Pac-12 baseball claims top three spots in national rankings

Karl Maasdam

COMPLETE RELEASE

PREVIEWING THE WEEK:
The Pac-12 boasts the top-three ranked teams in the nation in the USA Today Coaches Poll as well as the last remaining undefeated team in the country in No. 10 Arizona State. After a thrilling first week of Pac-12 play, week two has pivotal matchups between historic programs in No. 1 UCLA and Arizona, top Pac-12 talent battling it out in California vs. No. 2 Oregon State, and ASU putting its perfect 19-0 record to the test against Oregon.

The Bruins’ pitching staff and defense has vaulted the team into the No. 1 spot in the country in four national polls. UCLA’s pitchers claim the second-best ERA in the nation (2.21) and hits allowed per nine innings average (5.96). The Bruin defense has a fielding percentage of 0.982, good for fifth-best. The Wildcats’ offense looks to provide stiff competition as they rank second in the country in runs (211), on-base percentage (0.446) and slugging percentage (0.565).

OSU’s Adley Rutschman and Cal’s Andrew Vaughn, two of the most talented hitters in the nation, face off against each other in a three-game tilt, with Friday and Sunday’s games broadcast on Pac-12 Networks. Rutschman, the 2018 NCAA College World Series Most Outstanding Player and the projected Player of the Year by Collegiate Baseball, is leading the Pac-12 in batting average (.456) and on-base percentage (.619), while ranking third in the country with 26 walks. Vaughn, the reigning Golden Spikes Award Winner, ranks in the top three in the league in batting average (.426), slugging percentage (.895), on-base percentage (.593) and home runs (8).

WEEKLY RECAP:
UCLA claimed the Conference opening series over the defending NCAA Champion Oregon State, 2-1. The Bruins started the series by blanking the Beavers, earning their nation-leading sixth shutout of the season. The shutout also notched head coach John Savage’s 500th victory at UCLA, just the third coach in program history to reach that mark.

ASU needed a walk-off home run in game two and a clutch save from Chaz Montoya in the series finale to sweep Washington State and remain the lone undefeated team in the country. The Sun Devils have specifically improved their success in close games from last year, as ASU moved to 4-0 on the season in one-run games and 5-0 in games decided by two runs or less. The Devils were just 4-16 in games decided by two runs or less last season.

IN THE RANKINGS:
Four Pac-12 teams are ranked in the top 10 in the latest USA Today coaches poll, including the top three spots. This is the first time four Conference teams were ranked in the top 10 since the 2013 preseason coaches poll. UCLA claimed the No. 1 spot from Oregon State and the Beavers move into a tie for second with Stanford. UCLA is the No. 1 team in the country for the first time since the final poll in 2013 after the Bruins won its first program NCAA title. Undefeated Arizona State moves up nine spots to No. 10. Also receiving votes are Oregon and Washington. The Bruins, Beavers, Cardinal and Sun Devils rank in the to-20 in all five national rankings.

Nine of 11 Pac-12 programs rank in the top 90 in RPI rankings. Oregon State tops the RPI list, with UCLA right behind at second, followed by Stanford and Oregon ranking fifth and seventh, respectively.

BY THE NUMBERS:
Pac-12 pitchers have brought the heat this season, as four teams rank in the top 20 in ERA. UCLA has the second-best ERA in the nation at 2.21. Stanford’s pitching staff has an ERA of 2.31, which is good for fifth-best. Arizona State is seventh-best at 2.34 and Oregon State comes in at 17th with a 2.83 ERA.

Also of note has been the league’s stellar gloves in the field. Five Conference teams rank in the top 20 in fielding percentage, including UCLA at fifth (0.982) and Stanford at 12th with a 0.980 average. Washington State, Washington and Oregon all have a 0.979 average and rank 16th, 17th and 19th, respectively.

The league’s top hitters have found ways to get on base this year at exceptionally high rates. Four student-athletes rank among the top 15 in on base percentage. OSU’s Adley Rutschman has the second-best average (0.619) and Cal’s Andrew Vaughn has the third-best (0.593). Hunter Bishop of ASU is 12th at 0.549 and rounding out the top 15 is Washington’s Nick Kahle (0.548).

