Pitching and defense.
Analysts always seem to undervalue the critical importance of these two baseball facets when they forecast the College World Series. So naturally, LSU came into Sunday's Omaha-opening contest as the favorite against UCLA. But the Bruins, experts in both vital areas, executed perfectly and rode the Tigers' mistakes to a 2-1 victory in another classic Pac-12-SEC showdown.
Play that game in any other college baseball park, and Oregon State would be celebrating a 7-5 win courtesy Danny Hayes' two-out, two-strike walk-off home run.
Unfortunately, that did not happen in the cavernous confines of Omaha's TD Ameritrade Park.
The second round of the 113th U.S. Open is not quite in the books, so while the cut has not been made one thing is for sure: Washington's Cheng-Tsung Pan and Cal's Michael Kim are in serious contention for the major championship -- both are in the top 10 with Pan one stroke off the lead and Kim two shots back. The top 60 plus ties will move on to the third and fourth rounds at Merion Golf Club in Ardmore, Pa.
Five golfers who competed in the Pac-12 this year began play at the 113th U.S. Open Championship on Thursday at Merion Golf Club in Pennsylvania, and Washington's Chris Williams impressed early on with a 1-under through 10 holes. Due to two rain delays that lasted a combined four hours and 15 minutes, most golfers will have to finish their first round on Friday.
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.