BURBANK — Lonnie Kauppila is enjoying a freshmen season many players only dream about.
Along with his personal accomplishments the former Burbank High standout has enjoyed, Kauppila — who plays second base — is also a member of a Cardinal squad that is playing well in the postseason.
Senior Ben Clowe homered twice and had his first career four-hit day, while Danny Sandbrink (4-1) pitched seven strong innings, as No. 21-ranked Stanford (35-20) won the Fullerton Regional on Sunday with a14-2 victory over fourth-seeded Illinois (30-27).
The Cardinal will be paired with national No. 3 seed North Carolina for the best of three Super Regional, which begins at noon Friday in Chapel Hill. North Carolina went 3-0 in its own regional in Chapel Hill, winning over Maine (4-0) and James Madison (14-0 and 9-3).
Heading into the Super Regionals, Kauppila is batting .303 (60 for 198) with 10 doubles, 25 runs batted in and 23 runs scored. In the field, he has a .992 fielding percentage with 29 double plays, 104 put-outs and just two errors in 142 total chances.
Clowe went four for four with four RBI and Kauppila added a three-hit day with three RBI in support of Sandbrink on Sunday. Sandbrink gave up two runs on eight hits with six strikeouts. Austin Wilson also drove in three with a two-run homer in the seventh as a part of a three-hit night and 20-hit Cardinal attack.
Kauppila chased starter Lee Zerrusen (0-3) from the game with two outs in the third for a 4-0 lead, en route to a four-run third and 5-0 advantage. Clowe’s first two-run homer, his first blast since March 29, ignited the four-run rally, making it 3-0, before Kauppila and Wilson followed with RBI-singles.
Clowe hit another two-run homer in the sixth to make it 8-2, providing the first two-homer game for the Cardinal since Brett Milleville in 2009. In the seventh, Wilson also homered, a two-run shot, after a Kauppila RBI-double, making it 11-2, and closing out the four-run inning.
On Saturday, Stanford came through with a 1-0 victory against Cal State Fullerton. Kauppila was hitless in three at-bats against the Titans
Jordan Pries (6-5) and Chris Reed combined on a two-hitter and Stephen Piscotty hit a solo home run in the sixth to lead Stanford to the win against eighth-ranked Fullerton (41-16).
Kauppila was among five Stanford players who earned all-tournament honors.
Since the current format was installed in 1999, Stanford had been to eight Super Regionals (1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2006, 2008, 2011), reaching the College World Series six times. The Cardinal has been to 16 College World Series, the last in 2008.