Despite having strong roots on the East Coast, Jonathan Leess’ allegiance to the Pac-12 Conference started early on in his adult life.
The Pac-12 Networks’ new Senior Vice President of Production Planning and Operations grew up on the East Coast and attended New York University. But after he moved in with childhood friend Warren Grafstein immediately after college, he became a West Coast sports fan.
Pac-12 baseball has flexed its muscles over the course of this postseason to the tune of a combined 15-5 record. Conference clubs have outscored the opposition 102-54, and now two of them have a chance to carry the flag at the promised land: the College World Series. UCLA is making its third trip to Omaha in four years, while Oregon State is returning for the first time since 2007, when the Beavers won their second consecutive national title. The Beavers defeated North Carolina in the championship series in both 2006 and 2007. Lo and behold, the Tarheels are in Omaha this year, too.
Oregon State and UCLA are off to Omaha for the 2013 College World Series -- UCLA for the third time in the past four years, and Oregon State for the first time since 2007, when the Beavs won it all.
In addition to coverage on Pac-12.com, here's how you can follow the Pac-12 at the College World Series:
TV: ESPN family of networks
For a fleeting moment, it looked to all be slipping away from Oregon State.
The Beavers had built a 4-0 lead in Monday's decisive super regional game against Kansas State, but the Wildcats were roaring back in the late innings. With the lead cut to one and the tying run at second base in the eighth, Kansas State third baseman RJ Santigate's soft liner dropped in for a hit in front of diving Oregon State left fielder Michael Conforto. Blair DeBord rounded third and barreled home with the tying run and loads of potential Wildcat momentum in hand.
Here's a breakdown of where some of the best baseball players in the Pac-12 landed in this year's Major League Baseball draft.
1. Mark Appel, P, Stanford - Houston
Appel's departure will be a painful one for the Cardinal, who struggled to hold it together on the mound beyond his weekly Friday appearance. Sources tell me that Sam Lindquist (.195 OBA) turned down 11th round draft interest to return to Stanford, though. If AJ Vanegas (19th round) returns, too, the Cardinal will have some established talent to work with in 2014.
Four Pac-12 athletes won individual titles in the last day of competition at the NCAA outdoor track and field championships in Eugene: Arizona's Lawi Lalang and Brigetta Barrett in the men's 5,000m and women's high jump, Colorado's Emma Coburn in the 3,000m steeplechase and Oregon's Mac Fleet in the 1,500m. From a team perspective, Oregon was the highest Pac-12 finisher in both the men's and women's standings, with the women finishing third and the men fourth.
The USC men's team is tied for first with Texas thanks to Bryshon Nellum and Reggie Wyatt winning individual titles Friday at the NCAA track and field championships in Eugene. The Pac-12 also comprises three of the top four on the women's leaderboard with Oregon in second, Arizona State third and Stanford fourth with one day to go at Historic Hayward Field.