Race for Pac-12 baseball crown heats up with two weeks left

Karl Maasdam

COMPLETE RELEASE

PREVIEWING THE WEEK:
No. 1 UCLA, No. 3 Stanford and No. 12 Oregon State are all tied at the top of the Pac-12 baseball standings with just two weeks remaining in the regular season. Pac-12 baseball claims two of the top three teams in the USA Today coaches poll for the 10th time in 12 weeks. UCLA is the No. 1 team in the nation for the ninth-straight week, the longest stretch in program history.

This week’s matchups, with 15 games broadcast on Pac-12 Networks, will be pivotal in deciding who will wear the league crown and earn an automatic bid to the NCAA Championship. The defending NCAA Champion Oregon State (34-15-1, 19-5) and reigning Pac-12 Champion Stanford (38-9, 19-5) battle at the top of the Conference standings, while a streaking California (29-17, 14-10) hosts No. 25 Arizona State (35-14, 14-10).

The Cardinal boasts the fourth-best win percentage in the nation at .809 and is 31-0 when leading after seven innings and 34-0 when leading after eight. The pitching staff has been consistently impressive this season with the 12th-best ERA in nation (3.37), but the bats have really come alive in the past few weeks. Stanford has hit at least one home run in 18 of its last 19 games and a total of 54 homers in its last 23 games. OSU’s Golden Spikes Award candidate Adley Rutschman has been dominant this season, leading the nation in both walks (66) and on-base percentage (.581) while owning the fourth-best national batting average (.428). All three games of the weekend tilt will be broadcast on Pac-12 Networks.

The Bears and Sun Devils are tied for fourth place in the Pac-12 at 14-10 and are both looking to pad their NCAA resumes. Both have earned a reputation this year as some of the best home-run hitting offenses in the country. Arizona State is currently tied for the most homers in the nation with 84, led by Hunter Bishop (22) and Spencer Torkelson (19) who lead the Pac-12 and rank fourth and ninth in the country, respectively. Cal is tied for fifth in the nation in round-trippers with 75 and ranks third in home runs per game at 1.63. The Bears have put together an impressive resume against top-10 squads, notching four wins on the road against then-No. 10 LSU, then-No. 7 Oregon State and No. 1 UCLA. The weekend series will be broadcast on Pac-12 Networks and Pac-12 Arizona.

GOLDEN SPIKES SEMIFINALISTS:
Five Pac-12 student-athletes were named Golden Spikes Award semifinalists, including last year’s winner, Cal’s Andrew Vaughn. The Pac-12 has the second-most semifinalists on the list of any conference. It is the most semifinalists for the league since 2017 when it also had five representatives. Vaughn is just one of four Golden Spikes Award recipients all-time to return to school after winning the award. Also on the semifinalists list for the second-straight season is Arizona State’s Spencer Torkelson. Torkleson’s Sun Devil teammate Hunter Bishop was named a semifinalist, making ASU one of only four schools with multiple semifinalists. Oregon State’s 2018 NCAA College World Series Most Outstanding Player Adley Rutschman earned a spot on the list as well as UCLA’s top starting pitcher Ryan Garcia. The Pac-12 is home to eight Golden Spikes Award winners after Vaughn claimed the award last season, tying the ACC and SEC for most of any conference. The finalists will be announced on Wednesday, May 29. The winner of the 42nd Golden Spikes Award will be named on Friday, June 14.

WEEKLY RECAP:
Stanford’s Andrew Daschbach had a record-breaking game in a 7-1 win over Cal Poly, launching four home runs in the game. He is the first Cardinal to ever hit four homers in a game and only the second Pac-12 player to ever accomplish the feat - UCLA’s Bill Scott did it against Washington on March 30, 1999. His four homers and 16 total bases set new individual game-highs this season in both Division I and Pac-12.

With a Tuesday night road victory over UC Irvine, No. 1 UCLA clinched an undefeated record I midweek games for an entire season for the first time since 2012. The Bruins finish the 2019 season going 5-0 at home and 6-0 on the road in their midweek contests.

IN THE RANKINGS:
Four Pac-12 teams are ranked in the top 20 in the latest USA Today coaches poll, including No. 1 UCLA, No. 3 Stanford, No. 11 Oregon State and No. 25 Arizona State. It is UCLA’s ninth-consecutive week at the top spot and a Pac-12 squad has claimed the top spot in 10-of-12 weeks this season.

For the seventh-straight week, the Bruins have been named the unanimous No. 1 team in the nation by five national rankings. Additionally, UCLA, Stanford and OSU rank in the top 12 in all five polls.

Nine of 11 Pac-12 programs rank in the top 85 in NCAA RPI rankings, including UCLA at No. 2. Stanford (14th), OSU (17th), ASU (34th) and California (35th) also rank in the top 40.

