UCLA leads Pac-12 baseball in last week of regular season

Greg Turk

COMPLETE RELEASE

PREVIEWING THE WEEK:
No. 1 UCLA is at the top of the Pac-12 baseball standings with just one week remaining in the regular season. The Conference champion is determined by the team with the highest win percentage in league games. The Bruins (45-8, 22-5) control their own destiny and can claim their first league title since 2015. A Pac-12 title is in hand if they win two of three at Oregon, or they can garner the league crown with just one win and assistance from Arizona State and USC in their series with Stanford and Oregon State, respectively.

Defending Pac-12 Champion No. 4 Stanford (39-10, 20-6) and reigning NCAA Champion No. 12 Oregon State (35-16-1, 20-6) also have a chance to win the Conference crown. The Cardinal visit Arizona State for their final regular season series and OSU hosts USC. If Oregon defeats UCLA twice, the Cardinal or Beavers can either claim the title outright or be co-champions if they win all three of their games.

With the Pac-12 title on the line, all three of these pivotal series will be broadcast on Pac-12 Networks. The Networks will broadcast 15 total games this week, as well as California visiting Washington, a game with major NCAA berth implications for both squads.

UCLA is the No. 1 team in the USA Today coaches poll for the 10th-straight week, the longest stretch in program history. Pac-12 baseball claims two of the top five teams in the poll for the 11th time in 13 weeks.

PAC-12 CHAMPION SCENARIOS
UCLA can win the Pac-12 title outright if…

  1. UCLA wins 2-of-3 at Oregon.
  2. UCLA wins 1-of-3 at Oregon, and both Stanford and Oregon State lose at least one game.
  3. Both Stanford and Oregon State lose at least two games.

Stanford can win the Pac-12 title outright if…

  1. Stanford wins all three games at ASU and UCLA loses at least two games, and OSU loses at least one game.
  2. Stanford wins 2-of-3 games and UCLA loses all three games, and OSU loses at least two games.

Oregon State can win the Pac-12 title outright if…

  1. Oregon State wins all three games against USC and UCLA loses at least two of its games, and Stanford loses at least one game.
  2. Oregon State wins 2-of-3 games and UCLA loses all three games, and Stanford loses at least two games.

Stanford and Oregon State can be Pac-12 co-champions if…

  1. Both Stanford and Oregon State win all three games and UCLA loses at least two games.
  2. Both Stanford and Oregon State win two games and UCLA loses all three games.

NCAA CALIBER
With the postseason around the corner, the Pac-12 has proven itself to be one of the most competitive baseball conferences in the country, boasting the fourth-best RPI of any conference. Playing steep competition in and out of the conference, four programs boast top-30 win percentages in the nation, including No. 2 UCLA (.849), No. 5 Stanford (.796), No. 16 ASU (.706) and No. 30 Oregon State (.683). The Pac-12 has been equally impressive in its games against non-conference opponents, as eight of 11 teams have non-conference records of .500 or above. That includes UCLA who played the fourth-toughest non-conference schedule and boasts the fourth-best non-conference win percentage in the nation. The NCAA selection show is set for Monday, May 27 at 9 a.m. PT on ESPNU.

GOLDEN SPIKES SEMIFINALISTS:
Five Pac-12 student-athletes were named Golden Spikes Award semifinalists, including last year’s winner, Cal’s Andrew Vaughn. There has never been a repeat winner in history, but Vaughn has a chance at it with an impressive .385 batting average, .539 on-base percentage (third-best in the nation) and 15 homers. 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. After an All-American-caliber freshman season, Torkelson ranks in the top five in the Pac-12 in major offensive categories including slugging percentage (.714), runs scored (61), hits (78), RBI (60) and home runs (21). His teammate Hunter Bishop was also named a semifinalist, making ASU one of only four schools with multiple selection. A three-time Pac-12 Player of the week and unanimous midseason All-American by several media outlets, Bishop’s breakout season has been incredibly impressive. He sits fifth nationally in home runs (22) and second in slugging (.792) and has reached base in all but two games this season.

Oregon State’s 2018 NCAA College World Series Most Outstanding Player Adley Rutschman earned a spot on the list as well. Rutschman has reached base safely via a hit or walk (or both) in 51 of the Beavers’ 52 games this season and leads the nation in OBP (.584) and walks (69).

Starting pitcher Ryan Garcia represents UCLA on the list, as the right-hander owns the third-best ERA in the nation (1.30) with a perfect 8-0 record. 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.

NOTABLES:
UCLA’s 2019 regular season is shaping up to be the most successful in program history. The Bruins have already set a program record for regular season wins (45) and are just the sixth team in UCLA history to reach that mark, postseason included. Five of those six squads have come during the John Savage era (since 2005). In addition, UCLA has already tied a program record for conference wins (22, 2015). The Bruins' can finish the regular season with no worse than an .803 winning percentage, which would be the school's best clip since 1924 (.889) when there were just 18 games on the schedule.

Arizona is 9-1 in last ten games and have scored 129 runs in that span. Even with the 12th-hardest strength of schedule in the country, the Wildcats rank second in the nation in scoring (9.5 runs per game) and OBP (.429) and lead in doubles (147).

California has collected an impressive nine victories over teams with top 50 RPI. They also have four wins over opponents ranked in the top-10 when they played, including then-No. 10 LSU, then No. 7 OSU and No. 1 UCLA.

Oregon has already surpassed its offensive output of the last three seasons with one week left in the regular season. 307 runs and 465 hits surpassed its totals of the last three seasons. The Ducks’ .376 OBP is the best since the return of baseball in 2009. Additionally, four Ducks have 30+ RBI for the first time since 2014.

