This week in Pac-12 baseball
By the Pac-12 Conference
The Pac-12 is well represented on a number of midseason awards lists announced last week. Nine players were named to the Golden Spikes midseason watch list, while five were selected to the Capital One Academic All-America® District VIII team. Oregon's Mitchell Tolman garnered Pac-12 Player of the Week and NCBWA National Player of the Week accolades after batting .474 (9-for-19) with a double and 14 RBI. He drove in seven runs in a victory over Seattle on Tuesday, the most by a Duck since Jack Marder collected eight on March 9, 2010. Once again, five teams enter the week ranked in the USA Today/ESPN Coaches Poll. Oregon State sits at No. 5, followed by Oregon at No. 6, UCLA at No. 10, Arizona State at No. 17 and Stanford at No. 21. Pac-12 teams have compiled a 154-85-1 record (.644) against non-conference competition this season. Six teams play midweek games this week, including Washington State, which fell, 7-5, at Portland on Monday. Washington and Utah kick of Tuesday's action at 5 p.m. PT with a pair of rivalry matchups. The Utes host BYU, while the Huskies welcome crosstown nemesis Seattle to Husky Ball Park. League play resumes Friday as Oregon State travels to Stanford for a top-25 clash with the Cardinal, and Arizona State and California square off in Berkeley. UCLA hosts Arizona for a weekend set, while Utah travels to take on Washington and USC welcomes Washington State for three games. The Ducks, who don't play a Conference opponent this week, hit the road for a weekend series against Ohio State. Games two and three of the Utah/Washington series and the Arizona State/California series will be televised live on the Pac-12 Networks.
Tuesday, May 7
Seattle at Washington…..Live Stream…..5 p.m. PT
BYU at Utah…..6 p.m. MT
San Francisco at No. 21 Stanford…..Live Stream…..5:30 p.m. PT
Cal State Northridge at No. 10 UCLA…..6 p.m. PT
USC at No. 23 UC Irvine…..6 p.m. PT
Friday, May 10
No. 6 Oregon at Ohio State…..7:05 p.m. ET
Utah at Washington*…..Live Stream…..5 p.m. PT
No. 17 Arizona State at California*…..6 p.m. PT
Arizona at No. 10 UCLA*…..6 p.m. PT
Washington State at USC*…..Live Stream…..6 p.m. PT
No. 5 Oregon State at No. 21 Stanford*…..Live Stream….. 6:30 p.m. PT
Saturday, May 11
Utah at Washington*…..P12N…..12 p.m. PT
No. 6 Oregon at Ohio State…..3:05 p.m. ET
Arizona at No. 10 UCLA*……2 p.m. PT
No. 5 Oregon State at No. 21 Stanford*…..Live Stream .....2 p.m. PT
No. 17 Arizona State at California*…..P12N…..7 p.m. PT
Washington State at USC*…..Live Stream…..7 p.m. PT
Sunday, May 12
No. 6 Oregon at Ohio State…..12:05 p.m. ET
No. 17 Arizona State at California*…..P12N…..12 p.m. PT
Utah at Washington*…..P12N…..12 p.m. PT
Arizona at No. 10 UCLA*…..1 p.m. PT
Washington State at USC*…..Live Stream…..1 p.m. PT
No. 5 Oregon State at No. 21 Stanford*…..Live Stream…..1 p.m. PT
Monday, May 13
Washington State at UC Santa Barbara…..3 p.m. PT
Games are local to site and subject to change.
Rankings are from USA Today/ESPN Coaches Poll
*Pac-12 Conference Game
PAC-12 BASEBALL NOTES
Arizona looks to bounce back after dropping three of four games last week. It opens a six-game road trip this weekend at UCLA. The Wildcats, who have played only 11 true road games to this point in the season, lead the league with 6.76 runs per game and have scored five runs or more 15 times in their last 21 games. Brandon Dixon leads the Pac-12 in hits (68), batting average (.382) and stolen bases (30), and ranks second in slugging percentage (.601), triples (5) and total bases (107). His 30 stolen bases are tied for 10th in the NCAA. Three of the top six batting averages in the Conference belong to Wildcat hitters.
Arizona State (30-14-1)
Arizona State has now posted 51 consecutive 30-win seasons, the most in the NCAA, and has won at least 30 games in 52 years of the program's 54-year history. With a victory over Arizona on April 30, ASU reached the 14-win mark in April for the first time since 1988. The Sun Devils, who had won five consecutive three-game series entering last week, dropped two of three games against Stanford in Tempe. It was their second home series loss of the season. The Sun Devils lead the Pac-12 in extra-base hits (154) — they rank first in doubles (98) and home runs (34), and second in triples (22).
California, which has won three of five series at Evans Diamond this season, will play each of its final seven regular season games at home. The Bears are averaging five runs per game in home tilts, and four of their six Conference home losses have been by just one run. Junior catcher Andrew Knapp ranks among the league leaders in RBI (t5th, 38), home runs (t4th, 7), slugging percentage (6th, .547), on-base percentage (6th, .425), hits (t4th, 63) and total bases (5th, 98). The Bears have thwarted a league-high 24 stolen-base attempts this season.
