Stanford baseball (0-0, 0-0 Pac-12) will kick off its season this Thursday on the Farm with a four-game series against Santa Clara (1-2, 0-0 WCC), with alternating home and away games. The team will look to bounce back from last year’s poor performance: A 5-11 record before the pandemic cut the season short.
The half-hour drive to Santa Clara is the perfect way to wet the feet of a team that did not win a game outside of Sunken Diamond last season. The two teams faced each other in mid-February last year with the Broncos securing a 3-2 win.
The Cardinal showed flashes of brilliance last season. Freshmen stepped up to help clinch a series against Grand Canyon University and the team upset No. 16 Michigan at home thanks to veteran relief pitching.
If Stanford wants to turn those flashes into a winning season, it will have to start at the plate. Through last season’s 16 games the team held a dismal .207 team batting average and were outperformed by opponents in every offensive category. Only one player, then-sophomore catcher Vincent Martinez, bat above .300 last season; however, he only had nine at bats.
Senior Tim Tawa, who played both shortstop and in the outfield last season, led the Cardinal in at-bats in 2020 but only hit .213 — just above the team average. Senior infielder Nick Brueser and sophomore outfielder Brock Jones rounded out the top 3 at-bat recipients but only hit .235 and .228, respectively.
Cardinal fans should expect another strong season from junior Alex Williams on the mound. The righty had three starts for the team last season and only gave up one earned run over the course of 17.2 innings, holding his opponents to a .177 batting average.
The team will need to see other players in the starting rotation step up, including sophomore Max Meier. He pitched the first two innings in the upset win over Michigan last year, but the win was awarded to pitcher Jackson Parthasarathy ’20, who graduated last year.
The team is set to play 41 games this season, 13 less than the 54 scheduled last year.