from April 14 to May 8 (.318, 14x44, 7 R, 3 2B, 2 HR, 8 RBIs) … hit safely in 32 of the 41 games with an at bat this year … amassed 11 multi-hit games … batted .293 (27 for 92) with 20 runs scored, six doubles, three homers and seven RBIs in Pac-12 play.
» JACOB PALISCH was named All-Pac-12 honorable mention ... appeared in all three games against No. 17 UC Irvine in the Stanford Regional, picking up the save in the finale ... also recorded a save against Arizona at the College World Series on June 21.
» CHRISTIAN ROBINSON drafted in the 15th round of 2021 MLB Draft (457th overall) by the Atlanta Braves ... earned All-Pac-12 honorable mention ... Stanford Regional All-Tournament team selection … team leader in average (.318) … had a hit in 37 of the 50 games with an at bat this year … drove in 48 runs overall to rank second on the team … contributed a walk-off single in the 10th to beat San Francisco 7-6 on March 4 … 4 for 4 with a double, a home run, two runs scored and three RBIs vs. San Francisco on March 6 … went 4 for 6 with two doubles and a run scored vs. No. 9 Arizona on May 7 … two-run home run as part of a 3 for 6 day to add insurance in the 12th inning of an 8-5 victory at No. 13 Oregon on May 23 … drove in four runs and scored twice in the opening game of the Super Regionals at Texas Tech on June 11 … 3 for 5 with two RBIs in a victory over Arizona at the College World Series on June 21 ... compiled 17 multi-hit games and a team-high 14 multi-RBI games … hit safely in each of the final 11 games of the year ... hit .298 (28 for 94) with 18 runs scored, eight doubles, three homers and 15 RBIs in Pac-12 play.
» TIM TAWA drafted in the 11th round of 2021 MLB Draft (318th overall) by the Arizona Diamondbacks ... CoSIDA Academic All-America second team ... earned Stanford Regional Most Outstanding Player and named to All-Tournament team … batted .526 (10 for 19) with seven runs scored, two doubles, three homers and eight RBIs in the four games at the Stanford Regional … College World Series All-Tournament team ... hit .400 over the three games in Omaha, finishing with three runs scored, a double, a homer and a stolen base ... collected a double as part of a 3 for 6 game against Arizona in an elimination game on June 21 ... hit safely in nine straight games from March 4 to March 20 (.464, 8 R, 5 2B, 3 RBIs) and 37 of his 52 games played this year … drove in 39 runs to rank fourth on the team … amassed a team-best 18 multi-hit games ... collected 17 runs scored, four doubles, four homers and 14 RBIs in Pac-12 play.
» TOMMY TROY batted .297 (19 for 64) with 11 runs scored, two doubles, four homers and 11 RBIs in Pac-12 play.
A LOOK BACK
Stanford finished the 2021 season 39-17 and 17-10 in Pac-12 play to claim third place in the conference standings. The Cardinal made its 17th College World Series appearance, including its first since 2008. Stanford dropped the opener in Omaha to NC State before rebounding to defeat Arizona in its second game. The Cardinal's magical run ended one game later as Vanderbilt rallied to defeat Stanford in the bottom of the ninth. Stanford dropped back-to-back games just once in 2021 and finished the year 12-1 in weekend series. Senior Brendan Beck was a unanimous All-American and was named 2021 Pac-12 Pitcher of the Year. Sophomore Brock Jones and senior Zach Grech also earned All-America honors. Eight Cardinal players claimed All-Conference recognition, while Grech also earned Pac-12 Scholar Athlete of the Year. Holding the highest GPA of any player in Omaha, Owen Cobb secured the prestigious NCAA Elite 90 Award. The Cardinal's 85 home runs were the eighth-most in Stanford history, while the .979 fielding percentage was the third-best in program history.
Senior Brendan Beck was named an All-American by the ABCA (first team), Collegiate Baseball (second team), D1Baseball (second team), the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association (second team), Baseball America (third team) and Perfect Game (third team). The 2021 Pac-12 Pitcher of the Year, Beck pitched to a 9-3 record and a 3.15 ERA (fifth in Pac-12) over 17 appearances and 15 starts. The native of Corona, Calif. struck out a Pac-12 best 143 compared to just 26 walks over 108 2/3 innings of work, finishing with a 5.50 strikeout-to-walk ratio and 11.84 strikeouts per nine innings. His strikeout-to-walk ratio placed third in the Pac-12 and 46th nationally, while his .98 WHIP led all Pac-12 players and ranked 33rd in the nation. Beck's 143 strikeouts were the most for a Cardinal in a single season since John Hudgins in 2003 (143), and the fourth-most strikeouts in the nation.
