By JACK BLANCHAT
In its final performance before the 2012 sea-son, the Stanford football team takes to the fieldat San Francisco’s historic Kezar Stadium onSaturday in its annual Cardinal-White SpringGame.While the season is still six months away, theStanford coaches are hoping that Saturday’s in-trasquad contest will help settle several criticalposition battles before fall training camp, andprovide some continuity for the Cardinal head-ing into the 2012 season.Naturally, all eyes are on the quarterbackcompetition, where redshirt junior Josh Nunesand sophomore Brett Nottingham haveemerged as the leaders to take over AndrewLuck’s job. The two quarterbacks will split snapswith the first team offense on Saturday, whilefreshmen Kevin Hogan and Evan Crower willwork with the second team offense. Both Not-tingham and Nunes have impressed so far in thetwo spring sessions not only with their physicalskills, but also with their ability to use audiblesto command the offense in a fashion similar toLuck.Behind Nunes and Nottingham, several run-ning backs will also have a chance to fight theirway into the starting lineup for next season, par-ticularly sophomore Ricky Seale and freshmanKelsey Young. With sophomore Anthony Wilk-erson injured and junior Tyler Gaffney takinghis talents to the baseball field for the durationof spring, Seale has carried the ball well enoughto be the likely successor to Jeremy Stewart asthe final piece of the four-back rotation that ledthe Cardinal to two consecutive BCS bowls.Meanwhile, Young has also carried the ball andworked out of the backfield as a receiver as well,making him a versatile option for the Cardinaloffense to exploit, especially with a lack of depthat wide receiver.Perhaps the most unclear position group thisspring is the offensive line, which could remainin flux until the beginning of the 2012 season.While juniors Kevin Danser and Khalil Wilkeshave been battling for the right guard spot andsophomore Cole Underwood has squared off with redshirt freshman Brendon Austin for theall-important left tackle role, any leaders thatmight emerge from this spring could be overtak-en by one of several players among the nation’sbest recruiting class of offensive linemen.On the outside, Stanford will be searching fora starter across from freshman Ty Montgomery,who has been participating in the second sessionof spring practice while recovering from a handinjury suffered during the first session of spring.Young will square off with Drew Terrell andJamal-Rashad Patterson, who have been playingwith the first team offense all spring.On the other side of the ball, the Cardinal de-fense will be looking for starters along the de-fensive line and in the backfield, and will onceagain be without injured star linebacker ShayneSkov, who is still recovering from a knee injury
The Stanford Daily
Friday, April 13, 2012
Seniorshope toend strong
Cardinal prepares to take on Bruins, Trojans
By GEORGE CHEN
On the heels of a rained-out Tuesdaymatch against San Francisco, the No. 11Stanford men’s tennis team now faces a pairof marquee matchups as it heads into one of toughest and most important weekends of the season.The Cardinal (14-5, 4-0 Pac-12) is taking aroad trip down to Los Angeles to face No. 6UCLA (18-2, 4-0) on Friday and No. 1 USC(23-0, 4-0) the next day. These pivotal match-es mark the final stretch of the regular sea-son as the inaugural Pac-12 Championship isless than two weeks away.The last time Stanford met the twoSouthern California foes in early February,the Cardinal was swept by USC, 7-0, andthen fell to UCLA, 6-1. The team was play-ing without star player Bradley Klahn inboth of the losses, crippling both the singlesand doubles lineups. The blowouts luckilydid not count towards the team’s conferencerecord, but losing on home court certainlyfueled Cardinal in trying to redeem itself.Since losing those two matches, Stanfordhas rebounded by winning critical gamesagainst tough opponents. A few weeks afterthe lopsided losses, the Cardinal defeatedthen-No. 6 Kentucky and then-No. 7 Baylorat the National Team Indoor Champi-onships in February. Stanford then followedup the impressive showing with a dominant6-1 win over then-No. 13 Cal.But even with Klahn back on Stanford’sroster, winning any of the two upcomingmatches will be no easy task for the Cardi-nal. UCLA has three singles players who areranked in the national top 120, with seniorNick Meister leading the Bruins at No. 32. Asfor doubles play, the duo of Meister andsophomore Adrien Puget are ranked in thetop 50.USC will most likely prove to be eventougher to beat as the Trojans have been
By DANIEL LUPIN