BY THE NUMBERS:
Conference pitchers have brought the heat this season as three of the top 15 teams with the best national ERAs are Pac-12 squads. UCLA has the best ERA at 2.65, Oregon State’s pitching staff has an ERA of 3.03, good for third-best, and Stanford is 12th-best with a 3.37 average. Additionally, the Bruins are the only team in the country to rank in the top 10 in both ERA (2.65, 1st) and fielding percentage (.982, 3rd).

Besides ERA, the Pac-12 also leads the nation in a handful of categories. Arizona has the most doubles this year with 138, with 27 coming from the individual national leader infielder Cameron Cannon. Arizona State is tied for the national lead in homers with 84 and leads with 1.71 home runs per game. UCLA notched its NCAA-leading 10th shutout on Tuesday night and also claim the best WHIP at 1.07. Oregon State’s Adley Rutschman has arguably the best eye in the nation, as he extended his national lead to 65 walks this season, with 1.32 a game. He has reached base via a hit or walk, or both, in 49 of the Beavers’ 50 games this season, also giving him the national lead with a .581 on-base percentage.

Four Pac-12 student-athletes currently lead in five active NCAA Division I career leaders categories. On the offensive side, last year’s Pac-12 Freshman of the Year ASU’s Spencer Torkelson has the best career slugging percentage (.715) in Division I. Oregon State pitcher and Senior CLASS Award finalist Bryce Fehmel has the most career victories with 33. NCBWA Stopper of the Year candidate junior Jake Mulholland of OSU has the most career saves (29) and best ERA (1.75). Additionally, Oregon’s junior right-handed pitcher Ryne Nelson leads all active players with a 14.01 strikeouts per nine innings average.

STAR POWER:
UCLA's Garrett Mitchell earned Pac-12 Baseball Player of the Week honors after tallying multiple hits in every game for the Bruins last week. Mitchell ended the week with six runs and racked up four hits and two RBI's in UCLA's matchup with Washington State. He leads the top-ranked Bruins in hits (72), stolen bases (15) and runs (46) and is yet to give up an error in the outfield. He was recently invited to play with the United States Collegiate National Team this summer.

Cal's Jared Horn was named Pac-12 Baseball Pitcher of the Week after he threw seven scoreless innings and allowed just three hits against No. 3 Stanford. It wasn't until the fifth inning that he allowed his first hit, with no runner advancing past first base until the seventh. Horn has won five of his last six starts and has beaten two top-ranked teams (UCLA and Stanford).

BIG TIME RELIEF:
The National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association announced its midseason Stopper of the Year Award watch list, which includes three Pac-12 relief pitchers, tied for the most of any conference. Stanford’s Jack Little is the only returner among last year’s five finalists. Joining him on the list is Oregon State junior Jake Mulholland and UCLA’s Holden Powell.

MIDSEASON AWARDS WATCH: 
Halfway through the 2019 season, Pac-12 baseball’s dominance is being recognized nationwide. D1Baseball announced its midseason awards and honored Arizona State’s Hunter Bishop as the midseason top player and Tracy Smith as the midseason co-top coach of the year. Four from the Pac-12 were also named midseason All-Americans.

Perfect Game also chose Bishop as its midseason Player of the Year, as he is batting .396 with 16 home runs and a .932 slugging percentage. UCLA skipper John Savage was named the midseason coach of the year and Arizona State was tabbed the team of the year. Five Pac-12 student-athletes were named midseason first team All-Americans by Perfect Game, the most of any conference on the first team. Bishop, OSU’s Adley Rutschman and Brandon Eisert, Cal’s Andrew Vaughn and ASU’s Alec Marsh all earned the nod.

Rutschman was also named to the Buster Posey National Collegiate Catcher of the Year Award watch list, along with four other league catchers. Seventy-nine catchers were nominated for the 2019 Buster Posey Award by their coaches, given annually to the top Division I collegiate catcher. The winner will be announced on June 27, 2019.

SENIOR CLASS CANDIDATE:
OSU’s right-handed pitcher Bryce Fehmel has been named one of 10 finalists for the 2019 Senior CLASS Award. The award is honored to an NCAA Division I senior that has notable achievements in four areas of excellence: community, classroom, character and competition. 

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.

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
UCLA 19-5 42-8
Stanford 19-5 38-9
Oregon State 19-5 34-15-1
Arizona State 14-10 35-14
California 14-10 29-17
Washington 12-12 28-19
Arizona 12-14 26-24
USC 9-13-1 21-26-1
Oregon 9-15 26-24
Utah 4-23 12-32
Washington State 2-21-1 10-37-1

UPCOMING SCHEDULE (All Times Pacific - Expanded Schedule Details)

