Bob Drebin / isiphotos.com

Cal Comes to Town

STANFORD, Calif. – No. 2 Stanford looks to build on its eight-game win streak when it welcomes Cal to Sunken Diamond for a three-game series starting at 7 p.m. PT on Thursday.

All three games will air on Pac-12 Networks and start at 7 p.m. PT. Live statistics for all contests will be available at GoStanford.com. The Cardinal (31-5 overall, 12-3 Pac-12) sits atop the Pac-12 standings ahead of UCLA (14-4) and Oregon State (10-5).

Weekend Opponent, Cal
• The Golden Bears enter the weekend with a 23-15 record, including a 9-9 clip in Pac-12 play. Cal claimed an important Pac-12 series, 2-1, against Washington last weekend before dropping a 4-1 midweek decision against Sacramento State on Tuesday.
• Andrew Vaughn, one of the most feared hitters in college baseball, leads Cal with 18 home runs, 48 RBI and a .899 slugging percentage. The Golden Bears rank second in the Pac-12 in batting average (.311) and runs scored (265).
• Prior to accepting his role as Clarke and Elizabeth Nelson Director of Baseball, David Esquer served the previous 18 seasons as head coach at Cal, accruing a 525-467-2 record (.528) in charge of the Golden Bears. Esquer led Cal to five NCAA Regional appearances, including a trip to the College World Series in 2011, a season in which he was named National Coach of the Year.
• Stanford pitching coach Thomas Eager served the 2016-17 seasons under Esquer at Cal, succeeding current head coach Mike Neu. Neu was Esquer's pitching coach in Berkeley for the 2012-15 seasons before guiding Pacific to 40 wins in two seasons.

What's Next
• Stanford hosts San Francisco on Tuesday at 6 p.m. PT before embarking on a trip to Salt Lake City to face Utah for a three-game series.
• The Cardinal's road swing continues the following week with a three-game series at Oregon State, one of the most highly anticipated series in college baseball.
• Starting last week at Arizona, Stanford's final 18 Pac-12 conference matchups air on Pac-12 Networks – only one of Stanford's first 32 contests aired on Pac-12 Networks.

Cardinal in the Polls
• Stanford kept its No. 2 ranking in the D1 Baseball poll for the fourth straight week. Stanford also ranked top-three in several other polls – Baseball America (3), Collegiate Baseball News (1), NCBWA (1) and Perfect Game (3).
• As of Wednesday, April 25, Stanford sits atop the live NCAA RPI, ahead of Florida, Texas Tech, North Carolina and Arkansas.

Pac-12-Leading Pitching Staff
• Stanford's pitching staff leads Division I programs in WHIP (1.07), ranks second in ERA (2.61) and hits allowed per nine innings (6.84), and 21st in strikeout-to-walk ratio (2.77).
• Sophomore Maverick Handley has caught a majority of Stanford's games – he leads the Pac-12 with 14 pickoffs with just three past balls in 35 appearances behind the dish.
• The Cardinal leads the Pac-12 in several pitching categories – ERA (2.61), opposing batting average (.209), saves (17), hits allowed (244) and walks allowed (100).
• Kris Bubic, a member of the Golden Spikes midseason watch list, is 5-0 with a 2.52 ERA and a .200 batting average against. Bubic's 58 strikeouts ranks fifth in the Pac-12.
• Tristan Beck, Stanford's Friday night starter, is 5-2 with a 2.92 ERA across 52.1 innings pitched. After missing all of 2017 through injury, Beck, along with Bubic, is considered one of the top pitching prospects for the upcoming MLB Draft.
• Freshman Brendan Beck, who will start Thursday, leads the Pac-12 in ERA (1.21) and ranks third in opposing batting average (.194) – Beck is 5-0 in seven starts across 37.1 innings pitched.
• Erik Miller, Stanford's usual Sunday starter, is 3-2 with a 3.75 ERA. Miller has 40 strikeouts in 36.0 innings pitched and has allowed two earned runs or less in four of his last five outings.
• Stanford's bullpen, led by closer Jack Little, carries a 2.48 ERA into the weekend. Other significant contributors out of the pen include Jacob Palisch (17 appearances, 30.0 IP, 1.80 ERA), Zach Grech (18 appearances, 19.2 IP, 3.20 ERA) and Will Matthiessen (seven appearances, 8.2 IP, 3.12 ERA).

Enter Sandman
• Jack Little ranks fourth in the nation and leads the Pac-12 with 12 saves – he sits in fourth place on Stanford's single-season all-time list behind Colton Hock (2017 – 16), Jeff Bruksch (2000 – 13) and Steve Chitren (1987 – 13).
• In 16 relief appearances, Little owns a 0.71 ERA and .153 opposing batting average in 25.1 innings pitched. He has allowed just 17 base runners (13 hits, four walks) while striking out 33.

