Stanford ace Mark Appel opened his 2012 NCAA baseball season with a strong effort as the Stanford Cardinal had little trouble dispatching the Vanderbilt Commodores in their regular season opener Friday evening. Appel threw seven innings of two-hit, one-run ball as Stanford won 8-3. Appel enters the season as arguably the top prospect in the country and will look to build up his stock to secure the number one pick in this summer's MLB Amateur Draft.
Some scouts are questioning Appel's ability to miss bats a bit more frequently as opposed to pitching to contact. He did not strike out a ton of hitters on Friday, but he had little trouble with a Vanderbilt offense that returned solid hitters like Tony Kemp, Riley Reynolds, and Connor Harrel, among others. It is worth noting that Appel hit 93-97 mph in a 1-2-3 first inning.
The Cardinal jumped all over Kevin Ziomek, scoring five runs over 3 1/3 innings. Stephen Piscotty and Christian Griffiths got the scoring going quickly with solo home runs in the first and second inning, respectively. The Cardinal added three runs in the third on a walk, hit batter, single, fielder's choice and a pair of errors mixed together as Vanderbilt struggled to play clean baseball.
At that point the game was well in hand, although Stanford added three more insurance runs in the fifth, sixth and eighth innings. The Commodores added a pair of runs in the ninth but it was too little, too late. The two schools will return to action Saturday at 1:00pm PT at Sunken Diamond.