The Road to Omaha doesn't begin in the spring; coaches already are driving their players toward the College World Series. It's the rise-n-grind that players tweet about; it's the workout pictures that are shared on social media. It's the day-in, day-out work that coaches and players hope will separate their team in June. Before the first pitch in February, NCAA.com is highlighting teams that may reach the Mecca of college baseball: Omaha.

Stanford Cardinal
• 2014: 35-26 (16-14 Pac-12)
• Head coach: Mark Marquess (39th season)
Cardinal's team website

1. What can fans expect from this squad in 2015? Team baseball.

2. What is the one thing that this year’s team does best? Pitch. We return 100 percent of our starting pitching from last year.

3. Bottom of the ninth, tied game, two outs, winning run on second … which player does this team want to step up to the plate? Tommy Edman. He hit a walk-off, two-run home run to win the Bloomington Regional last season.

4. If this team had one game to win, which pitcher would get the ball? Cal Quantrill. He’s a preseason All-American.

5. Who are we most likely to see make a "SportsCenter Top 10" play on this squad? Junior infielder Drew Jackson.

6. What does Omaha mean to this team? We have been close;  three out of four years we have gone to the super regional ... it’s time.

-- Stanford assistant coach Brock Ungricht

TOP RETURNING HITTERS
PLAYER AVG. G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI
Zach Hoffpauir .324 59 219 36 71 9 5 7 35
Tommy Edman .256 58 195 21 50 8 0 3 18
Jack Klein .256 27 43 13 11 2 0 1 6
TOP RETURNING PITCHERS
PLAYER ERA W-L SV IP H ER BB K B/AVG.
Cal Quantrill 2.68 7-5 0 110.2 90 33 34 98 .221
Brett Hanewich 3.17 4-4 0 76.2 79 27 31 49 .275
John Hochstatter 3.36 10-3 0 80.1 60 30 35 38 .214