It took Alberto Rios until his third season at Stanford to break into the starting lineup. He arrived as an infielder, moved to catcher and did some pinch hitting before finding a home in left field.
Days like Sunday will only help keep him in the everyday lineup. He set the school record and tied the Pac-12 mark with 11 RBIs in a 24-9 win over Cal State Bakersfield.
“It’s kind of ridiculous,” he said Monday. “I had no idea until I saw the box score.”
Rios appeared in eight of the Cardinal’s 121 games his first two years and didn’t play in the season opener against Cal State Fullerton.
He was the designated hitter for the second game and entered the third as a pinch hitter and stayed in to catch.
Rios started in left field for the Feb. 21 game against California and has been there since.
“Coming into this year, any chance I can get, I’d love to play,” Rios said, “and luckily I was given the opportunity.”
Rios entered Sunday batting .343 with six RBIs. He starts this week batting .410 with a team-high 17 RBIs after he had two three-run homers, a pair of two-run singles and an RBI base hit during his 5-for-7 day.
“I was as prepared as I possibly could be and was ready to roll for the game,” he said. “Yesterday was just baseball happening. Some days you have a good day, sometimes you have a bad day. Yesterday was just one of those good days.”
IN THE POLLS
The top three teams in the D1Baseball.com and Baseball America polls remained the same, but there was a slight tweak in the Collegiate Baseball newspaper rankings.
The D1Baseball poll is led by LSU (10-1), Stanford (9-2) and Tennessee (11-2). Baseball America’s poll is topped by LSU, Florida (10-3) and Stanford.
Collegiate Baseball kept LSU and Wake Forest (13-0) as its top two and promoted Tennessee from No. 6 to No. 3.
Florida won one of the weekend’s featured series over rival Miami, finishing the Hurricanes on Sunday with a 14-4 victory that went eight innings because of the mercy rule.
The Gators’ 10-run margin was their most lopsided in a regular-season win over Miami since they won 19-5 in 1998. They’ve taken eight of the last nine regular-season series against the Hurricanes.
Wichita State’s Payton Tolle had the best all-around day of the week in Saturday’s 17-5 win over Oakland.
The big left-hander struck out a career-high 10 and allowed one run, two hits and a walk in six innings. He went 5 for 5 at the plate with a double, home run and career-high six RBIs.
SO CLOSE TO CYCLE
North Carolina State freshman Cannon Peebles did everything except hit for the cycle in a 21-2 win over New Jersey Tech on Saturday – and he almost did that, too.
The switching-hitting Peebles was 6 for 6 with three doubles along with a homer from the right side and a homer from the left. He finished with 10 RBIs.
Needing a triple to hit for the cycle, he drove a ball into the right-field corner in the eighth inning and kept running. He was thrown out at third.
Northwestern State’s Duante Stewart hit three home runs, including the walk-off blast leading off the bottom of the ninth, while going 5 for 5 in an 11-10 win over UT Arlington on Saturday.
Stewart entered the game having not homered in 22 games since April 29. He’s the cousin of Miami Marlins second baseman Jazz Chisholm.
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