Thursday, May 16 TV/Stream Time
Washington State at Utah* Pac-12 Networks 10:30 a.m.
Penn State at ARIZONA   3:30 p.m.
Friday, May 17 TV/Stream Time
Washington State at Utah* Pac-12 Networks 10:30 a.m.
Penn State at ARIZONA   3:30 p.m.
#12 Oregon State at #3 Stanford* Pac-12 Networks 6 p.m.
Oregon at USC* Pac-12 Oregon 6 p.m.
Washington at #1 UCLA* Pac-12 Networks 6 p.m.
#25 Arizona State at California* Pac-12 Arizona 6:05 p.m.
Saturday, May 18 TV/Stream Time
Washington State at Utah* Pac-12 Networks 10:30 a.m.
Penn State at ARIZONA   11 a.m.
Oregon at USC* Pac-12 Networks 1 p.m.
#25 Arizona State at California* Pac-12 Networks 1:05 p.m.
#12 Oregon State at #3 Stanford* Pac-12 Networks 4 p.m.
Washington at #1 UCLA* Pac-12 Networks 7 p.m.
Sunday, May 19 TV/Stream Time
#12 Oregon State at #3 Stanford* Pac-12 Networks 12 p.m.
Oregon at USC* Pac-12 Oregon 12 p.m.
Washington at #1 UCLA* Pac-12 Washington 12 p.m.
#25 Arizona State at California* Pac-12 Arizona 12:05 p.m.
Monday, May 20 TV/Stream Time
OREGON at UC Riverside   1 p.m.
WASHINGTON at CS Fullerton   TBD
Tuesday, May 21 TV/Stream Time
Pacific at STANFORD Pac-12 Now 6:05 p.m.
USC at UC Irvine   6:30 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
March 25 Hunter Bishop, Arizona State Ryan Garcia, UCLA
April 1 Hunter Bishop, Arizona State Brandon Eisert, Oregon State
April 8 Adley Rutschman, Oregon State Brendan Beck, Stanford 
April 15 Spencer Steer, Oregon Ryan Garcia, UCLA
April 22 Brandon Wulff, Stanford Jared Horn, California
April 29 Will Matthiessen, Stanford Ryan Garcia, UCLA
May 6 Nick Quintana, Arizona Jack Ralston, UCLA
May 13 Garrett Mitchell, UCLA Jared Horn, California

NATIONAL HONORS 

USA Baseball Golden Spikes Award Semifinalists
Hunter Bishop, Jr., OF, ASU
Ryan Garcia, Jr., P, UCLA
Adley Rutschman, Jr., C, OSU
Spencer Torkelson, So., IF, ASU
Andrew Vaughn, Jr., IF, CAL

College Baseball Foundation Olerud Award Semifinalists
Will Matthiesen, Jr., STAN

College Baseball Foundation Pitcher of the Year Watch List
Brandon Eisert, Jr., OSU
Ryan Garcia, Jr., UCLA

NCBWA Stopper of the Year Midseason Watch List
Jack Little, Jr., STAN
Jake Mulholland, Jr., OSU
Holden Powell, So., UCLA

USA Baseball Golden Spikes Award Midseason Watch List
Hunter Bishop, Jr., ASU
Josh Burgmann, RS So., WASH
Brandon Eisert, Jr., OSU
Nick Kahle, Jr., WASH
Alec Marsh, Jr., ASU
Adley Rutschman, Jr., OSU
Spencer Torkelson, So., ASU
Andrew Vaughn, Jr., CAL

D1Baseball.com Midseason Top Player
Hunter Bishop, OF, ASU

D1Baseball.com Midseason Co-Top Coach
Tracy Smith, ASU

D1Baseball.com Midseason All-Americans
Adley Rutschman, C, OSU
Andrew Vaughn, 1B, CAL
Hunter Bishop, OF, ASU
Brandon Eisert, RP, OSU

Perfect Game/Rawlings Player of the Week
March 5 - Andrew Vaughn, IF, CAL
May 7 - Nick Quintana, INF, ARIZ

Midseason Perfect Game/Rawlings Player of the Year
Hunter Bishop, OF, ASU

Midseason Perfect Game/Rawlings Coach of the Year
John Savage, UCLA

Midseason Perfect Game/Rawlings Team of the Year
Arizona State

Midseason Perfect Game/Rawlings College Baseball All-American Teams
First Team
Adley Rutschman, C, OSU
Andrew Vaughn, 1B, CAL
Hunter Bishop, OF, ASU
Alec Marsh, SP, ASU
Brandon Eisert, RP, OSU

Buster Posey National Collegiate Catcher of the Year Award Watch List
Matthew Dyer, Jr., ARIZ
Maverick Handley, Jr., STAN
Nick Kahle, Jr., WASH
Korey Lee, Jr., CAL
Adley Rutschman, Jr., OSU

NCBWA National Player of the Month
March - Hunter Bishop, OF, ASU
April - Adley Rutschman, C, OSU

NCBWA National Hitter of the Week
April 16 - Spencer Steer, IF, ORE

NCBWA National Pitcher of the Week
April 29 - Ryan Garcia, RHP, UCLA

Senior CLASS Award Finalist
Bryce Fehmel, P, OSU

College Sports Madness National Baseball Players of the Week:
Feb. 18 - Ryan Holgate, OF, ARIZ (Field Player)
April 15 - Spencer Steer, IF, ORE (Field Player)
April 29 - Ryan Garcia, P, UCLA (Pitcher)

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

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