This Week In Pac-10 Baseball

May 19, 2009

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THIS WEEK IN PAC-10 BASEBALL

Going into the final weekend of the regular season, ARIZONA STATE has clinched at least a share of its third straight Pac-10 title. ASU will travel to Tucson to face rival ARIZONA one last time before closing out the season at home against UCLA. The Sun Devils will need just one win against the Bruins to claim the Conference crown outright. Last week, UCLA stole a game from fifth-ranked Cal State Fullerton in its final home game of the season and will continue to be tested as its last four games are against top-3 teams on the road (No. 1 UC Irvine and No. 3 Arizona State). The middle of the Conference standings could still see some movement over the final weekend as OREGON STATE plays at STANFORD ad WASHINGTON takes on rival WASHINGTON STATE.

THIS WEEK’S SCHEDULE

Tues., May 19
OREGON at OREGON STATE, 5 p.m.
UC Davis at STANFORD, 5 p.m.
UCLA at No. 1 UC Irvine, 6 p.m.
UC Riverside at USC, 6:30 p.m.
WASHINGTON STATE at Gonzaga, 6:30 p.m.

Wed., May 20
No. 3 ARIZONA STATE at ARIZONA, 7 p.m.
OREGON vs. OREGON STATE, 6 p.m. (1)

Fri., May 22
*ARIZONA at OREGON, 3 p.m.
*OREGON STATE at STANFORD, 6 p.m.
*UCLA at No. 3 ARIZONA STATE, 6:30 p.m.
*USC at CALIFORNIA, 2:30 p.m.
*WASHINGTON at WASHINGTON STATE, 5:30 p.m.

Sat., May 23
*ARIZONA at OREGON, 1 p.m.
*OREGON STATE at STANFORD, 6 p.m.
*UCLA at No. 3 ARIZONA STATE, 6:30 p.m.
*USC at CALIFORNIA, 1 p.m.
*WASHINGTON at WASHINGTON STATE, 2 p.m.

Sun., May 24
*ARIZONA at OREGON, Noon
*OREGON STATE at STANFORD, Noon
*UCLA at No. 3 ARIZONA STATE, 1 p.m.
*USC at CALIFORNIA, 1 p.m.
*WASHINGTON at WASHINGTON STATE, Noon

* Pacific-10 Conference Game
(1) Volcanoes Stadium (Keizer, Ore.)
All times are local to site.

PAC-10 TEAM NOTES

• ARIZONA (27-24, 10-14): Arizona won two-of-three games against Washington last week, earning its third straight Pac-10 series win of the seson. SR Hunter Pace accounted for seven of UA’s nine runs in the Wildcats’ rubber game win on May 18. He was 2-for-4 at the plate with three runs scored, four RBI and two stolen bases. Arizona will host rival Arizona State on May 20 for its regular season home finale before traveling to Eugene for a three-game Conference series at Oregon. The ‘Cats continue to lead the Pac-10 in several offensive categories: batting average (.319), hits (578), doubles (128), triples (33) and total bases (892). Their 578 hits are 50 more than second-place California with 528.

• ARIZONA STATE (41-11, 19-5): The Sun Devils have won 40 games in a season for the third consecutive year and have now reached the 40-win plateau 30 times in program history, including six of the last seven seasons. With its series sweep over Oregon last week, ASU has earned its 20th Conference championship, ninth since joining the Pac-10 in 1979. ASU also becomes the first team since the divisions merged in 1999 to win three straight championships. It is the fourth Pac-10 title for head coach Pat Murphy in his 15 seasons at the helm of the program. Against the Ducks, JR catcher Carlos Ramirez hit .462 with two home runs and six RBI. He scored four times and slugged 1.000. His 17 home runs this season are the most by an ASU catcher since All-American Casey Myers hit 18 in 2000. JR pitcher Mike Leake threw the first complete-game shutout of his career and leads the Pac-10 with 13 wins, tying his career high. In fact, no other Pac-10 pitcher has earned more than eight wins this year.

CALIFORNIA (23-27, 8-16): California was victorious in its lone game last week, a 15-0 shutout of Sacramento State. JR center fielder Brett Jackson nearly hit for the cycle against the Hornets. He registered a career-high eight RBI, going 4-for-6 with a RBI single in the second, a grand slam in the third and a three-run triple in the sixth. In the eighth inning, Sacramento State left fielder Ivan Otsuka made a tumbling catch to prevent Jackson from a possible double. The Bears close out the regular season at home, hosting USC for a three-game Pac-10 series.