Oregon won four of five games on the road last week, including a sweep of Washington State in Pullman, and has now won 15 of its last 18 games overall. The Ducks, who boast the league's highest road winning percentage (.750) hit the road again this week for a three-game set against Ohio State. Freshman third baseman Mitchell Tolman was named the Pac-12 Player of the Week after batting .474 (9-for-19) with a double and 14 RBI. He drove in seven runs in a victory over Seattle on Tuesday, the most by a Duck since Jack Marder collected eight on March 9, 2010. All-American reliever Jimmie Sherfy leads the Conference and ranks second in the NCAA with 16 saves.
Oregon State (37-8)
Oregon State, which swept California in a three-game set last week, is riding a Conference-best eight-game winning streak. The Beavers improved to 20-3 at home, also a league best, and have outscored opponents 129-57 at Goss Stadium. Freshman right-hander Andrew Moore ranks second in the Conference with a 1.37 ERA, followed by junior left-hander Ben Wetzler (1.46) and senior southpaw Matt Boyd (1.88), who rank third and sixth, respectively. Boyd fanned a career-high 12 batters on Friday, and Moore tossed a two-hit, complete-game shutout on Saturday. OSU leads the Pac-12 in ERA (1.97, ranks second in the NCAA) and opposing batting average (.209) and has turned a league-leading 49 double plays.
Stanford won three of four games last week, including two against Arizona State in Tempe. The Cardinal, who has posted series victories over five of its last six Conference opponents, will play two of its final three Pac-12 series at home (Oregon State, UCLA). Senior right-hander Mark Appel, the league leader in strikeouts (106), was named the Pac-12 Pitcher of the Week after striking out 13 batters in 7.2 innings in a victory over ASU on Friday. It was his 22nd career outing with double-digit strikeouts. Appel ranks fourth in the Pac-12 with a 1.56 ERA and boasts a .195 opposing batting average. Cardinal pitchers have struck out 8.0 batters per nine innings, a figure that leads the Conference and ranks 24th in the NCAA.
UCLA, which did not see a game extend past regulation in 2012, has played in six extra-innings games in 2013. Defense has been critical for the Bruins, who are 23-0 this season when holding opponents to three runs or fewer. They are 12-1 in one-run games this season and are 27-4 when they score three runs or more in a game. UCLA owns the league's second-lowest team ERA (2.71, ranks 14th in the NCAA) and has issued a Conference-low 2.49 walks per nine innings. The Bruins also lead the league and rank sixth in the nation with a .980 fielding percentage. Sophomore reliever David Berg, who has pitched 26.1 straight innings without allowing a run, owns a Pac-12-best 0.68 ERA.
USC takes on No. 23 UC Irvine on Tuesday in its last midweek tilt of the season. UC Irvine head coach Mike Gillespie led the Trojans to 15 NCAA Tournament appearances and a pair of national titles while at the helm of the program from 1987 to 2006. Five USC starters are batting above .300 this season: Blake Lacey (.314), Adam Landecker (.342), Greg Zebrack (.323), Kevin Swick (.303) and James Roberts (.324). In wins, the Trojans have managed a 2.32 cumulative ERA; in losses, they've posted a 6.41 team ERA. Junior left-hander Bob Wheatley ranks seventh in the Pac-12 with a 1.96 ERA, and sophomore right-hander Wyatt Strahan ranks 10th with a 2.67 ERA. The Trojans own a .975 team fielding percentage and have managed 79 doubles on the year; both figures rank third in the league.
Utah, which opens the week with a rivalry tilt against BYU in Salt Lake City, is coming off a weekend sweep at the hands of UCLA. Utah and BYU, which play four times this season, have split their two previous meetings with the home team claiming each decision. The Utes are tied for third in the Conference and rank 27th in the NCAA in triples per game (0.38). They also rank third in the Pac-12 with 64 stolen bases and 23 runners caught stealing. Junior catcher Konner Armijo has kept opposing base runners in check. The backstop has picked off three runners (tied for second in the Pac-12) and has caught an additional 14 runners stealing (fourth in the Pac-12). The Utes have 16 wins on the season, two more than their total from last season.
Washington, which in the last three weeks has claimed series victories over two teams currently ranked in the top half of the standings, took two of three road games from an Arizona squad that had won seven of eight three-game series at Hi Corbett Field. The Huskies erupted for 23 runs in the series opener, the most by a Pac-12 team this season. They limited one of the Conference's best offensive units to just seven runs in the series (2.33 runs per game), less than one-third of its season average (7.19 runs per game). Additionally, Washington is one of just two teams this season to hold Arizona's offense to just one run in consecutive games (The Wildcats were 0-14 with RISP in games one and two). Junior right-hander Austin Voth ranks second in the league and 22nd in the country with 84 strikeouts.
Washington State (20-24)
A pair of Cougars, Trek Stemp and Brett Jacobs, rank among the top seven in the league in batting average. Stemp (.347) ranks fifth, while Jacobs (.343) ranks seventh. Yale Rosen, whose seven home runs are tied for fourth-most in the Pac-12, ranks eighth in the Conference with a .527 slugging percentage. Sophomore left-hander Joe Pistorese owns a 2.63 ERA to rank ninth in the league. WSU has lost just three times this season when it has allowed fewer than four runs and has conceded three runs or fewer in 12 of 20 wins.