Baseball: Lot good happened for Cardinal in 2019, second year under David Esquer

Stanford finished its 2019 season with the fifth-highest win percentage (.763) in program history while earning its first Super Regional berth since 2014.

The Cardinal’s (45-14-0, 22-7-0 Pac-12) season came to a close after a 2-0 loss in the Starkville Super Regional at Mississippi State. Stanford finished top-two in the Pac-12 title race for the third consecutive season, hosting an NCAA Regional for the 18th time in program history. Below is a comprehensive, by-the-numbers recap of the 2019 season.

1,575 – The total distance (feet) of Andrew Daschbach’s four home runs against Cal Poly on May 14. Daschbach is the only player in program history with four home runs, the only player in the NCAA to do so in 2019 and the first since 2013. He joins UCLA’s Bill Scott (March 30, 1999) as the only Pac-12 players in history to homer four times in a game.

182 – Stanford’s pitching staff, which ranked third in the Pac-12 with a 3.62 earned-run average, allowed 182 walks in 2019, the fewest in the Pac-12.

102 – Erik Miller led the team with 102 strikeouts, the most in a season since Mark Appel fanned 130 in 2013.

91.2 – Brendan Beck led the Cardinal with 91.2 innings as Stanford’s Friday-night starter. Beck finished 5-4 with a 3.63 ERA.

91 – Stanford is 91-22-0 (.805) in games when Maverick Handley started at catcher from 2017-19.

71 – While standing on deck in Stanford’s must-win Regional matchup against Fresno State on June 2, Kyle Stowers was picked 71st overall in the second round of the MLB Draft by the Orioles. Erik Miller (120th in the fourth round to the Philadelphia Phillies), Jack Little (161st in the fifth round to the Los Angeles Dodgers), Maverick Handley (168th in the sixth round to the Orioles), Will Matthiessen (184th overall in the sixth round to the Pittsburgh Pirates), Andrew Daschbach (318th overall in the 11th round to the Orioles), Brandon Wulff (521st overall in the 17th round to the Dodgers), Duke Kinamon (728th overall in the 24th round to the Tampa Bay Rays) and former Cardinal Daniel Bakst (857th overall in the 28th round to the Boston Red Sox) were also picked.

63 – Stanford co-led the Pac-12 in stolen bases with 63 – Kyle Stowers led the team with 13 while Maverick Handley and Duke Kinamon finished with 12 apiece.

48 – Stanford’s 48 home runs were the most in Pac-12 play, led by Brandon Wulff (11) and Andrew Daschbach (9).

47 – Nick Bellafronto appeared in 47 games, including 44 starts, this season after making one total appearance in his first three seasons at Stanford. Bellafronto finished the season with six home runs, batting .258/.383/.492 with 32 runs, 13 doubles and 32 RBI.

45 – Stanford’s 45 wins tie for the 13th-most in program history – Stanford has accrued 91 wins in two seasons under the Clarke and Elizabeth Nelson Director of Baseball David Esquer.

37 – Kyle Stowers, who batted .303/.369/.523 with nine home runs, 39 RBI, 39 runs and a team-high 13 stolen bases, switched numbers prior to the season to honor close friend Jason Lyon, who succumbed to a battle with brain cancer when the two were high school teammates.

35 – Stanford has appeared in the postseason 35 times with a 151-80-0 (.654) all-time record.

32 – Zach Grech’s 32 appearances led the team and rank fifth in program history, four behind the record held by Tony Cogan (1997). Grech finished the season with a 3.68 ERA in 44.0 innings pitched while surrendering just seven walks.

28 – Jack Little leaves Stanford as the program’s all-time leader in saves with 28. In 2018, Little tied Colton Hock for the single-season program record (16). In two seasons as closer, Little posted a 1.94 ERA in 88.0 innings pitched with 113 strikeouts, 19 walks, a 0.91 WHIP and a .196 batting average against.

