Pac-12 baseball on TV viewer guide for Friday, February 14
It's the official start of the long haul known as baseball season. But remember, when it comes to tournament selection time in late May, results of these early contests can loom large. Pac-12 Networks christens the season with a Friday doubleheader:
Baylor at Arizona State - 1:30 p.m. PT Friday, Pac-12 Networks
Pac-12 Networks' season-opening Valentine's Day doubleheader kicks off in Tempe, where the Sun Devils will host the last-ever season opener at storied Packard Stadium. Arizona State will move to Phoenix Municipal Stadium next year, so this is the beginning of the last go-round for a park that has housed dozens of greats including Reggie Jackson and Barry Bonds.
Tim Esmay's club wants to improve on its first-round exit from the NCAA Tournament last year, and the coach believes that the squad has the better pitching to do just that. Their journey begins Friday afternoon.
Rice at Stanford - 4:30 p.m. PT, Friday Pac-12 Bay Area
Stanford looks to rebound from last season's disappointing finish, which ended without an NCAA Tournament bid. Five starters return for the Cardinal, but the club will have to battle a consistently quality Rice program without the services of last year's ace Mark Appel, the top pick in the 2013 Major League Baseball draft. The Owls reached the Tournament's Super Regional round last year, so this is a quality season-opening match-up between a pair of perennial powers.