As Good As Advertised
• Shortstop Nico Hoerner leads Stanford in several offensive categories, including batting average (.309), runs (32), hits (43), triples (4), plate appearances (157) and stolen bases (6).
• A preseason All-American, Hoerner has also played an important leadership role on the team both on and off the field. His 13-game hit streak is the longest of any Cardinal this season, and he has scored at least one run in nine of his past 10 games.
• Widely considered one of the top infield prospects for the MLB Draft, Hoerner checks in at No. 16 in D1 Baseball's latest rankings.

Super Sophomores
• Andrew Daschbach and Kyle Stowers, two sophomore who played sparingly in 2017, have started every contest and combined for 19 home runs and 74 RBI to rank first and second, respectively, on the squad.
• Daschbach, who hails from nearby Atherton, California, ranks third in the Pac-12 in home runs (11) and fourth in RBI (42) with an .OPS of .975. He also leads the team in slugging percentage (.602) and total bases (77).
• Stowers, starting every game in eight right or left field, ranks second on the team with eight home runs and 32 RBI. Stowers has also made four relief pitching appearances, allowing no earned runs across 3.2 innings.

Next Man Up
• Senior Beau Branton has stepped up in the absence of Duke Kinamon to make 22 starts at second base, registering a .462 on-base percentage and solidifying himself in the leadoff role.
• Freshman Christian Robinson has started each of Stanford's past six games in center field – he has six RBI, five runs and six hits in that span.
• Alec Wilson rides a six-game hit streak into the series, having also started each of Stanford's past six games. Wilson has scored eight times in his past seven contests, and had a career-high three RBI in Stanford's comeback win over Arizona State on April 14.

Golden Watch List
• Kris Bubic was named to the Golden Spikes Award midseason watch list, one of 40 amateur baseball players up for the award.
• Juniors Nico Hoerner and Bubic were each named to the preseason watch list for the award, which annually recognizes the top amateur baseball player in the country.
• The winner will be announced June 28 in Los Angeles.

2018 Season Recap
• No. 2 Stanford made it seven in a row with a three-game sweep of Arizona last week in Tucson. The Cardinal came from behind in all three games, starting with Game 1 – The Cardinal erupted for five runs in the seventh inning after trailing, 2-0 for most of the contest. In Game 2, Stanford twice came from behind, ultimately overcoming a 6-3 deficit in the bottom of the ninth with five runs – the Wildcats plated a run in the bottom half but Brendan Beck shut the door with his first career save before Stanford's emphatic 7-2 win on Sunday.
• The Cardinal made it four in a row with a three-game sweep of Arizona State on April 13-15. The Cardinal won by scores of 3-1, 11-6 and 10-3 – Andrew Daschbach led the Cardinal with two home runs, and Nico Hoerner had six hits in the series.
• Stanford returned to Sunken Diamond after a four-game road trip with a 7-2 win over UC Davis on April 10. It was the Cardinal's 18th straight Tuesday win, a streak that dates to 2014.
• The Cardinal dropped its first series of the season, 2-1, at UCLA on April 6-8. Andrew Daschbach led Stanford with three home runs on the series, including two in Game 2.
• Stanford defeated Santa Clara, 16-8, on April 3 to improve to 22-3. Brendan Beck (4-0) earned the win in six solid innings, and Andrew Daschbach and Kyle Stowers each homered.
• After falling behind, 3-1, the Cardinal surged back with a two-run home run from Tim Tawa and a go-ahead RBI single from Nico Hoerner to defeat Gonzaga, 4-3, on April 2.
• Stanford improved to 5-1 in Pac-12 play with a 2-1 series win over Oregon. The Cardinal won the final two games after dropping the opener.
• The Cardinal kept its momentum going with a 3-0 win over San Diego on March 27 – Brendan Beck, Jacob Palisch, Will Matthiessen and Jack Little combined to allow three hits.
• Stanford outscored USC, 34-2, across a three-game sweep on March 23-25. Tristan Beck, Kris Bubic and Erik Miller were each fantastic in wins, and Stanford's pitching staff surrendered 15 hits all weekend.
• The Cardinal claimed an emphatic 3-1 series win at No. 23 Texas on March 8-11. Stanford dropped the opener, 8-6, before dominating the final three games by scores of 7-1, 9-3 and 11-1.
• Stanford continued its winning start to the season with a 3-1 series win over Michigan, highlighted by Tim Tawa's walk-off, three-run home run in Game 2, a 3-2 win. The Cardinal lost its first contest of the season, 5-0, bouncing back with a 7-4 win in Sunday's finale.
• Stanford improved to 8-0 on the season with a four-game sweep of Rice on Feb. 22-25.
• The Cardinal made it four in a row to start the year with a 3-2 win at UC Davis on Feb. 19.
• No. 13 Stanford opened the season with a three-game sweep over No. 17 Cal State Fullerton. Tristan Beck earned Pac-12 Pitcher of the Week honors in his first start in 630 days after missing his sophomore season through injury.
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 525-467-2 (.528) record at Cal, mentoring 81 Major League draft picks and 13 All-Americans.