19 – Brandon Wulff led the team with 19 home runs, which tie for ninth on the all-time single-season record list. Wulff’s 19 homers are the most in a season since Sean Ratliff hit 22 in 2008.

14 – Stanford’s 14 losses tie for the third-fewest in program history.

13 – Thirteen Cardinal were named All-Academic, led by first teamers Zach Grech, Maverick Handley and Jack Little.

11 – 2019 marked the 11th time Stanford played in a Super Regional and the first since 2014.

9 – Catcher Maverick Handley finished the season with nine pickoffs, the most in the country and seven more than any other Pac-12 catcher.

8 – Stanford hit four or more home runs in a game eight times – Stanford’s 12 home runs in the Regional round were the most of any team in the NCAA.

3.72 – Maverick Handley’s grade-point average in bioengineering – Handley earned CoSIDA Academic All-District 8 and Pac-12 All-Academic first team honors with the highest GPA of any student-athlete selected to the Pac-12 All-Academic teams.

3 – Facing elimination from the Stanford Regional after losing to Fresno State in its second postseason game, the Cardinal reeled off three-straight wins, including two over the Bulldogs, to stave off elimination and qualify for the Starkville Super Regional at Mississippi State.

1 – Mike Mussina `91 became the first former Cardinal inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame on January 22. Stanford honored Mussina prior to its May 17 duel with Oregon State at Sunken Diamond.

0.97 – Alex Williams earned Freshman All-America honors from Collegiate Baseball Newspaper, NCBWA and Perfect Game with a staff-low 0.97 WHIP (walks plus hits per innings pitched), finishing with a 2.56 ERA in 63.1 innings pitched while issuing just eight walks.

.310 – Will Matthiessen led the Cardinal in batting average (.310), hits (67), RBI (52) and on-base percentage (.389), also carrying a 3.83 ERA across 54.0 innings pitched in 16 total appearances –Matthiessen batted .448/.500/.793 (all team highs) while leading the team in hits (13), doubles (4), home runs (2) and RBI (9). Matthiessen earned All-America status from Perfect Game/Rawlings and ABCA. In his eight starts.

0.00 – Brandon Dieter’s ERA – Dieter, who made 32 appearances in the infield, tossed 1.1 perfect innings in his only pitching appearance of the season on May 11.

*Care of Stanford athletics

Women’s lacrosse: Spencer, former Stanford assistant, takes over reins of program

Danielle Spencer was named head coach of Stanford women’s lacrosse on Wednesday, as announced by Jaquish & Kenninger Director of Athletics Bernard Muir.

Spencer, who served as an assistant at Stanford in 2012, returns to The Farm after she turned around the Dartmouth program in just three years and earned Ivy League Coach of the Year honors in each of her final two seasons. Spencer inherited a program coming off three consecutive losing campaigns, but the Big Green won 11 games in her second year and captured an Ivy League regular season title in her third season.

“We are thrilled to welcome Danielle to the Stanford family,” Muir said. “Danielle is well-respected among her coaching peers and throughout the lacrosse community, and has an established history of bringing out the very best in all those associated with her program. She has an undeniable passion for the student-athlete experience in the classroom as well as on the field, and is a perfect fit to lead the Stanford women’s lacrosse program.”

“I am very excited for this next step in my coaching journey,” said Spencer, who becomes the seventh head coach in Stanford women’s lacrosse history. “I would like to thank Bernard Muir and Jamie Breslin for believing in me, and all of my professional mentors for encouraging me to be brave and take this opportunity.”

“I would like to thank everyone at Dartmouth for three great years. I am going to miss my Big Green family. I really can’t say enough great things about the women I coached and recruited to Dartmouth, and whoever succeeds me in that position is very lucky.

“With that said, I believe Stanford has everything that I am looking for in my personal and professional career. Stanford is the Home of Champions and I am humbled to join the department.