JONES IS AN ALL-AMERICAN
Sophomore Brock Jones was named a second team All-American according to Baseball America, Perfect Game and D1Baseball. He also earned a spot on the Freshman All-America first team according to Baseball America, as the publication included second-year players due to the shortened 2020 season. Jones, an All-Pac-12 first team selection and an All-Region second team pick according to the ABCA, reached safely in all but five games this year while hitting .311 with 18 home runs to rank first in the Pac-12 and 16th nationally. The native of Fresno, Calif. compiled a team-high 62 RBIs, 56 runs scored and a .453 on-base percentage. Jones amassed 32 extra-base hits, including 13 doubles and a triple, while compiling a .646 slugging percentage to rank third in the Pac-12. Showing patience at the plate, Jones walked a team-best 49 times to rank third in the Pac-12 and 11th nationally. Jones hit .361 with 13 runs scored, five doubles, five home runs and a tournament-best 18 RBIs in postseason play, including .429 with two doubles, two homers and eight RBIs at the College World Series. He also connected for three home runs, including a grand slam, against Texas Tech on June 12 to total six RBIs and help send Stanford to the College World Series.
Senior Zach Grech nabbed All-America second team honors from the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association. Grech, the Pac-12 Scholar-Athlete of the Year, was also a finalist for the NCBWA Stopper of the Year award. The right-hander led the Pac-12 and ranked fourth in the nation in saves with 13. An All-Pac-12 first team selection, Grech made a team-best 31 appearances and factored into the decisions in 23 of the 31 – compiling a 5-5 record and the 13 saves. Grech limited opponents to a .231 average against while pitching 49 2/3 innings for the Cardinal this season.
THREE ALL-REGION HONOREES
Seniors Brendan Beck and Zach Grech received first-team All-Region honors from the American Baseball Coaches Association, while sophomore Brock Jones earned second-team All-Region accolades.
BECK NAMED ACADEMIC ALL-AMERICA OF THE YEAR, TRIO LAUDED
Senior Brendan Beck was named the Academic All-America of the Year for Division I baseball, as voted on by the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA). Beck, a first-team Academic All-American, was one of three Stanford players lauded this year, as senior Tim Tawa and sophomore Brock Jones earned spots on the second team. Beck is the first Stanford baseball player to earn Academic All-America of the Year, and becomes the first first-team selection since Tom Williams in 1972. With three lauded this season, Stanford has now earned 18 Academic All-America selections. The three selections are the most for the Cardinal in a single season - surpassing the two selections in 1984 and 2002. A native of Corona, Calif., Beck graduated from Stanford with a degree in science, technology & society while carrying a 3.63 GPA. Tawa graduated with a degree in communication while carrying a 3.52 GPA. Jones owns a 3.73 GPA over his first two years on The Farm.
ALL-COLLEGE WORLD SERIES TEAM
After helping to guide Stanford to its 17th College World Series appearance, senior Tim Tawa (second base) and sophomore Brock Jones (outfield) earned spots on the College World Series All-Tournament team. Tawa hit .400 over the three games in Omaha, finishing with three runs scored, a double, a homer and a stolen base. The native of West Linn, Ore. collected a double as part of a 3 for 6 game against Arizona in an elimination game on June 21. Jones managed a pair of three-hit games to finish off his time at TD Ameritrade Park. The Fresno, Calif. native batted .429 overall with three runs scored, two doubles, two homers and eight RBIs. Jones went 3 for 6 with two runs scored, a double, a homer and five RBIs in the win over Arizona on June 21. He added another double and home run against Vanderbilt on June 23, finishing 3 for 4. Stanford as a team hit .319 with seven doubles and five home runs while at the College World Series.
