The 15th-ranked Cardinal (6-2) brings a five-game winning streak into the series against the No. 22 Longhorns (6-2), who just had a five-game winning streak snapped by Sam Houston State on Tuesday.
The weekend series features two of the top pitching staffs in the nation. Stanford brings a 2.03 team ERA to the mound, while Texas owns a 2.50 ERA.
Appel (1-1, 1.93) will be opposed by Parker French (2-0, 1.35), making it one of the best matchups early in the season.
"My favorite time is just getting up there on the mound and throwing the first pitch," Appel said. "It gets the game going and the adrenaline pumping."
The Longhorns played their first eight games at home while Stanford already has made a trip to Houston. The Cardinal is 4-0 at home.
Stanford leads the all-time series with the Longhorns, 28-27, including a 13-7 edge at Sunken Diamond. The Cardinal swept Texas last year.
Most of Stanford's offense has been concentrated with four players: Menlo School grad Danny Diekroeger, Brian Ragira, Austin Slater and Justin Ringo. Combined they are hitting .342 with four home runs and 18 RBI.
The rest of the Cardinal lineup is hitting .186 with one home run and 13 RBI. That doesn't tell the whole story though. Brett Michael Doran, for example, has one hit on 11 at-bats, and that was a three-run walk-off home run in the bottom of the 10th inning in Saturday's win over the Bulldogs.
Stanford shortstop Lonnie Kauppila is hitting .188 on the season, yet leads the team with a .552 on-base percentage thanks to a team-high 10 walks. He's tied for third in runs scored.
Slater leads Stanford with his .381 average and Diekroeger leads the Cardinal with 11 hits, including his own three-run homer that clinched the series sweep. He's batting .324.
Ragira currently hits at a .324 clip and Ringo is at .360.
Stanford has been able to get away with averaging just over four runs a game because the pitching staff doesn't allow opponents to score much more than two runs a game.
It starts with Appel, but there's plenty of good vibrations to share among pitchers. Saturday starter John Hochstatter, with his 3.18 ERA, has given Stanford a few to win in both of his starts.
Dean McArdle and Logan James each have made two starts, though it's likely freshman Bobby Zarubin (1-0, 0.84) earned a chance to start Sunday's game after a lengthy relief appearance over the weekend.
Stanford coach Mark Marquess, in his 37th season at the helm, and Texas coach Augie Garrido, in his 45th year, have combined for 3,322 coaching victories. Garrido, who has won five national titles, is the all-time wins leader in Division I baseball. Marquess is fourth on the list.
The Cardinal will play nine of its next 10 games at home, with a road game at Santa Clara on Tuesday (6 p.m.) the only break.
The season is slipping away for Stanford, much like Wednesday's game with Colorado that came down the final ticks of the clock before the Cardinal fell, 65-63. It was Stanford's third straight loss and fourth setback in five games in February. The Cardinal is 7-9 in the Pac-12 Conference and 16-13 overall.
Andre Roberson scored a career-high 24 points and helped spark an 18-2 second-half run to help the Buffaloes (9-6, 19-8) sweep Stanford this season after five straight losses to the Cardinal.
Andy Brown matched his career high with 17 points while Dwight Powell added 12 for Stanford.
Powell nearly pushed the game into overtime after driving around Roberson and dunking the ball on the game's final play, but officials reviewed television replays and ruled that time expired before Powell's bucket.
Colorado had taken a five-point lead with 15.1 seconds left on Roberson's two free throws. Brown, however, drained a three-pointer with seven seconds left and the Buffaloes' Spencer Dinwiddie missed a free throw to set up Stanford's final attempt at victory.
Stanford will host Utah on Sunday at 2 p.m. Cardinal senior Gabriel Harris will be honored in a pregame tribute.
Stanford recorded a 10-over-par 586 to win the Cal Classic women's golf tournament at the Ruby Hill Golf Club in Pleasanton. The Cardinal (298-288) shot on par in the final round in the best team performance of the tournament on Tuesday.
In her career-best finish, sophomore Mariko Tumangan carded a 4-under-par 68 to finish tied for second. Tumangan (76-68) was 4-over in the opening round but came back with five birdies and one bogey to lead Stanford at 144.
During a tight match against Arizona State where the Cardinal fought to remain at the top of the leader board, late birdies from Tumangan, freshman Lauren Kim, and senior Sally Watson propelled Stanford to the team victory.
For her outstanding efforts during last weekend's Mary Nutter Classic in Cathedral City, Stanford pitcher Kelsey Stevens has been selected as the Louisville Slugger/NFCA Division I National Player of the Week.
The freshman helped the No. 16 Cardinal to a 4-1 record this past week by going 3-0 with a pair of complete-game shutouts, a 0.00 ERA and 19 strikeouts in 19 innings while allowing No. 13 Georgia, Virginia and No. 23 Florida State to total just seven hits and a .115 combined batting average.
Still only a rookie, Stevens also managed to toss the 10th perfect game in Stanford history during the triumph over the Cavaliers, facing the minimum of 21 batters while striking out 10. In her initial start at the prestigious event against No. 13 Georgia, she permitted just four hits and struck out three as the Cardinal rolled past the Bulldogs, 6-0.
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