The Stanford baseball team released its 2012 schedule on Wednesday, posting a slate that features series against nine teams that played in the College World Series last season.
After a travel-intensive year in 2011 that included three straight road trips to start the season, the Cardinal has home series against Vanderbilt, Texas, Rice, Arizona State and California, and doesn’t have a single weekend series away from the West Coast.
Expectations will be high for Stanford this season after an appearance in the Super Regionals last year, the Cardinal’s first since 2008. After defeating Cal State Fullerton, Illinois and Kansas State to advance to the Supers, North Carolina swept the Cardinal in a best-of-three series to end the season.
Stanford returns its top nine hitters from last season and boasts three potential first-round draft picks in juniors Mark Appel, Stephen Piscotty and Kenny Diekroeger.
The Cardinal also returns junior Tyler Gaffney, who is carrying a 22-game hit streak into 2012, the longest for a Stanford player since 1988, and sophomore Brian Ragira, who was last year’s Pac-10 Freshman of the Year.
On the mound, Stanford will have to answer for the loss of closer Chris Reed, who was a first-round pick of the Los Angeles Dodgers in June, as well as the departures of starters Jordan Pries and Danny Sandbrink and bullpen mainstay Scott Snodgress. Senior lefthander Brett Mooneyham will return to the lineup after missing all of the 2011 season with a hand injury.
Stanford baseball will embark on the 2012 season starting Friday, Feb. 17 with a three-game series against Vanderbilt.
– Jack Blanchat