This year in Pac-12 baseball
SEASON HIGHLIGHTS: Four Pac-12 baseball teams earned berths to the 2016 NCAA Baseball Championship. UTAH clinched the Pac-12 Championship for the first time in program history attaining the Conference automatic berth with ARIZONA, ARIZONA STATE and WASHINGTON rounding out the at-large selections.
The Wildcats made a run at the title, making it to Game 3 of the College World Series, but fell short against Coastal Carolina losing the best of 3-game series.
NOTABLE ACCOLADES: CALIFORNIA’s Brett Cumberland was voted Pac-12 Player of the Year. The Beavers’ Logan Ice was tabbed Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year while his teammate, Nick Madrigal, was named Pac-12 Freshman of the Year. WASHINGTON’s Troy Rallings was voted Pac-12 Pitcher of the Year. UTAH head coach Bill Kinneberg was named Pac-12 Coach of the Year. USC’s David Openhaim was crowned the Pac-12 Batting Champion with a Conference-leading .387 batting average. Finally, California’s Nick Halamandaris was named the Pac-12 Scholar-Athlete of the Year.
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.
NCAA BASEBALL CHAMPIONSHIP: Four Pac-12 baseball teams earned berths to the 2016 NCAA Baseball Championship. UTAH earned the Pac-12’s automatic bid while ARIZONA, ARIZONA STATE and WASHINGTON earned at-large selections. The Pac-12 currently holds an all-time record of 798-484 (.622) in the NCAA Baseball Championship, with 28 titles all-time, the latest coming from UCLA in 2013.
Arizona earned its first trip to the NCAA Baseball Championship since they won the title in 2012. This was the program’s 34th all-time appearance in NCAA history (1954-present). Under first-year head coach Jay Johnson, the Wildcats took their College World Series journey all the way to Game 3. In this game, Coastal Carolina defeated Arizona 4-3 after scoring four unearned runs in the top of the sixth. The Chanticleer’s held off the Wildcat’s ninth inning rally to clinch the win. Arizona ended it’s season with a 49-23 record (16-14 Pac-12).
Arizona State earned its spot in the NCAA Baseball Championship for the fourth-straight year and the 39th time overall in program history, the fourth-most in NCAA history. The Sun Devils finished the year with a 36-23 record (16-14 Pac-12). They won six of their last seven series heading into postseason play including a five-game winning streak at one point.
California ended the season tied for eighth place in the league with a 32-21 record overall and 14-16 in league play. Due to injury, its ace Daulton Jefferies missed games but was 7-0 overall with a 1.08 ERA. Brett Cumberland earned All-America accolades and was named the Pac-12 Player of the Year. He led the Pac-12 in home runs with 16. He was also the regular season league-leader in RBI with 51 and tops in slugging percentage at .678.
Oregon finished in a tie for eighth place with 29-26 overall record and 14-16 in Pac-12 action. The Ducks, a streaky team, had some big wins during the season, winning series’ against College World Series participant UC Santa Barbara, then-No. 9 California and at then-No. 24 Oregon State. Closer Stephen Nogosek garnered All-America accolades with his 16 saves on the year and 1.11 ERA.
Oregon State posted a 35-19 overall record and tied for third place in the league with a 16-14 record. The Beavers ended the season on a four-game winning streak. Catcher Logan Ice was named Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year and second baseman Nick Madrigal was the Pac-12 Freshman of the Year. Madrigal and fellow freshman Bryce Fehmel earned All-America accolades as well.
Stanford tied for sixth in the Pac-12, boasting a 31-23 overall record and a 15-15 league record. Pitcher Tristan Beck earned Freshman All-America honors and was named an All-Pac-12 honoree. First baseman Matt Winaker was a Pac-12 All-Defensive team honoree as well. Cal Quantrill, who missed the season due to injury, was the eighth overall pick in the MLB Draft.
UCLA finished 10th in the Pac-12, owning a 25-31 overall record and a 12-8 league record. Outfielder Eric Filia earned All-Pac-12 accolades while three other Bruins earned honorable mention honors. Pitcher Kyle Molnar was named a Freshman All-American as well.
USC ended the year in a tie for sixth place the Conference with a 28-28 overall record and 15-15 in league play. David Oppenheim was the Pac-12 Batting Champion after posting a .387 batting average on the year. The Trojans also had the most MLB Draft picks of all Conference teams with 12.
Utah, the 2016 Pac-12 Champions for the first time in program history, had a remarkable run in league play, with a record of 19-11 (26-29 overall) to clinch the automatic bid. The Utes became the first team since Stanford in 1993 and 1994 to finish in last place in the Conference then the following year win the league title. Utah made its first postseason appearance since 2009.
Washington earned its second appearance in the last three years and the 10th all-time to the NCAA Baseball Championship. The Huskies earned a runner-up finish in the Conference, boasting a 33-23 overall record and 17-13 in league play. Troy Rallings, a finalist for the NCBWA Stopper of the Year Award, was named the Pac-12 Pitcher of the Year. He boasted the best WHIP rating in the country at 0.72 and tied for the fourth-most saves in the nation with 16.
Washington State finished the year with a 19-35 overall record and went 11-19 in Pac-12 play. The Cougars’ 2016 was highlighted by their series victories against then-No. 10 Oregon State and at then-No.14 Washington. Second baseman Trek Stemp was an All-Pac-12 honoree.