This week in Pac-12 baseball
By the Pac-12 Conference
Four teams earned bids to the 2013 NCAA Division I Baseball Championship. Oregon State received the No. 3 overall seed in the tournament, while Oregon earned the No. 8 overall seed. Oregon, Oregon State and UCLA will all host a regional as tournament play starts Friday, and Arizona State earned the second seed in the Fullerton Regional. The Beavers host fourth-seeded Texas-San Antonio to open regional play, while Oregon welcomes No. 4 South Dakota State and UCLA takes on No. 4 San Diego State at Jackie Robinson Stadium. Arizona State will face third-seeded New Mexico in Fullerton, Calif. Oregon State clinched its third Conference title since 1999 and its highest-ever national seed in the tournament after claiming a pair of victories over Washington State last weekend. OSU, which previously claimed league crowns in 2006 and 2007, went on to win the national championship both years. The Golden Spikes Award list was trimmed to 30 semifinalists on Tuesday, and three Pac-12 players made the cut: Stanford's Mark Appel, UCLA's David Berg and Oregon's Jimmie Sherfy. Appel was named the Pac-12 Pitcher of the Week after racking up nine strikeouts over 8.0 innings in a 2-1 victory over UCLA on Friday night to become the Cardinal's all-time strikeout leader (372). Arizona's Kevin Newman picked up Pac-12 Player of the Week honors after batting .417 (5-for-12) with five runs scored and nine RBI in a three-game sweep of USC. Four teams enter the week ranked in the USA Today/ESPN Coaches Poll. Oregon State sits at No. 5, followed by Oregon at No. 7, UCLA at No. 10 and Arizona State at No. 20. Pac-12 teams wrapped up the regular season with a 171-94-1 (.645) record against non-conference competition.
Corvallis Regional (Corvallis, Ore.)
Friday, May 31
No. 1 Oregon State vs. No. 4 UTSA, 5 p.m. PT (ESPN3)
No. 2 Texas A&M vs. No. 3 UC Santa Barbara, 12 p.m. PT (ESPN3)
Eugene Regional (Eugene, Ore.)
Friday, May 31
No. 1 Oregon vs. No. 4 South Dakota State, 6 p.m. PT (ESPN3)
No. 2 Rice vs. No. 3 San Francisco, 2 p.m. PT (ESPN3)
Fullerton Regional (Fullerton, Calif.)
Firday, May 31
No. 2 Arizona State vs. No. 3 New Mexico , 4 p.m. PT (ESPN3)
No. 1 Cal State Fullerton vs. No. 4 Columbia, 8 p.m. PT (ESPNU/ ESPN3)
Los Angeles Regional (Los Angeles, Calif.)
Fri. May 31
No. 1 UCLA vs. No. 4 San Diego State, 6 p.m. PT (ESPN3)
No. 2 Cal Poly vs. No. 3 San Diego, 2 p.m. PT (ESPN3)
Fri.-Mon. June 7-10
NCAA Super Regionals, TBA
Sat.-Mon./Tues., June 15-26
College World Series, TBA
Each regional will feature two games Friday, Saturday and Sunday. A seventh game will take place on Monday, June 4, if necessary.
Each of the 16 regionals features four teams playing a double elimination format. The regionals are scheduled to be conducted from Friday, May 31 to Monday, June 4 (if necessary).
Game times are local to site and subject to change.
NCAA Championship National Top Eight Seeds
1. North Carolina (52-8)
2. Vanderbilt (51-9)
3. OREGON STATE (45-10)
4. LSU (52-9)
5. Cal State Fullerton (48-8)
6. Virginia (47-10)
7. Florida State (44-15)
8. OREGON (45-14)
PAC-12 BASEBALL NOTES
Arizona State (35-20-1)
Arizona State earned the No. 2 seed in the Fullerton regional, where it will take on No. 3 New Mexico at 4 p.m. PT on Friday. This marks the 36th NCAA Championship appearance for ASU, tied for the fifth-highest total in the nation. The Sun Devils, who finished in a tie fourth in the Conference standings after posting a 16-14 mark in league play, look to bounce back after suffering a pair of series losses (Arizona, Washington) to close the regular season. They lead the Pac-12 in slugging percentage (.450), hits (581), RBI (t335), doubles (115) and home runs (46) and rank second in batting average (.296), triples (25) and runs scored (360). ASU 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 years in existence. The Sun Devils went 12-5 this season against teams in the NCAA Championship field.
