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Baseball: Appel pitches complete game in series-opener victory over Washington

 

The No. 6 Stanford baseball team appears to have resumed its winning ways again.

The Cardinal (18-6, 3-4 Pac-12) beat Washington (16-10, 3-4) 5-2 in Seattle last night, marking just the third time in its last 10 weekend-series games that the squad scored at least five runs after doing so in eight of its first nine such contests.

Junior catcher Eric Smith (above) hit 3-for-5 and scored a run in the Stanford baseball team's 5-2 win over Washington in the series-opener on Thursday night in Seattle, WA. The Cardinal also played errorless defense behind ace Mark Appel, who pitched a complete game while giving up just four hits. (MEHMET INONU/The Stanford Daily)

Junior righthander Mark Appel (4-1) threw his third complete game of the season and retired 15 straight batters, while sophomore first baseman Brian Ragira had a hit and two RBI to extend his hit streak to nine games in the win. Sophomore shortstop Lonnie Kauppila also impressed with three hits and an RBI in his return to the lineup, having sat out Monday against St. Mary’s after struggling both in the field and at the plate.

The Huskies were held scoreless by Appel after the first frame, while junior righty Aaron West (4-2) lasted just 5.1 innings and surrendered eight hits and three walks to Stanford.

The Cardinal fell behind in the first inning for the second game in a row, as Appel walked a pair of batters with two outs and then allowed a two-run double from junior Jacob Lamb.

It took Stanford four innings to end West’s no-hitter, with junior third baseman Stephen Piscotty singling to break the ice. But the floodgates didn’t really open until the fifth, when junior catcher Eric Smith led off with a single. Advancing on a passed ball and a flyout from freshman designated hitter Alex Blandino, Smith came around to score and narrow the gap to one run.

Stanford then loaded the bases and tied things up on a wild pitch, before Ragira singled in two more runs to make it 4-2.

Appel was dominating on the mound, meanwhile, showing the same brilliance that saw him record a then-career-high nine strikeouts against Washington last year. Even though he only punched out three Huskies on Thursday, Appel gave up just four hits, none of them coming between the third and seventh innings.

The Cardinal defense also returned to form behind its ace, with Ragira making a diving play in the sixth inning and leftfielder Tyler Gaffney quelling an eighth-inning rally by throwing out junior Mac Acker, who tried to advance from first to third on a single but could not beat the Stanford junior’s relay.

One more run came around in the top of the ninth, when junior second baseman Kenny Diekroeger’s two-out single and stolen base turned into a 5-2 Cardinal lead, courtesy of sophomore Austin Wilson’s 25th RBI of the season. The rightfielder is now tied with Piscotty for the team lead in that category.

Stanford looks to have the edge in the final two matchups of the weekend. Redshirt junior lefthander Brett Mooneyham (5-1) will pitch on Friday. Mooneyham has looked sharp all year long, and his ERA remains at 1.96 despite the Cardinal’s recent slump.

Saturday will feature a pair of underclassmen righties on the mound: Stanford freshman John Hochstatter and Husky sophomore Austin Voth. Hochstatter has fallen to 3-3 with three tough losses in a row and will look to get back on track Saturday afternoon in the 1 p.m. finale.

Mooneyham and the Card will go up against Bay Area native Tyler Davis, a freshman righthander from Mountain View, Calif., in tonight’s 5 p.m. contest.

About Joseph Beyda

Joseph Beyda is the editor in chief of The Stanford Daily. Previously he has worked as the executive editor, webmaster, football editor, a sports desk editor, the paper's summer managing editor and a beat reporter for football, baseball and women's soccer. He co-authored The Daily's recent football book, "Rags to Roses," and covered the soccer team's national title run for the New York Times. Joseph is a senior from Cupertino, Calif. majoring in Electrical Engineering. To contact him, please email jbeyda "at" stanford.edu.