“I believe I can help the women of Stanford lacrosse unlock their potential and I am ready to be their leader. I can’t wait to start recruiting the best and brightest lacrosse players in the country to Stanford.”

In 2019, Spencer guided Dartmouth to its first Ivy title since 2011, tying Princeton for the top spot in the conference standings. The Big Green earned an at-large berth into the NCAA Tournament, a first for the program since 2013.

Along the way, Spencer’s 2019 team established several program and Ivy League records. The 272 goals and 401 total points both set new program standards, while the 312 draw controls set a new Ivy standard and eclipsed the old mark by more than 50.

Spencer’s second season was a resurgence for the Big Green as the team returned to the postseason for the first time since 2013 and finished the year 11-5. For her part in guiding the team back to the Ivy League Tournament and maintaining a spot in the nation’s top-20 most of the season, Spencer was named the Ivy League Co-Head Coach of the Year.

In three years under her guidance in Hanover, six Dartmouth players received First Team All-Ivy honors as the Big Green finished 29-19 (.604) overall and 13-8 (.619) in conference play.

Prior to Dartmouth, Spencer spent four seasons as an assistant coach at her alma mater, Northwestern, and one year on the sidelines at Stanford.

During her coaching stint in Evanston, Spencer helped Northwestern to four NCAA Tournament appearances and a pair of berths in the Final Four (2013, 2014). The Wildcats also won a conference title in 2013 and finished in the top 10 of the Intercollegiate Women’s Lacrosse Coaches Association (IWLCA) poll in all four seasons.

As the recruiting coordinator, Spencer was responsible for continuing to bring top players into the program, including the group in 2014 that was ranked as the best recruiting class in the nation.

A four-year standout at Northwestern from 2006-10, Spencer was a part of three national championship teams (2007, 2008, 2009) and one national runner-up (2010) during her outstanding playing career.

As a player, Spencer was a two-time All-American, nabbing first-team honors as a senior in 2010, a year after claiming second-team recognition. As a senior, Spencer also earned All-America honors from WomensLax.com and WomensLacrosse.com. A three-time all-conference player, she earned first-team recognition as both a junior and senior, while being honored on the second team during her sophomore campaign.

Spencer finished her four seasons with the Wildcats having played in 83 games, making 65 starts. Her career totals ranked among the best in Northwestern’s storied history as she finished with 193 goals (7th), 238 points (8th) and 203 draw controls (3rd). The 110 draw controls as a senior was the third-most by a collegiate player in NCAA history at the time.

In October 2018, the Brighton, New York, native was named a member of the US Lacrosse Greater Rochester Hall of Fame Induction Class of 2018.

Most recently, Spencer played with the Boston Storm of the United Women’s Lacrosse League (UWLX) during the first season for both the team and league. Spencer and her teammates finished as the league runner-up, falling in the championship game. In 2018, she played for Upstate Pride of the Women’s Professional Lacrosse League (WPLL). She was tied for third in the league, averaging 4.0 goals per game, while also leading the league with 8.0 draw controls per contest.

Spencer graduated from Northwestern in 2010 with a degree in social policy.

Spencer will take over a Stanford program that finished 13-5 and reached the NCAA Tournament for the second straight year. The Cardinal returns its top four scorers, as well as nine of 11 starters and its starting goalkeeper.

*Care of Stanford athletics

Baseball: Matthiessen named All-America HM utility by Perfect Game/Rawlings

Will Matthiessen has been named All-America honorable mention as a utility player by Perfect Game/Rawlings, as announced Wednesday.

Matthiessen (management science and engineering), who earns the recognition as a designated hitter and pitcher, leading the Cardinal in batting average (.310), hits (67), RBI (52) and on-base percentage (.389) while finishing the season slugging .532 with 12 home runs.

On the mound, Matthiessen finished 6-2 with a 3.83 earned-run average and 56 strikeouts compared to 19 walks in 54.0 inning pitched across 16 appearances, including eight starts.

