Pac-12 Baseball Title, postseason bids on line for last week of league play

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PAC-12 CHAMPIONSHIP TITLE: STANFORD (40-8, 18-6 Pac-12) sits atop the Pac-12 baseball standings and needs only one win in its three-game Pac-12 series finale against WASHINGTON to clinch the league’s regular-season title and automatic NCAA berth.

OREGON STATE (40-8-1, 18-8-1) is 2.5 games behind the Cardinal in second place and can make a push for the crown as the Beavers host No. 18 UCLA (35-17, 18-9) for a three-game ranked matchup. OSU holds a half-game advantage over UCLA and WASHINGTON (28-22, 18-9), both of which are currently tied for third in the Conference standings.

Four teams remain in contention for at least a share of the Pac-12 title, Oregon State, Stanford, UCLA and Washington.

PREVIEWING THE WEEK: The final weekend of Pac-12 play will be loaded with postseason seeding and bid implications. Top 10 RPI teams Stanford (2) and Oregon State (8) are likely hosts of NCAA Regionals, while UCLA, with an RPI of 33, will face the Beavers with an opportunity to join the host discussion.

ARIZONA (32-21, 12-15), which went 19-6 with an RPI of 11 in non-conference play, enters its final series at OREGON (25-27, 11-16) with an RPI of 46. The Wildcats will take on the Ducks seeking to climb to .500 in league play and reach the 35 overall win plateau and earn an NCAA Regional berth for the third consecutive season.

Washington, which has won seven of its last 10 games, heads to Stanford for a pivotal series against the league-leading Cardinal. The Huskies will enter the three-game set versus the nation's No. 2 RPI team with an 8-6 record against top-50 RPI opponents. UW was picked seventh in the Pac-12 preseason coaches poll, but will finish in the top four and could mathematically catch Stanford atop the league standings.

CALIFORNIA (30-21, 14-13), owner of an RPI of 75, heads to ARIZONA STATE (22-30, 12-15) to conclude the regular season. With a sweep, the Golden Bears can climb to their most overall wins since the 2015 campaign, the most recent season the program earned an NCAA Regional bid.

All five Pac-12 league series this weekend will be televised with 12 games on the Pac-12 Network, two on Pac-12 regionals and ranked clash between UCLA and Oregon State on ESPNU on Saturday.

IN THE RANKINGS: For the seventh time this season, a Pac-12 team holds the No. 1 spot in the nation. The league’s top two programs are tied for first in the latest USA Today Coaches poll with Oregon State and Stanford topping the poll together. It marks Stanford’s first week atop the poll this season while it is OSU’s fourth.  

No. 18 UCLA holds steady in the ranks as all three teams have been in the top-25 throughout the entire season. The Cardinal and Beavers both boast top-10 NCAA RPIs, ranking second and eighth, respectively, followed by UCLA at No. 33 and Arizona at No. 46. Washington is ranked at No. 71 and Cal is at No. 75.

In the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association, Oregon State ranks No. 1 for the fourth week overall this season, followed by Stanford at No. 2 and UCLA at No. 19, while California and Washington are receiving votes. In the NCBWA poll only three teams have been ranked No. 1 this year: Oregon State (March 12-26, May 21), Stanford (April 23-May 7) and Florida (preseason-March 5, April 2-16, May 14).

NUMBERS GAME: Two Pac-12 teams rank in the top-5 nationally in win-loss percentage with No. 2 Stanford (.843) and No. 3 Oregon State (.817). Stanford is third in the nation in earned run average (2.77), second in WHIP (1.15) and is sixth in hits allowed per nine innings (7.34). OSU leads the Conference in 11 statistical categories including batting average (.324), on base percentage (.419) and slugging percentage (.495), which rank Nos. 3, 3 and 4 in the nation, respectively. UCLA boasts a 2.98 earned run average that ranks sixth nationally and .981 fielding percentage ranks seventh.

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 home run race with ASU freshman Spencer Torkelson at the No. 1 spot with 25 homers and California’s Andrew Vaughn in second with 23, which ties Cal’s single-season home run record. Vaughn’s Conference-best .414 batting average, .535 on base percentage and .848 slugging percentage rank Nos. 5, 3 and 2 nationally. Oregon State’s Luke Heimlich leads the nation with 13 victories and has totaled 129 strikeouts this season for the most among all Conference pitchers and fifth-most nationally. Arizona’s Gage Canning leads the country in triples (11) and triples per game (.21).

GOLDEN SPIKES: The Pac-12 ties for the most USA Baseball Golden Spikes Award Semifinals of any Conference with four student-athletes selected. OSU’s Trevor Larnach, Nick Madrigal, Arizona State’s Torkelson, and Cal’s Vaughn.

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 Semifinalists
Trevor Larnach, OSU, OF
Nick Madrigal, OSU, 2B
Spencer Torkelson, ASU, IF
Andrew Vaughn, CAL, IF

SENIOR CLASS AWARD: Oregon’s 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 in the Conference.

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.

CONFERENCE STANDINGS (Expanded Standings)

Teams Pac-12 Record Overall Record
#1 Stanford  21-6 43-8
#1 Oregon State 18-8-1 42-9-1
#18 UCLA 18-9 35-17
Washington  18-9 28-22
California 14-13 30-21
Arizona 12-15 32-21
Arizona State 12-15 22-30
Oregon 11-16 25-27
USC 12-18 25-26
Washington State 7-19-1 15-31-1
Utah 6-21 14-38

UPCOMING SCHEDULE

Thursday, May 24    
UTAH at WASHINGTON STATE P12N 4 p.m
#18 UCLA at #1 OREGON STATE P12N 4 p.m.
CSUN at USC    6 p.m.
#1 STANFORD at WASHINGTON  P12N 7 p.m.
ARIZONA at OREGON  P12O 7 p.m.
CALIFORNIA at ARIZONA STATE P12N 7 p.m.
Friday, May 25    
UTAH at WASHINGTON STATE P12N 4 p.m.
#18 UCLA at #1 OREGON STATE P12N  4 p.m.
CSUN at USC   6 p.m.
#1 STANFORD at WASHINGTON  P12N 7 p.m.
ARIZONA at OREGON  P12N 7 p.m.
CALIFORNIA at ARIZONA STATE P12B 7 p.m.
Saturday, May 26    
UTAH at WASHINGTON STATE P12N 12 p.m.
CSUN at USC   2 p.m.
#18 UCLA at #1 OREGON STATE ESPNU 2:02 p.m.
#1 STANFORD at WASHINGTON  P12N  3 p.m.
ARIZONA at OREGON  P12N 3 p.m.
CALIFORNIA at ARIZONA STATE P12N 6 p.m.

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
May 14 Joe Wainhouse, WASH Luke Heimlich, OSU
May 21 Jeremy Ydens, UCLA Luke Heimlich, OSU

 

 

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