Karen Ambrose Hickey/Stanford Athletics

Pac-12 Play Begins

STANFORD, Calif. – No. 3 Stanford opens Pac-12 conference action this weekend when it plays host to USC for a three-game series at Sunken Diamond.

The Cardinal (14-2 overall, 0-0 Pac-12) capped its nonconference slate with a 3-1 series win at No. 23 Texas on March 8-11, winning the final three games in emphatic fashion. The Trojans (11-5, 2-1) started Pac-12 play last week with a 2-1 series win over Utah in Los Angeles.

The series kicks off at 6 p.m. PT on Friday, followed by 1 p.m. starts on Saturday and Sunday. A live stream and statistics will be available at

Series History
• Friday will be the 303rd installment of the series, which dates to 1959 – the Cardinal owns a 155-145-2 overall edge against the Trojans.
• Last season, Stanford won the final two games of a three-game series after dropping Game 1.
• The Trojans enter the series 11-6, most recently dropping an 8-7 decision at UC Irvine on Tuesday.
• Chase Bushor leads the Trojans with a .340 batting average. Two players – Lars Nootbaar and Dillon Paulson – have three home runs apiece, and Matthew Acosta leads the team with 12 RBI.
• Kyle Hurt (2-0) leads the USC starting staff with a 2.38 ERA across 22.2 innings, and Connor Lunn ties with Jack Little for second in the Pac-12 with six saves.

Looking Ahead
• Stanford hosts San Diego on Tuesday before opening a three-game series against Oregon on March 29.
• The Cardinal hosts Gonzaga on April 2 and travels to Santa Clara on April 3 before visiting UCLA in Los Angeles for a three-game series (April 6-8). 

Some just pretend to send...not these guys. ?????????? #GoStanford

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Last Time Out
• Stanford had an 11-day break from competition following a four-game series in Austin, Texas, at No. 23 Texas. After dropping the opening game, 8-6, the Cardinal finished the week on a tear with 7-1, 9-3 and 11-1 wins over the Longhorns.
• The Cardinal started the season with a three-game sweep of Cal State Fullerton, followed by a four-game sweep against Rice. Stanford took three of four games from Michigan.
• Stanford's 14-2 start is the best since 2012 when the Cardinal started the season 15-2.

Cardinal in the Polls
• Stanford enters the week ranked in the top four in several polls – D1 Baseball (3), Baseball America (3), Collegiate Baseball Newspaper (2), NCBWA (3) and Perfect Game (4).
• It is Stanford's highest ranking since 2012 when the Cardinal received a preseason No. 3 ranking.
• Two other Pac-12 schools also rank in the D1 Top 25 poll – Oregon State (1) and UCLA (17).

Watch out for the cannon in @maverickhandley's arsenal... #GoStanford

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Pac-12-Leading Pitching Staff
• Stanford leads the Pac-12 with a .201 batting average against, ranking second behind Arizona (2.30) with a 2.33 earned-run average.
• Catcher Maverick Handley has started nearly every game behind the plate, allowing just one passed ball while throwing out 5-of-9 stolen base attempts against him.

Bubic, so hot right now, Bubic. ?? #GoStanford

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• Kris Bubic (3-0) leads Cardinal starters with a 1.54 ERA in 23.1 innings pitched. Bubic, the 2017 Cape Cod League Pitcher of the Year, is allowing just a .173 batting average against while striking out 27, which leads the team. Dating to April 13, 2017, Stanford has won Bubic's last 12 starts.
• Tristan Beck (2-0), who has started four games after missing all of 2017 with an injury, owns a 2.86 ERA in 22.0 innings pitched, with 23 strikeouts compared to six walks and a .203 batting average against.
• Freshman Jacob Palisch has established himself as a reliable bullpen arm – in 14.2 innings pitched across nine appearances, Palisch (2-0) has a 0.61 ERA and a .140 batting average against, allowing a mere 11 baserunners this season (seven hits, four walks).

• Freshman Brendan Beck, the younger brother of Tristan, has established himself as Stanford's fourth starter. In four starts, Beck (2-0) owns a 1.62 ERA – he took a perfect game into the sixth inning of Stanford's 11-1 win over Texas on March 11.
• The back end of Stanford's bullpen has taken shape over the course of nonconference play, highlighted by Jack Little emerging as Stanford's closer. Little's six saves rank second in the Pac-12, and eighth nationally. His last two saves were nine-out saves, most recently shutting door in Game 3 of Stanford's series win in Austin.
• In 14.0 innings pitched, Little owns a 0.00 earned-run average with a .091 batting average against, allowing just seven base runners and striking out 15.
• Little's classmate Zach Grech, also a teammate at Bishop Gorman High School in Las Vegas, leads the team with 11 relief appearances. In 10.2 innings pitched, Grech has surrendered 12 base runners (eight hits, four walks).
• Grech, along with left handers Erik Miller (0-1, 5.02 ERA, 22 K) and Austin Weiermiller (4-0, 3.86 ERA), helped Stanford pitch a two-hit shutout in Stanford's 9-3 win over Texas on March 10. It was Stanford's second two-hitter of the season after a 7-0 win over Michigan on March 2.

Hoerner's Hot Start
• Nico Hoerner had a standout performance in Austin, going 8-for-19 with one home run, four RBI and seven runs while playing stellar defense.
• Hoerner upped his average to .317 with two home runs, nine RBI, five stolen bases and 15 runs.

@andy_dash ?????? ??: Longhorn Network #GoStanford

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Daschbach Dingers
• Sophomore Andrew Daschbach has started all 16 games and leads the team in several offensive categories, including home runs (4), RBI (17), slugging percentage (660) and on-base average (.444).
• Daschbach had seven RBI in Austin, including an impressive three-run home run into a 30 MPH wind in Game 4.

Tawa Time
• Freshman Tim Tawa has established himself as a key part of Stanford's lineup, starting all 16 games at third base or center field.
• Tawa is batting .305 with 12 runs, 13 RBI and two home runs (including a walk-off, three-run home run on March 2 to seal a 3-2 win over Michigan).
• Tawa has batted leadoff in the Stanford's past five games, registering multiple hits in three.

Big Bad Wulff
• Junior outfielder Brandon Wulff has enjoyed a productive start to the season at the plate, totaling 15 runs, 10 RBI and two home runs while reaching base at a .463 clip.
• Wulff has reached base in all 16 contests so far, starting the season on a 10-game hit streak, the longest of the season for any Cardinal.

Stowers Seeing it Well
• Sophomore Kyle Stowers has started all 16 games, upping his average to .275 after a productive week at Texas.
• Stowers went 5-for-13 with five RBI, five runs and his second career home run, a towering three-run shot to right field in a 9-3 win on March 10.
• Stowers also has one save on the season, striking out one in a scoreless frame against Cal State Fullerton on Feb. 18.

Fresh Faces
• Stanford welcomed eight freshman to The Farm for 2018 – three California natives and one student-athlete each 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.