With a loss to NC State this year, the Cardinal fell to 12-5 in its 17 'first games' at the College World Series ... had a streak of seven straight CWS-opening wins come to a halt ... Stanford's seven straight wins in CWS openers entering had been tied for the second-longest streak in CWS history, trailing Texas (8 straight from 1982-93) and Arizona State (7 straight from 1972-81) ... head coach David Esquer became the 13th coach to lead multiple schools to the CWS, having also guided Bay Area rival California to the 2011 CWS ... Esquer is one of 17 men to play in the CWS as a student-athlete and later as a head coach (and the 12th to do so at his alma mater), and one of three men (joining Augie Garrido, Mike Gillespie) to coach multiple schools to the CWS in addition to playing in the CWS ... Esquer is also one of four men (joining North Carolina's Mike Fox, Stanford's Mark Marquess and St. John's Joe Russo) to earn All-Tournament Team honors at the CWS and later return as a head coach ... Stanford has never gone home without winning at least one game in Omaha and is the only school to make more than five CWS appearances without going 0-2 at least once ... after scoring 14 runs on June 21 vs. Arizona, the Cardinal has scored 10 or more runs in at least one game at the CWS during seven of its last eight trips to Omaha ... Stanford recorded 20 hits in the win over Arizona - the most by any team in a CWS game since the move to TD Ameritrade Park (2011) ... hit total was the most by Stanford in 71 all-time CWS games.
ACADEMIC ALL-DISTRICT HONORS
Brendan Beck, Kody Huff, Brock Jones and Tim Tawa all earned CoSIDA Academic All-District selections.
CARDINAL IN THE DRAFT
Seniors Brendan Beck, Tim Tawa and Christian Robinson were each selected in the 2021 Major League Baseball Draft. Beck was selected 55th overall by the New York Yankees in the second round - the highest for the Cardinal since Nico Hoerner (Chicago Cubs) and Kris Bubic (Kansas City Royals) went 24th and 40th, respectively, in the first round of the 2018 MLB Draft. Beck's brother, Tristan, was drafted out of Stanford in the fourth round (112th overall) by the Atlanta Braves in that same draft. With Beck's selection, Stanford has now had 10 players drafted in the first two rounds of an MLB Draft since 2011. Tawa was picked in the 11th round (318th overall) by the Arizona Diamondbacks while Robinson was the 15th-round selection of the Atlanta Braves with the 457th overall pick. With three more selected this year, Stanford has seen 35 players drafted in the first 15 rounds of an MLB Draft since 2011. Following the conclusion of the MLB Draft, seniors Nick Brueser (Oakland Athletics) and Zach Grech (Los Angeles Angels) signed free agent contracts.
COBB EARNS ELITE 90 AWARD
Stanford sophomore Owen Cobb was the recipient of the Elite 90 award for the 2021 NCAA Division I Baseball Championships. Cobb, majoring in management science and engineering, carried a 3.84 GPA into the College World Series. The native of Seattle, Wash. was presented with the award prior to Stanford's College World Series game against NC State. The Elite 90, an award founded by the NCAA, recognizes the true essence of the student-athlete by honoring the individual who has reached the pinnacle of competition at the national championship level in his or her sport, while also achieving the highest academic standard among his or her peers. The Elite 90 is presented to the student-athlete with the highest cumulative grade-point average participating at the finals site for each of the NCAA's championships. Eligible student-athletes are sophomores or above who have participated in their sport for at least two years with their school. All ties are broken by the number of credits completed.
BROCK TO ROCK TEAM USA
Sophomore outfielder Brock Jones accepted an invitation to play for the 2021 USA Baseball Collegiate National Team during the summer of 2021. Jones is one of 48 amateur baseball players to participate on the team in competition. Jones is the 43rd different Stanford player to be selected to play with the Collegiate National Team, including the first since Jack Little in 2018. The selection is the 54th overall for Stanford, as a handful of players have participated in multiple seasons. Stanford ranks second overall in terms of number of selections and players who have participated. 2021 also marks the 29th year that Stanford will be represented on the Collegiate National Team – the most in the nation. The Collegiate team will be split into two teams, the Stars and Stripes, and will go head-to-head in 11 games beginning on July 2.
BIG INNINGS FOR THE CARDINAL
Stanford managed to score five-or-more runs in an inning on 13 different occasions in 2021. The Cardinal maxed out at seven runs six times, including for the final time in the third inning on June 21 against Arizona from the College World Series. The Cardinal also plated seven in the second inning against UC Irvine on June 5 – the highlight being the first of two grand slams in that game from Kody Huff. Of the 13 innings in which Stanford scored five-plus, five of the 13 were first innings.
