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Stanford Baseball: What the F(ullerton) Happened?!

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Stanford Campus Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Embarrassing, pathetic, and a waste don’t quite sum up the weekend but they are three words that should be used to define the Stanford Regional and the end of the season as it came crashing down like an earthquake, hurricane, volcanic eruption, and tsunami all in one and they all came in the form of Cal State Fullerton. Stanford baseball went into the postseason as the Pacific-12 champions and the #2 overall seed in the tournament. You have to play the game, but there is no excuse for what happened this past weekend in Palo Alto. Stanford got embarrassed last year as a national seed, and got eliminated to Cal State Fullerton. They hired a new coach, the returning players got better, the recruiting was great, and the record showed it: Stanford went 44-10, the best Stanford had done since 2004 (coincidentally, the last time Stanford won the conference). And yet once again, Cal State Fullerton made Stanford look like a Junior College team. Stanford won 11 of 14 series throughout the season, including a sweep of Cal State Fullerton in the beginning of the year. Stanford scored 16 runs in that series. Stanford scored 3 runs in two games in their two regional losses. That is absolutely pathetic. Cal State Fullerton’s pitchers will not be MLB studs—or even D1 studs—and yet, Stanford couldn’t hit meatballs all weekend. On Saturday, Stanford got under the ball 9 times with a flyout or pop-out. When you go back and look, these were pitches that Stanford feasted on all year. Stanford struck out 11 freaking times, four of those with runners on and less than two outs. And then you have Kyle Stowers who was downright atrocious this weekend, going 2-17 with six strikeouts, but his 8th inning double play in that first game Saturday night was the ultimate turning point. I don’t want to just throw one player under the bus, though, as Stanford made Fullerton look like Sandy Koufax was pitching. And I won’t make any jokes about the walk-off home run because that kid was the earthquake, and he was looking for a 2-0 meat pitch. He did what Stanford didn’t do all weekend, and that was get a clutch hit in a big moment. This Stanford offense scored 4 runs or more 41 times this season, with 75% of their games involving heavy artillery, but they came into the regionals with water guns. They scored 11 runs in 4 games. I can’t state it enough that Stanford wasn’t facing a dominant group of pitchers. The young man who pitched in the 2nd Fullerton game had 2 wins all year. Stanford struck out 15 times in the 2nd game against Fullerton. THIS WAS THE #2 TEAM IN THE COUNTRY!!!!

I am not trying to disrespect the Fullerton program nor the other two teams Stanford faced but if you want to be a big dog, you gotta go eat. Stanford got embarrassed again as a national seed on their home field at Sunken Diamond. Maybe they will rename it Sunken Hopes as Stanford continues to be a program that hits you in the mouth—until somebody hits back, and Stanford folds and runs with their tails between their legs. I love Stanford with a passion and am glad they have another Stanford man at the helm but his Cal loins spread throughout this postseason. Show me that getting embarrassed is something that you will not tolerate because this was the most disappointing weekend for Stanford baseball in a long, long time.