Familiar Foe on The Farm

STANFORD, Calif. – No. 12 Stanford opens a four-game series against Rice Thursday at 6 p.m. PT at Sunken Diamond.

The Cardinal (4-0) opened the 2018 season and the David Esquer era with a three-game sweep of No. 17 Cal State Fullerton last week, followed by a 3-2 win at UC Davis on Monday. The Owls (3-1) hosted Stanford for a four-game series in 2017, having faced the Cardinal 29 times.

Sophomore left-handed pitcher Erik Miller takes the mound Thursday, followed by junior Tristan Beck on Friday at 6 p.m. and junior Kris Bubic on Saturday at 1 p.m. PT. Sunday's starter is yet to be announced.

Series History
• Stanford's all-time record against Rice stands at 17-12, with the first meeting taking place in 1991.
• Last season, Stanford split a four-game series against the Owls in Houston. Stanford won the series opener and finale, 16-6 and 2-0, respectively.
• The Owls opened the season 3-1 with wins over Samford on Friday, UCF on Saturday and Texas State on Tuesday. Ryan Chandler leads Rice with a .389 batting average, and two players -- Chace Sarchet and Trei Cruz -- lead the club with four RBI.

Last Time Out
• No. 12 Stanford began the David Esquer era with a three-game sweep of No. 17 Cal State Fullerton last week. The Cardinal beat the Titans by respective scores of 5-1, 5-3 and 6-5, followed by a narrow 3-2 win at UC Davis on Monday.
• Tristan Beck earned the win in his first Stanford start in 630 days, going 6.0 innings with five strikeouts and one walk while allowing four hits and one run.
• Nico Hoerner finished the four-game stretch batting .533, including 12 total bases, two doubles, five runs scored with four stolen bases on as many attempts.
• Jack Little earned saves in two of the opening three games, also pitching a scoreless ninth inning during Stanford's 5-1 win on Friday.
• Freshman Tim Tawa is off to a hot start, batting .357 with three RBI and two walks.
• Brandon Wulff is second on the team with a .462 batting average, .563 on-base percentage and four runs scored.

Looking Ahead
• Stanford's eight-game home stand continues March 2-4 when it hosts Michigan for a four-game series. Game 1 on Friday will start at 6 p.m. PT, followed by a doubleheader on Saturday with start times of 1 p.m. and 5 p.m. Sunday's series finale will start at 2 p.m. PT and will air on Pac-12 Networks.
• The Cardinal's next road trip starts March 8 when it opens a four-game series at No. 19 Texas. Stanford's first two games on Thursday and Friday will start at 4:30 p.m. PT, with Saturday and Sunday's contests set for 12:30 p.m. and 11 a.m., respectively.
• Following a break for final exams March 19-23, Stanford opens Pac-12 play by hosting USC (March 23-25) at Sunken Diamond.
• Eighteen of Stanford's final 22 contests will air on Pac-12 Networks, starting with the Cardinal's entire series at Arizona (April 20-22).

Beck Earns Weekly Honor
• Tristan Beck was named Pac-12 Pitcher of the Week (Feb. 21) after his efforts in Stanford's 5-1 win over No. 17 Cal State Fullerton.
• Beck finished with a line of 6.0 innings pitched, five strikeouts, one walk, four hits and just one run allowed.
• It was Beck's first start in Cardinal colors in 630 days. The junior missed all of 2017 through injury and had not made an appearance for Stanford since May 27, 2016, during his freshman season. Beck was named first-team All-Pac-12 in 2016, also making several freshman All-America lists.

Hoerner's Hot Start
• Junior shortstop Nico Hoerner has enjoyed a fantastic start to the season, leading Cardinal hitters in several categories, including at-bats (15), hits (8), runs (5), doubles (2), on-base percentage (.588), total bases (12) and stolen bases (4-4).
• In Monday's 3-2 win at UC Davis, Hoerner made a game-saving play in the bottom of the eighth inning to keep Stanford in the lead. With no outs and a man on third, Hoerner fielded a ground ball to his right and threw out the tying run at home plate, helping Stanford escape the inning unscathed.
• Hoerner has multiple hits in three of Stanford's four outings – prior to the season, he was named preseason All-America by Perfect Game, Collegiate Baseball Newspaper, Baseball America and D1 Baseball.
• Hoerner enjoyed a prolific summer with the Yarmouth-Dennis Red Sox of the Cape Cod League in the summer after being named to the All-Pac-12 and All-Pac-12 Defensive teams as a sophomore.

Freshmen Finding Work
• Several freshmen made their Stanford debuts on opening weekend – infielder/outfielder Tim Tawa, right-handed pitcher Carson Rudd, left-handed pitcher Austin Weiermiller, left-handed pitcher Jacob Palisch and right-handed pitcher Brendan Beck.
• Tawa has started all four of Stanford's games, ranking third on the team with a .357 batting average and six total bases. Tawa has started three games at third base and one at center field.
• Rudd appeared in Stanford's 5-3 win over Fullerton on Saturday, going 0.1 innings and allowing one hit.
• Weiermiller earned the win in Sunday's 6-5 win, relieving starter Erik Miller in the second inning and posting 4.0 innings while allowing no runs and just two hits.
• Palisch has two relief appearances under his belt, totaling 2.1 innings pitched with one hit, two strikeouts and one run allowed.
• Beck, the younger brother of junior pitcher Tristan, made his first career appearance for Stanford's 3-2 win at UC Davis on Monday. Beck came through for the Cardinal, earning the win in 5.2 innings of work with one real mistake, a 1-2 slider that turned into a home run to make the score 3-2 in the sixth.
Streaking Stanford
• Stanford rides a 13-game regular-season home unbeaten streak into Thursday, dating to a 6-4 win over Cal on April 18. Since then, Stanford has allowed five runs just three times, surrendering three runs or less eight times.
• Stanford also has an active streak of 15 straight Tuesday home wins dating to 2014.

Fresh Faces
Stanford welcomed eight freshman to The Farm for 2018 – three California natives and one student-athlete from Oregon, Arizona, Texas, Georgia and Florida.

18 • Zach Sehgal • INF • 6-2 • La Jolla, Calif. • La Jolla
20 • Brendan Beck • INF/RHP • 6-2 • Corona, Calif. • Corona
21 • Tim Tawa • OF • 6-0 • West Linn, Ore. • West Linn
24 • Nick Brueser • INF • 6-3 • Chandler, Ariz. • Hamilton
27 • Carson Rudd • RHP • 6-5 • Agoura Hills, Calif. • Oaks Christian
39 • Jacob Palisch • LHP • 6-5 • Richardson, Texas • Jesuit College Prep
42 • Austin Weiermiller • LHP • 5-11 • Milton, Ga. • Cambridge
44 • Christian Robinson • OF • 6-3 • Melbourne, Fla. • Viera

A New Era
David Esquer was named Clarke and Elizabeth Nelson Director of Baseball on June 16, 2017. Esquer is the 21st head coach in program history, succeeding Mark Marquess, who retired after 41 years at the helm.
• Esquer served as an assistant under Marquess from 1991-96 before spending the past 18 seasons as the head coach at Cal, where he was the 2011 National Coach of the Year and led the Golden Bears to five NCAA Regionals and the 2011 College World Series.
• Esquer accrued a 525-46-2 (.528) record at Cal, mentoring 81 Major League draft picks and 13 All-Americans.
Golden Watch List
• Juniors Nico Hoerner and Kris Bubic were each named to the watch list for the Golden Spikes Award, which annually recognizes the top amateur baseball player in the country.
• The winner will be announced June 28 in Los Angeles.