Runs, Opponent, Inning
7, 3/7 at San Francisco, 1st
7, 3/27 vs. Fresno State, 1st
7, 4/18 at Arizona State, 9th
7, 6/5 vs. #17 UC Irvine, 2nd
7, 6/7 vs. #17 UC Irvine, 1st
7, 6/21 vs. #5 Arizona, 3rd
6, 4/1 at Washington State, 7th
6, 4/10 vs. #17 UCLA, 1st
5, 2/25 vs. Santa Clara, 1st
5, 4/17 at Arizona State, 4th
5, 4/28 at Pacific, 4th
5, 5/11 vs. San Jose State, 4th
5, 6/11 at #8 Texas Tech, 7th
REPRESENTING THE GOLDEN STATE
Stanford was the last Division I baseball team from California still competing in the NCAA Tournament at the start of Super Regionals. The Cardinal were joined by UC Irvine (Stanford Regional), UCLA (Lubbock Regional) and UC Santa Barbara (Tucson Regional) in the tournament field.
SNAPPING THE SUPERS SKID
Stanford made its 12th Super Regional appearance overall this year, including its second in as many tournaments after advancing to the Starkville Super Regional in 2019. The Cardinal is now 15-12 overall in Super Regional play, and has advanced to the College World Series by way of a Super Regional in 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2008 and 2021. Stanford combined to post a 12-4 record over its first seven appearances in the Supers, but was just 1-8 over the previous four Super Regional appearances headed into 2021 – dropping matchups in 2011, 2012, 2014 and 2019. Stanford rebounded nicely this year, sweeping the first two games of the set at Texas Tech to punch a ticket to Omaha.
STOPPER OF THE YEAR
Fifth-year senior Zach Grech led the Pac-12 and ranked fourth in the nation in saves (13) to earn a spot as a finalist for the 16th annual National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association Stopper of the Year Award. Grech was one of 65 relievers on the midseason list, including one of four from the Pac-12 (Jake Mulholland, Oregon State; Kolby Somers, Oregon; Vince Vannelle, Arizona). Grech, Mulholland and Vannelle were among the 10 finalists vying for the national honor, which eventually was presented to Arkansas right-hander Kevin Kopps. This season marked the seventh time since the award was created in 2005 that Stanford had a player listed on the midseason watch list. Stanford's most recent nominee was Jack Little – who was a finalist in 2018 before making the list once more in 2019. Texas hurler J. Brent Cox won the inaugural Stopper of the Year Award in 2005, with Don Czyz of Kansas claiming the honor in 2006 and Luke Prihoda of Sam Houston State winning it in 2007. Georgia's Joshua Fields topped the field in 2008, San Diego State's Addison Reed grabbed the honor in 2009 and Texas' Chance Ruffin earned the honor in 2010. The Longhorns' Corey Knebel won in 2011, with Southeastern Louisiana's Stefan Lopez picking up the honor in 2012. UCLA's David Berg was crowned the winner in 2013, Louisville's Nick Burdi took home the 2014 honor, and Berg became the award's first two-time winner in 2015. University of Miami's Bryan Garcia was honored as the 2016 recipient followed the Cardinal's Lincoln Henzman in 2017, Florida's Michael Byrne in 2018 and UCLA's Holden Powell in 2019.
STANFORD ALL-REGIONAL TEAM
Stanford placed four players on the Stanford Regional All-Tournament team following the conclusion of play. Tim Tawa garnered Most Outstanding Player of the regional after batting .526 (10 for 19) with seven runs scored, two doubles, three homers and eight RBI over the four games from Sunken Diamond. Sophomore Kody Huff earned the nod at catcher after hitting .400 (6 for 15) with five runs scored, a double, three home runs and 10 RBIs. Huff connected for a pair of grand slams in Stanford's victory over UC Irvine on June 5 – becoming the first Cardinal to launch two grand slams in a game since Tim Griffin in 1990. Senior Christian Robinson nabbed one of the three outfield spots after hitting .375 (6 for 16) with two runs scored, a double, a homer and three RBIs. Senior Brendan Beck was named an All-Tournament pitcher after tossing seven innings and allowing two runs on seven hits and two walks with nine strikeouts against UC Irvine on June 5.
