Pac-12 baseball enters second week of non-conference play
WEEKLY RECAP: The Pac-12 Conference began the season with a 27-14 combined record as ARIZONA, No. 2 OREGON STATE, No. 14 UCLA, and No. 16 STANFORD all opened undefeated. Oregon State (4-0) won all four games it played at the Sanderson Ford College Baseball Classic in Surprise, Ariz., while Arizona (3-0) won its three-game series against Bryant. UCLA (4-0) swept Portland in three games and bested Pepperdine to keep a perfect record in non-conference play. Stanford (4-0) knocked off No. 11 Cal State Fullerton in all three games as well as UC Davis to open the David Esquer era.
PREVIEWING THE WEEKEND: The Sun Devils open up the Spring Training slate for the MLB's Arizona Diamondbacks in a 7-inning scrimmage on Feb. 21 and then compete in a three-game series against Saint Mary’s (Calif.), in Phoenix. Oregon State heads to the Big 10-Pac-12 Spring Training College Baseball Challenge in Surprise, Ariz., for the second-straight year. The Beavers face off against Nebraska and Ohio State as each school will play each other twice. Stanford returns home this week to host Rice in a four-game series while UCLA concludes its nine-game home stand with a three games against Baylor. Arizona will compete against No. 6 Arkansas on Feb. 21.
NUMBERS GAME: In the national statistical rankings, Arizona ranks third in earned run average (0.67). Oregon State leads the country in double plays (9), is second in batting average (.385) and hits (57) and has the sixth-most runs (40). Three Pac-12 teams are ranked in the top five among six statistical categories, including OSU and UCLA coming in first in double plays per game (2.25) and strikeout-to-walk ratio (12.00), respectively. The Bruins’ also hold the fifth spot with on-base percentage (.471) and ninth in fielding percentage (.994).
STARS DELIVERING: Pac-12 Player of the Week Trevor Larnach paced Oregon State to a 4-0 start over opening weekend by reaching base in 12-of-13 plate appearances. The junior led OSU with eight hits, three home runs, seven RBIs and a .778 on-base percentage. Tristan Beck of Stanford pitched six innings and totaled five strikeouts in the season debut to earn Pac-12 Pitcher of the Week. OSU’s Larnach and Arizona State’s Drew Swift are tied for fourth in the country with .667 batting averages.
Utah freshman pitcher Brett Brocoff was selected as a National Player of the Week by Collegiate Baseball Newspaper as he tied the Utah school record with 12 strikeouts over 5 1/3 innings against Oral Roberts in his collegiate debut.
IN THE RANKINGS: The USA Today/ESPN Top 25 Coaches Preseason Poll has three Pac-12 teams ranked- Oregon State leads the way at No. 2, followed by UCLA at No. 14, and Stanford is No. 16. In the latest NCBWA poll on Feb. 19, Oregon (2-1) made its way onto the poll for the first time this season at No. 30.
ALL AMERICANS: The Pac-12 had 11 different student-athletes from six 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, six of which are student-athletes from four different Pac-12 teams. With six players, the Pac-12 is tied for the third-most representatives among all conferences. California and Stanford are 2-of-6 total schools with two players on the watch list. Now in its 40th 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.
USA Baseball Golden Spikes Watch List
Kris Bubic, STAN, SP
Tanner Dodson, CAL, UTL
Nico Hoerner, STAN, SS
Nick Madrigal, OSU, 2B
Alfonso Rivas, ARIZ, 1B
Andrew Vaughn, CAL, 1B
STOPPER OF THE YEAR: The Pac-12 has four student-athletes on the NCBWA Stopper of the Year Preseason Watch List. Arizona State’s Connor Higgins, California’s Erik Martinez, Oregon State’s Jake Mulholland and Oregon’s Kenyon Yovan. 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 14th straight year at the College World Series on Saturday, June 16, 2018.
NCBWA Stopper of the Year Watch List
Connor Higgins, ASU, LHP
Erik Martinez, CAL, P
Jake Mulholland, OSU, LHP
Kenyon Yovan, ORE, RHP
DRAFT: Every Pac-12 school had at least one student-athlete selected in the 2017 MLB Draft, with a total of 46 Pac-12 players drafted. Four Pac-12 baseball players were drafted among the top 75 draft picks with Oregon’s David Peterson as the first Pac-12 player to be drafted with the 20th overall pick to the New York Mets.
2017 MLB Draft pick by Pac-12 School
10 – Stanford
6 – Arizona, UCLA
5 – Oregon State
4 - Utah, Washington
3 – Oregon, Washington State
2 – California, USC
1 – Arizona State
FACES IN THE DUGOUT: Stanford head coach Mark Marquess retired last year after 41 seasons with the most wins in Pac-12 history and fourth-most wins in Division I history. Marquess is one of only five NCAA coaches to reach 1,600 career wins and only three have done so at a single school. A member of the American Baseball Coaches Hall of Fame, he led Stanford to two NCAA titles, advanced to 14 CWS, appeared in 29 NCAA Regionals and won at least a share of nine Pac-12 titles. For the first time in program history, Stanford baseball retired a number and No. 9 will be forever remembered. David Esquer will succeed coach Marquess’ legacy and is very familiar with the program. He played shortstop under coach Marquess on Stanford’s 1987 national championship team, and served as an assistant for the Cardinal from 1991-96. After spending 18 years as the head coach at California, Esquer will continue his venture in the Pac-12 supporting a new look in the 2018 season.
Former Golden Bears pitching coach and major league pitcher Mike Neu became the 11th baseball head coach in California program history on July 5, 2017. Neu established himself as one of the Pac-12’s top pitching coaches and recruiters as Cal’s pitching coach from 2012-2015, helping the Bears compile a team ERA of 3.03 his last year for the program’s second-best mark since 1976. Neu returns to Berkeley after two years as head coach at the University of the Pacific where he guided the Tigers to 40 wins over two seasons.
CONFERENCE STANDINGS (Expanded Standings)
|Teams||Pac-12 Record||Overall Record|
2018 PAC-12 PLAYER AND PITCHER OF THE WEEK
|Feb. 20||Trevor Larnach, OSU||Tristan Beck, Stan|