NCAA Baseball Championship 2012: Mark Appel, Stanford Face Fresno St. In Round 1 Of Regional Play

The Stanford Cardinal (38-16) get their 31st NCAA Regional championship underway on Friday night against the Fresno St. Bulldogs (30-26), looking to hold down Sunken Diamond after winning nine of their last 11 contests.

Stanford is hosting its 15th NCAA Tournament since 1983, having gone 55-12 at home in the tournament over that time. Those 14 Regionals (and five Super Regionals) have led the Cardinal to 11 College World Series over that span.

First team All-American and projected first-round draft pick Mark Appel takes the mound for the Card on Friday. Appel is the Pac-12 leader in strikeouts (116), owning a 9-1 record and a 2.37 ERA over 14 starts this season. Appel has struck out at least 10 in seven starts this year, including four against top-10 ranked schools.

First pitch is set for 6 p.m. PT with coverage on ESPN 3.

For more in depth discussion and analysis of the Stanford Cardinal, make sure to check out Rule of Tree.

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