The National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association (NCBWA) preseason poll was released Monday, with Stanford tabbed seventh among the nation's Division I baseball programs. The Cardinal was one of six Pac-12 Conference baseball teams ranked among the NCBWA's top 25, and one of four to crack the top 10.
The NCBWA ranking follows suit with a number of favorable projections for the Cardinal, joining ESPN/USA Today (7th), Collegiate Baseball (9th), Perfect Game (4th) and Baseball America (9th) as pundits to rank Stanford among its respective preseason top 10.
Stanford will be steered this season by ace Mark Appel, who was selected as the eighth overall pick in the 2012 MLB Draft and opted to return to The Farm for his senior season. Appel posted a 10-2 record last season and led the Pac-12 with 130 strikeouts.
The Cardinal opens the 2013 season with a three-game series at Rice (Feb. 15-17). This will be Stanford's 119th season, with head coach Mark Marquess entering his 37th season at the Cardinal helm.
Stanford will hold its Cardinal & White Intersquad Scrimmage at Sunken Diamond on Feb. 9 at 1 p.m. Fans will get a sneak peek at the 2013 squad and will have first dibs on a number of free giveaways including schedule posters, cards and magnets. Admission to the event is free.
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Perfect Game rolled out its list of preseason All-Americans which included a trio of Cardinal on its first team, the most of any school in the nation. Appel was joined on the first team by first baseman Brian Ragira and outfielder Austin Wilson.
A dozen Pac-12 baseball players were named to the Louisville Slugger Preseason All-America Team, including Appel (first team), Wilson (second team), Ragira (third team) and Alex Blandino (third team).
Of the seven pitchers on the first team, four hailed from Pac-12 schools. The league's five first-team selections overall were the most of any conference. Stanford led the Pac-12 with four preseason All-Americans.
Appel earned similar preseason praise from the Nation College Baseball Writers Association.
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Is the Appel family planning a reunion for the season-opening series at Rice? A number of Mark Appel's family members attended Rice, including his uncle, John Casbarian, who is the dean of Rice's architecture school.
Appel was born and raised in Houston, but moved to the Bay Area when he was 12.
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Stanford landed the nation's sixth-best recruiting class, according to Collegiate Baseball's annual evaluation of NCAA Division I baseball classes.
Vanderbilt topped the poll with No. 2 UCLA, No. 3 Arizona State, No. 4 LSU and No. 5 Clemson ranked ahead of the Cardinal.
The rankings are based on players who enroll at school each fall. Athletes who initially signed with a school and then signed a pro contract after being drafted do not count in the overall evaluation.
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Senior pitcher Sahil Bloom has plenty on his plate this spring as he wraps up his collegiate career on The Farm. Always striving to be an ace in the classroom as well, Bloom is a double major in sociology and economics. The pursuit of academic excellence has been part of Bloom's upbringing, as his father, David, is a professor at Harvard.
Last summer, Bloom worked on a private consulting project for Nike while examining obesity trends in the United States.
P.S. Bloom is also pursuing a master's degree in public policy. Bloom's public policy advisor is former U.S. Secretary of State and current Stanford professor Condoleezza Rice.
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"In baseball, you hit your home run over the right field fence, the left field fence and the center field fence. Nobody cares. In golf, everything has to be over second base."
-- Chicago White Sox broadcaster Ken Harrelson
You could say that former Stanford player John Navarro ('89) is pretty good at hitting over second base.
Good enough for a hole-in-one. And another. And Another. All in a stretch of 75 days.
The Edmond, Okla., anesthesiologist had carried a low handicap since he got serious about golf in his early 20s, but had never experienced the thrill of a hole-in-one.
That is, until last Sept. 23. Then again 57 days later. Then for a third time on Dec. 7, 18 days from his second and 75 from the first.
However, Navarro has followed each ace with a double bogey.