It’s been almost a month since the No. 6 Stanford baseball team hosted a weekend series, but with No. 16 Oregon coming to town for a three-game set at Sunken Diamond, the squad is playing some of its best baseball at just the right time, riding a three-game win streak into tonight’s opener. Having played just two of its last nine contests on the Farm, the Cardinal (21-7, 4-5 Pac-12) will finally have a chance to improve on its 14-2 home record with seven straight matchups at Sunken Diamond against Oregon (21-9, 8-4), San Jose State and No. 21 Arizona State.
Stanford baseball has exhibited a flair for the dramatic recently, and in clinching a series win at Washington this weekend, the No. 6 Cardinal needed all the late-inning drama it could get to earn a victory in the Saturday rubber game.
In a wild, four-hour-and-15-minute contest that saw the Cardinal erase that five-run deficit, get the game-winning hit from sophomore Danny Diekroeger in just his fifth appearance of the season and rely on junior third baseman Stephen Piscotty to pitch — coming in not once, but twice — for the win, Stanford got a much-needed injection of energy in a 9-8 victory on the Farm.
The top-ranked Stanford baseball team opens a series at Fresno State tonight in what will be a weekend of firsts for the 8-0 Cardinal. This is the squad’s first three-game set on the road after losing five of its eight away series a year ago. This is the first time this year that Stanford has stability in its pitching rotation following the emergence of freshman Sunday starter John Hochstatter. And it’s also the first time the Cardinal can call itself the No. 1 team in the country in eight years, ending Stanford’s longest sojourn from the top of the national rankings since longtime head coach Mark Marquess’ first days at the helm of the program in the late ‘70s and early ‘80s.
A week and a half ago, with the home opener looming and a set of top teams ready to face the Cardinal at Sunken Diamond, Stanford baseball head coach Mark Marquess had a pretty clear mantra when it came to his team’s tough schedule.
The No. 2 Cardinal faces its highest expectations in a decade, with a trio of junior preseason All-Americans set to lead the Pac-12-favorite squad on another deep postseason run. Projected first-overall MLB-draft pick Mark Appel will start on Friday nights for the second straight year, while third baseman Stephen Piscotty and shortstop Kenny Diekroeger headline a lineup that returns seven of eight positions players.
Well, I guess it’s about time we all admit that football season really is over. It was another incredible year, both in the NFL and in college. But as sad as it makes me, we’re now over a week into our post-football lives and over a month into the post-Stanford football doldrums.
On Saturday, Feb. 11, Klein Field at Sunken Diamond will play host to the Cardinal and White intrasquad game at 1 p.m.