• OREGON (14-37, 4-20): Oregon was swept last weekend by Conference-leader Arizona State. It marked the fourth time this season the Ducks have been swept in a weekend series. They are on an eight-game losing streak, the longest of the season, but has five games left on the 2009 schedule, including at Oregon State May 19, then the finale of the Civil War series at the I-5 Iris Festival Classic at Volcanoes Stadium in Keizer, Ore. on May 20, and a three-game home Pac-10 series with Arizona. The Ducks are 1-8 in midweek contests, with an 0-6 mark on Tuesdays and an 1-1 record on Wednesdays. In the season series with the Beavers, Oregon’s offense has been held to a .167 clip against OSU’s pitching staff, which has a 1.49 ERA in this year’s series. Caleb Tommasini leads the Ducks’ offense hitting .313 (5-for-16).

• OREGON STATE (31-16, 13-11): The Beavers are tied for fourth in the Conference with Washington going into the final weekend of the regular season. OSU defeated Gonzaga, 8-1, on May 12, breaking a six-game losing skid to the Bulldogs. The Beavers finished the week going 1-2 against visiting Washington State. Appearing in all four games, SO first baseman Jared Norris was 5-for-10 with six RBI to lead the Beavers. He was on a seven-game hitting streak that was snapped on Sunday. During that streak, his longest of the season, Norris hit .481 with five runs, nine RBI and five walks. He posted a career-high three hits against the Cougars on May 15. FR right-handed pitcher Sam Gaviglio had an outstanding start against WSU on May 16, limiting the Cougars to four hits and two runs, one earned, in 7.2 innings pitched. It was his first career Pac-10 start and fourth overall. He has eight victories this season, which not only leads the team, but is also believed to be a modern day freshman record for OSU.

• STANFORD (29-22, 12-12): Stanford has won seven of its last 10 games going into its final regular season series with Oregon State. The Cardinal is currently sixth in the Pac-10 standings, while the Beavers are tied for fourth, meaning this weekend’s series will have final standings implications. Last week, Stanford won two one-run victories before taking two-of-three games at USC. SO outfieder Kellen Kiilsgaard was 9-for-22 (.409) with seven RBI and four walks. He hit safely in all five games and had a trio of multi-hit efforts and three multi-RBI games. Kiilsgaard delivered the last at-bat, a game-winning, RBI-single in the 13th inning to give the Cardinal a 6-5 win at San Jose State on May 12. The following night, the sophomore hit a two-out, two-run single in the bottom of the ninth to propel Stanford to a 14-13 walk-off win against Pacific.

• UCLA (26-26, 14-10): UCLA has won 13 of its last 20 games, including three wins against top-20 ranked competition. The Bruins will travel to No. 1 UC Irvine and No. 3 Arizona State this week to try to improve on their 7-10 record against ranked opoonents. In four games last week, SR Cody Decker hit .400, collecting two home runs, two doubles, eight RBI and six runs scored. One of his homers was a two-out grand slam that tied their game with Cal State Fullerton on May 16. Decker is currently tied with Washington’s Kyle Conley for the Pac-10 lead with 19 home runs on the season. He has become the first Bruin to belt 19 homers or more in a season since 2000.

• USC (25-27, 11-13): The Trojans posted a 2-2 record last week, avoiding the sweep by Stanford as they won Sunday’s game, 5-2. JR shortstop Grant Green hit .471 last week (8-for-17) with three doubles and a home run. He is third in the Pac-10 with a .374 batting average, ninth with a .579 slugging percentage and 10th with a .439 on-base percentage. He also ranks in the top-10 in the Conference in runs scored (44), hits (73), doubles (18), triples (5) and total bases (113). USC concludes the regular season, playing its final home game on May 19 against UC Riverside before traveling to California for its final Conference series.

• WASHINGTON (25-27, 13-11): Washington split its mid-week series with BYU last week before dropping two-of-three at Arizona. The Huskies are currently tied for fourth in the Conference standings with Oregon State. JR Kyle Conley tied the UW career home runs record in unexpected fashion on May 17, hitting an inside-the-park homer for his 42nd round-tripper of his career. He is tied with UCLA’s Cody Decker for the Pac-10 lead with 19 home runs on the season. Conley ranks third in the Conference with a .690 slugging percentage and 55 RBI on the year.

• WASHINGTON STATE (28-22, 16-8): The Cougars will finish the 2009 season in the top-five in the Pac-10 standings for the first time since the league merged the northern and southern divisions in 1999. WSU’s best finish since 1999 is seventh in 2007. The Cougars played six games in seven days last week, posting a 4-2 record in those contests. SR outfielder Jared Prince moved into seventh place on WSU’s career hits and RBI list with 246 and 157, respectively. He batted .478 with a home run and 10 RBI last week, earning him Pac-10 Player of the Week accolades. JR pitcher Jeremy Johnson won his fifth game in relief at OSU on May 17, tying for fifth all-time on the Cougars’ single-season list. Down 0-4 to OSU on Sunday, WSU overcame a four-run deficit in a Pac-10 road game for the first time since 2003, winning the game 7-6.

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