With a three game sweep of the Washington State Cougars (15-31-1 / 7-19-1 PAC 12) this past weekend, #3 Stanford (43-8 / 21-6 PAC 12) added several more highlights to a season that has already been “chalk-full” of them.
Sophomore Andrew Daschbach is one of several players who has had a monster year for Stanford. A dynamic athlete anywhere in the field, Daschbach leads the team in home runs (16), RBI (60), and total bases (114), while batting an even .300 on the year.
Junior Infielder Nico Hoerner has been another key to the Cardinal success thus far. Hoerner is batting .342, leads the team in both hits (69) and stolen bases (13), and is second only to Daschbach in total bases (100). Equally impressive, Hoerner leads the team in multi-hit games (20), and has had three hits or more seven times this year.
On that same level, the pitching staff has been strong from top to bottom for Stanford in ’18. Juniors Kris Bubic and Tristan Beck, as well as his younger brother freshman Brendan Beck have all been workhorses for the program, while sophomore Jack Little as been an elite closer (2-0 / 0.69 ERA / 15 Saves) out of the bullpen.
Bubic is 8-1 with a 2.55 ERA in 74 innings pitched, and leads the team in strikeouts with 86. Tristan Beck is 8-3 with a 2.79 ERA, 63 strikeouts, and leads the team with 77.1 innings pitched. His younger brother Brendan has 58 innings on the hill so far this season for the Cardinal, and is 6-0 with a 2.48 ERA. Jack Little, the now established Cardinal ‘closer,’ needs just one more save to tie the all-time Stanford single season record of 16 (Colton Hock - ’17).
Everyday players senior Beau Branton and sophomore Kyle Stowers have also consistently contributed to the team’s many successes so far in 2018. Branton is leading the team in both batting average (.383) and on-base percentage (.463), and in Stanford’s last series vs. WSU he reached base in his first eight plate appearances. Likewise, Stowers has nine home runs, 41 RBI, and is batting a cool .300.
With Stanford’s abundance of talent thoroughly considered, the unquestionable leader of this powerhouse squad is first-year head coach and Stanford alumnus David Esquer. Coach Esquer played for Stanford legend Mark Marquess (’84-’87) at Sunken Diamond, winning the National Championship in ’87, before spending several years in the minor leagues with the Angels, Orioles, and Brewers.
When he retired from pro ball, Esquer took his first assistant coaching job with his former coach Marquess on The Farm (’91-’96), before also serving an assistant coaching role at Pepperdine (’97-’99). He earned his head coaching stripes across the bay at archrival Cal (’00-’17), and compiled a record of 525-467-2 (.529) over 18 seasons as the Bears’ skipper. Esquer was named the National Baseball Writers Association’s national coach of the year in 2011, and was also the PAC-12 Conference coach of the year in 2001.
Going forward, the Cardinal need one more win in their final three-game series of the regular season vs. Washington (28-22 / 18-9 PAC 12) this week to claim the PAC-12 Championship. They play the Huskies in Seattle tomorrow 5/24 (7 pm), Friday 5/25 (7 pm), and Saturday 5/26 (3 pm). Cardinal faithful everywhere will be hoping for more great baseball by this team vs. U Dub, and well in to the post-season.