By Rick Eymer
Palo Alto Online Sports
Mark Appel, who had won twice in seven relief appearances, made his first career collegiate start in Stanford's Pac-10 baseball opener Friday night. He didn't lose, but he didn't do his ERA any favors either.
The Cardinal dropped a 13-8 decision to visiting USC in a contest that produced a few sparks among the myriad of bases on balls, hit batters, a couple of throwing errors and even a catcher's interference.
Stanford (0-1, 10-6) gets another shot at the Trojans at 1 p.m. Saturday. Sophomore Jordan Pries, fresh off a two-hit shutout over Pepperdine, will get the call for the Cardinal.
Appel had a shaky first inning, walking two, hitting a batter and giving up a single. The Trojans scored twice and it could have been worse except that Stanford turned a double play to help get Appel out of further trouble.
"He got a couple of balls up and they're a good hitting team," Stanford coach Mark Marquess said. "He's a freshman and he has a good arm. You just have to learn and today was a hard lesson."
Appel has allowed six runs in his 2 2/3 innings as Stanford pitchers have allowed 22 runs in the first inning this season.
"You have to pitch," Marquess said. "We haven't done a good job of that early in the season. You can't give them extra baserunners."
The Cardinal hitters were just fine, though, as Zach Jones and Tyler Gaffney each had three hits to lead a parade of 13 hits on the night.
"We were able to get in a lot of practice and we're all locked in, one through nine," Jones said.
Menlo School grad Kenny Diekroeger and Colin Walsh each added two hits.
Top-ranked Stanford downed host UC San Diego, 30-18, 30-12, 30-20, in a Mountain Pacific Sports Federation match Friday.
The Cardinal (10-4, 13-4) plays at Long Beach State on Saturday night in another MPSF encounter.
Evan Romero and Brad Lawson each recorded 12 kills to lead Stanford past the Tritons.
Hilary Barte's straight-set win at the top of the singles' ladder clinched Stanford's 6-1 victory over host Arizona State Friday in a Pac-10 Conference match.
The 11th-ranked Cardinal (1-0, 12-1) plays Arizona in Tucson Saturday at noon.
Lindsay Burdette and Mallory Burdette each rallied from a first set loss to win their singles' matches. Veronica Li survived a 7-6 (5), 7-5 match to finish the afternoon.
Top-ranked Stanford beat host Illinois-Chicago, 360.000-243.600, in a nonconference meet on Friday.
Eddie Penev won a pair of events for the defending national champion Cardinal, tying Alex Buscaglia on the floor with a score of 15.700 and winning the vault with a 16.300.
Abhi Ramani (15.000) won the horizontal bar, Ryan Lieberman (15.200) was tops on the parallel bars, Josh Dixon (14.450) took the title on the pommel horse and Tim Gentry (15.500) won the rings competition.
Stanford travels to Oklahoma for the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation championships a week from Saturday.
Stanford's Francesca Bassa finished eighth in the women's epee at the NCAA championships at Harvard on Friday. She recorded a combined 13 victories over two days.
Jessica Wacker finished 17th in women's saber with eight wins and Stanford finished the women's competition in 12th place as a team.
Stanford split its first two games of the Stanford Invitational, beating Cal State Bakersfield, 12-0, in five innings before losing to BYU, 4-2.
The ninth-ranked Cardinal (21-4) plays UC Santa Barbara and Cal State Bakersfield on Saturday.
In the win over Cal State Bakersfield, Jenna Rich had two hits and drove in four runs while Maya Burns added three RBI and Shannon Koplitz and Melisa Koutz each drove in two. Alissa Haber added three hits.
Teagan Gerhart (14-2) and Rich combined on a two-hitter.
Delaney Willard's home run leading off the top of the fifth broke a 2-2 tie and helped BYU beat the Cardinal.
Freshman Kristina Wong fired a 1-over-par 71 and is in a third-place tie after the first round of the Betsy Rawls Longhorn Invitational at the University of Texas Golf Club on Friday.
Stanford is in ninth after the first round with a score of 302. UCLA leads with a 295, with Texas right behind with a 296.