By Jose Saldana
No. 23 Stanford men’s baseball opened its season on Thursday with the first or three games set against No. 8 Cal State Fullerton at 7 p.m.
While sophomore Kris Bubic pitched a near-perfect game, a lackluster offensive performance meant that the Cardinal dropped the first game of the season, 1-0.
Bubic did not allow a man on base until a leadoff walk in the fifth. That initial mistake allowed the Titans to briefly break through with a double and a single to plate the run.
That single score would be enough to take the game, with Stanford stranding runners in the second and fifth but unable to put any runs on the board. Junior Mikey Diekroeger finished with two hits, and Quinn Brodey led off with a single and stole second with two outs. However, a strikeout would end the inning and the game.
Mark Marquess, head coach at Stanford since 1977, announced after the end of the last season that the 2017 season would be his last. In his tenure with Stanford, Marquess has accumulated the most wins in Pac-12 history, won two national championships and been named national Coach of the Year three times.
The Cardinal are coming into the season ranked 23rd after failing to reach the postseason tournament last year with a 31-23 record. They went 15-15 in conference play, which was sixth in the conference.
Stanford was picked to finish second in the conference by the Pac-12 baseball coaches. Oregon State is the favorite to finish first in the Pac-12.
Stanford will look to build on last year as every regular starter from 2016 has returned except former shortstop Tommy Edman, who is now a prospect for the St. Louis Cardinals.
The starting rotation will also benefit from consistency, as every starting pitcher from 2016 will be back on the mound for the Cardinal.
Stanford will have a fast start to the season as its plays the first 16 games in just 23 days and plays 20 games against last year’s tournament squads.
The Cardinal will not make their 2017 Sunken Diamond debut until Feb. 24 against the University of Kansas.
The Cardinal scored a trifecta in the preseason All-American teams as junior Colton Hock, junior Quinn Brodey and sophomore Tristan Beck were awarded the distinction.
Stanford has dominated Cal State over the years, as the all-time record is 59-44. Last season, the two teams played a three-game set where the Titans staved off a sweep with a 4-3 win in the final game of the series.
The Cardinal were swept by the Titans the last time these teams clashed in Fullerton in 2015.
Next up for the Cardinal is the next two games of the series against Cal Fullerton, scheduled to start at 6 p.m. on Saturday and 1 p.m. on Monday.
Contact Jose Saldana at jsaldana ‘at’ stanford.edu.