Pac-12 Baseball Leaders Clash in Critical Late-Season Series

Arizona Athletics

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IN THE RANKINGS: Three Pac-12 teams are ranked in the latest USA Today Top 25 Coaches Poll, led by No. 2 STANFORD and No. 3 OREGON STATE along with No. 14 UCLA. Stanford holds down the No. 1 spot in another nationally recognized poll, National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association top-30, for the third-straight week. The Cardinal and Beavers both boast top-10 NCAA RPIs, ranking second and seventh, respectively, followed by UCLA at No. 31 and ARIZONA at No. 36. 

PREVIEWING THE WEEK: Pac-12 baseball enters the final three weeks of league play with the biggest ranked matchup of the season and the potential for major Conference standings shakeup. No. 3 Oregon State (36-7-1, 14-6-1) hosts No. 2 Stanford (38-6, 17-4 Pac-12) for a three-game series starting on Friday and all three contests will be broadcast on Pac-12 Network. The league-leading Cardinal hold a 2.5-game advantage over the Beavers in second. Other impactful series include third-place UCLA at fourth-place Washington and Arizona at California, which rank fifth and sixth, respectively.

WEEKLY RECAP: Stanford took solo possession of first place in the Conference standings with a three-game sweep against UTAH (13-32, 6-15) last week by scores of 12-1, 25-5 and 6-4. On Saturday, Stanford set a new program record with 28 hits in the 25-5 win for its most runs since 1995. The Cardinal also shut out San Francisco, 9-0, on Tuesday for its seventh-straight win. Stanford’s .864 win-loss percentage, aided by 15 wins in its last 16 games, ranks second nationally. Infielder Will Matthiessen hit four home runs on the week and went 9-of-14 at the plate with eight runs, nine hits, nine RBIs and a double to earn Pac-12 Player of the Week.

Oregon State moved into second place in the league after claiming a three-game series against WASHINGTON STATE (14-25-1, 6-14-1). The Beavers opened with a 17-3 win as pitcher Luke Heimlich retired the final 11 batters he faced and struck out 11 in seven innings. OSU took the next game, 9-1, and the series finale resulted in a 7-7 tie after the game was called in the 10th inning due to lighting. Oregon State blanked OREGON, 10-0, on Tuesday in the final Civil War matchup.

ARIZONA improved to 29-17 on the season and 10-11 in Pac-12 play after sweeping No. 7 UCLA (30-14, 14-7) last week. The Wildcats won 2-0, 3-1 and 6-3 for their first sweep of UCLA since 2005 and first home sweep of the Bruins since 1991. Cody Deason set the tone early, throwing a five-hit complete game shutout with 11 strikeouts on Friday, earning Pac-12 Pitcher of the Week. The Cats are 7-2 against UCLA since coach Jay Johnson took over in 2016.   

WASHINGTON (23-20, 13-8) earned a series victory over ARIZONA STATE (19-27, 11-13) after taking the rubber match in a close 7-6 game on Sunday. USC (21-22, 9-15) won the first two games against CALIFORNIA (26-19, 11-13) and clinched the series as the Trojans rallied from an 8-0 deficit for an exciting 9-8 victory in the 14th inning on Saturday. Cal finished out the week with a 6-2 win, scoring five runs in the final two innings.

NUMBERS GAME: Two Pac-12 teams rank in the top-5 nationally in win-loss percentage with No. 2 Stanford (.864) and No. 3 Oregon State (8.30). Stanford leads the nation in earned run average (2.54), is second in hits allowed per nine innings (7.08) and third in WHIP (1.11). OSU ranks fourth in batting average (.321) and on base percentage (.416), and eighth in doubles per game (2.30). UCLA’s ranks fifth in the country in earned run average (2.82), eighth in WHIP (1.18) and 10th in doubles per game (2.23). Arizona’s .46 triples per game is third nationally.

STARS DELIVERING: The Pac-12 has recorded four no-hitters this season, which ties for the most in a single season in Conference history (Washington, Feb. 24; USC, March 15; WSU, April 8, April 22). The Pac-12 leads the national homerun race with ASU freshman Spencer Torkelson at No. 1 with 22 homers followed by California’s Andrew Vaughn in second with 21. Vaughn’s Conference-best .538 on base percentage ranks second in the country as well as his .855 slugging percentage, while his .406 batting average ranks 11th in the country. Luke Heimlich of Oregon State leads the nation with the most victories collecting his 11th of season last week. Arizona’s Gage Canning is second in the country in triples (9) and triples per game (.20). Stanford’s Jack little and Oregon State’s Jack Mulholland are tied for the fourth most saves with 13.

