Pac-12 baseball looks to build on strong first week

Katie Chin

COMPLETE RELEASE

PREVIEWING THE WEEK:
Oregon State remains in Surprise, Ariz., this week for a four-game series against Nebraska in the Big Ten/Pac-12 Challenge. Utah will also compete in a tournament this week, facing San Diego State, Kansas State and San Diego at the Tony Gwynn Legacy Tournament in San Diego, Calif. USC continues its home stand hosting No. 12 Arkansas in a three-game series before UCSB comes to town for a game. 

WEEKLY RECAP:
Five of 11 Pac-12 teams opened the 2019 season undefeated, including Arizona, UCLA, Stanford, Oregon State and Arizona State. The Arizona schools put on an offensive showcase this weekend, as the Wildcats scored double-digit runs in a four-game sweep of UMass Lowell and the Sun Devils scored 46 total runs in three victories over Notre Dame. No. 7 UCLA is 4-0 behind the strong work of its pitching staff and is one of just two teams in the country (Tennessee) that has not allowed an earned run this season. No. 2 Oregon State and No. 5 Stanford dominated at their season-opening tournaments, both going 4-0 on the weekend.

Defending NCAA Champion OSU opened the season on a thrilling note, as freshman Greg Fuchs’ two-run single in the ninth capped a 6-5 comeback victory over New Mexico. USC also started the season in walkoff fashion, as the Trojans scored four runs in the final two frames and received a game-winning single from Brandon Perez in the ninth to beat Omaha, 6-5. 

BY THE NUMBERS:
Pac-12 teams have hot bats to start the season, as three teams rank in the top 10 in team batting average in the country. Arizona ranks second at .390, Arizona State is right behind at third hitting .387 and Oregon lands at six with .372. No other conference has three teams ranked in the top 10 in that category.

Pac-12 student-athletes have found ways to get on base with patience and keen eyes. California’s Andrew Vaughn currently leads the nation with nine base on balls while Arizona State’s Trevor Hauer is tied for second with eight. Oregon State’s Tyler Malone and teammate Adley Rutschman have each issued seven walks this year and are tied for sixth-most in the country. On the team side, Arizona currently leads the nation with an outstanding 47 base on balls, ten more than the next closest team (North Carolina). 

STAR POWER:
OSU’s Adley Rutschman, a consensus preseason first-team All-American, paced the Beavers to four wins at the Sanderson Ford College Classic with two home runs, including a grand slam, and set a career-high with four runs scored in a 13-1 win over Minnesota. His teammate and Pac-12 Pitcher of the Week Bryce Fehmel also played a significant role in the Beavers’ hot start, allowing just one hit over eight innings in his first start of the year in a 9-3 win over Gonzaga.

Arizona State’s Spencer Torkelson started 2019 right where he left off after his Perfect Game Freshman of the Year season. He hit .643 with nine RBI to power the Sun Devils to a series sweep of Notre Dame and earned his second-career Pac-12 Player of the Week honor.

Arizona’s freshman Ryan Holgate looks poised to have a breakout season after an impressive opening series against UMass Lowell. His first-ever collegiate hit was a three-run home run, collecting a Pac-12 leading 12 RBI in the four-game sweep of the River Hawks. Holgate was named the College Sports Madness National Player of the Week for his freshman debut.

IN THE RANKINGS: 
At least three Pac-12 teams are ranked in the top 15 in five national rankings. In the USA Today Coaches Preseason Poll, Oregon State takes the fifth spot, UCLA ranks seventh and Stanford lands at ninth. Arizona, Arizona State, Oregon and Washington received votes in the poll.

PRESEASON NODS:
The Pac-12 has 20 total preseason All-America selections from seven different schools. Six student-athletes were named to all five preseason All-America lists and 2018 Golden Spikes Award winner Cal’s Andrew Vaughn, 2018 CWS Most Outstanding Player OSU’s Adley Rutschman and All-Pac-12 selection UCLA’s Chase Strumpf were named to the first team by five national outlets. Rutschman was also tabbed the Projected Player of the Year by Collegiate Baseball. Baseball America highlighted several league student-athletes as All-American Best Tools with Vaughn earning best hitter, Arizona State’s Spencer Torkelson selected as the best power hitter and Rutschman tabbed as the best defensive catcher.

