Four Ranked Teams Lead Pac-12 Softball at Midseason Point
Controlling the No. 1 spot in the nation for five-straight weeks, UCLA softball reinforced its dominance last week with a three-game sweep against then-No. 21 Arizona State and extending its winning streak to 19 games. The Bruins own the best overall record in the nation with a 35-1 mark behind their stout defense that continues to lead the country in ERA (1.12) with two of the top three pitchers in the country.
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. 4 WASHINGTON and No. 8 ARIZONA. At least four league teams have been ranked in the top-25 every week this season with ARIZONA STATE coming in at No. 24 in the latest poll.
The Pac-12 continues to shine on a national level as three teams possess top-10 NCAA RPI – tied for the most of any conference - with UCLA at No. 2, Washington at No. 5 and Arizona at No. 7. More than half of the league’s members rank in the top-50 including No. 22 Stanford, No. 31 Arizona State, No. 42 Oregon and No. 46 Oregon State, followed by No. 62 California and No. 117 Utah to account for all nine Conference teams.
Arizona (32-7, 12-0 Pac-12) and UCLA (35-1, 9-0) stand as the only two undefeated teams in Pac-12 play, placing first and second in the league standings, respectively. Anticipation will build for the next few weeks as the battle between the Bruins and Wildcats will serve as the regular-season finale from May 9-11. Stanford (28-6, 5-1) is third in the Conference, followed by Washington (32-6, 9-3) and Arizona State (25-14, 5-7) to round out the top half of the league standings.
WEEKLY RECAP: No. 4 Washington moved up two spots in the national poll and returns to the top-5 for its highest ranking since entering the preseason at No. 3. The Huskies captured their third consecutive Pac-12 series sweep, defeating CALIFORNIA (8-0, 6-2, 4-0) on the road to record their second 10-game winning streak of the season. Washington’s only league losses have been at the hands of No. 1 UCLA. Pitcher Taran Alvelo needs seven more this season to become just the third pitcher in program history to win 100 games.
No. 8 Arizona is off to its third-best start in league play in program history (2017, 13-0; 1994, 23-0) after taking all three games against Utah (13-0, 22-1, 13-2) last week. The Wildcats also set a school record for runs scored in a Conference series since moving to three games in 2010, by outscoring the Utes 48-3. Arizona leads the country in home runs per game (1.97) while dominating the plate with three of the top four home-run-hitters in the league. Jessie Harper owns the most home runs (21) and home runs per game (0.54) in the nation.
Stanford defeated OREGON STATE, 3-2, on Friday in a shortened one-game series. Cardinal senior Carolyn Lee struck out five batters in 6.1 innings of work and allowed just one run on a single hit with no walks. Second-year head coach Jessica Allister was named the fourth head coach in program history and has guided Stanford to its best season start since the 2010 squad went 30-5 over their first 35 games. Stanford matched a season-high 13 runs on only 15 hits in a midweek matchup against local foe Santa Clara, 13-0, for its sixth shutout this year.
THIS WEEK AHEAD: No. 4 Washington hosts No. 24 Arizona State for a three-game series and each game is set for broadcast on Pac-12 Networks. Washington’s defense will be a major factor in the series as the Huskies league-leading fielding percentage (0.978) ranks sixth nationally and ERA (1.62) is 11th in the country. Arizona State tops the Conference in scoring (7.85), slugging percentage (0.642) and on base percentage (0.434), which rank Nos. 2, 2, and 5 in the nation, respectively.
Washington pitcher Gabbie Plain’s 12th-best ERA in the nation (1.16) will be tested by Sun Devil’s slugging sisters, Maddi and Kindra Hackbarth, who are tied for third in RBIs (43) among Conference hitters. Arizona State faces it’s third consecutive top-25 ranked team and looks to break its six-game skid.
Arizona plays Grand Canyon during its Pac-12 bye week as the Wildcats and Lopes meet in a doubleheader on Friday and series finale on Saturday in Phoenix. Stanford welcomes Utah to Smith Family Stadium over the weekend for a three-game matchup with the Friday and Sunday contests on Pac-12 Networks. No. 1 UCLA hosts OREGON (16-19, 1-8) for three games with the series finale live on ESPN2 and Oregon State heads to California with all three matchups on Pac-12 Networks.
NATIONAL STAT LEADERS: The Pac-12 shows consistency across the board with at least three teams in the top-15 of seven different statistical categories, including three in the top-10 of four areas. A minimum two student-athletes rank in the top-10 of 11 individual categories, nine Pac-12 players are hitting over .400, while four pitchers have dominated from the mound with an ERA better than 1.50.