SENIOR CLASS AWARD: Oregon second baseman Kyle Kasser is one of 10 finalists for the 2018 Senior CLASS Award. An honor that is given annually to a Division I senior student-athlete in baseball who has notable achievements in four areas of excellence: community, classroom, character and competition. Kasser boasts a 3.17 GPA in economics and participates in the community as a three-year member and past co-director of the Student Athlete Advisory Council (SAAC). Kasser was a 2017 first-team All-Pac-12 Conference selection after hitting .381 in league games for the third-highest rate in the Conference.

GOLDEN SPIKES: USA Baseball released the Golden Spikes Award midseason watch list that narrows down the top 40 amateur baseball players in the country. Seven Pac-12 players made the cut, which tied for the second-most of any conference. Arizona State and Oregon are 2-of-4 schools that had two players selected to the list (Kentucky, NC State), while Sun Devils’ infielder Spencer Torkelson is the only freshman featured on the 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 awarded to UCLA pitcher Trevor Bauer in 2011. The 41st Golden Spikes Award semifinalists will be announced on May 21, followed by the finalists on June 22 and the winner will be crowed on June 28 at the College Baseball World Series.

USA Baseball Golden Spikes Midseason Watch List
Kris Bubic, STAN, LHP
Gage Canning, ASU, OF
Joe DeMers, WASH, RHP
Trevor Larnach, OSU, OF
Adley Rutschman, ASU, C/IF
Spencer Torkelson, ASU, IF
Andrew Vaughn, CAL, IF

USA Baseball Golden Spikes Watch Preseason 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

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.

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

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.

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

CONFERENCE STANDINGS (Expanded Standings)

Teams Pac-12 Record Overall Record
#2 Stanford  17-4 38-6
#3 Oregon State 14-6-1 36-7-1
#14 UCLA 14-7 30-14
Washington  13-8 23-20
Arizona 10-11 29-17
California  11-13 26-19
Arizona State 11-13 19-27
Oregon  8-13 22-24
USC 9-15 21-22
Washington State 6-14 14-23
Utah 6-12 12-29

UPCOMING SCHEDULE

Wednesday, May 9    
ARIZONA STATE at San Diego    6 p.m.
Friday, May 11    
USC at WASHINGTON STATE   5 p.m.
UTAH at OREGON    6 p.m.
#14 UCLA at WASHINGTON    6:05 p.m.
#2 STANFORD at #3 OREGON STATE P12N 7 p.m.
ARIZONA at CALIFORNIA    7:05 p.m.
Saturday, May 12     
USC at WASHINGTON STATE   2 p.m.
#2 STANFORD at #3 OREGON STATE P12N 2 p.m.
UTAH at OREGON    2 p.m.
#14 UCLA at WASHINGTON  P12N 2:05 p.m.
ARIZONA at CALIFORNIA    6:05 p.m.
Sunday, May 13    
USC at WASHINGTON STATE   12 p.m.
#2 STANFORD at #3 OREGON STATE P12N 12 p.m.
UTAH at OREGON    12 p.m.
Pacific at ARIZONA STATE   1 p.m.
UCLA at WASHINGTON    1:05 p.m.
ARIZONA at CALIFORNIA    1:15 p.m.
Monday, May 14    
San Diego at #3 OREGON STATE   5:35 p.m.
ARIZONA at Sacramento State   6 p.m.
Pacific at ARIZONA STATE   6:30 p.m.
Tuesday, May 15    
BYU at #2 STANFORD    1 p.m.
Gonzaga at WASHINGTON STATE P12W 5 p.m.
UTAH at Utah Valley    5 p.m.
San Diego at #3 OREGON STATE  P12N 5:30 p.m.
UC Irvine at USC    6 p.m.
CSUN at #14 UCLA    6 p.m.
Portland at WASHINGTON     

2018 PAC-12 PLAYER AND PITCHER OF THE WEEK

 Week of Player Pitcher
Feb. 20 Trevor Larnach, OSU Tristan Beck, STAN
Feb. 27 Jonah Davis, CAL Joe DeMers, WASH
March 6 Spencer Torkelson, ASU Tristan Beck, STAN
March 12 Andrew Vaughn, CAL Parker Kelly, ORE
March 19 Gage Canning, ASU Kyle Hurt, USC
March 26 Brandon Wulf, STAN Luke Heimlich, OSU
April 2 Andrew Vaughn, CAL Kenyon Yovan, ORE
April 9 Chase Strumpf, UCLA Scotty Sunitsch, WSU
April 16 Trevor Larnach, OSU Luke Heimlich, OSU
April 24 Andrew Vaughn, CAL Parker McFadden, WSU
April 30 Steven Kwan, OSU Kenyon Yovan, ORE
April 30 Steven Kwan, OSU Kenyon Yovan, ORE
May 7 Will Matthiessen, STAN Cody Deason, ARIZ

 

 

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