This Year in Pac-10 Baseball
July 15, 2008
Despite a valiant comeback effort in the ninth inning, the STANFORD baseball team's 2008 season came to an end with a 10-8 loss to Georgia at the College World Series in Omaha. The Cardinal ended the 2008 season with an overall record of 41-24-2, and made the program's 16th appearance in the College World Series, where a 2-2 mark at the event continued its streak of winning at least one contest in each of its trips to Omaha.
The Pacific-10 Conference has produced a CWS participant each year since 1997, and the Cardinal's trip marked the 58th year (of a possible 61) that the Pac-10 has sent at least one team to Omaha. Six of the Conference's nine teams have combined for 26 national championships, 15 more than the next conference (Big 12, 10).
Joining Stanford in postseason play were the Pac-10 champions ARIZONA STATE as well as ARIZONA, CALIFORNIA and UCLA, making 2008 the 12th consecutive season the Conference has qualified at least four of its nine teams for the NCAA Tournament. In 1992, six teams made the postseason, while five teams were selected in 1990, 1997, 2004, 2005 and 2008.
The Sun Devils, who earned the outright league title for the second consecutive year, made their ninth consecutive postseason appearance, 32st all-time. UCLA made its 15th postseason appearance in school history, while Arizona advanced to the Super Regionals for only the second time in the school's history and the first time since 2004.
The Pac-10 has always had a rich baseball history and the 2008 season is no different. Every Conference team this season notched a winning overall record, a feat that has never been accomplished since the Pac-10 discontinued its North and South divisions in 1999.
Arizona State's Brett Wallace was awarded Player of the Year honors and the Sun Devils also received honors for Pac-10 Pitcher of the Year Mike Leake, Pac-10 Newcomer of the Year Jason Kipnis, and Pac-10 Coach of the Year Pat Murphy. WASHINGTON STATE's Paul Gran was named Defensive Player of the Year.
(Pac-10 Teams Only)
Saturday, June 14
No. 6 STANFORD 16, No. 2 Florida St., 5
Monday, June 16
No. 7 Georgia 4, No. 6 STANFORD 3
Wednesday, June 18
No. 6 STANFORD 8, No. 1 Miami 3
Saturday, June 21
No. 7 Georgia 10, STANFORD 8
ARIZONA (42-19, 12-12): ARIZONA made its second consecutive NCAA tournament appearance and its fifth in the last six years. The `Cats swept their way through the Ann Arbor Regional, defeating Eastern Michigan, Michigan and Kentucky, to advance to their second super regional appearance in Coral Gables, Florida. The Wildcats met up with the top-seeded Miami Hurricanes in a best-of-three series. UA won the opener, 6-3, in 11 innings, but couldn't close out the series, dropping the final two games, 14-10 and 4-2. After finishing with 42 victories in 2008, head coach Andy Lopez has guided the Arizona baseball program to back-to-back 40-win seasons for the first time since 1985-86. The Wildcats saw a school record-tying 11 players selected by Major League teams in the 2008 first year player draft. The Wildcats' 77 home runs hit in 2008 marked the fourth-most for a single season in school history and were the most for any UA club since 2000. C.J. Ziegler became just the fourth player in school history to reach the 20 home run mark. Junior Brad Glenn and senior Ziegler join the top five all-time power list at Arizona for career homers. Glenn raised his total to 34 in three seasons - good enough for a tie for third all-time. Ziegler, who played just two seasons at Arizona, hit 20 homers in 2008 to raise his career total to 33 - good enough for a tie for fifth all-time. In three seasons T.J. Steele went 54 for 60 in stolen base attempts to post the highest success rate of any UA player at 90 percent. The Arizona pitching staff struck out a school record 572 batters in 2008.
ARIZONA STATE (49-13, 16-8): Arizona State captured its second straight Pac-10 Championship. ASU swept the Tempe Regional, but fell to eventual National Champion Fresno State in three games in the Tempe Super Regional. Arizona State finished the season ranked No. 9 by every major poll and it is the fourth time in the last six years the Sun Devils have finished the season ranked in the Top 10. The Devils won the Pac-10 with a 16-8 record, the eighth overall Pac-10 title in school history and the first back-to-back Conference crowns since 1981 and 1982. 2008 marked the 46th straight season Arizona State has topped the 30-win mark and the 29th time in school history they recorded 40 or more wins. Arizona State advanced to its ninth straight NCAA Tournament and 32nd overall. For the second straight season, Pat Murphy was named the Pac-10 Coach of the Year. It is the third time overall he has won the award. Brett Wallace won the Pac-10 Player of the Year Award for the second straight season after winning an unprecedented second consecutive Pac-10 Triple Crown. Wallace is the first player in Pac-10 Conference history to win the Triple Crown in back-to-back seasons. Wallace also became only the second Sun Devil to ever hit over .400 twice in a career, joining Kevin Romine. Mike Leake was named the Pac-10 Pitcher of the Year, the first Devil to win the award since 1994. Jason Kipnis was named the Pac-10 Newcomer of the Year, the second Devil to win, joining teammate Ike Davis, who won in 2006.
