Sports

Diekroeger returns to Stanford baseball lineup in a big way

 

Menlo grad Mikey Diekroeger showed no lingering effects of a shoulder injury that shortened his season last year and freshman Tristan Beck showed no signs of being intimidated by the college game and the result was Stanford's season-opening doubleheader sweep of visiting Cal State Fullerton, 2-0 and 2-1, Saturday in nonconference baseball action.

Diekroeger drove in the go-ahead run in both games, helping Beck win his college debut and helping to give Chris Castellanos a win in the nightcap.

"He's a tough out," Cardinal coach Mark Marquess said of Diekroeger. "You know he's going to hit and he gave us great defense."

Diekroeger missed the fall season to take care of his shoulder and began hitting again at the beginning of the year. He went 3-for-8, including a fourth-inning home run in the opener that ended a scoreless tie. He singled home the go-ahead run in the fifth of the nightcap.

"The coaches helped me out and made sure I got extra work to make up for lost time," Diekroeger said. "I'm ready for a long season."

Diekroeger hit .315 with one homer and 15 RBI last year. Hitting in the second spot of the order, he got a first-pitch fastball for the home run and then singled on a 2-strike count in the second game.

"I was looking fastball on the first pitch and it was right there," he said. "I tried to put a good swing on it and it went out I guess. With two strikes, I'm just trying to get it up the middle and was able to poke it through."

Beck was more of a strikeout pitcher in high school, but he likes pitching to contact for economical reasons.

"I had a couple of jitters in the first inning and I was able to work through those," Beck said. "After that everything clicked into place."

Beck credited older pitchers on the staff, including Cal Quantrill and John Hochstatter, both of whom are recvovering from elbow surgery, for reaching out to him and guiding him through the process.

"Even Colton Hock, even though he's a sophomore," Beck said. "They're looking out for me."

Beck allowed two hits and walked one in his 6 1/3 innings of work. Tyler Thorne threw 2 2/3 innings for the save.

"That's hard as a freshman, it's a lot of pressure," Marquess said. "He earned it though and he threw the ball great."

Quinn Brodey also drove in a run for Stanford and freshman infielder Nico Hoerner recorded a pair of hits.

"It's a good day against a quality team," Marquess said. "To pitch as well as we did and not make many errors, we'll build off of that."

Castellanos, who was 2-3 with a 3.44 ERA last year, allowed a run on five hits over six innings. He struck out a pair and did not walk a batter. Hock retired all nine batters he faced, including four on strikeouts, for the save.

"They gave us an opportunity to make plays," Diekroeger said of the pitchers. "We believe in our defense. We know what we are capable of doing and it all starts with pitching."

Stanford completes the series with the Titans on Sunday at 1 p.m. Andrew Summerville gets the start for the Cardinal.

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