GOLDEN SPIKES:
The Pac-12 is home to eight Golden Spikes Award winners after Andrew Vaughn claimed the award last season, tying the ACC and SEC for most of any conference. This year, ten student-athletes from seven different league schools were named to the preseason Watch List, including Vaughn. He is just one of four Golden Spikes Award recipients all-time to return to school after winning the award. Oregon State, UCLA and Stanford each boast a pair of student-athletes on the prestigious list. The preseason watch list features 55 of the nation’s top amateur players. The 42nd Golden Spikes Award will be presented in partnership with the Rod Dedeaux Foundation on June 14, 2019.

STOPPER OF THE YEAR:
The Pac-12 has seven student-athletes from five different Pac-12 schools on the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association (NCBWA) Stopper of the Year Preseason Watch List, the second-most selections of any conference. Stanford’s Jack Little is featured on the list after being named a finalist for the 2018 season. The NCBWA presents the Stopper of the Year Award to the top relief pitcher in Division I baseball for the 15th straight year at the College World Series on Saturday, June 15. 2019.


CONFERENCE STANDINGS (Expanded Standings)

Teams Pac-12 Record Overall Record
Arizona 0-0 4-0
Stanford 0-0 4-0
Oregon State 0-0 4-0
UCLA 0-0 4-0
Arizona State 0-0 3-0
USC 0-0 2-1
Utah 0-0 1-2
Washington 0-0 1-2
Oregon 0-0 1-2
California 0-0 1-3
Washington State 0-0 0-4

UPCOMING SCHEDULE (All Times Pacific - Expanded Schedule Details)

Wednesday, Feb. 20 TV/Stream Time
ARIZONA at Rice   4:30 p.m.
San Diego at ARIZONA STATE Live Stream 5:30 p.m.
Northern Colorado vs. WASHINGTON   6 p.m.
Thursday, Feb. 21 TV/Stream Time
Nebraska vs. #5 OREGON STATE (1)   12 p.m. 
Northern Colorado vs. WASHINGTON   12 p.m.
WASHINGTON STATE at Santa Clara   6 p.m.
#12 Arkansas at USC Live Stream 7 p.m.
Friday, Feb. 22 TV/Stream Time
Nebraska vs. #5 OREGON STATE (1)   12 p.m.
Northern Colorado vs. WASHINGTON   TBD
#7 UCLA at Georgia Tech   1 p.m.
Northern Colorado vs. WASHINGTON (DH)   TBD
St. Mary's (Calif.) at OREGON Live Stream 3 p.m.
ARIZONA at Houston   4:30 p.m.
UC Davis at ARIZONA STATE Live Stream 5:30 p.m.
#12 Arkansa at USC Live Stream 6 p.m.
CALIFORNIA at Cal Poly   6 p.m.
UTAH at San Diego State (2)   6 p.m.
WASHINGTON STATE at Santa Clara   6 p.m.
UNLV at #9 STANFORD Live Stream 6:05 p.m.
Saturday, Feb. 23 TV/Stream Time
Northern Colorado vs. WASHINGTON   10 a.m.
#7 UCLA at Georgia Tech   11 a.m.
St. Mary's (Calif.) at OREGON Live Stream 1 p.m.
UTAH vs. Kansas State (2)   1 p.m. 
WASHINGTON STATE at Santa Clara   1 p.m.
UNLV at #9 STANFORD Live Stream 2:05 p.m.
CALIFORNIA at Cal Poly   4 p.m.
Nebraska vs. #5 OREGON STATE (1)   4 p.m.
St. Mary's (Calif.) at OREGON (DH) Live Stream 4 p.m.
ARIZONA at Houston   5:30 p.m.
UC Davis at ARIZONA STATE Live Stream 5:30 p.m.
#12 Arkansa at USC Live Stream 6 p.m.
Sunday, Feb. 24 TV/Stream Time
Nebraska vs. #5 OREGON STATE (1)   8 a.m.
#7 UCLA at Georgia Tech   10 a.m.
ARIZONA at Houston   11:30 a.m.
UC Davis at ARIZONA STATE Live Stream 11:30 a.m.
St. Mary's (Calif.) at OREGON Live Stream 12 p.m.
WASHINGTON STATE at Santa Clara   12 p.m.
CALIFORNIA at Cal Poly   1 p.m.
UNLV at #9 STANFORD Live Stream 1:05 p.m.
UTAH at San Diego (2)   2 p.m.
Tuesday, Feb. 26 TV/Stream Time
#7 UCLA at CSUN   2 p.m.
UTAH at UNLV   2 p.m.
Pepperdine at ARIZONA STATE Live Stream 5:30 p.m.
UCSB at USC Live Stream 6 p.m.
San Francisco at #9 STANFORD Live Stream 6:05 p.m.