The emotions promise to runhigh in Maples Pavilion this week-end, as the seniors on the Stanfordmen’s volleyball team will play theirfinal two matches at home and havea chance to end their storied careersin style.The fifth-ranked Cardinal (18-6,15-5 MPSF) will take on the UC-Santa Barbara Gauchos (7-17, 5-15) on Friday night before squaringoff against No. 3 UCLA (21-6, 15-5)on Saturday in a match that hasmajor conference tournamentseeding ramifications. In addition toSaturday being Senior Night, a trib-ute will be held for UCLA headcoach Al Scales, who is coaching thefinal regular season match of his ca-reer after 50 years at the helm of theBruin program.The winningest senior class inStanford history, with a careerrecord of 82-32, will hope to sendoff its seven members with a propertribute and a win against the rivalBruins on Saturday. UCLA comesinto Maples Pavilion on the heels of a disappointing and controversialloss to BYU, one that knockedthem out of control of the race forthe top seed in the upcomingMountain Pacific Sports Federa-tion (MPSF) tournament. The Bru-ins appeared to have won thematch, but that decision was over-turned after officials reviewed the
By JOSEPH BEYDA
It’s been almost a month sincethe No. 6 Stanford baseball teamhosted a weekend series, but withNo. 16 Oregon coming to town fora three-game set at Sunken Dia-mond, the squad is playing someof its best baseball at just the righttime, riding a three-game winstreak into tonight’s opener.That said, the Ducks have wonsix of their last seven and are freshoff an impressive series winagainst No. 17 UCLA.Having played just two of itslast nine contests on the Farm, theCardinal (21-7, 4-5 Pac-12) will fi-nally have a chance to improve onits 14-2 home record with sevenstraight matchups at Sunken Dia-mond against Oregon (21-9, 8-4),San Jose State and No. 21 ArizonaState. Those previous home winswere fueled by Stanford’s high-powered offense, which cooled off somewhat during spring break buthas come back with three biggames in a row: an 8-6 win overWashington, a 19-6 victory overCal and an 8-3 win over Pacific.Leading the charge has beensophomore first baseman BrianRagira, who is currently riding a13-game hit streak and is one of two Stanford starters hittingabove .300.“I think I’ve been a little moreconsistent early on this year than Iwas last year,” said Ragira, whowas named the 2011 Pac-12 Fresh-man of the Year with his .329, 46-RBI performance a year ago. “Ifeel pretty good about it.”Ragira’s not the only Cardinalinfielder with a hot bat, with juniorcatcher Eric Smith hitting .366 andthird baseman Stephen Piscottytotaling 34 RBI so far this season.That type of hitting has been com-ing early in games, as Stanford has jumped out to at least a three-runlead through three innings in itsthree consecutive wins.According to Ragira, gettingon the board right away is going tobe important this weekend, as theCardinal by and large failed to doso in its series loss to the Ducks inEugene a year ago.“I think just scoring early andplaying good defense [are going tobe key],” he said. “Our pitching isgoing to be good with Mark andMooney.”Oregon is going to be hard-pressed to score runs against Stan-ford’s two stellar junior starters,righthander Mark Appel and left-hander Brett Mooneyham. By nomeans one of the best-hittingteams in the conference, theDucks had a team batting averageof just .261 as of Monday, a markthat doesn’t even crack the top 200nationally.But questions have emergedsurrounding the Cardinal’s Sun-day starter, a position that couldbe earned by either freshmanJohn Hochstatter or sophomoreA.J. Vanegas. Hochstatter im-pressed with an early-season 3-0record, but has dropped threestraight decisions and yielded thestarting spot to his fellow rightylast weekend against Washington.Vanegas pitched well for hisfirst win of the season against theHuskies, giving up just one earnedrun in his six innings of work andgiving Stanford head coach MarkMarquess all the more reason togive him another look.The Ducks will send out a pairof righties to open the series insenior Alex Keudel and freshmanJake Reed. The duo has combinedfor a 2.26 ERA and a 7-5 record,and Oregon has won the first twogames in all of their last three se-ries with Keudel and Reed on themound.To counter those hurlers theCardinal will need the same top-to-bottom offensive productionthat it has been getting recently,even with Marquess makingminor shifts to the batting orderand at designated hitter over thelast few weeks.“It’s good that we’ve got all thismomentum going into that series,”said junior shortstop KennyDiekroeger, who had two doublesand a solo homer in the squad’s 8-3 win over Pacific on Wednesday.“Hopefully we can keep it.”Tonight’s opener is scheduledfor 5:30 p.m. but with rain a possi-bility nothing is for certain, as thePacific game was postponed a dayto account for the weather.Saturday’s game begins at 1p.m., with the Sunday finale set fornoon.
Contact Joseph Beyda at email@example.com.
The NHLplayoffs attheir finest
MEHMET INONU/The Stanford Daily
Sophomore first baseman Brian Ragira (above) is currently riding a 13-game hit streak as the No. 6 Stanford baseball squad is ready for athree-game homestand series against No. 16 Oregon starting tonight.
CARD READY TO HOST DUCKS