2008 Omaha Cheatsheet: Stanford Cardinal

Stanford (39-22-2)

Coached by Mark Marquess (32nd Season)

After losing the first game of the Palo Alto Regional to UC Davis, Stanford won 4 straight, including 2 games over Pepperdine. They won the Fullerton Super Regional in consecutive games with solid pitching and timely hitting, winning by scores of 4-3 and 8-5. Stanford dropped many games they should have won late in the season, losing to Santa Clara, UC Davis, University of San Francisco, and then dropping consecutive series to Cal and Arizona, and were at one point 3 outs away from being upset by UC Davis in an elimination game before their bats came alive. The Cardinal possess a resume of series victories over Arizona State, Texas, Fullerton, UCLA and Oregon State.

Stanford is led offensively by catcher Jason Castro (.379 BA, 13 HR, 69 RBI). In the Fullerton Super Regional, Castro was the key to the Cardinal offense, providing the power in Game 1 with 2 run homerun to left center, and then broke a 5-5 tie in the 6th inning in Game 2 with a bases clearing double that put Stanford up for good. Castro was the 10th overall pick in last week’s MLB draft by the Houston Astros.

Speaking of power, there is no shortage of it from the boys from Palo Alto with leadoff hitter 2B Cord Phelps (.349 AVG, 13 HR, 53 RBI), CF Sean Ratliff (.654 SLG, 21 HR, 66 RBI), DH Randy Molina (.340 AVG, 15 Doubles, 40 RBI) and 1B Brent Milleville (.297 AVG, 10 HR, 52 RBI). Florida State will be starting LHP Matt Fairel to attempt to counter the left handed trio of Castro, Ratliff and Molina in the heart of the Cardinal order.

LHP Jeremy Bleich (3-2) will start Game 1 against a heavy left handed hitting Florida State lineup. Bleich, the 44th overall pick in last week’s draft by the New York Yankees, hasn’t given up an earned run in his last 20.2 innings pitched. Bleich has been impressive in the postseason only giving up 5 hits in 10 innings of work, striking out 9, improving his ERA to a microscopic 0.92. Hailing from Metairie, Lousiana, Bleich might even pitch better in the hot and humid conditions in Omaha.

Other names to know out of the Stanford pitching staff:

RHP Jeffrey Inman (7-2, 4.34 ERA in 12 starts)

RHP Erik Davis (7-3, 4.67 ERA in 16 starts)

RHP Drew Storen (4-3, 8 Saves, 28 appearances, 2.79 ERA, 1.15 WHIP)

RHP Austin Yount (6-3, 3.38 ERA)

(Photos Courtesy of The Stanford Daily)