This Week in Pac-10 Baseball

March 11, 2008

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PAC-10 BASEBALL KEEPS DOMINATING POLLS

Pac-10 baseball has made its presence known in some of the most widely respected college baseball polls, even before the season started. This year, three different Pac-10 teams were ranked No. 1 in the preseason polls. Collegiate Baseball ranked Arizona No. 1 in its preseason poll, followed by Baseball America giving the top spot to UCLA. Lastly, the USA Today/ESPN Coaches poll gives the coveted position to Arizona State. Now, in week three, STANFORD joins the ranks of the top teams in the country entering the Baseball America poll at No. 18. The Cardinal took on No. 16 Texas and claimed victory in two out of the three match ups. ARIZONA STATE remains the only Pac-10 team that still has not experienced a loss and looks to maintain that streak as the Sun Devils take on Arkansas March 11-12. CALIFORNIA and Stanford gave audiences a sneak peek of what Conference play might look like as the rivals participated in a nonconference match up on March 4 with the Golden Bears notching the win, 8-3. Six teams make an appearance in this week's Baseball America poll, including two in the Top 10. Here is where they are ranked: Arizona (1), Arizona State (2), UCLA (11), California (12), Stanford (18), Oregon State (22).

Next Week's Schedule

Tue., March 11
No. 2 ARIZONA STATE vs. Arkansas, 6:30 p.m
No. 12 CALIFORNIA vs. University of San Francisco, 2 p.m.
No. 11 UCLA vs. Pepperdine, 6 p.m.
USC vs. No. 13 UC Irvine, 7 p.m.
WASHINGTON STATE at Kansas State, 5 p.m.

Wed., March 12
No. 2 ARIZONA STATE vs. Arkansas, 6:30 p.m.
WASHINGTON STATE at No. 24 Wichita State, 5 p.m.

Thur., March 13
No. 11 UCLA at Cal Poly, 6 p.m.

Fri., March 14
No. 1 ARIZONA vs. No. 20 Cal State Fullerton, 7 p.m.
No. 2 ARIZONA STATE vs. Troy, 7 p.m.
No. 12 CALIFORNIA vs. Loyola Marymount, 2 p.m.
No. 22 OREGON STATE at Nevada, 2 p.m.
No. 11 UCLA at Cal Poly, 6 p.m.
USC at No. 9 Long Beach State, 6:30 p.m.
WASHINGTON STATE at Oklahoma, 4:35 p.m.

Sat., March 15
No. 1 ARIZONA vs. No. 20 Cal State Fullerton, 6 p.m.
No. 2 ARIZONA STATE vs. Troy, 6 p.m.
No. 12 CALIFORNIA vs. Loyola Marymount (DH), 11 a.m.
No. 22 OREGON STATE at Nevada, 1 p.m.
No. 11 UCLA at Cal Poly, 1 p.m.
USC vs. No. 9 Long Beach State, 1:30 p.m.
WASHINGTON vs. Holy Cross (DH), 12 p.m.
WASHINGTON STATE at Oklahoma (DH), 12 p.m.

Sun., March 16
No. 1 ARIZONA vs. No. 20 Cal State Fullerton, 12 p.m.
No. 2 ARIZONA STATE vs. Troy, 1 p.m.
No. 12 CALIFORNIA vs. Loyola Marymount, 1 p.m.
No. 22 OREGON STATE at Nevada, 1 p.m.
USC at No. 9 Long Beach State, 1 p.m.
WASHINGTON vs. Holy Cross (DH), 12 p.m.
WASHINGTON STATE at Oklahoma, 11 a.m.

All times are local to site and subject to change.

Pac-10 Notes

• ARIZONA (10-1, 0-0): ARIZONA senior David Coulon was named the national Proline Pitcher of the Week by the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association, as well as the Pac-10 Pitcher of the Week on Tuesday. He tied a career-high with 11 strikeouts andtossed a one-hitter over eight innings to help the Wildcats run their scoreless streak to 18 straight innings in a 3-0 win over the Islanders at the Whataburger College Classic in Corpus Christi, Texas, on Saturday. Coulon's effort on Saturday played a major part in a dominating pitching effort by the Wildcat staff. UA shut out all three opponents and finished the weekend with 39 strikeouts and only three walks in 27 innings pitched. South Alabama, TAMUCC and Notre Dame combined to collect just 11 hits for the weekend and bat a lowly .117.

• ARIZONA STATE (12-0, 0-0): ARIZONA STATE continued its winning streak in style by sweeping the UMass Minutemen 17-9 at Winkles Field-Packard Stadium at Brock Ballpark. ASU outscored UMass 43-17 in the three-game series and improved to 12-0 on the year. The Sun Devils pounded out 18 hits and 17 runs on Sunday. In the first game of the series, Reyes Dorado threw two innings of scoreless ball, striking out four to pick up his first win at ASU. In the second game, Brett Wallace was 4-5 with two runs batted in while RB-Ike was 4-5 with three RBI. Jason Kipnis had two hits and three RBI as well. The eighth innings seems to be good luck for the Sun Devils since they have now scored 27 runs in the eighth inning in their 11 games. The Devils will continue to maintain the winning streak as they host the Arkansas Razorbacks for a two-game mid-week series beginning Tuesday, March 11.