The 184th overall pick in the sixth round of the MLB Draft by the Pittsburgh Pirates, Matthiessen also garnered All-Pac-12, Pac-12 All-Academic and Stanford Regional All-Tournament team honors and is a finalist for the John Olerud award, annually given to the nation’s best two-way player.

*Care of Stanford athletics

Baseball: Two Cardinal named All-West Region second team by American Baseball Coaches Association

 Will Matthiessen and Jack Little were named to the All-West Region second team by the American Baseball Coaches Association, as announced Wednesday.

Matthiessen (management science and engineering), who earns the recognition as a designated hitter, led the Cardinal in batting average (.310), hits (67), RBI (52) and on-base percentage (.389), finishing the season slugging .532 with 12 home runs. On the mound, Matthiessen finished 6-2 with a 3.83 earned-run average and 56 strikeouts compared to 19 walks in 54.0 inning pitched across 16 appearances, including eight starts.

The 184th overall pick in the sixth round of the MLB Draft by the Pittsburgh Pirates, Matthiessen also garnered All-Pac-12, Pac-12 All-Academic and Stanford Regional All-Tournament team honors and is a finalist for the John Olerud award, annually given to the nation’s best two-way player.

Little (management science and engineering) joins Matthiessen on the second team after finishing the season with a 3.37 ERA, 55 strikeouts to 11 walks and a .226 opposing batting average across 25 appearances. Little’s 12 saves ranked second in the Pac-12, giving him 28 for his career, which is a program record.

The 161st overall pick in fifth round of the MLB Draft by the Los Angeles Dodgers, Little was also named All-Pac-12, Pac-12 All-Academic first team and CoSIDA Academic All-District 8.

*Care of Stanford athletics

Women’s water polo: Elder Fischer wins prestigious Cutino Award

Makenzie Fischer was named the recipient of the 2019 Peter J. Cutino Award at The Olympic Club on Saturday night. The award, given to the outstanding collegiate water polo player in the United States as voted by Division I coaches, has been won by a Cardinal in six of the last nine years.

Makenzie Fischer
Makenzie Fischer, tabbed the 2019 Cutino Award winner

A 2016 Olympic gold medalist and two-time NCAA champion, Fischer is the sixth Stanford woman to win the prestigious honor, which was instituted in 1999, joining Kiley Neushul (2015, 2012), Annika Dries (2014, 2011), Melissa Seidemann (2013), Jackie Frank (2003) and Brenda Villa (2002).

The Cardinal’s Ben Hallock collected the award on the men’s side. It’s the fourth time one school has swept both women’s and men’s Cutino Awards and the third time Stanford has done it. Brenda Villa and Tony Azevedo were the honorees in 2002 and Jackie Frank and Azevedo the following year. USC’s Stephania Haralabidis and McQuin Baron were the winners in 2016.

Fischer put together one of the most impressive offensive seasons in MPSF history. The ACWPC National Player of the Year and MPSF Player of the Year scored a league-best 3.50 goals per game, the second-highest average in the conference over the past 15 seasons (Sarah Harris; Pacific; 2007; 3.64).

The junior scored in every one of the 24 games in which she played and poured in a career-high 84 goals, the second-most in Stanford history (Ellen Estes; 1998; 93) and a single-season record for a national champion. Fischer is sixth on Stanford’s all-time scoring list with 205 career goals in just 74 games (2.77 goals per game). Estes (1997-98, 2001-02) is next on the list with 214 and Seidemann (2009-11, 13) and Lauren Silver (2006-09) are tied for the school record with 239.

Named the NCAA Tournament MVP, Fischer scored six times at the national championship tournament, including a hat trick in the final against USC. Stanford won its seventh NCAA title and fourth in the past six seasons with a 9-8 victory over the No. 1 Trojans at Avery Aquatic Center on May 12.