TWENTY-EIGHT NAMED TO SPRING ACADEMIC HONOR ROLL
Three hundred and thirty-five Stanford student-athletes were named to the Pac-12 Spring Academic Honor Roll, including 28 baseball players. The Spring Academic Honor Roll includes student-athletes who participated in the conference-sponsored sports of baseball, beach volleyball, men's and women's golf, lacrosse, men's and women's rowing, softball, men's and women's tennis, and men's and women's track and field. Any student-athlete with a cumulative grade-point average of 3.30 or above who has served at least one year in residence at Stanford was eligible for the distinction this year. The full list of Stanford baseball players include: Brett Barrera, Brendan Beck, Drew Bowser, Jaden Bruno, Owen Cobb, Adam Crampton, Drew Dowd, Nathan Fleischli, Henry Gargus, Carter Graham, Zach Grech, Cole Hinkelman, Kody Huff, Brock Jones, Austin Kretzschmar, Quinn Mathews, Max Meier, Justin Moore, Jacob Palisch, Brandt Pancer, Eddie Park, Alberto Rios, Zach Sehgal, Matt Swartz, Tim Tawa, Tommy Troy, Alex Williams and Jonathan Worley.
TOSSING UP ZER0000000000000000000000000000ES
Stanford managed 1-0 and 5-0 shutouts over Oregon State in the first two games of a three-game series from May 27-29 – marking the first set of back-to-back shutouts for the Cardinal since blanking USC and San Diego in consecutive games on March 25 and March 27, 2018, respectively. Oregon State scored two runs in the top of the second in Saturday's finale, crossing the plate for the first time in the series. The runs scored snapped a string of 28 consecutive zeroes tossed up by the Stanford pitching staff – a streak dating back to the fourth inning of an 8-5 victory in 12 innings at then-No. 13 Oregon on May 23. Overall this year, Stanford has managed five shutout victories.
GRECH NAMED PAC-12 SCHOLAR-ATHLETE OF THE YEAR
Fifth-year senior Zach Grech earned Pac-12 Scholar-Athlete of the Year, the Pac-12 Conference announced on June 4 prior to the start of NCAA Regional play. Grech, a three-time All-Academic honoree carrying a 3.66 undergraduate GPA and a 4.01 graduate GPA, received a B.S. degree in Management Science & Engineering and a MA in Sustainability Science & Practice, completing both degrees in less than five years. Grech is the first Cardinal since Mark Appel in 2013 to take home the honor, and becomes the third overall after Andrew Triggs earned the selection in 2012. The award, which is presented in each of the 24 sports the Pac-12 sponsors, was established to honor collegiate student-athletes that are standouts both academically and in their sports discipline. In order to be eligible for the Pac-12 Scholar-Athlete of the Year award, student-athletes must be a senior (in athletics eligibility) on track to receive a degree, have a cumulative grade point average of 3.0 or higher, participate in at least 50 percent of the scheduled contests in the sport and have a minimum one year in residence at the institution. Each Pac-12 institution may nominate one individual per sport, and the winners are selected by a committee of Pac-12 staff members at the conclusion of each sport's regular season. The athletics accomplishments of the nominees are a consideration in voting for the award.
BECK'S PITCHER OF THE YEAR HEADLINES ALL-CONFERENCE SELECTIONS
Senior Brendan Beck headlined the list of Stanford baseball players lauded by the Pac-12, earning Pac-12 Pitcher of the Year and a spot on the All-Conference first team. The Pitcher of the Year selection is the eighth overall for Stanford, and the first for the Cardinal since John Hudgins claimed the honor in 2003. Joining Beck on the Pac-12's first team are fifth-year reliever Zach Grech, sophomore outfielder Brock Jones and senior first baseman Nick Brueser. The honorable mention team features senior left-hander Jacob Palisch, senior outfielder Christian Robinson, junior designated hitter Vincent Martinez and freshman reliever Joey Dixon. This marks the third consecutive year that Stanford has garnered eight All-Conference selections.
