Fall Report: StanfordFall Report
Stanford’s transition from longtime coach Mark Marquess to David Esquer couldn’t have gone any smoother. Esquer, a former Stanford player and assistant coach before he took over as California’s head coach, knew the program inside and out, and he guided the Cardinal with a steady hand in his first season. Stanford rolled to a 10-0 start that included sweeps over traditional rivals Cal State Fullerton and Rice, and it finished with 46 wins and a Pac-12 championship before stumbling against the Titans in a regionals rematch.
“It all kind of pieced in together, it was a great group. We just didn’t hit the ground running in the regional like we could, but I think that’s maybe just kind of part of the journey these guys are on, to turn that around,” Esquer said. “Really the culture we walked into here was phenomenal, and our job was to try to keep advancing that, strengthen it, keep fostering it. The guys like Nico Hoerner and Beau Branton and Tristan Beck and Kris Bubic from a year ago, we couldn’t have had guys leave this program with a more solid foundation of just understanding selflessness and team. It’s hard to hold onto. There are plenty of teams that have that phenomenal year, and you’re like, ‘If we could just do this every year we’d be fine,’ then somehow it gets away from them. It’s just hard to hold onto.”
That’s why Esquer is particularly grateful for the strong leadership core and winning temperament of his 2019 team. It’s typically a very good thing when your best players are also your best teammates and hardest workers, and that seems to be the case for Stanford. Esquer raves about the “program-changing type of personalities” of junior outfielder Kyle Stowers (a potential first-round pick in June following a breakout 2018 spring and a tour de force summer in the Cape Cod League) and junior first baseman Andrew Daschbach (who led the team with 17 homers and 63 RBIs last year).