*Care of Stanford athletics

Baseball: Stark ending to Cardinal’s season in humid Starkville; Little stars in defeat

 No. 4 Stanford’s 2019 campaign wrapped up on Sunday night with an 8-1 defeat at No. 3 Mississippi State in the Starkville Super Regional at Dudy Noble Field.

Stanford took the early lead when Kyle Stowers led off the bottom of the first with a solo home run, but Mississippi State plated eight unanswered, including three in the top of the ninth after Jack Little kept the Cardinal in it with 4.2 stellar innings, putting the game out of reach. After Stowers’ home run, Stanford did not register a hit until the bottom of the seventh inning as Stanford dropped the series, 2-0, in its 11th-ever Super Regional appearance.

“I’m so proud of my team to have made it this far,” said the Clarke and Elizabeth Nelson Director of Baseball David Esquer. “It’s a game of inches and on top of our offense struggling, things just didn’t go our way this week. To make it this far and to battle this Mississippi State to the end makes me so proud, and I wish Mississippi State the best of luck in Omaha.”

The Cardinal (45-13-0) started strong, taking a 1-0 lead after the first inning. Starting pitcher Erik Miller struck out two during a one-two-three top half and Stowers parked one in the left-centerfield bleachers to lead off the home half and give Stanford the lead.

In the second inning, Miller navigated around a pair of walks for another scoreless frame, picking up two more strikeouts along the way. The Bulldogs (51-13-0) got on the board in the top of the third with its first run of the evening coming on a bases-loaded walk. The next hitter, Justin Foscue, tripled off the wall in right center to clear the bases and make it 4-1 before Jacob Palisch entered to get the final out.

Stanford went away quietly in the bottom of the third before the Bulldogs padded their lead in the fourth with a sacrifice fly to make it 5-1 after Zach Grech relieved Palisch. Little took over for Grech, getting a pop-out for the final out.

The Cardinal squandered a scoring opportunity in the home half with Kinamon thrown out attempting to steal third for the final out. Little matched with a scoreless inning of his own, picking up a strikeout along the way to keep Stanford within four. Stanford went away in order in the fifth before Little tossed another perfect frame, adding two more strikeouts in the top of the sixth. In the seventh, Little picked up another strikeout amidst a scoreless inning, upping his total to four after 3.1 shutout frames.

In the bottom half, Tim Tawa lined a two-out single into left field for Stanford’s first hit since Stowers’ lead-off home run in the first inning. Pinch hitter Christian Molfetta followed him with another single but Christian Robinson grounded out to end the inning.

Little continued to mow down the Bulldogs, pitching around a one-out double in the top of the eighth before picking up his career-high fifth strikeout and getting an inning-ending ground ball. Little got the first out of the ninth before making way for Will Matthiessen with runners at the corners and one out. Elijah MacNamee, the first hitter Matthiessen faced, blasted a three-run home run to deepen Stanford’s hole. The Cardinal went away in order in the bottom of the ninth, finishing the season 3-1 in elimination games.

Cardinal Notes

·         Stanford’s 14 losses tie for the third-fewest in program history while its 45 wins tie for the 13th-best total in program history.

·         The Cardinal’s .763 win percentage is the fifth-best in program history.

·         Stanford has lost just two series on the season, to No. 1 UCLA and at No. 3 Mississippi State.

·         The Cardinal lost consecutive games just three times in 2019.

·         Stanford has hit 72 home runs in its last 35 games with 88 on the season.

·         The paid attendance was listed at 11,597.

*Care of Stanford athletics

Baseball: Daschbach robbed of grand slam, Cardinal loses to Mississippi State 6-2 in Game 1 of Super Regional

No. 4 Stanford dropped a 6-2 decision at No. 3 Mississippi State in Game 1 of the Starkville Super Regional on Saturday night at Dudy Noble Field.

