STANFORD, APPEL SUFFER FIRST LOSS

Mark Appel delivers against FSU (Photo: Steve Cummings/HotStoveHeat.com)

The Stanford Cardinal traveled to Fresno State for a weekend series as an undefeated team (8-0) and ranked #1 in the country in the USA Today/Coaches poll but the Bulldogs’ bats came alive for a 7-4 victory. FSU sophomore Aaron Judge belted two homeruns off of RHP Mark Appel to pace an 8-hit attack that dealt the Stanford ace his first loss of the season.

Appel was solid through five innings, allowing three hits as Stanford overcame the two judge homers to post a 4-3 Cardinal lead. Appel hit 97 mph with his fastball and came back with crippling breaking pitches in the low 80’s to keep the Fresno State hitters at bay. Judge was the only Bulldog who seemed to be unfazed as he turned around a 95 mph fastball in the second inning for a two-run shot and then drilled a 96 mph heater in the fourth for a solo blast.

Meanwhile, Fresno State sophomore LHP Tyler Linehan dodged his way through the potent Cardinal offense allowing four runs (2 ER) over 5 2/3 to keep the game close.

The game turned in the sixth when Appel threw 29 pitches while facing all nine Bulldog batters, giving up four runs on four hits to make it 7-4 in favor of the home team. Fresno State RHP Justin Haley, who came on to get the last out for Linehan in the sixth, went on to throw 3 1/3 scoreless innings (10 up/10 down, 3 K’s) to close the deal.

Stanford is now 8-1 while Appel now has a record of 2-1. Fresno State  has evened its record at 5-5, with Linehan getting a no-decision and Haley moving to 1-1 on the year.

In the end, Appel, who is projected to be the top overall pick this June, posted a line of 8 IP, 8 H and 7 ER with 3 BB and 11 K’s. The four-run sixth was his undoing, but outside of that frame he had his command and handled the Bulldog batters who weren’t named Aaron Judge with precision.

The two teams are back at it Saturday at 6:05 PM with Stanford junior Brett Mooneyham facing Fresno State’s RHP Cody Kendall. The finale on Sunday features LHP John Hochstatter of the Cardinal against LHP Thomas Harlan of FSU.

Aaron Judge touches home after 2-run homer (Photo: Steve Cummings/HotStoveheat.com)

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