Undefeated and nationally ranked teams lead Pac-12 baseball
WEEKLY RECAP: ARIZONA is the only team in the conference to remain undefeated going into the third week of the season. The Wildcats bested McNeese State in a four-game series. No. 7 OREGON STATE is the only team with one loss thus far. The loss came against Ohio State at the Big 10-Pac-12 Spring Training College Baseball Classic, however OSU went 3-1 on the weekend, beating Ohio State once and Nebraska twice. USC and No. 21 STANFORD both have six wins and two losses. The Cardinal beat Kansas in a three-game series, while USC went 1-2 against Wake Forest.
PREVIEWING THE WEEKEND: USC and UCLA play at the Dodgertown Classic in Los Angeles, California at Dodger Stadium. The two teams meet for the first time this season Sunday, March 5 at 3 p.m. PT. The game will be televised on Pac-12 Network. ARIZONA plays at the Frisco Classic in Frisco, Texas. The Wildcats face Arkansas, Oklahoma State, and Nebraska. ARIZONA STATE, CALIFORNIA, OREGON, Oregon State, Stanford, WASHINGTON, and WASHINGTON STATE all host teams at home. Utah is the only team to travel this week. The Trojans head to UTSA for a three-game series.
NUMBERS GAME: Arizona has the best batting average in the nation at .379, as well as tying for No. 1 in doubles with 30. Arizona is also third in the nation in hits (108), second in the nation in runs (90), third in scoring (11.3), sixth in slugging percentage (.566), fourth in triples (6), and tied for first in the nation in win-loss percentage (1.000). Stanford is fifth in the nation in shutouts (2) and in fielding percentage (.989). Stanford and UCLA are both in the top-10 in the nation for hits allowed per nine innings in third (5.63) and fifth (5.71), respectively. Oregon State is first in the nation in earned runs average (ERA) (1.50).
STARS DELIVERING: Arizona’s Jared Oliva and Arizona’s Nick Quintana are second (7) and fourth (6) in the nation in doubles, respectively. Arizona’s JC Cloney and Michael Flynn, UCLA’s Griffin Canning, Utah’s Jacob Rebar, and Stanford’s Will Matthiessen are among the 63 players tied for first in earned run average (0.00). USC’s Lars Nootbaar is ninth in home runs (4) and Arizona’s Mitchell Morimoto is ninth in runs (13). Oregon State’s Max Engelbrekt and Washington State’s Scott Sunitsch are tied for fourth in saves (3). UCLA’s Sean Bouchard is seventh in slugging percentage (1.000). Stanford’s Kris Bubic is eighth in strikeouts (21).
IN THE RANKINGS: The USA Today/ESPN Top 25 Coaches Preseason Poll has not been updated since the preseason poll which had three Pac-12 teams ranked. Oregon State leads the way at No. 7, followed by Arizona at No. 15, and Stanford is No. 21. The NCBWA top-30 features five Pac-12 teams: Oregon State is No. 4, Arizona is No. 9, Stanford is No. 16, Utah is No. 24, and Washington is No. 28. Baseball America has four Pac-12 teams in its top-25 with Oregon State coming in at No. 8, Washington at No. 11, Arizona at No. 19, and Stanford at No. 22. All four teams jumped up at least one place from the preseason poll. Collegiate Baseball top-30 features five teams: Oregon State is No. 4, Arizona is No. 5, UCLA is No. 20, Arizona State is No. 27, and Washington is No. 29.
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.