Stanford Cardinal

Esquer's Stanford homecoming is better than expected so far

David Esquer knew he was taking over a talented Stanford ballclub when his alma mater hired him to succeed his mentor, Mark Marquess.

He certainly didn't envision wins in 17 of the first 19 games and a ranking as high as No. 2 in the major polls.

"Oh, man, it's been great to be back home, and yeah, the start has been more than I could expect," Esquer said Monday, the day after Stanford beat Southern California 18-0 to complete a three-game sweep in which it outscored the Trojans 34-2.

Stanford, as always, is anchored by strong pitching. The Cardinal's 2.06 ERA ranks first in the nation, and they're in the top 11 in the other major pitching statistics....