There is no way to sugarcoat Stanford baseball’s season, no way to describe it as anything other than a resounding disappointment for a roster overflowing with highly touted professional prospects. Neither the return of senior ace Mark Appel, who is on the cusp of setting the school’s strikeout record, nor the rehab of junior slugger Austin Wilson, another near-certain first-round pick, has made the Cardinal a contender in 2013, and with two weeks to play Stanford (26-20, 11-13 Pac-12) has been all but eliminated from consideration for a postseason berth.
After a close win on Friday night, the No. 19 Cardinal dropped the final two games of its home series against the Utes, a team that went just 6-23 in conference play last season and was picked to finish last in the conference in 2013. Instead, Stanford (11-7, 1-2 Pac-12) stumbled into spring quarter for the second consecutive season, bringing back nightmarish memories of a slump last March and April that crushed the team’s hopes of hosting a Super Regional.
One year after the winter quarter finals break derailed a streaking Stanford baseball team, this season’s 12-day layoff proved to be just what the doctor ordered for the No. 19 Cardinal, as it held off Utah 6-4 at Sunken Diamond on Friday night.
There are three parts to a baseball game: pitching, hitting and defense. A team that does two out of the three well will usually succeed. This Friday and Sunday, Stanford could only pitch effectively; on Saturday, the Cardinal could not find any of the three aspects of its game.
Mark Appel’s career-high 14 strikeouts overwhelmed No. 23 Texas, as the Cardinal won 2-0 at Sunken Diamond on Friday.
After a tough three-game set at Rice in which it could only muster four runs, the Cardinal offense desperately needed a pick-me-up in its home opener against Cal.