Palo Alto Weekly

Sports - June 7, 2013

Stanford's Appel receives more honors

Cardinal pitcher wraps up college career with another first team All-American selection

by Rick Eymer

Stanford's baseball season ended a little prematurely, despite a series win over visiting UCLA last weekend. The Cardinal, which ended 16-14 in the Pac-12, 32-22 overall, did not receive an at-large bid to the NCAA tournament.

The next time anyone sees Cardinal right-hander Mark Appel on the mound, he'll be wearing the uniform of a professional baseball team. The senior, named first team All-American for the second straight season, figures to be one of the first two players selected during Major League Baseball's First-Year Player Draft, which gets underway June 6.

Appel finished his Stanford career as the school's all-time strikeout leader with 372. His final appearance was another gem: eight innings, three hits, one run, two walks, nine strikeouts and a 2-1 victory over the Bruins last Friday night. That earned him conference player of the week honors.

He was 10-4, with a 2.12 ERA on the season, and leaves with 28 career wins. Appel will likely join a long legacy of Cardinal pitchers to reach the major leagues. There's even been a couple of Cy Young Award winners along the way, too.

Appel was named to the All-Pac-12 Conference team this week along with teammates Justin Ringo and Brian Ragira. Menlo School grad Danny Diekroeger was named honorable mention for the Cardinal.

Ragira was second among conference players with 44 hits and led the Cardinal with a .344 clip. He started at first base in each of the 30 Pac-12 games while driving in 25 runs with four home runs. Ragira committed one error in 316 chances for a .997 fielding pct. and was second in putouts (300) and fielding double plays (24). The junior also had 15 multi-hit and eight multi-RBI outings.

A sub-.200 career hitter entering 2013, Ringo caught fire during his senior campaign and registered 40 hits for a .325 average from the leadoff spot. The designated hitter was successful in each of his seven stolen base attempts and recorded a 17-game streak in which he reached base safely. Ringo also pieced together a 12-game hitting streak midway through the conference slate.

Diekroeger was a rock at second base for the Cardinal, starting in 30 Pac-12 games while hitting .325. With a .405 slugging pct. and .368 on-base pct., the CoSIDA Academic All-District choice had 13 multi-hit outings. The junior scored 13 times in league contests.

Stanford failed to make the tournament for a variety of reasons, the most important being its 3-9 stretch during one point in conference play and a 1-6 stretch, which included a series sweep by UNLV, a series win by Utah and a loss to UC Davis.

The Pac-12 Conference does not host a tournament, rightly so in baseball, but other conferences do host tournaments and when underdog wins the conference title, several at-large bids go by the wayside. Stanford may not have made it any way, but any chance it had was taken away by last season upsets in other conferences.

Stanford's strength of schedule was also a factor. Usually reliable powerhouses Fresno State and Texas had off years, affecting the Cardinal RPI rating.

It really all boils down to those two losing streaks, which was a combined 4-15 record, and the Cardinal's 5-9 mark in one-run game. A run here or there would have made a world of difference.

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