Three Pac-12 teams’ batting averages rank in the top-15 with UCLA in fifth (.350), Arizona in sixth (.344) and Arizona State in 12th (.331), while the trio also occupies three of the top six spots in runs scored per game.
No. 1 UCLA tops the national boards in ERA (1.12), strikeout-to-walk ratio (6.76) and win-percentage (0.972) while ranking fifth in scoring (7.50) and 12th in slugging percentage (0.564). League pitchers dominate the mound as three teams rank top-15 nationally in ERA with No. 1 UCLA (1.12), No. 7 Arizona (1.57) and No. 11 Washington (1.62).
Four pitchers rank in the top-25 ERA with UCLA pitching duo Rachel Garcia (0.50) and Megan Faraimo (0.91) at No. 1 and No. 3 followed by Washington’s Gabbie Plain in 12th (1.16) and Arizona’s Taylor McQuillin in 25th (1.36).
Arizona junior outfielder Kindra Hackbarth also owns one of the hottest bats in the nation, ranking fourth in runs per game (1.28), 11th in doubles (14), 19th in hits (52) and 20th in slugging percentage (0.869).
SENIOR CLASS AWARD: 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.
PLAYER OF THE WEEK: UCLA’s Taylor Pack recorded six hits, three doubles and 10 RBIs in No. 1 UCLA’s weekend sweep at No. 19 Arizona State (10-0, 9-0, 16-5) to improve to 35-1 overall and remain perfect in Pac-12 play at 9-0. Hit three home runs in the ranked matchup, including her first two-homer game while also tying a career-high four RBIs on Friday. Matched personal bests with three hits and two doubles and knocked one out of the park to help clinch the series and earn the team’s fourth-straight shutout win.
PITCHER OF THE WEEK: Oregon’s Jordan Dail threw three complete-games in Oregon’s non-conference wins over Pittsburgh (9-1, 4-3) and Missouri (4-1) that featured a doubleheader on Saturday. Allowed five total earned runs on only seven hits and tossed 23 strikeouts over 19.0 innings pitched. Leads the Pac-12 and is top-10 in the country in innings pitched this season with 152.2 and ranks third in the league with 165 total strikeouts.
FRESHMAN OF THE WEEK: UCLA’s Megan Faraimo struck out nine batters in a complete-game, two-hit shutout, as No. 1 UCLA defeated No. 19 Arizona State, 10-0, on Friday to help lead the Bruins to a nation-leading ERA (1.12). Retired the first 11 hitters of the game while striking out the side in the second and fifth innings. Now has the second-most shutouts in the Conference this season with six. Held Arizona State to a pair of base hits as the Sun Devils entered the weekend as the nation’s No. 1 scoring offense (8.36 runs per game) and second in slugging percentage (.659). Collects her fifth Pac-12 Freshman of the Week honor this season (Feb. 19, 26; March 12; Apr. 1) for UCLA’s fifth-straight and 20th all-time rookie nod.
|Wednesday Apr. 10||All Times PT|
|Saint Mary's (Calif.) vs. CALIFORNIA||Pac-12 Now||4 p.m.|
|Friday, Apr. 12|
|Oregon State at California||P12N||3 p.m.|
|#24 Arizona State at #4 Washington||P12N||5 p.m.|
|#8 ARIZONA at Grand Canyon||5 p.m.|
|#8 ARIZONA at Grand Canyon||7 p.m.|
|Oregon at #1 UCLA||P12N||7 p.m.|
|Utah at Stanford||P12M||7 p.m.|
|Saturday, Apr. 13|
|#8 ARIZONA at Grand Canyon||Fox Sports Arizona||1 p.m.|
|#24 Arizona State at #4 Washington||P12N||3 p.m.|
|Oregon State at California||P12N||3 p.m.|
|Utah at Stanford||Pac-12 Now||3 p.m.|
|Oregon at #1 UCLA||P12N||1 p.m.|
|Sunday, Apr. 14|
|#24 Arizona State at #4 Washington||P12N||12 p.m.|
|Oregon State at California||P12O||12 p.m.|
|Utah at Stanford||P12N||12 p.m.|
|Oregon at #1 UCLA||ESPN2||1 p.m.|
CONFERENCE STANDINGS (Expanded Standings)
|Teams||Pac-12 Record||Overall Record|