This week in Pac-12 baseball
By the Pac-12 Conference
The first four days of the College World Series are in the books, and Pac-12 teams occupy two of the remaining six spots in the competition. UCLA has reached the finals in Bracket Two after posting matching 2-1 victories over fourth-seeded LSU and North Carolina State, while Oregon State is in survival mode after dropping the opener to Mississippi State, 5-4. The third-seeded Beavers routed Louisville, 11-4, in an elimination game on Monday and have earned a date with Big Ten champion Indiana. Mississippi State, which has yet to lose in the CWS, awaits the winner of Wednesday's contest in the Bracket One finals. UCLA, the last unbeaten team in postseason play, will take on the winner of Thursday's rematch between top-seeded North Carolina and North Carolina State. It's been quite a week for UCLA closer David Berg, who was named the NCBWA Stopper of the Year on Saturday. On Wednesday, the sophomore right-hander fanned three batters en route to tying the NCAA single-season record for saves (23) and sealed the Bruins' seventh win of the NCAA Championship. Five Pac-12 pitchers were named All-Americans by Baseball America and the NCBWA last week, and three landed on both teams. Eight Conference players were selected to Collegiate Baseball's Louisville Slugger All-America team earlier this month. The Pac-12 lays claim to 27 national baseball titles, 17 more than its closest competitor (SEC, 10).
2013 COLLEGE WORLD SERIES SCHEDULE
TD Ameritrade Park Omaha - Omaha, Neb.
Saturday, June 15
Game 1 - Mississippi State 5, No. 3 Oregon State 4
Sunday, June 16
Game 4 - UCLA 2, No. 4 LSU 1
Monday, June 17
Game 5 - No. 3 Oregon State 11, Louisville 4
Game 6 - Mississippi State 5, Indiana 4
Tuesday, June 18
Game 7 - No. 1 North Carolina vs. No. 4 LSU, 2 p.m. CT (ESPN/ESPN3)
Game 8 - North Carolina State vs. UCLA, 7 p.m. CT (ESPN/ESPN3)
Wedneday, June 19
Game 9 - No. 3 Oregon State vs. Indiana, 7 p.m. CT (ESPN/ESPN3)
Thursday, June 20
Game 10 - No. 1 North Carolina vs. North Carolina State, 7 p.m. CT (ESPN/ESPN3)
Friday, June 21
Game 11 - Winner Game 9 vs. Mississippi State, 2 p.m. CT (ESPN/ESPN3)
Game 12 - Winner Game 10 vs. UCLA, 7 p.m. CT (ESPN/ESPN3)
Saturday, June 22
Game 13* - Winner Game 11 vs. Loser Game 11, 2 p.m. (ESPN2/ESPN3) or 8 p.m. CT (ESPN/ESPN3)
Game 14* - Winner Game 12 vs. Loser Game 12, 7:30 p.m. (ESPN/ESPN3)
*Game 13 will be necessary if the winner of Game 9 also wins Game 11. If it is the only game scheduled for that day, the game will start at 7:30 p.m. CT. Game 14 will be necessary if the winner of Game 10 also wins Game 12.
Bracket One winner vs. Bracket Two winner - Best of three
Game 1 - Monday, June 24; 7 p.m. CT (ESPN/ESPN3)
Game 2 - Tuesday, June 25; 7 p.m. CT (ESPN/ESPN3)
Game 3 (if necessary) - Wednesday, June 26; 7 p.m. CT (ESPN/ESPN3)
PAC-12 BASEBALL NOTES
• UCLA and Oregon State remain in the CWS field, which was trimmed to six teams on Tuesday. OSU, which lost the opener to Mississippi State, prepares for an elimination game on Wednesday, while UCLA is the only unbeaten team in Bracket Two (and the only team without a loss in the tournament). The ACC is the only other conference with two teams still in play. The Pac-12 has two teams in the CWS for the third time in the last four seasons (2012-Arizona and UCLA; 2010-Arizona State and UCLA).