Six Pac-12 programs were selected to the 2021 NCAA Baseball Championship, including Conference champion Arizona, Oregon and Stanford among the top-16 national seeds to host regional play. Arizona and Stanford each reached the College World Series, with the Wildcats topping Ole Miss in a Super Regional. This year marked the first since 2013 that the Pac-12 has had at least two teams in Omaha in the same season (UCLA and Oregon State). The Pac-12's six bids are tied for the second-most in Conference history (2011, 2015), trailing only the eight berths in 2010. It also marks the second straight NCAA Baseball postseason and the sixth time since national seeding began in 1999 the league had at least three regional hosts (2002, 2011, 2012 - 4, 2013, 2019, 2021). Arizona earned the No. 5 overall national seed and hosted Oklahoma State, UC Santa Barbara and Grand Canyon. Stanford received the No. 9 seed and topped UC Irvine, Nevada and North Dakota State. This season marked the Cardinal's fourth consecutive postseason bid, serving as a regional host in all four, and 36th in program history. Oregon was awarded the No. 14 seed and welcomed Central Connecticut, Gonzaga and eventual Regional winner LSU. A trio of Pac-12 selections traveled to the state of Texas as the second seeds within their regional sites – UCLA was defeated by No. 8 seed Texas Tech, Arizona State finished its season at No. 2 seed Texas and Oregon State advanced to the Regional final before falling to Dallas Baptist.
ON TOP EARLY, PRODUCTIVE LATE
The Cardinal finished 27-9 when scoring first in a game this season, including 12-3 when scoring in the first inning. Stanford outscored opponents 90-50 in the first two innings of games this season – 47-29 in the first and 43-21 in the second. Stanford outscored its postseason opponents 24-6 in the first two innings this year –16-3 in the regional round, 7-0 in the Lubbock Super Regional and 1-3 in the College World Series. Fast forwarding to the end of games, Stanford outscored the opposition 20-15 in the ninth and 12-2 in extra innings.
Stanford's offensive output was impressive this year, as the Cardinal batted .283 with 380 runs scored on 566 hits – including 101 doubles, four triples and 85 home runs (.465 slugging). In 16 games played in 2020, the Cardinal managed a 5-11 record and hit .207 with 47 runs scored, 29 doubles, two triples and two home runs. Stanford averaged 6.79 runs per game this year after averaging 2.94 runs per game a year ago. The Cardinal scored 10-plus runs in 15 of the 56 games, and six-plus in 30 of 56, this year after finishing with eight or fewer in each of the 16 contests a year ago.
LONG BALLS LEADING THE WAY
Stanford hit just two home runs over 16 games played in 2020, but connected for seven in the first three games this season – including four on Opening Day vs. Santa Clara. Held homerless just 14 times this year, the Cardinal launched 85 through 56 games this season to rank first in the conference and 12th in the nation for home runs per game (1.52 per game). The 85 round-trippers, which ranked first in the conference overall and 13th nationally, were the eighth-most for the Cardinal in a single season. The Cardinal also hit 22 home runs in the postseason - the most of any team in the field. Stanford's game high for home runs this season was four – managing the feat four times (Feb. 25 vs. Santa Clara; March 7 at San Francisco; June 4 vs. North Dakota State; June 12 at No. 8 Texas Tech). Stanford was 34-8 when hitting at least one home run in a game this season and 22-4 when hitting two or more.
FRESHMAN ARMS PROVING BIG
While fifth-year senior Zach Grech proved himself as the go-to option out of the bullpen, having locked up 13 saves in 31 appearances to rank fourth nationally, three of the next five most-used arms out of the bullpen were freshmen. Tommy O'Rourke appeared in 25 games in relief, followed by freshman Brandt Pancer (22), senior Austin Weiermiller (22), senior Jacob Palisch (21) and freshman Joey Dixon (19). Dixon allowed six earned runs and sported a 1-1 record and two saves to accompany a 1.84 ERA over his 19 relief appearances, spanning a string of 29 1/3 innings. O'Rourke compiled a 4.07 bullpen ERA, allowing 11 earned runs on 16 hits with 25 strikeouts over 24 1/3 innings. The right-hander inherited 25 runners this year, allowing seven to score. Pancer pitched to a 4-2 record with a 3.62 ERA over his 22 appearances, allowing 13 runs with 24 strikeouts over 32 1/3 innings. First-year arms also made a difference starting games this year, with Drew Dowd (6), Dixon (4), Pancer (3) and Ryan Bruno (1) each starting at least one game.
RBIS COMING IN BUNCHES
Stanford featured four players with at least five RBIs in a game this season, and three of the four did it at least twice. Kody Huff launched a pair of grand slams to total eight RBIs against No. 17 UC Irvine on June 5. Tim Tawa and Brock Jones each collected six in a game, with Jones managing six on two different occasions (4/1 at Washington State; 6/12 at No. 8 Texas Tech). Jones, Tawa and Drew Bowser all accumulated at least one five-RBI game in 2021. Grand slams certainly helped the cause, as Huff and Jones connected for two, with Tawa and Bowser each delivering one to help guide Stanford to seven as a team this year.
