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Palo Alto Weekly

Sports - March 30, 2012

Baseball heads to Arizona with No. 2 rank intact

Pac-12 honors for Cardinal women's gymnasts; softball squad ends three-game losing streak with win over SCU

by Rick Eymer

Second-ranked Stanford heads to Arizona, a popular destination this weekend for Cardinal athletes with the softball, women's golf and men's tennis teams also heading for competitions in the desert, to open a three-game Pac-12 series Friday.

Stanford (2-1, 16-3) opened conference play by taking two of three games from visiting USC last weekend. The Cardinal also beat visiting St. Mary's, 10-4, on Wednesday.

It's another big series for Stanford, as the Wildcats (4-2, 18-7) are ranked eighth in the nation and share first place in the Pac-12 with UCLA and Oregon State. Stanford and Washington have matching records in a conference full of top teams. Utah (3-3, 7-16) currently owns the only losing record among the 11 teams (no Colorado) and the Utes also won 2 of 3 from the Trojans.

Arizona, with the top three hit leaders, tops the Pac-12 with its .322 team batting average, while the Cardinal leads in pitching with a 2.65 ERA. The Wildcats are eighth in pitching while Stanford is third in batting. Both teams are in the middle of the pack in fielding.

Freshman Josh Hochstatter ranks second in the Pac-12 with a 1.03 ERA while Brett Mooneyham ranks eighth with his 2.12 ERA.

Menlo School grad Kenny Diekroeger has nine doubles on the year, tied for second in the conference.

Mark Appel (47) and Mooneyham (46) rank 1-2 in strikeouts.

St. Mary's arrived at Stanford on Wednesday sporting the nation's earned run average of 2.04. The Gaels left with something much higher.

With Austin Wilson going 3-for-5 with two RBI and freshman Alex Blandino hitting his first career home run, No. 2-ranked Stanford rolled.

The Cardinal broke out the bats in the fourth, taking a 9-3 lead, with five unearned runs. The inning ending groundout was bobbled by shortstop Darian Ramage, allowing the first of five runs to score. Wilson followed with an RBI single, before Blandino hit his first career home run, a three-run shot.

Men's golf

Stanford hopes this weekend's U.S. Intercollegiate on its home course will provide some momentum heading into championship season, which begins with the Pac-12 Championships in late April.

Three squads currently ranked in Golfweek's/Sagarin top-10 headline the 16-team U.S. Intercollegiate field, including No. 4 UCLA, No. 5 USC and No. 7 Washington. Stanford and Oregon are ranked 11th and 12th, respectively, in the latest Golfweek/Sagarin ratings while San Diego State is ranked 13th.

Colorado, Fresno State, Nevada, Oregon State, Pepperdine, San Francisco, San Jose State, UC Davis, Utah and Washington State round out the field.

Teams will play 18 holes over three days beginning on Friday at Stanford Golf Course (par-70; 6,727 yards), teeing off on holes No. 1 and 10 at 8 a.m. each day.

Stanford will enter two squads in this event. The "red" team will consist of Cameron Wilson, David Chung, Andrew Yun, Patrick Rodgers and Steven Kearney, while the black team will be made up of Shane Lebow, Patrick Grimes, Marcel Puyat, Wilson Bowen and Andre DeDecker.

Rodgers, ranked fifth in Golfweek's most recent individual rankings, is the highest-rated player in the field, followed by Chris Williams of Washington and Eugene Wong of Oregon, who are ranked No. 6 and 9 respectively.

Women's golf

Stanford joins a strong field at the PING/ASU Invitational, which gets underway on Friday at the Karsten Course in Tempe, Ariz.

Five top 10 teams, including top-ranked UCLA, No. 3 USC, No. 5 Arizona State, No. 7 Vanderbilt and No. 8 LSU headline the 17-team field which also includes Arizona, New Mexico, Oklahoma State, Oregon State, San Diego State, Texas, Texas A&M, TCU, UC Davis, UNLV and Washington, along with Stanford.

Stanford is expected to start a lineup consisting of (in order) Sally Watson, Kristina Wong, Mariko Tumangan, Lila Barton and Marissa Mar.

Senior Sydney Burlison, sidelined for much of the season with an ankle injury, is expected to play as an individual. It will be her first tournament action since the WSU Cougar Cup in September.

Stanford finished fifth at last year's PING/ASU Invitational.

Women's gymnastics

Stanford junior Ashley Morgan was named to the All-Pac-12 first team in two events and was among three Cardinal women's gymnasts to receive all-conference honors, as announced by the conference office Tuesday.

Morgan, a native of Danville and the daughter of baseball Hall of Famer Joe Morgan, was the 2012 Pac-12 floor exercise champion for the second consecutive season. She received first-team honors in that event and on the uneven bars.

Making the all-conference team for the first time were sophomore Shona Morgan and freshman Ivana Hong.

Stanford next competes at the NCAA Champaign (Ill.) Regional on April 7 and must finish among the top two to advance to the NCAA Championships April 20-22 in Duluth, Ga.

Softball

No. 13 Stanford (0-3, 26-6) will be in Tucson to take on the 17th-ranked Wildcats in a three-game series beginning Friday night.

The Cardinal dropped three games to visiting California in the conference opener last weekend. The Bears are ranked first in the nation for the first time in seven years.

Stanford beat Santa Clara, 9-2, in a nonconference contest Wednesday.

The Pac-12 is the top conference for softball, although you might get an argument from the SEC or ACC.

All nine teams in the Pac-12 not only have winning records, they each have fewer than 10 losses, and seven are ranked in the top 25, including three among the top five. In direct competition, the Pac-12 is a combined 12-7 against the ACC and SEC.

Stanford freshman Hanna Winter (.442) and junior Jenna Rich (.430) rank in the top-10 of the Pac-12 in batting average.

Women's tennis

Mallory Burdette, undefeated in dual-match play this season, leads Stanford with a 24-4 mark as it prepares for a visit from Arizona State on Friday and Arizona on Saturday.

Nicole Gibbs (19-4), Ellen Tsay (16-5), Stacey Tan (15-5) and Veronica Li (13-6) also own double figure victories.

Men's tennis

Stanford returns to Pac-12 competition Friday with a match at Arizona.

The eight-rankled Cardinal (10-4) dropped a 6-1 nonconference decision to host Pepperdine on Wednesday.

Robert Stineman leads Stanford with an 18-9 record while Ryan Thacher is 16-7 and John Morrissey is at 14-8.

Men's volleyball

After winning eight consecutive matches and pulling into first place with a No. 1 ranking, Stanford (11-4, 14-5 ) has lost three of its past five matches, all at home, to drop into fourth place in the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation.

The Cardinal hopes to reverse that trend this weekend with visits to Pepperdine on Friday night and USC on Saturday night.

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