Nation's best offense, defense meet to highlight Pac-12 softball slate
• UCLA softball is the unanimous No.1 team in the country for the second-consecutive week after the Bruins earned three wins last week to improve to a national-best 32-1 overall. Three Pac-12 teams are ranked in the USA Today / NFCA Coaches Poll top-10 - the second most of any conference - as the top-ranked Bruins are joined by No. 6 WASHINGTON and No. 9 ARIZONA. At least four league teams have been ranked in the top-25 every week this season with ARIZONA STATE coming in at No. 21 in the latest poll.
• The Pac-12 continues to shine on a national level as three teams possess top-10 NCAA RPI - the most of any conference - with UCLA at No. 3, Washington at No. 5 and Arizona at No. 6. More than half of the league’s members rank in the top-50 including No. 20 Stanford, No. 34 Arizona State, No. 39 Oregon and No. 42 Oregon State, followed by No. 66 California and No. 116 Utah to account for all nine Pac-12 teams.
• Three league teams also own top-10 strengths of schedule with No. 2 Oregon, No. 5 Arizona and No. 7 Washington while six make the top-50 including UCLA, Oregon State and Utah at Nos. 19, 26 and 41, respectively.
• Another ranked Pac-12 matchup highlights this week’s action as No. 1 UCLA travels to No. 21 Arizona State for a three-game series. The games on Friday and Sunday will air on Pac-12 Networks while Saturday’s matchup is set for broadcast on ESPN2. The nation’s No. 1 scoring offense in Arizona State (8.36 runs per game) will be tested when the Sun Devils line up against the nation’s top pitcher in UCLA’s Rachel Garcia, who owns an NCAA-best 0.54 ERA. Garcia is trailed by freshman star Megan Faraimo in third nationally with a 0.97 ERA as the duo highlights UCLA’s top ERA (1.04) and strikeout-to-walk ratio (6.51) in the country.
• Along with leading the nation in runs, Arizona State’s offense ranks second in slugging percentage (.659), third in doubles per game (1.94) and fourth in home runs per game (1.78). Three Sun Devils rank in the top-20 nationally in RBIs with No. 10 Maddi Hackbarth (43), No. 12 Morgan Howe (42) and No. 19 Kindra Hackbarth (40). Including Bella Loomis, ASU’s heavy hitters occupy four of the top seven on base percentages in the Conference.
STAR POWER: Washington pitcher Taran Alvelo has been named 1-of-10 finalists for the Senior CLASS Award. Alvelo leads the Pac-12 in strikeouts (172) and victories (15) and ranks second in shutouts (5). Her 2.09 career ERA is the seventh-lowest in UW history while the American ethnic studies major is a three-time All-Pac-12 honoree and was a 2018 second team All-America selection. Arizona pitcher Taylor McQuillin threw 15 strikeouts in a pair of two-hit wins last week against rival Arizona State (8-0, 2-0) to earn Pac-12 Pitcher of the Week and Louisville/Slugger NFCA Division I National Pitcher of the Week honors. McQuillin is the second Pac-12 Pitcher to earn the national honor following Washington’s Gabbie Plain (March 12).
PAC-12 SOFTBALL NOTES: Arizona locked up the Territorial Cup, recording its first-ever shutout sweep against rival Arizona State (8-0, 8-0, 2-0). Arizona improves to 27-7 overall and 9-0 in Pac-12 play to keep pace with frontrunner UCLA (32-1, 6-0) as the only two teams with undefeated league records. The No. 21 Sun Devils dropped four spots in the national poll with a 25-11 record and 5-4 league mark. No. 6 Washington (29-6, 6-3) blanked OREGON STATE (17-13, 1-8) twice last week to clinch its second-straight Pac-12 series. Stanford earned three wins last week to match its best start since 2012 with a 25-5 overall record and stands third in the Pac-12 standings at 4-1.
THIS WEEK AHEAD: Four teams step out of Conference play as Arizona hosts UTEP, Oregon State faces local foe Portland State, CALIFORNIA takes on Pacific while Oregon embarks on an East Coast road trip this weekend featuring back-to-back doubleheaders against Pittsburgh and Missouri on Saturday and Sunday. No. 7 Washington squares off with California in a three-game tilt while No. 9 Arizona heads to Salt Lake to face Utah. Pac-12 Networks continues its extensive Pac-12 Softball coverage, airing eight games this weekend.