THIEVES ON THE BASES
Stanford swiped 50 bases in 66 attempts this year to rank fifth in the Pac-12. Senior Tim Tawa was 14 for 17 in steal attempts to lead the way for the Cardinal, while sophomore Brock Jones went 14 for 19. Christian Robinson was 8 for 8, Adam Crampton was 4 for 7, Tommy Troy was 4 for 5, and Nick Brueser finished 3 for 4 to round out the Cardinal with multiple steals. The Cardinal was successful on its first 14 attempts this year.
CASHING IN ON OPPORTUNITIES
The Cardinal hit .295 (164 for 556) with 28 doubles, 26 home runs and 268 RBIs with runners in scoring position this season. Senior Christian Robinson delivered 37 RBIs while hitting .407 (22 for 54) in the situation, highlighted by a grand slam on February 25. Freshman Drew Bowser was 23 for 58 (.397) with four doubles, four home runs and 36 RBIs while hitting with runners in scoring position, while senior Tim Tawa batted .333 (19 for 57) with a double, five homers and 28 RBIs. Sophomore Brock Jones also cashed in, hitting .356 (21 for 59) with seven doubles, six homers and 46 RBIs in run-producing situations. Stanford as a team produced 115 two-out RBIs – guided by 23 from Robinson and 22 from Jones.
BECK'S MASTERPIECE EARNS WEEKLY HONORS
Senior Brendan Beck was tabbed as one of Collegiate Baseball's national players of the week and took home Pac-12 Pitcher of the Week on June 1 after tossing a three-hit shutout to beat Oregon State on May 27. Making the final regular-season start of his career, Beck struck out 10 while guiding Stanford to a 1-0 victory. The complete game was the second in as many weeks for the right-hander after tossing eight innings in a 2-1 setback at No. 13 Oregon on May 21. The nine innings pitched were a new career high for Beck – besting his eight reached on six different occasions. Beck, who went the distance by way of 107 pitches (75 strikes), allowed just the three hits and one walk. The native of Corona, Calif. retired the side in order in six of the nine frames, with only two runners reaching scoring position – stranding a runner at third in the third and another at second in the seventh. Beck's shutout was the first for a Cardinal pitcher since John Hochstatter blanked UCLA 5-0 on May 3, 2014. The 1-0 victory also marked the first for the Cardinal since defeating Texas 1-0 on the road on February 25, 2016.
DOWN FIVE, WIN IN 12
Stanford faced 5-0 deficits twice in the span of four games from May 17-23 only to come back and win both games in 12 innings. Playing at home against California on the 17th, Stanford fell behind 5-0 headed into the bottom of the fourth before scoring three in the fourth and three in the fifth to take a lead in that game. Cal would ultimately tie the game at 6-6 in the eighth, but Grant Burton notched the walk-off single in the bottom of the 12th to collect a split of what was a four-game series with California. Moving to the rubber game of a series at No. 13 Oregon on May 23, the Cardinal trailed 5-0 after three innings but rallied to score eight unanswered runs to eventually defeat the Ducks 8-5 in 12 frames. Stanford scored two in the fourth, three in the sixth and three in the 12th to collect the victory.
MARQUESS NAMED TO COLLEGE BASEBALL HALL OF FAME
Legendary Stanford head coach Mark Marquess, who spent 41 years with the Cardinal and retired in 2017 as the eighth-winningest coach in NCAA history, has been named a member of the National College Baseball Hall of Fame Class of 2021. The latest class was inducted as part of the virtual College Baseball Night of Champions ceremony on June 26. Headlining the class alongside Marquess are 1995 National and SEC Player of the Year Todd Helton from Tennessee, one of the top two-way players in college baseball history, and Auburn pitcher Gregg Olson, the first two-time All-American in Tigers history. When he retired from coaching following the 2017 season, Marquess had compiled a record of 1,627 wins, 878 losses and seven ties for a winning percentage of .649. He led Stanford to the College World Series 14 times with back-to-back titles in 1987 and 1988. Of his 41 seasons as a coach, 30 of his teams reached the postseason and he sent more than 200 players into professional baseball. A member of the American Baseball Coaches Hall of Fame, Marquess was a three-time NCAA Coach of the Year recipient and nine-time Pac-10 Coach of the Year honoree. Marquess finished with a career 133-66 record in postseason play, including an 84-29 mark in the NCAA Regionals, a 13-10 ledger in the NCAA Super Regionals and a 36-25 (.590) record at the 14 College World Series. Marquess' success as a coach can be traced to his days as a player. A three-year starter at first base for Stanford (1967-69), he earned first-team All-America honors in 1967 and garnered second-team All-America recognition in 1968. He was also named first-team All-Pac-8 and All-District-8 in both 1967 and 1968. Having played in the 1967 College World Series before embarking on his coaching career, Marquess is one of just 10 people to have played and coached at the College World Series.