• CALIFORNIA (9-1-1, 0-0): CALIFORNIA's Blake Smith batted .500 for the week with a double, a home run and three RBI. On Sunday he was 4-for-5 in the Bears' 12-2 victory over New Mexico. Smith also pitched in relief in Cal's victory over Stanford, throwing an inning with no hits, no runs and two strike outs. In the Bear's 11-3 victory over Northern Iowa, he had a three-run homer. Craig Bennigson also had an amazing week as he improved his record to 3-0 defeating host Minnesota, 4-1 on March 8, in the Metrodome. He threw 6.1 innings with five hits, one run, four walks and a career-high 10 strikeouts.

• OREGON STATE (5-5): OREGON STATE concluded its five-game week with a 22-3 victory over San Diego State. Before the game started, the Beavers moved to No. 22 in the Baseball America Top 25 rankings. Oregon State was formerly No. 12. The game concluded the Beavers' first string of four consecutive games this season. OSU is scheduled to play four straight two more times and five straight once. Josh Osich became the fifth pitcher to start a game for OSU this season and the third freshman. The others are Greg Peavey and Tanner Robles. San Diego State was the first of four teams this season Oregon State will face that has a former Major League player as head coach, Tony Gwynn. He is, of course, the most notable, being a Hall of Famer after a spectacular career with the San Diego Padres. The other teams are BYU (Vance Law), Pacific (Ed Sprague) and USC (Chad Kreuter).

• STANFORD (8-4, 0-0): STANFORD made its 2008 debut in Baseball America's Top 25 college baseball rankings at No. 18 on Monday after taking two-of-three games at No. 16 Texas this past Friday-Sunday. After dropping the series-opener to the Longhorns in Austin by a score of 5-2, the Cardinal rebounded by winning the final two games of the series, 6-5 and 12-9. The series victory extended Stanford's win streak in regular season three-game series to six dating back to last season. The current series win streak is the longest of its kind for Stanford since the Cardinal won an amazing 15 consecutive regular season three-game sets from May 3, 2003 - May 4, 2004.

• UCLA (7-4, 0-0): Last week, UCLA played a pair of games against Cal State Fullerton before closing the week with a three-game set against Saint Mary's. Senior second baseman Alden Carrithers has posted a team-leading .390 batting average through UCLA's first 11 games. Carrithers, who led the Bruins hitting at a .352 clip last season, boasts a .500 on-base percentage this spring (16 hits, seven walks and two hit-by-pitches). In five games last week, Carrithers posted a .412 batting average, registering three stolen bases, five runs and three walks. Junior catcher Ryan Babineau delivered a two-RBI pinch-hit double in Saturday's 7-6 victory over St. Mary's, breaking a 5-5 tie to hand UCLA the lead. Babineau had missed the previous six games with a hip flexor injury before providing the key hit in Saturday's game. Babineau has played in more games than any Pac-10 catcher (122), totaling 118 starts. One of the team's three captains, Babineau has thrown out 33 of 83 attempted base stealers in his career (39.8 percent). UCLA's pitching staff has posted a 3.51 ERA in 105.0 innings. Left-hander Tim Murphy has led the charge with a team-best 0.38 ERA in 24.0 innings. Junior left-hander Brendan Lafferty has logged a 2.81 ERA in 16.0 innings (five relief appearances), totaling 11 strikeouts. Opponents are hitting the Bruins' pitching staff at a .253 clip.

• USC (9-4, 0-0): USC's junior right-hander Ryan Cook allowed just one run on four hits in seven innings Sunday as the USC Trojans completed a series sweep with the 7-1 victory over the Winthrop Eagles. USC swept an opponent for the second time this season, having accomplished the feat in an opening-weekend sweep at Florida International. At the conclusion of the week, Roberto Lopez extended his career-best hitting streak to 12 games (his previous high was four games). Freshman Vinnie St. John recorded his first hit as a Trojan with a two-run, bases-loaded single in the third. The Trojans hit .367 in the weekend series against Winthrop with 40 hits while the pitching staff registered a 1.33 ERA. USC has won four straight games. The Trojans are currently batting .308 on the season with opponents batting just .237 against them.

• WASHINGTON (5-6, 0-0): The WASHINGTON pitchers saw a lot of action this weekend against the Cal Poly Mustangs. Geoff Brown got his first save in the second game of the three game series and fanned the only batter he faced in the first game. Tyler Cheney had two scoreless relief outings vs. Cal Poly. He suffered relief loss opening day at UC Riverside (3.2 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 3 K) and also took relief loss vs. L-C State. Cheney has appeared in 31 games during UW career, 13 in relief and 18 as a starter. Jacob Clem made his college debut Sunday against the Cal Poly Mustangs, retiring two batters he faced to end game. Paul Dickey threw 2.0 IP on Sunday verses Cal Poly as did Ben Guidos for 1.1 innings. Brian Pearl , who also is an infielder, worked 0.2 innings on Friday but an injury kept him from hitting during first three weeks, eventually he was able to pinch hit in the last game of the series against the Mustangs.

• WASHINGTON STATE (10-2, 0-0): The Cougars took three out of four games from Kent State in Pullman, March 7-9 to capture their 16th-straight nonconference series at home. WSU dropped the first game 9-5 and came back to win 10-2, 21-4 and 5-3. The Washington State bullpen is 6-0 with three saves and a 2.05 earned run average this season. It has logged 23-consecutive innings (Feb. 23-March 1) without giving up an earned run. Michael Ratigan is 3-0 and has yielded a lone unearned run in 10 and two-thirds innings in four appearances. Ross Humes has made six appearances and is 1-0 with two saves and a 0.00 ERA. Steve Kost is 1-0 with one save and a 0.00 ERA in six games.

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