April 10, 2012

Baseball Game At No. 6 Stanford Moved to Wednesday

Game Notes

Stockton, Calif. - Pacific and No. 6 Stanford have rescheduled a mid-week matchup for Wednesday at 5 p.m. at the Cardinal's Sunken Diamond.  Originally scheduled for Tuesday, the date pushed back a day due to weather concerns.

In the last meeting between the two teams, the Tigers erased a three-run deficit in the late innings, tallying three times in the seventh, eighth and ninth to force extra innings. The Cardinal eventually took the contest, 9-7 in the 11th inning on a two-run homer by Stephen Picotty.

Since then, the Tigers suffered through some early season woes, but have turned it around as of late. Pacific has won seven of their last 13 games. In the last 14 games, the Tigers' offense has hit .315 as a team and the pitching staff has turned in a 3.85 ERA.

In Pacific's first 17 games, the Tigers hit .280 collectively, but opponents tallied nearly seven runs per game. But since mid-March, the Tigers have allowed just four runs per contest in the last 14 games, leading to in increased win total.

Redshirt freshman 1B Erik Lockwood is hitting .414 in the last 14 games, while sophomore C Jason Taasaas has a .406 average in that stretch. Overall, Pacific has five hitters carrying an average over .300, as sophomore C/2B Riley Drongesen (.380), junior 3B Dustin Torchio (.333), Josh Simms (.319) join Lockwood (.363 overall) and Taasaas (.329 overall).

Pacific's starters have led the way, as the Tigers rotation has averaged seven innings per start, going deep into ballgames. The key to the staff's turnaround has been limiting walks. The Tigers have issued just 2.07 free passes per game in their last 14 games, compared to 4.41 per game in the first 17.

Freshman RHP Michael Hager ranks 32nd among qualified NCAA pitchers in fewest walks per nine innings. He's issued five free passes in 41 innings pitched. On Saturday, he tossed seven innings of three-hit shutout ball, picking up the win over San Jose State. He didn't allow a walk and threw 61 of his 82 pitches for strikes.

Against the Cardinal (20-7), Pacific will send RHP Bryce Lombardi (0-0) to the mound. The freshman will be making his second start of the season. Stanford, ranked No. 6 in the country by Baseball America, has not announced its starting pitcher.