Maverick Handley, Tim Tawa and Christian Robinson each finished with two hits with Robinson and Andrew Daschbach driving in Stanford’s runs. Stanford took an early lead but could not recover from six unanswered runs by Mississippi State in the second, third and fourth innings.

“It’s a game of inches and there were several moments that could have gone our way but didn’t tonight,” said the Clarke and Elizabeth Nelson Director of Baseball David Esquer. “If we’ve been anything this season, we’ve been resilient, and I trust that our guys will come out and play a better game tomorrow and be more comfortable out there.”

The Cardinal (45-13-0) took the early lead with a run in the top of the first. Handley singled, Brandon Wulff reached on an error and Will Matthiessen drew a walk, setting up Daschbach’s bases-loaded sacrifice fly to make it 1-0 – he had the distance for a home run but centerfielder Jake Mangum brought it back with a perfectly-timed jump.

In the home half, starting pitcher Brendan Beck allowed a pair of singles but Kyle Stowers threw out Mangum attempting to take third on a blooped single before Beck rung up Elijah MacNamee to end the inning and strand a runner at second.

Stanford had a chance to score with a pair of two-out singles in the second, but Handley flew out to the right-field warning track to end it. The Bulldogs (50-13-0) tied it up in the home half as Josh Hatcher singled home Dustin Skelton with two outs, but Beck retired Mangum with a pair of baserunners on to limit the damage to one.

Stanford went down in order in the top of the third before the Bulldogs took the lead on a two-out, two-run double from Dustin Skelton, making it 3-1. Mississippi State tacked on three more runs in the fourth, putting two runners on with no outs to chase Beck from the game. Zach Grech took over, getting Mangum to ground out before a fielders’ choice made it 4-1. Tanner Allen’s single up the middle plated another run and it became 6-1 on another fielders’ choice on a softly-hit grounder to Tawa.

Stanford had a scoring opportunity in the fifth, putting a pair of two-out baserunners aboard before Matthiessen struck out to end the inning. Cody Jensen entered to work the bottom half, striking out a pair as part of a one-two-three frame. Stanford put a runner on base with two outs but couldn’t advance him past first base in the top of the sixth, but Jensen matched it with another scoreless frame, which ended on a terrific sliding play by Duke Kinamon on a ground ball up the middle which would have scored another run.

The Cardinal had another chance to score in the seventh as Stowers and Wulff reached base with walks, but Matthiessen hit a bullet right at the second baseman for the final out before Jensen headed out for a third inning of work. Jensen struck out MacNamee to start the inning, but a runner reached second on a single and an error before the Cardinal turned to Austin Weiermiller. A walk and a fielding error loaded the bases but Weiermiller got an inning-ending ground ball to Kinamon to escape the jam.

Stanford fought back in the eighth with Kinamon and Tawa reaching on back-to-back singles and Robinson’s two-out single scored Kinamon to make it 6-2. The Bulldogs limited the scoring to one as Stowers grounded out with two runners on to end the inning.

Jacob Palisch worked a scoreless eighth inning – after the bases were loaded with two outs, Handley picked off Justin Foscue at first base for his ninth pickoff of the season. Wulff roped a two-out double off the wall in left-centerfield in the top of the ninth but the next two hitters were retired to give the Bulldogs a 1-0 lead in the best-of-three clash.

Stanford’s Super Regional matchup against Mississippi State continues on Sunday at 6 p.m.

Cardinal Notes

·         The game was originally scheduled for Noon PT but was pushed back five hours due to the impending weather forecast.

·         Stanford is 3-0 in elimination games this season.

·         Handley, who recorded his 17th multi-hit game of the season, extended his reached-base streak to 16 games.

·         Brandon Wulff was on base three times, reaching on an error and drawing two walks.

·         The paid attendance of 13,132 is the third-largest in NCAA Super Regional history.

·         Stanford is making its 11th Super Regional appearance and first since 2014.

*Care of Stanford athletics