•The Conference has been represented in each of the last 17 College World Series. Since 1996, at least one Conference squad has made the trip to Omaha every year.
•The Pac-12 has produced at least three 40-win teams in five of the last seven seasons. Oregon State (51) has reached the plateau four times during that stretch, while UCLA (46) has accomplished the feat three times. Oregon (48) has won at least 40 games three times since the program was reinstated in 2009.
• UCLA is making its second straight appearance in the College World Series and its third in the last four years. The Bruins, who tied for fifth in 2012, were the NCAA runners-up in 2010. The Beavers have returned to Omaha for the first time since 2007. They won back-to-back NCAA titles in 2006 and 2007.
•UCLA, which took down North Carolina State, 2-1, on Tuesday, is tied for the national lead with eight wins when it scores two runs or fewer in a game. The Bruins have won both CWS tilts by one-run margins (LSU, 2-1), improving to 17-2 in one-run games this season. Additionally, their seven-game postseason winning streak is the longest in program history. Right-handed pitcher David Berg, who posted his NCAA-leading 23rd save on Tuesday, tied the NCAA single-season saves record (Jack Krawczyk, USC, 1998; Tyler Rogers, Austin Peay, 2013). Berg, who boasts an NCAA-best 0.85 ERA, was named the NCBWA Stopper of the Year on Saturday prior to the start of the CWS. He pitched an NCAA-high 37.0 consecutive scoreless innings over 24 appearances in the second half of the season. The two runs allowed by the Bruins through the first two games of the CWS are the fewest in this year's field. Only Arkansas, which held its first two opponents to a pair of runs in 2012, has matched the feat since 2005. UCLA, which reached its fifth College World Series, has earned consecutive CWS berths for the first time in program history.
•UCLA Head Coach John Savage earned postseason victory No. 29 on Tuesday to extend his school record. An eight-time NCAA Championship participant, Savage is one of just 10 Pac-12 coaches all-time to guide their teams to consecutive College World Series. Among them is OSU head coach Pat Casey, who led the Beavers to three straight CWS appearances from 2005-07.
• Oregon State is 3-0 in elimination games this postseason. The Beavers took games two and three against Kansas State in the Corvallis Super Regional to stave off elimination and topped Louisville in an elimination game on Monday to stay alive in the College World Series. OSU, which has lost consecutive games just once this season (a twin bill at Washington on April 20), has won a program-record 51 contests in 2013. Pac-12 Player of the Year Michael Conforto has paced the Beavers offensively, going 6-for-8 with a pair of RBI, two walks and two runs scored in the CWS. All three of OSU's regular weekend starters carry sub-2.30 ERAs. Andrew Moore (1.57), Matt Boyd (2.18) and Ben Wetzler (2.25) rank among the top seven in the league in ERA. The trio carries 34-6 record and has combined for 266 strikeouts and just 90 walks. Moore, the Pac-12 Freshman of the Year, is the only Conference hurler with 14 wins this season (tied for the national lead). He has tossed three complete-game shutouts, the most by an OSU pitcher in a single season in more than a decade. Moore (126.1) and Boyd (123.2) rank first and second in the league in innings pitched, respectively. Oregon State is making its fifth trip to the College World Series and its fourth since 2005.
•Stanford's Mark Appel, UCLA's David Berg and Oregon State's Andrew Moore were named All-Americans by both Baseball America and the NCBWA last week. Berg and Moore were first team Baseball America honorees, while Appel was named to the publication's second team. Oregon State's Matt Boyd was a third team Baseball America selection, while Oregon's Jimmie Sherfy garnered NCBWA consideration.
•Fifty-two Pac-12 baseball players were selected in the 2013 Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft, and all 11 Conference schools had a player chosen. Stanford's Mark Appel became the sixth Pac-12 player to be taken first overall.