Oregon earned the No. 8 national seed in the NCAA Championship and claimed the top seed in the Eugene Regional. The Ducks square off with No. 4 South Dakota State, the Summit League champion, at 6 p.m. PT on Friday. This is the fifth postseason appearance for Oregon, which claimed a national seed for the second straight year. The Conference runners up are coming off a series victory over Utah in which they took games one and two by matching 6-2 scores before resting several normal starters for the finale. All-American closer Jimmie Sherfy, who ranks second in the NCAA with 20 saves, owns Oregon's top two single-season marks in the category--he had 19 saves in 2012. The Ducks have won 18 of their last 22 games and have relied on dominant pitching to do so. They have held opponents to three runs or fewer 15 times during that stretch and have conceded one run or fewer six times.
Oregon State (45-10)
Oregon State enters the NCAA Championship as the No. 3 national seed and will host the Corvallis Regional. Its No. 3 national seed is the highest ever for an OSU squad. The Beavers, who are making their school-record fifth consecutive postseason appearance, will open with WAC Champion University of Texas San Antonio (35-23) at 5 p.m. PT on Friday. This marks the 14th NCAA Championship trip for Oregon State, which clinched its third Pac-12 title since 1999 with a series victory over Washington State last week. Freshman right-hander Andrew Moore tossed his second straight complete game shutout—his third of the season—on Saturday to ensure the Beavers at least a share of the league crown. Moore is the only Conference hurler with 12 wins this season, and his 1.22 ERA and .193 opposing batting average rank second in the league. OSU leads the Pac-12 and ranks second in the nation with a 2.21 team ERA. Beaver pitchers boast a Conference-best .212 opposing batting average.
UCLA earned a No. 1 seed in the tournament and will host the Los Angeles Regional. The Bruins, who are hosting a regional for the fourth consecutive season, match up with No. 4 San Diego State at 6 p.m. on Friday. This marks UCLA's fourth straight NCAA Championship appearance, a program first. The Bruins, who finished third in the Pac-12 after going 21-9 in Conference play, were in the Conference title hunt until the final week of the regular season. They have finished among the top three in the league in each of the past eight seasons. Sophomore reliever David Berg pitched 37.0 straight innings without allowing a run from April 5 to May 25--the total represents NCAA high this season. He owns a Pac-12-low 0.70 ERA, and his 18 saves stand as a UCLA single-season record. UCLA's 21 wins during the Pac-12 slate tied the school record for Conference victories in a season, matching the 21 wins posted by the 1986 squad.
NCAA CHAMPIONSHIP NOTES
-The Pac-12 has been represented in each of the last 16 College World Series. Since 1996, at least one Conference squad has made every trip to Omaha.
-The four Conference teams in the field account for 30 College World appearances (ASU-22, OSU-4, UCLA-4) and seven national championships (ASU-5, OSU-2) between them. UCLA has advanced to the CWS twice in the last three seasons.
-Neither Stanford nor Arizona received NCAA Championship bids in 2013, marking just the second time since 1978 that at least one wasn't present in the field. The teams have combined for 33 NCAA Championship appearances and six national titles. Arizona won the national championship in 2012.
PAC-12 PLAYER NOTES
-Stanford's Mark Appel has been tabbed the second-best MLB Draft prospect by Baseball America, which released its Top 500 Draft Preview on Tuesday. Fellow Cardinal Austin Wilson (No. 29) and A.J. Vanegas (No. 78), Cal's Andrew Knapp (No. 71), Arizona State's Trevor Williams (No. 74) and Oregon's Ryon Healy (No. 86) and Jimmie Sherfy (No. 94) joined Appel in the top 100.
-Appel racked up nine strikeouts in 8.0 innings of a 2-1 victory over UCLA on Friday night to become the Cardinal's all-time strikeout leader (372). It was the 25th time in the last 29 starts the righty has lasted at least seven frames to move his career total to 377.2 innings pitched, good for fourth in program history.
-Arizona's Brandon Dixon, who hit .369 this season, is the Conference's batting champion. He is the second Wildcat in as many seasons to with the league batting title, as teammate Johnny Field (.370) won the crown as a sophomore in 2012.