By James Hemker
In addition to its top tier academic and research facilities, Stanford boasts the greatest athletic program in the country. The Cardinal have won more NCAA Division I Team Championships than any other school in the country with 120. This year, Stanford has already brought home three national championships in women’s volleyball, women’s swimming and diving and men’s gymnastics — which they won just last week.
As the heart of spring quarter approaches, seasons are winding down and fewer teams are still out competing on campus. Regardless, there are plenty of opportunities during Admit Weekend to see the Stanford Cardinal battle on land and in the water. Baseball, softball and women’s water polo will all have games on campus throughout the weekend.
Women’s Water Polo
Ranked No. 1 in both the nation and the conference, the Stanford women’s water polo team (19-1, 6-0 MPSF) will be hosting the postseason MPSF tournament this weekend. Thanks to their stellar conference play, the Cardinal earned a bye to the semifinals and will be competing against the winner of No. 4 Cal (15-6, 3-3) and No. 20 San Jose State (10-13, 2-4) on Saturday at 2:30 p.m. PST in Avery Aquatic Center. They will then play on Sunday at 3 p.m. PST if they win, or at 1 p.m. PST if they lose.
The Cardinal are well-equipped to deal with San Jose State if they somehow slip by Cal. Stanford has outscored the Spartans 41-8 in their two meetings this season, including dealing out a 22-4 thrashing on Senior Day last weekend.
The Golden Bears will prove to be a more formidable challenge. In their most recent clash two weeks ago, Stanford held off a big Cal comeback in the second half to escape with a 13-12 win. Those 12 goals are the most any teams has scored against the Cardinal this season.
Currently in second place at 76 goals, junior driver Makenzie Fischer is chasing the school’s single-season goals record of 93, which has stood untouched since 1998. With her conference-leading four goals-per-game average, she has a legitimate chance of topping the record by the end of the year.
No. 3 Stanford baseball (29-6, 13-2 Pac-12) is riding the hot hand, coming into the weekend having won nine of their last ten games. The Arizona Wildcats (18-20, 6-12) will be on tap for a three-game conference series. On the other end of the spectrum from the Cardinal, Arizona has dropped seven of their last eight contests. Stanford’s bats are booming, with the offense driving in 56 runs over the past four games.
Head on over to Sunken Diamond Friday night for a 6:05 p.m. PST game or Saturday for a 5:05 p.m. PST game. Stay around after Saturday’s game to see the annual fireworks show. If you are an animal lover, Sunday’s game at 1:05 p.m. will feature Pups in the Park, where the first 50 dogs in attendance will receive a Stanford Baseball dog leash.
Two players to watch are senior outfield Brandon Wulff and junior RHP Will Matthiessen. Wulff’s 13 home runs (second in the Pac-12), 34 runs, 1.107 .OPS, .678 slugging percentage (fourth in the Pac-12) and 29 walks lead the team. In his last five games, Wulff has five home runs, 14 RBI and 11 runs. On the season, Matthiessen leads the team in batting average (.368), on-base percentage (.456), hits (46) and RBIs (35).
Softball is having a historic season, breaking the 30-win mark for the first time since 2014. The team was swept in its last conference series against No. 3 Arizona last weekend, but they recovered with a midweek 3-2 win over Fresno State. The Arizona State Sun Devils are coming to town on a nine-game losing streak. All of those losses have come in conference play, which bodes well for the Cardinal.
Friday night’s game is slated for 7 p.m. PST at Stanford Softball Stadium. Beforehand, there will be a poster and visor making station, as well as trading cards. The first 150 fans to Saturday’s 5:30 p.m. PST game will receive a Stanford Softball oven mitt. Like baseball, stay afterwards for the fireworks show. Sunday’s game at 1 p.m. PST will feature Pups in the Park as well, and the team will sign autographs afterwards.
Junior utility Teaghan Cowles and freshman utility Emily Schultz lead the Cardinal from the batter’s box. Leading the team, Cowles is batting .400 and has a slugging percentage of .652. She also leads the team in hits (54), doubles (nine) and triples (five). Schultz is batting just under Cowles at .338. She also boasts a slugging percentage of .647. Both have an on-base percentage of .471.
Contact James Hemker at jahemker ‘at’ stanford.edu.