Pac-12 baseball enters second week of non-conference play

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WEEKLY RECAP: The Pac-12 Conference began the season with a 28-11 combined record with No. 7 Oregon State, No. 15 Arizona, and USC still undefeated. Arizona State took three out of four games, while UCLA, Washington, California, and Utah took two out of three games. Oregon State won all four games it played at the Sanderson Ford College Baseball Classic in Surprise, Arizona, while the Wildcats won their four-game series against Eastern Kentucky at home.

PREVIEWING THE WEEKEND: No. 7 Oregon State and Utah will both head to the Big 10-Pac-12 Spring Training College Baseball Challenge in Surprise, Arizona. This will be the second-straight weekend for Oregon State in Surprise, Arizona, facing off against Nebraska and Ohio State. Oregon heads to the Tony Gwynn Classic in San Diego while Washington will play a four-game series against Saint Mary’s (Calif.). No. 21 Stanford hosts Kansas for a three-game series on the Farm, while Washington State travels to Loyola Marymount. Arizona hosts McNeese State at home, while California travels to Texas Tech for a three-game series and USC travels to Wake Forest and Duke. UCLA hosts Gonzaga, but the biggest games of the weekend come from Arizona State traveling to No. 1 TCU for a three-game series.  

NUMBERS GAME: Arizona has the third-most hits in the country through four games with 58 and the seventh-best batting average at .379. Arizona’s 17 doubles is the third-best total in the country ... Arizona is also second in the nation with its three triples with four. Oregon State closely follows in the category with three, enough to place them seventh in the nation. Arizona and Utah are among the top-10 in the nation in doubles with Arizona third (17) and Utah tenth (12), additionally, the two are third and fifth, respectively in doubles per game. Oregon State, Arizona State, and UCLA all sit in the top-10 in earned runs average with Oregon State fifth (0.75) and Arizona State and UCLA tied for seventh (1.00). Arizona State and UCLA also sit among the top-five in hits allowed per nine innings in first (3.33) and third (3.50), respectively.

STARS DELIVERING: Pac-12 Player of the Week Nick Quintana of Arizona is tied for third in the nation in doubles with fellow Wildcat JJ Matijevic. Matijevic is also ninth in hits with nine. Pac-12 Pitcher of the Week Luke Heimlich is ranked seventh in the nation in strikeouts with 11.

IN THE RANKINGS: With the season having started last Thursday, the USA Today/ESPN Top 25 Coaches Preseason Poll has three Pac-12 teams ranked. Oregon State leads the way at No. 7, followed by Arizona at No. 15, and Stanford is No. 21. Baseball America has four Pac-12 teams in its preseason top-25 with Oregon State coming in at No. 9, Washington at No. 12, Arizona at No. 22, and Stanford at No. 23. These two publications have not released updated ranking since the season started. However, the NCBWA top-30 was release on Monday and features five Pac-12 teams: Oregon State is No. 5, Arizona is No. 12, Stanford is No. 22, Washington is No. 24, and UCLA is No. 28. Collegiate Baseball top-30 was also released on Monday featuring five teams as well: Oregon State is No. 5, Arizona is No.7, Washington is No. 17, Arizona State is No. 19, and Stanford is No. 28.

ALL AMERICANS: The Pac-12 had eight different student-athletes from four different Pac-12 teams featured on Baseball America, NCBWA, and Collegiate Baseball preseason All-America teams.

GOLDEN SPIKES: The USA Baseball Golden Spikes Award Preseason Watch List features 50 amateurs, seven of which are student-athletes from four different Pac-12 teams. With seven, the Pac-12 has the third-most representatives among all conferences. Stanford leads the way for most representatives by one tea, with three Cardinal student-athletes featured, tying Florida and TCU. Now in its 39th year recognizing the top amateur baseball player in the country, seven former Pac-12 baseball players have won the award, most recently pitcher Trevor Bauer of UCLA in 2011. 

STOPPER OF THE YEAR: The Pac-12 has nine student-athletes from nine different universities on the NCBWA Stopper of the Year Preseason Watch List, the most among all conferences. The National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association will be presenting the Stopper of the Year Award to the top relief pitcher in Division I baseball for the 13th straight year in 2017. 

DRAFT: Every Pac-12 school had at least one student-athlete drafted in the 2016 MLB Draft: Arizona (6), Arizona State (5), California (7), Oregon (5), Oregon State (5), Stanford (4), UCLA (12), Utah (1), Washington (3) and Washington State (3). ASU leads all NCAA schools with 414 total MLB draft picks, and at least one Sun Devil has been drafted every year since the draft’s inception in 1965.

FAMILIAR FACES IN THE DUGOUT: After welcoming three new coaches last season, all 11 coaches return for the 2017 season. Second year Arizona head coach Jay Johnson looks to match or beat his performance last season. The Wildcats made it all the way to Game 3 of the NCAA College World Series before falling to Coastal Carolina. Three other Pac-12 teams also made it to the postseason- Arizona State, Utah, and Washington.

One of the premier coaches in college baseball history and a man whose name is synonymous with the Stanford baseball program, head coach Mark Marquess enters his 41st and final season with the Stanford Cardinal. Under his tutelage, Stanford has captured two NCAA titles, advanced to the CWS 14 times, appeared in the NCAA Regionals 29 and won at least a share of nine Pac-12 titles. A member of the American Baseball Coaches Hall of Fame, Marquess opens the 2017 season as the second-winningest active coach in the nation with a career record of 1,585-862-7 (.647). Coach Marquess and the Cardinal look to end a legendary union with a bang.

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