This week in Pac-12 baseball

By the Pac-12 Conference

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Two weeks remain in the regular season, and the race for the Pac-12 title has reached a boiling point. Rivalry week is upon us, and annual bragging rights are on the line for 10 of the league's 11 teams. Oregon State and Oregon meet in Eugene this week for a three-game set that has potential Conference championship implications, as the league's top two teams sit one game apart in the standings. UCLA, which posted its first sweep of Arizona since 2000 last week, sits three games back and is still squarely in contention for the title. Four teams enter the week ranked in the USA Today/ESPN Coaches Poll. Oregon State sits at No. 4, followed by Oregon at No. 6, UCLA at No. 10 and Arizona State at No. 15. Pac-12 teams have compiled a 159-89-1 record (.641) against non-conference competition this season. Six teams play midweek games this week, including Washington State, which fell, 7-6, at UC Santa Barbara on Monday. This week's non-conference slate is highlighted by Tuesday's clash between UCLA and No. 5 Cal State Fullerton. Washington kicks of Tuesday's action at 3 p.m. PT against Portland. League play resumes Friday as UCLA renews its crosstown rivalry with USC, and Arizona State and Arizona square off in Tempe. Washington and Washington State meet in Pasco, Wash., for a neutral site series, while Oregon State travels to Eugene to take on the Ducks in a battle for Pac-12 supremacy. Utah, which doesn't play a Conference opponent this week, hosts Kansas for a weekend set. Games two and three of the Oregon State/Oregon series will be televised live on the Pac-12 Networks.

UPCOMING SCHEDULE

Tuesday, May 14
Washington at Portland…..3 p.m. PT
BYU at Utah…..6 p.m. MT
Santa Clara at Stanford…..Live Stream…..5:30 p.m. PT
No. 10 UCLA at No. 5 Cal State Fullerton…..6 p.m. PT
Gonzaga at No. 6 Oregon…..Live Stream…..6 p.m. PT

Wednesday, May 15
Texas Tech at No. 15 Arizona State…..6:30 p.m. PT
Gonzaga at No. 6 Oregon…..Live Stream…..6 p.m. PT

Friday, May 17
Washington at Washington State…..6 p.m. PT
Pasco, Wash.
No. 10 UCLA at USC*…..Live Stream…..7 p.m. PT
Arizona at No. 15 Arizona State*…..6:30 p.m. PT
Stanford at California*…..7 p.m. PT
No. 4 Oregon State at No. 6 Oregon*…..Live Stream…..6 p.m. PT

Saturday, May 18
Kansas at Utah…..12 p.m. MT
No. 10 UCLA at USC*…..Live Stream…..2 p.m. PT
Washington at Washington State*…..2 p.m. PT
Pasco, Wash.
Arizona at No. 15 Arizona State*…..6:30 p.m. PT
Stanford at California*…..6 p.m. PT
No. 4 Oregon State at No. 6 Oregon*…..P12N…..2 p.m. PT

Sunday, May 19
Arizona at No. 15 Arizona State*…..12 p.m. PT
No. 4 Oregon State at No. 6 Oregon*…..P12N…..12 p.m. PT
Washington at Washington State*…..1 p.m. PT
Pasco, Wash.
No. 10 UCLA at USC*…..Live Stream…..1 p.m. PT
Stanford at California*…..1 p.m. PT
Kansas at Utah…..6 p.m. MT

Monday, May 20
Kansas at Utah…..12 p.m. MT
Washington State at Portland…..12 p.m. PT

Games are local to site and subject to change.
Rankings are from USA Today/ESPN Coaches Poll
*Pac-12 Conference Game

PAC-12 BASEBALL NOTES

Arizona (29-20)
Arizona enters the week with six losses in its last seven games. The last time the Wildcats suffered six losses in seven games or fewer, they rebounded to win nine of their next 10 games. They hit the road again this week for a Territorial Cup series against Arizona State. The teams have split two previous meetings this season, both high scoring affairs in Tucson. Arizona, which leads the league with 6.51 runs scored per game, has scored five runs or more 16 times in its last 24 games, including both tilts against the Sun Devils. Brandon Dixon, whose 30 stolen bases rank 11th in the NCAA, is only the fourth player in school history with 30 stolen bases, 40 runs scored and 40 RBI in the same season.

Arizona State (32-15-1)
Arizona State, which took two of three games from California in Berkeley over the weekend, has won six of its last seven three-game series. ASU clinched last week's series against Cal with some late-inning heroics from sophomore designated hitter Nate Causey, who broke a 6-6 tie with a two-out grand slam in the top of the ninth inning. He became the fifth different Sun Devil to secure a game-winning hit in the ninth inning or later this season. Arizona State has posted 51 consecutive 30-win seasons, the most in the NCAA, and has won at least 30 games in 52 of the program's 54-year history.

California (22-28)
California, which has been tough to beat at Evans Diamond this season, closes out its regular season with four home games this week. The Golden Bears are averaging more than five runs per game in home tilts, and five of their seven Conference home losses have been by just one run. Cal upended Arizona State in their series opener in Berkeley last week before dropping close decisions in games two and three. The Bears have thwarted 25 stolen-base attempts this season, a figure that ranks second in the Pac-12, while junior catcher Andrew Knapp has gunned down 20 would-be base stealers to lead the league.