NATIONAL STAT LEADERS: The Pac-12 shows consistency across the board with at least two league teams in the top-10 of seven different statistical categories and a minimum two student-athletes rank in the top-10 of 11 individual categories. Three Pac-12 teams’ batting averages rank in the top-25 with UCLA in sixth (.344), Arizona State in 10th (.339) and Arizona in 16th (.326).
League pitchers dominate the mound as three teams rank top-10 nationally in ERA with No. 1 UCLA (1.04), No. 8 Arizona (1.64) and No. 10 Washington (1.73). The three teams also rank in the top-10 in strikeout-to-walk ratio with No. 1 UCLA (6.51), No. 5 Washington (4.91) and No. 10 Arizona (4.08).
Two teams are among the fielding leaders with Washington and Oregon tied for sixth (.978) in the country in fielding percentage.
PLAYER OF THE WEEK: Stanford’s Teaghan Cowles hit safely in all five games to help the Cardinal collect a pair of 8-0 shutout wins in a doubleheader against Saint Mary’s and clinch its second-straight Pac-12 series, taking 2-of-3 versus Oregon (8-6, 2-7, 7-6) last week. Opened the series against Oregon with her fifth homer of the season and two RBIs to lead Stanford to its best league start in program history (4-0). Reached base at a .750 clip and owns the third-best on base percentage in the Conference while ranking fifth among league hitters with a .426 batting average.
PITCHER OF THE WEEK Arizona’s Taylor McQuillin picked up her sixth and seventh shutout victories this season, the third-most nationally, and improved to 12-5 overall with a 1.36 ERA, which ranks in the top-25 nationally. The senior allowed just four hits in 12 innings against the Sun Devils, who entered the weekend as the nation's top scoring offense and ranked No. 1 in the country in both home runs (65) and slugging percentage (.696). In Game 1, allowed one runner to reach scoring position in the Wildcats’ 8-0, five-inning win, then fanned seven batters over seven innings to complete the series sweep on Sunday.
FRESHMAN OF THE WEEK UCLA has earned 11 Pac-12 weekly awards this season while Megan Faraimo collects her fourth Pac-12 Freshman of the Week honor this season. Faraimo improved to 11-1 on the season after earning three wins last week. She tossed 18 strikeouts over 18.2 innings in No. 1 UCLA’s midweek matchup against Cal State Fullerton (5-1) and two-game sweep versus California (1-0, 6-0) last weekend. Struck out 11 batters in a complete-game victory over the Titans on Tuesday and did not allow a run or walk and threw seven strikeouts in 11.2 innings of work against California.
|Wednesday Apr. 3||All Times PT|
|UTEP at #9 ARIZONA||2 p.m.|
|OREGON STATE at Portland State||3 p.m.|
|Pacific at CALIFORNIA||Live Stream||4 p.m.|
|UTEP at #9 ARIZONA||Live Stream||4 p.m.|
|OREGON STATE at Portland State||5 p.m.|
|Friday, Apr. 5|
|#6 Washington at California||Live Stream||3 p.m.|
|#9 Arizona at Utah||P12N||5 p.m.|
|Stanford at Oregon State||P12N||5 p.m.|
|#1 UCLA at #21 Arizona State||P12N||5 p.m.|
|Saturday, Apr. 6|
|Pittsburgh vs OREGON||9 a.m.|
|#9 Arizona vs Utah||P12N||11 a.m.|
|Washington at California||Live Stream||1 p.m.|
|OREGON vs. Missouri||2 p.m.|
|#1 UCLA at #21 Arizona State||ESPN2||2 p.m.|
|Stanford at Oregon State||P12O||6 p.m.|
|Sunday, Apr. 7|
|Pittsburgh vs. OREGON||7 a.m.|
|OREGON vs. Missouri||9:30 a.m.|
|#9 Arizona at Utah||P12N||11 a.m.|
|#6 Washington at California||Live Stream||12 p.m.|
|Stanford at Oregon State||P12O||1 p.m.|
|#1 UCLA vs. #21 Arizona State||P12N||4 p.m.|
|Tuesday, Apr. 2|
|Stanford vs. Santa Clara||6 p.m.|
CONFERENCE STANDINGS (Expanded Standings)
|Teams||Pac-12 Record||Overall Record|
2019 PAC-12 PLAYERS OF THE WEEK