Sports

Kauppila, Appel drive Stanford to victory

 

Freshman Lonnie Kauppila had four hits and drove in two runs, sophomore Mark Appel pitched a seven-hitter and the Stanford baseball team opened the postseason with a 10-3 victory over Kansas State at the Fullerton regional Friday.

The Cardinal (33-20) advances to Saturday's 8 p.m. winners'- bracket game of the double-elimination tournament. Stanford meets the winner of a later game between Cal State Fullerton and Illinois.

"I thought Mark Appel pitched magnificently," Stanford coach Mark Marquess said. "He didn't walk anybody and was low in the zone. Offensively we were able to get timely hits. They made a couple of errors which helped us and then we backed those up with hits. They gave us some free base runners and that helped us."

Kauppila boosted his average to .302 (from .288) with his 4-of-5 effort. It is his 13th multi-hit game of the season and the third time he's had four or more hits in a contest.

"I've been struggling lately, trying to figure out my swing," Kauppila said. "I'm trying to stay more compact and hoping I can keep it going this weekend."

Brian Ragira and Kenny Diekroeger each had two hits and drove in two runs, while Jake Stewart and Stephen Piscotty each added an RBI and two hits. Danny Diekroeger also drove in a run.

Piscotty recorded his team-leading 24th multi-hit game and Diekroeger produced his 21st multi-hit affair as Stanford won for the ninth time in 12 games.

"We've been seeing and hitting the ball really well," Kauppila said. "Capitalizing on their errors was really huge too."

Appel (6-6) retired the first nine batters he faced. He struck out the side in the fifth, leaving the tying run at the plate. He finished with eight strikeouts.

"I feel like all my pitches were working," Appel said. "The key was keeping them down in the zone, and being able to throw two off-speed pitches for strikes and keeping the hitters guessing."

Tyler Gaffney singled leading off the fifth, sparking a three-run rally to virtually put it out of reach. Gaffney, who extended his hitting streak to 18 games, advanced to third on a pair of wild pitches and scored on Piscotty's RBI.

Kauppila drove in Piscotty with a double and scored on a Kenny Diekroeger single to make it 6-1 after five innings.

"Appel just dominated us from a pitching standpoint," Kansas State coach Brad Hill said. "His velocity was too much. Once he became a two-pitch pitcher, mixing in that changeup, he became a three-pitch guy. We were really concerned about his velocity."

Danny Diekroeger drove in a run with a sacrifice fly in the seventh.

Wildcats third baseman Jason King, who drove in a run, had his 17-game hitting streak snapped.

"When you face a guy like that who is on, it's going to be hard to beat him, especially when you throw two pitches for strikes," King said. "Appel was throwing multiple pitches for strikes to righties and lefties."

— Palo Alto Online Sports

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