Oregon (40-11)
Oregon has won six straight games and 13 of its last 14 overall. The Ducks put on a defensive clinic in a road sweep of Big Ten foe Ohio State last weekend, allowing just two runs in the three-game set. Freshman left-hander Cole Irvin was named the Pac-12 Player of the Week after tossing a complete-game shutout—his second of the season—in a 4-0 victory over the Buckeyes. He allowed six hits and struck out seven batters en route to earning his 10th win of the season. All-American closer Jimmie Sherfy ranks second in the NCAA with 18 saves. He needs just one more to match his own school record, which he established in 2012.

Oregon State (41-8)
Oregon State, which swept Stanford in a three-game set last week, is riding a Conference-best 12-game winning streak. The Beavers travel to Eugene this week in hopes of spoiling Oregon's Pac-12 title hopes for a second consecutive season, as the rivals square off in a weekend series that carries Conference championship implications. OSU took game one of the season series in a non-conference contest in Corvallis on April 9. Sophomore outfielder Dylan Davis leads the Pac-12 with 19 doubles and ranks fourth in the league with 42 RBIs. He had a monster weekend against the Cardinal, batting .462 (6-for-13) with eight RBI, two doubles, a triple and a walk. OSU leads the Pac-12 in ERA (2.06, ranks second in the NCAA) and opposing batting average (.209) and has turned a league-leading 51 double plays.

Stanford (26-20)
Stanford has posted series victories over five of its last seven Conference opponents, but after being swept by Oregon State over the weekend, the Cardinal has lost five games in succession for the first time since 2010. Each of its eight remaining regular season games will be played in the Bay Area, as it hosts San Francisco on Tuesday before traveling to Berkeley for a weekend set with California. It closes out its schedule a week later with a three-game home series against UCLA. Senior right-hander Mark Appel, the league leader in strikeouts (110), ranks fifth in the Pac-12 with a 1.97 ERA and boasts a .201 opposing batting average. Cardinal pitchers have struck out 7.7 batters per nine innings, a figure that leads the Conference.

UCLA (34-14)
UCLA won three of four games last week, including its first sweep of Arizona since 2000, and has won nine of its last 11 overall. Defense has been critical for the Bruins, who are 25-0 this season when holding opponents to three runs or fewer. They are 12-1 in one-run games this season and are 30-4 when they score three runs or more in a game. UCLA owns the league's third-lowest team ERA (2.71, ranks 14th in the NCAA) and has issued a Conference-low 2.63 walks per nine innings. The Bruins also lead the league and rank fourth in the nation with a .982 fielding percentage. Sophomore reliever David Berg, who has pitched 30.0 straight innings without allowing a run, owns a Pac-12-best 0.64 ERA. UCLA, which did not see a game extend past regulation in 2012, has played in six extra-innings games in 2013.

USC (19-30)
USC, which has won two of its last three series against Conference opponents, took two of three games from Washington State at Dedeaux Field over the weekend. Redshirt senior outfielder Greg Zebrack earned a Pac-12 Player of the Week nod after batting .778 (7-for-9) with a double and three RBI while drawing four walks in the series. In wins, the Trojans have managed a 2.13 cumulative ERA; in losses, they've posted a 6.43 team ERA. The Trojans own a .976 team fielding percentage and have managed 85 doubles on the year; both figures rank third in the league. USC, led by sophomore backstop Garrett Stubbs (18), has caught a league-high 27 runners stealing.

Utah (17-28)
Utah, which opens the week with a rivalry tilt against BYU in Salt Lake City, is coming off a 1-2 weekend at Washington. This is the rubber match for Utah and BYU, which play three times this season. They have split their two previous meetings with the home team claiming each decision. The Utes rank third in the Conference and 35th in the NCAA in triples per game (0.36) and are tied for second in the Pac-12 with 66 stolen bases. Defensively, Utah is tied for third in the league with 23 runners caught stealing. Junior catcher Konner Armijo has picked off four runners (second in the Pac-12) and has caught an additional 14 would-be base stealers (fourth in the Pac-12). The Utes have 17 wins on the season, three more than their total from last season.

Washington (19-30)
Washington, which, in the last month has claimed series victories over three Conference opponents, took two of three games from Utah at Husky Ball Park over the weekend. The Huskies are 10-5 in their last 15 games, and two of their losses have come in extra innings. Moreover, they have allowed two runs or fewer in eight of those wins. Junior right-hander Austin Voth ranks second in the league and 23rd in the country with 90 strikeouts, while Trevor Dunlap's 2.33 ERA ranks eighth in the Conference. Washington owns the league's fourth-highest fielding percentage (.976).

Washington State (21-26)
Washington State took the opener from USC, 7-1, in Los Angeles over the weekend but managed just one total run in losses in games two and three. Brett Jacobs ranks second in the league with a .343 batting average. Yale Rosen's seven home runs are tied for fifth-most in the Pac-12, while Jason Monda's 35 RBI are tied for tenth. Sophomore left-hander Joe Pistorese has picked off a Conference-leading six base runners this season and has pitched 86.1 innings, a total that ranks eighth in the league. WSU has lost just three times this season when it has allowed fewer than four runs and has conceded three runs or fewer in 12 of 21 wins.

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