GAFFNEY BACK . . . Running back Tyler Gaffney will rejoin the Stanford football team April 1 for the first time since the 2011 season. Gaffney is leaving professional baseball to return to The Farm for his football senior season and the completion of his Stanford degree. April 1 is the first day of the spring quarter on campus and starts the second session of the Cardinal's spring practices. Gaffney is pursuing a double major of sociology and psychology. Gaffney's football path left off after the 2012 Tostitos Fiesta Bowl. He completed his junior season with a career-high 449 yards (6.1 yards/carry) and seven touchdowns on the ground, plus 79 receiving yards and one more touchdown. Gaffney ranked second behind Stepfan Taylor among Stanford rushers in 2011 and recorded a string of 67 consecutive carries without a loss.
CARDINAL NOTES . . . The fourth-ranked Stanford men's gymnastics team (4-1) will play host to Bay Area rival No. 10 California (1-4) on Sunday (6 p.m.) for the 2013 installment of the Big Flip Off. It will be the first men's gymnastics meet televised live on the Pac-12 Networks. Admission is free . . . Teagan Gerhart threw a one-hitter over five innings and the Stanford softball team beat visiting Santa Clara, 8-0, in its home opener Wednesday night. Gerhart walked one and struck out four in throwing her first shutout of the season. The 20th-ranked Cardinal (5-2) hosts the Stanford Nike Invitational beginning Friday. Stanford meets Cal State Northridge at 2:15 p.m. and Cal State Bakersfield at 4:30 p.m.