CALIFORNIA (33-21-2, 12-12): The CALIFORNIA Golden Bears, who produced one of their best seasons in recent history, finished fifth in the Conference standings in the the 2008 season. The Golden Bears saw their season come to an end at the Long Beach State Regional in Long Beach. Cal is now 22-13 all-time in NCAA Regional play. 2008 also marked the Bears' first appearance in an NCAA Regional since 2001. Matt Gorgen's ninth save this season is second on Cal's all-time single season save list, and his 20th career save is second on the Bears' all-time career save list. Josh Satin became the school's first first-team All-American in baseball since 1992 when he was named to Baseball America's first team All-American squad. Satin also established a school-record 27-game hitting streak from May 20, 2007 to Mar. 29, 2008. David Cooper is second on Cal's all-time list with a .656 carer slugging percentage and Cooper's .370 career batting average is tied for fourth in the Bears' record book.
OREGON STATE (28-24, 11-13): OREGON STATE played arguably its toughest schedule in school history, with more than one-third of its opponents in 2008 ranked in Baseball America's Top-25 when the Beavers played them. Mike Stutes leaves Oregon State with 287 strikeouts, which is second-most in school history and with 24 wins, which is good for a tie for ninth in OSU history. Oregon State went 14-7 (.667) at Goss Stadium at Coleman Field in 2008, marking the club's fourth-straight winning season at home. Oregon State continued its run in the Major League Baseball First Year Player Draft as seven Beavers were selected by MLB clubs on June 6.
STANFORD (41-24-2, 14-10): The STANFORD baseball team's 2008 season came to an end with a 10-8 loss to Georgia at the College World Series in Omaha. The Cardinal found itself in a five-run hole after five innings, and despite a four-run rally with two outs in the bottom of the ninth, Stanford could not complete the comeback at Rosenblatt Stadium. This season marked the Cardinal's 28th NCAA Tournament appearance and 16th College World Series appearance finishing in fourth place. Jason Castro was the lone Pac-10 player on the 2008 All-College World Series Team.
UCLA (33-27, 13-11): This season, UCLA earned its third consecutive NCAA Tournament appearance for the first time in program history. Under the direction of head coach John Savage, UCLA has registered 33 wins in each of the last three seasons. UCLA registered a 4.45 overall ERA and a Conference-leading 4.29 mark in Pac-10 action. The Bruins featured five selections in the 2008 MLB Draft, including three draftees in the first five rounds. Left-hander Tim Murphy became the first Bruin to lead the Pac-10 in strikeouts (111) since Jim Parque accomplished the feat in 1996. First baseman Casey Haerther set UCLA and Pac-10 single-game records with his 7-for-7 effort (most hits in a game) at Arizona on March 29.
USC (28-28, 11-13): USC had the fifth-toughest schedule in the nation and posted a 9-15 record in 2008 against Top 25 opponents. On April 13 against Cal, the Trojans stole eight bases which tied the second-most in school history. It was the most stolen bases by USC since the record was set (12) in 1995. The Trojans registered their 700th win at Dedeaux Field on May 16 against Oregon State. USC's Grant Green was named All-America third team by Baseball America. Green led the team in batting average (.390) and home runs (nine) and set the school career mark for triples with his 14th triple (later added another and has 15 total triples in his two-year career).
WASHINGTON (33-22, 11-13): From March 15 through March 26, the WASHINGTON Huskies played 11 games in 12 days, all at Husky Ballpark. The Huskies won all 11 of those games to forge the fourth-longest winning streak in school history. Junior LHP Nick Haughian was named the National Player of the Week by several different organizations after pitching the Huskies to a 1-0 win over Arizona where Haughian threw a two-hit shutout, striking out a career-high 15 batters. Junior RHP Jorden Merry, who finished the season 8-2 with a 3.61 earned run average, won his first eight decisions of the 2008 season before finally suffering his first loss in the second-to-last weekend of the year. RS-sophomore OF Kyle Conley won the Pac-10 Player of the Week award in back-to-back weeks. He won the award May 6 after going 8-for-10 with two homers and nine RBI in a series sweep of USC. On May 13, he picked up the honor once more after notching four homers and another nine RBI vs. Portland and Washington State.
WASHINGTON STATE (30-26, 8-16): The 2008 season marked the third-straight winning season for WASHINGTON STATE and the first time since 1994. In the Major League Baseball First Year Player Draft, four Washington State players were drafted, which was the most since 2004. The Cougars, who played a tough schedule, attained nine wins over ranked opponents this season.