Washington has claimed three of its last four series, only dropping to No. 1 UCLA. They have also won all four of its midweek games since April 23. Many of these wins have come behind its impressive pitching staff. It marks the first time in program history the Huskies have five pitchers with 50 or more K’s in a single season.

IN THE RANKINGS:
Three Pac-12 teams are ranked in the top 20 in the latest USA Today coaches poll, including No. 1 UCLA, No. 4 Stanford, No. 12 Oregon State. It is UCLA’s 10th-consecutive week at the top spot and a Pac-12 squad has claimed the top spot in 11-of-13 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. California earned a spot in both the NCBWA and Collegiate Baseball polls, its first ranking in any poll this season.

Nine of 11 Pac-12 programs rank in the top 95 in NCAA RPI rankings, including UCLA at No. 1. Oregon State (13th), Stanford (16th), Arizona State (33rd), California (34th) and Arizona (47th) also rank in the top 50.

BY THE NUMBERS:
Conference pitchers have brought the heat this season as three of the top 12 teams with the best national ERAs are Pac-12 squads. UCLA has the best ERA at 2.56, Oregon State’s pitching staff has an ERA of 3.08, good for second-best, and Stanford is 11th-best with a 3.44 average. Additionally, the Bruins are the only team in the country to rank in the top 10 in both ERA (1st, 2.56) and fielding percentage (4th, .982)

The Pac-12 is home to some of the best slugging teams in the nation. Five programs rank in the top 20 in slugging percentage, the most teams in the top 20 of any other conference. Arizona State sits with the second-best percentage at .527, while cross-state rival Arizona lands at fifth with a .520 percentage. California is 11th (.494), Stanford is 15th (.483) and UCLA is 17th (.476). Additionally, ASU leads the nation in homers per game at 1.73. Cal averages 1.60 home runs per game, good for fourth-best, and Stanford sits at eighth with a 1.45 average.

Three Pac-12 student-athletes currently lead in four active NCAA Division I career leaders categories. 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 (30) and best ERA (1.75). Additionally, Oregon’s junior right-handed pitcher Ryne Nelson leads all active players with a 13.99 strikeouts per nine innings average.

STAR POWER:
Stanford's Andrew Daschbach was named Pac-12 Player of the Week after racking up four home runs in the Cardinal's matchup against Cal Poly. Daschbach became the first player in Stanford history to hit four homers in a game, just the second in Pac-12 history and the only player in the NCAA this season. His four homers and 16 total bases set new individual game-highs this season in both Division I and the Pac-12. His unforgettable game also earned him national recognition, claiming Collegiate Baseball and NCBWA National Player of the Week honors.

UCLA's Jack Ralston was named Pac-12 Pitcher of the Week after allowing just one hit (first UCLA pitcher since June 2013 to do so) in six innings against Washington on Saturday. Against the Huskies, he struck out nine batters and retired the first 11 batters he faced. The NCBWA Dick Howser Trophy semifinalist has now extended his scoreless streak to 25 innings.

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.


CONFERENCE STANDINGS (Expanded Standings)

Teams Pac-12 Record Overall Record
UCLA 22-5 45-8
Stanford 20-6 39-10
Oregon State 20-6 35-16-1
Arizona State 15-11 36-15
California 15-11 30-18
Arizona 12-14 29-24
Washington 12-15 28-22
USC 11-14-1 23-28-1
Oregon 10-17 27-27
Utah 6-24 14-33
Washington State 3-23-1 11-39-1

UPCOMING SCHEDULE (All Times Pacific - Expanded Schedule Details)

Thursday, May 23 TV/Stream Time
UC Davis at UTAH Pac-12 Now 5 p.m.
Arizona at Washington State* Pac-12 Arizona 6 p.m.
California at Washington* Pac-12 Washington  6 p.m.
#4 Stanford at Arizona State* Pac-12 Bay Area 6 p.m.
#1 UCLA at Oregon* Pac-12 Los Angeles 6 p.m.
USC at #12 Oregon State* Pac-12 Networks 6 p.m.
Friday, May 24 TV/Stream Time
UC Davis at UTAH Pac-12 Now 5 p.m.
Arizona at Washington State* Pac-12 Washington 6 p.m.
California at Washington* Pac-12 Bay Area 6 p.m.
#4 Stanford at Arizona State* Pac-12 Networks 6 p.m.
#1 UCLA at Oregon* Pac-12 Los Angeles 6 p.m.
USC at #12 Oregon State* Pac-12 Oregon 6 p.m.
Saturday, May 25 TV/Stream Time
UC Davis at UTAH Pac-12 Now 10:30 a.m.
Arizona at Washington State* Pac-12 Washington 12 p.m.
California at Washington* Pac-12 Bay Area 12 p.m.
#4 Stanford at Arizona State* Pac-12 Arizona 12 p.m.
USC at #12 Oregon State* Pac-12 Networks 12 p.m.
#1 UCLA at Oregon* Pac-12 Networks 4 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
May 20 Andrew Daschbach, Stanford Jack Ralston, UCLA

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

NCBWA Dick Howser Trophy Semifinalists
Hunter Bishop, OF, Arizona State
Ryan Garcia, SP, UCLA
Jack Ralston, SP, UCLA
Adley Rutschman, C, Oregon State
Spencer Torkelson, 1B, Arizona State
Andrew Vaughn, 1B, California

Buster Posey National Collegiate Catcher of the Year Award Semifinalists
Nick Kahle, Jr., WASH
Korey Lee, Jr., CAL
Adley Rutschman, Jr., OSU

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
May 21 - Andrew Daschbach, 1B, STAN

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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