BECK LAUDED FOR PERFORMANCE AT CAL
Senior Brendan Beck garnered Pac-12 Pitcher of the Week honors on May 17 following a dominant performance against California on May 14. The right-hander allowed two runs on three hits and a walk while striking out a then-career-best 12 hitters over eight innings to pick up the victory in a 9-2 win. The native of Corona, Calif. retired 11 straight from the fourth through the seventh innings, collecting six strikeouts over that span. Beck's 12 strikeouts were one off the Pac-12 single-game high in 2021 to that point, and bested his previous career best of 11, which he accomplished three times.
NATIONAL PLAYER OF THE WEEK
Sophomore Brock Jones was selected as one of Collegiate Baseball's national players of the week on March 8 after leading Stanford to a four-game sweep of San Francisco from March 4-7. Jones was 8 for 18 (.444) with four runs scored, two doubles, a triple and three homers to the tune of 12 RBIs and a 1.167 slugging percentage over the four games against the Dons. The native of Fresno, Calif. managed a pair of homers in the series finale on Sunday – the first multi-homer game of his career.
WELCOME TO THE FARM
Stanford's freshman class arrived on The Farm as the seventh-ranked recruiting class in the nation according to Perfect Game and Baseball America. The class features three of the top seven recruits in the Pac-12 according to Perfect Game, as Ryan Bruno, Drew Bowser and Tommy Troy enter ranked No. 2, No. 3 and No. 7, respectively. Eddie Park, Joey Dixon and Drew Dowd are also ranked in Perfect Game's Top 20. D1Baseball tabbed the class, which did not lose a player to the shortened 2020 MLB Draft, 11th overall and second in the Pac-12. The 2020 class is the first top-10 class under David Esquer at Stanford after taking over the program in 2018.
CARDINAL PICKED FIFTH IN PRESEASON POLL
Stanford was picked to finish fifth in the conference according to the Pac-12 Baseball Preseason Coaches Poll. UCLA, which opened the season ranked No. 2 nationally, emerged as the preseason favorite after receiving all 10 available first-place votes and totaling 100 points. Arizona was picked to finish second in the preseason poll with a total of 85 points. The Wildcats narrowly edged Arizona State (83 points) for the runner-up position. Oregon State came in fourth place with 59 points, closely followed by the Cardinal (58 points) in fifth and USC (55 points) in sixth. Oregon (47 points), Washington (45), California (39), Washington State (20) and Utah (14) rounded out the poll.
A STACKED PAC
Perennially one of the top conferences in the nation, the Pac-12 boasted three teams in the Top 25 rankings to open the season. UCLA, which won the most recent Pac-12 regular-season title in 2019, entered the year ranked No. 2 nationally, while Arizona was tabbed a top 10 team according to Collegiate Baseball's preseason poll. Arizona State also found a spot in the Collegiate Baseball preseason poll, checking in at No. 15. UCLA earned the national top seed in 2019, headlining five NCAA Tournament participants from the Conference (No. 11 seed Stanford, No. 16 seed Oregon State, Arizona State and California). UCLA and Stanford each reached Super Regional play, with the Cardinal's berth into the Supers serving as its 11th trip.
Senior left-handed pitcher Jacob Palisch was listed among Baseball America's top college draft prospects entering the 2021 season. The native of Richardson, Texas checked in at No. 97 on the list despite not taking the hill for the Cardinal in 2020. Palisch posted a 1.29 ERA over 35 innings with 38 strikeouts as a starter in the Cape Code League in 2019 after logging 56 1/3 innings over 26 appearances (seven starts) for the Cardinal that year. Palisch burst onto the scene as a reliever in 2018, pitching to a 3-1 record and a 1.72 ERA with four saves over 26 appearances and 47 innings of work to earn Freshman All-America honors.