STAR POWER:
Washington’s speedy sophomore outfielder Braiden Ward has already collected a league-leading 14 stolen bases, which is also the 10th-most in the nation. He is the only player in the Conference to steal three bases in a game, and he has already done so three times this season. On top of that, his three triples on the year is the third-most in the Conference and matches his career-high through just 16 games this season. The Pac-12 single season record for most triples in a season is 15, set by Arizona’s Trevor Crowe in 2005.

OSU’s Adley Rutschman continues to impress, hitting safely in all four games for the Beavers last week with two home runs, nine runs batted in and five walks. His on-base percentage over the four games was .722 (13-for-18) and he capped the week by tying his career-best with four hits in the finale versus UCLA. He earns his first-career Pac-12 weekly honor.

Also earning his first-career weekly honor is UCLA righty starter Zach Pettway. The junior threw seven scoreless innings to help shut out No. 2 Oregon State, 8-0, on Friday in the Pac-12 opener. Pettway allowed just three hits and added eight strikeouts, the fourth time in five outings this year he has recorded eight or more punchouts.

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 State 3-0 19-0
UCLA 2-1 14-4
Washington 2-1 11-5
Arizona 2-1 13-7
USC 2-1 8-11
Oregon State 1-2 14-3-1
Oregon 1-2 11-7
California 1-2 10-8
Utah 1-2 7-9
Stanford 0-0 12-3
Washington State 0-3 6-13

UPCOMING SCHEDULE (All Times Pacific - Expanded Schedule Details)

Wednesday, March 20 TV/Stream Time
California Baptist at #10 ARIZONA STATE Live Stream 6:30 p.m.
Friday, March 22 TV/Stream Time
#10 Arizona State at Oregon* Live Stream 6 p.m.
Arizona at #1 UCLA*   6 p.m.
WASHINGTON STATE at UC Irvine   6 p.m.
USC at Washington* Live Stream 6:05 p.m.
Utah at #2 Stanford* Live Stream 6:05 p.m.
California at #2 Oregon State* P12N 7 p.m.
Saturday, March 23 TV/Stream Time
Arizona at #1 UCLA*   2 p.m.
USC at Washington* Live Stream 2:05 p.m.
Utah at #2 Stanford* Live Stream 2:05 p.m.
#10 Arizona State at Oregon* Live Stream 4 p.m.
California at #2 Oregon State*   5:35 p.m.
WASHINGTON STATE at UC Irvine   6 p.m.
Sunday, March 24 TV/Stream Time
#10 Arizona State at Oregon* Live Stream 12 p.m.
Arizona at #1 UCLA*   1 p.m.
WASHINGTON STATE at UC Irvine   1 p.m.
USC at Washington* Live Stream 1:05 p.m.
Utah at #2 Stanford* Live Stream 1:05 p.m.
California at #2 Oregon State* P12O 2 p.m.
Monday, March 25 TV/Stream Time
WASHINGTON STATE at LMU   2 p.m.
ARIZONA at San Diego State   6:05 p.m.
Tuesday, March 26 TV/Stream Time
OREGON at BYU   5 p.m.
#2 OREGON STATE at Portland   5 p.m.
#1 UCLA at LMU   6 p.m.
USC at Long Beach State   6 p.m.
WASHINGTON at Gonzaga   6 p.m.
CALIFORNIA at Sacramento State   7 p.m.

* Pac-12 Conference game

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
Feb. 26 Andrew Vaughn, California Brandon White, Washington State
March 5 Braiden Ward, Washington Josh Burgmann, Washington 
March 12 Hunter Bishop, Arizona State Erik Miller, Stanford
March 19 Adley Rutschman, Oregon State Zach Pettway, UCLA

NATIONAL HONORS 

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

Collegiate Baseball’s National Players Of The Week:

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

Now on Pac-12 Network
4:30 AM PT

Airing on:

  • Pac-12 Network
Get Pac-12 Networks
Pac-12 Networks Channel Finder
Close