Previewing Stanford

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. -- No. 3 national seed North Carolina is two wins away from advancing to its fifth College World Series in six years. Standing in the Tar Heels' way is Stanford, a program looking to earn its seventh trip to Omaha in 12 years. Game 1 is Friday at 3 p.m. on ESPN2.

Schedule
Friday - 3 p.m. on ESPN2
Saturday - 3 p.m. on ESPN
Sunday - 4 p.m. on ESPN (if necessary)

Quotables

"Obviously, he's been in all of our hearts and minds. It's been a tough time for him and I know he's ready to get back out here on the field. … Coach is doing great. He's holding up well, as well as you can expect him to." – UNC assistant coach Scott Jackson on the absence of head coach Mike Fox after his mother's passing on Saturday

"I've always felt if you're going to be successful in league play or postseason play or even the College World Series, you better have someone that's been there before because it's different. That senior leadership is critical if you wanted to be successful when you go into something new… Freshmen eyes are really big, they don't know what to expect." – Stanford head coach Mark Marquess

NOTES

Season to Date: Stanford enters this weekend's Super Regional with a 35-20 (14-12 Pac-10) record. The Cardinal has won 14 of its last 18 games and boasts a 15-13 record on the road. Stanford owns a 16-12 record against NCAA Tournament teams, including an 8-11 mark against regional hosts. Head coach Mark Marquess is looking to guide his program to the College World Series for the seventh time since 1999.

NCAA Tournament Results to Date: The Cardinal earned a two seed in the Fullerton Regional and needed just three games to advance. Stanford defeated No. 3 seed Kansas State, 10-3, before upsetting No. 1 seed Cal State Fullerton, 1-0, on Saturday. A 14-2 shellacking of No. 4 seed Illinois on Sunday night clinched the regional.

Pitching Rotation: Stanford's starting weekend rotation consists of a trio of right handers – Mark Appel (6-6, 3.02 ERA), Jordan Pries (6-5, 3.24 ERA) and Dean McArdle (7-4, 4.15 ERA). Appel's win-loss record is deceiving as the sophomore has suffered three one-run losses and a no decision despite holding Arizona scoreless through 8.0 innings on May 20. In three road starts to open the season against No. 6 national seed Vanderbilt, No. 7 seed Texas and No. 8 seed Rice, Appel allowed eight earned runs in 19.0 IP and posted a 0-2 record. Pries gave up nine earned runs in his first six starts of the season before hitting turbulence during the middle part of the schedule. Both pitchers have played their best ball in their last three outings, all against NCAA Tournament teams. Appel has allowed four earned runs over 24.1 innings and Pries has given up one earned run over 22.0 innings during that stretch. McArdle has seven Sunday starts this season, but senior right hander Danny Sandbrick (4-1, 3.39 ERA) was handed the ball in the regional final against Illinois and allowed two earned runs and eight hits in 7.0 IP.


Piscotty
At the Plate: Third baseman Stephen Piscotty has led the Cardinal offense all season long, batting a team-high .370 with 80 hits and 40 RBI. Left fielder Tyler Gaffney, however, represents Stanford's hottest bat, batting .323 with 62 hits and 34 RBIs. The 6-foot, 210-pound righty has drawn a team-high 29 walks and is currently riding a 20-game hit streak. Freshman first baseman Brian Ragira leads the team in RBI (43) and is batting .320 with 16 extra base hits.

Closing the Door: The highest drafted player on the field this weekend will be Stanford closer Chris Reed, who was selected with the 16th overall pick by the Los Angeles Dodgers. The 6-foot-4, 190-pound lefty throws in the 92-95 MPH range with a hard slider in the low-to-mid 80s. Reed has a 1.80 ERA in 27 relief appearances (45.0 IP) and an overall ERA of 2.54. The Reseda, Calif. native allowed seven earned runs in his only start on Feb. 19, but has been dominant ever since, giving up seven earned runs in 45.0 innings with a 6-1 record.

Just the Facts: Offensively, Stanford ranks third in the Pac-10 in batting average (.302) and slugging percentage (.415), fourth in on-base percentage (.361), fifth in runs scored (303) and sixth in home runs (27). The Cardinal rank sixth in earned run average (.340) and opposing batting average (.251) and ninth in fielding percentage (.969).

Random Fact of the Day: Stanford has won six games in its last at-bat this season.

All-Pac-10 Team: Stephen Piscotty was tabbed as a first-team all-conference pick, while Kenny Diekroeger, Jake Stewart, Tyler Gaffney, Austin Wilson and Chris Reed were honorable mention selections. Brian Ragira was named the Pac-10's Freshman of the Year.

Series History: Stanford leads the series with North Carolina, 1-0. The Cardinal defeated the Tar Heels, 7-4, in the 1999 Stanford Regional.


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