1 - Big Ten/Pac-12 Challenge, Surprise, Ariz.; 2 - Tony Gwynn Legacy Tournament, San Diego, Calif. 

Rankings listed are USA Today Coaches Poll


2019 PAC-12 BASEBALL PLAYERS OF THE WEEK

 Week of Player Pitcher
Feb. 19 Spencer Torkelson, Arizona State Bryce Fehmel, Oregon State

NATIONAL HONORS 

College Sports Madness National Baseball Players of the Week:
Feb. 18 - Ryan Holgate, OF, ARIZ (Field Player)

USA Baseball Golden Spikes Award Preseason Watch List:
Kevin Abel, RHP, OSU
Jack Little, RHP, STAB
Nick Quintana, IF, ARIZ
Adley Rutschman, C, OSU
Kyle Stowers, OF, STAN
Chase Strumpf, IF, UCLA
Michael Toglia, IF, UCLA
Spencer Torkelson, IF, ASU
Andrew Vaughn, IF, CAL
Kenyon Yovan, RHP, ORE

NCBWA Stopper of the Year Preseason Watch List: 
Brandon Eisert, Jr., OSU
Jack Little, Jr., STAN
Connor Lunn, Jr., USC
Jake Mulholland, Jr., OSU
Ryne Nelson, Jr., ORE
Jacob Palisch, So., STAN
Holden Powell, So., UCLA

Collegiate Baseball Preseason All-Americans:
First Team 
Kevin Abel, RHP, OSU
Jack Little, RHP, STAN
Adley Rutschman, C, OSU
Andrew Vaughn, 1B, CAL
Spencer Torkelson, 1B, ASU
Chase Strumpf, 2B, UCLA

Second Team
Bryce Fehmel, RHP, OSU
Kenyon Yovan, RHP, ORE
Jeremy Ydens, OF, UCLA

Third Team
Brendan Beck, RHP, STAN
Jake Mulholland, LHP, OSU
Nic Kahle, C, WASH
Michael Toglia, 1B, UCLA
Nick Quintana, 3B, ARIZ

Collegiate Baseball Projected  Player of the Year:
Adley Rutschman, C, OSU

D1Baseball.com Preseason All-Americans:
First Team
Adley Rutschman, C, OSU
Andrew Vaughn, 1B, CAL
Chase Strumpf, 2B, UCLA
Spencer Torkelson, DH, ASU
Kevin Abel, SP, OSU
Jack Little, RP, STAN

Second Team
Michael Toglia, 1B, UCLA
Cameron Cannon, 2B, ARIZ
Kenyon Yovan, SP, ORE

Third Team
Nick Quintana, 3B, ARIZ
Brandon Eisert, RP, OSU

Perfect Game Preseason All-Americans:
First Team
Adley Rutschman, C, OSU
Andrew Vaughn, 1B, CAL
Chase Strumpf, 2B, UCLA
Spencer Torkelson, 1B, ASU
Kevin Abel, SP, OSU
Jack Little, RP, STAN

Second Team
Bryce Fehmel, SP, OSU
Third Team 
Michael Toglia, 1B, UCLA
Nick Quintana, 3B, ARIZ
Jake Mulholland, RP, OSU 

Baseball America Preseason All-Americans:
First Team
Adley Rutschman, C, OSU
Andrew Vaughn, 1B, CAL
Chase Strumpf, 2B, UCLA
Kyle Stowers, OF, STAN

Second Team
Spencer Torkelson, 1B, ASU
Erik Miller, SP, STAN
Jack Little, RP, STAN

Third Team
Nick Quintana, 3B, ARIZ
Ryne Nelson, SP, ORE

Baseball America Preseason All-American Best Tools:
Best Hitter

Andrew Vaughn, 1B, CAL
Best Power
Spencer Torkelson, 1B, ASU
Best Defensive Catcher
Adley Rutschman, C, OSU

NCBWA Preseason All-Americans:
First Team 
Adley Rutschman, C, OSU
Andrew Vaughn, 1B, CAL
Chase Strumpf, 2B, UCLA
Spencer Torkelson, 1B, ASU
Kevin Abel, SP, OSU
Bryce Fehmel, SP, OSU
Jack Little, RP, STAN
Jake Mulholland, RP, OSU

Second Team
Nick Quintana, 3B, ARIZ
Joe Wainhouse, DH, WASH

Third Team
Michael Toglia, 1B, UCLA
Kenyon Yovan, UT, ORE
Brendan Beck, SP, STAN
Brandon Eisert, RP, OSU

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