Ready or not, Stanford will open its 2014 Pac-12 baseball season this weekend against USC in Sunken Diamond. The three-game series gets under way Friday night at 7 p.m.
Defending NCAA champion UCLA, meanwhile, is off to a 3-0 start in conference after sweeping Cal.
Thus, it is important for Stanford to open the Pac-12 season in a positive manner. Head coach Mark Marquess will use some young arms this weekend with three freshmen taking the mound against USC -- Brett Hanewich (0-1, 1.93 ERA), Cal Quantrill (2-2, 4.18) and Chris Viall (1-1, 3.50).
Stanford will have to hope its pitching holds up as the Cardinal is batting just .261 as a team.
The Trojans started the year 7-0 but have gone just 3-8 since. They opened Pac-12 play last weekend with a 3-2 win over No. 7 Oregon, before dropping the next two of the series by 7-2 scores to fall to 1-2 in the conference.
USC has been one of the most fundamentally sound teams in the country to date. As of the latest NCAA stats release on March 17, the Trojans ranked fourth in double plays (23), sixth in fielding percentage (.984) and fourth in sacrifice bunts (28).
USC's lineup is highlighted by Kevin Swick (.375, six doubles), while the Cardinal is led by Alex Dunlap (.367) and Alex Blandino (.365).
Austin Slater (.340) also provides pop in the middle of Stanford's lineup, as he has driven in 12 runs to tie Blandino for the team lead. Slater ended a 10-game hitting streak, a career long, in the Cardinal's last outing.
The teams will square off on Saturday and Sunday at 3 p.m.
Redshirt sophomore Evan Silver registered a fall at 125 pounds to remain alive at the 2014 NCAA Wrestling Championships, Thursday, at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Okla.
Silver advances in the consolation bracket with a fall in 3:45 over North Carolina's Nathan Kraisser. After neither wrestler put any points on the board in the first period, Silver chose to start in the down position in the second. Forty-four seconds into the period he found a way to pin Kraisser from the bottom.
Silver, who is the No. 13 seed at 125 pounds, will face No. 14 seed Edward Kilmara of Oklahoma State in the consolation bracket on Friday morning.
At 133 pounds, redshirt senior Ryan Mango gave up an early takedown which proved to be costly against sixth-seeded Mason Beckman of Lehigh. Beckman racked up 2:02 of riding time, ultimately giving him a 5-4 decision over the St. Louis native.
Mango will face Northwestern's Dominick Malone in the wrestlebacks Friday morning. Mango defeated Malone, 10-2, in a dual in Evanston, Ill., earlier this season.
Top-seeded David Taylor of Penn State registered a fall in 6:55 over redshirt freshman Jim Wilson at 165 pounds. Wilson, the No. 16 seed, drops into the consolation bracket and will take on Gardner-Webb's Austin Trott Friday morning.
Senior Kyle Meyer ended his tournament with a 9-1 loss to Army's Brian Harvey at 174 pounds. Meyer ends his career 51-36 overall with 26 of his wins coming this season.
Senior 197-pounder Dan Scherer was unable to wrestle in the evening session due to an injury he suffered during his first match.
Stanford was awarded team and individual honors as part of the 2013 Gladiator by SGI/NFHCA Division I National Academic Squad, as announced by the organization this week.
The Cardinal was well-represented with eight honorees, including Hope Burke, Dulcie Davies, Shannon Herold, Elise Ogle, Kasey Quon, Anna Simmons, Fran Tew and Hannah Thiemann.
To be recognized as an Academic Squad member, a student-athlete must achieve a minimum cumulative grade-point average of 3.30 through the first semester of the 2013-14 academic year.
In addition, Stanford was honored for its collective team GPA as a 2013 National Academic Squad. The National Academic Team Award recognizes those institutions that achieve a minimum GPA of 3.0 during the first semester of the 2013-14 academic year.
Stanford junior midfielder Hannah Farr has been added to the watch list for the Tewaaraton Award, the most prestigious annual honor in collegiate women's lacrosse.
Farr joins teammates Rachel Ozer, a senior attack, and sophomore midfielder Lucy Dikeou, who were named to the preseason list. Farr is among two additions to the list, presented by Panama Jack, which now numbers 53.
Players are given the chance to play their way onto the lists, which is exactly what Farr has done. She has led Stanford to a 5-1 record and No. 15 ranking, going into the Cardinal's Mountain Pacific Sports Federation home opener Saturday against St. Mary's at noon.
Farr has nine goals, two assists, 14 ground balls, 12 draw controls, and four caused turnovers. Just as impressive is Farr's ability to control possession by using her athletic ability to evade defenders and hold on to the ball in crucial situations.
The list will be expanded April 10 and then be cut to 25 on April 24. Five finalists will be announced May 8 and invited to the awards ceremony May 29 in Washington, D.C.
Stanford's Jessica Plaza was one of 24 players selected to participate at the 2014 USA Softball Women's National Team Selection Camp on June 9-12.
The sophomore catcher will compete for a spot on the 17-player USA Softball Women's World Championship roster that will compete for the International Softball Federation World Championship in Haarlem, Netherlands, this August.
The team will also compete in the World Cup of Softball in Irvine in July.
The selection process will consist of five days of position drills and simulated games, which will be evaluated by the Women's national Team Selection Committee. The group will then play a three-city tour of exhibition games in which they will be further evaluated.
The final selection for the 17-player roster will be announced June 22.
Plaza earned a silver medal with the U.S. Junior National Team at the 2013 International Softball Federation Junior Women's World Championship. She leads Stanford with four home runs and is second on the team with a .583 slugging percentage this season.
Track and field
With the indoor season complete, Stanford turns its focus outdoors. Cardinal throwers and pole vaulters compete Saturday at the Hornet Invitational at Sacramento State, the site of the U.S. Championships in June.
Among them will be freshman Megan Glasmann, making her collegiate debut. The Park City, Utah, native is No. 2 all-time among high school javelin throwers. She won the 2013 U.S. junior national championship by 10 feet, and her best toss of 176-11 won her the Pan Am Junior title in Medellin, Colombia. That throw was No. 10 by an American last year, including collegians and professionals. It also ranks No. 3 all-time among U.S. juniors.
With the exception of the javelin, Cardinal throwers began the outdoor season March 8 at Berkeley's Outdoor Opener and a Stanford freshman made an immediate impact. Valarie Allman had four official discus throws and each exceeded the existing school freshman record, one that had lasted 28 years. Allman's winning throw of 187-7 was No. 3 in Stanford history and would have placed second at the 2013 NCAA championships.
That throw remains No. 1 among collegians this year, by one inch over the 187-6 by USC junior Alexandra Collatz at the Cal State L.A. Invitational.
In all, nine Stanford athletes will compete in Sacramento, plus two freshman throwers who will compete unattached.