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Pac-12 ready for Opening Day to 2022 baseball season

Feb 17, 2022
Simon Asher

SAN FRANCISCO - After sending two teams to the College World Series for the first time since 2018, the Pac-12 opens up the 2022 regular season with all 11 teams taking the field for the first time on Friday with a league full of stars to watch.  

Four teams will open up the season ranked in the USA Today preseason coaches poll with No. 5 STANFORD leading the way coming off its first trip to the College World Series since 2008.  No. 15 ARIZONA, No. 20 OREGON STATE, and No. 24 UCLA all find themselves in the Top 25 while OREGON is among the others receiving votes.  

However, the Ducks are ranked in the Perfect Game, NCBWA and Collegiate Baseball polls which also includes ARIZONA STATE.

COACHES CHOOSE CARDINAL:  The Pac-12 coaches also took Stanford atop their preseason poll with the Cardinal receiving eight first-place votes for a total of 98 out of a possible 100 points.

Oregon State was second with 84 points and one first-place vote, Arizona was third with 77 points and UCLA with two first-place votes had the fourth-most points with 75.

THIS WEEK AHEAD: Three schools open up this week in neutral site tournaments with big league dreams.  

Defending Pac-12 champion Arizona opens up at the home of the Texas Rangers, Globe Life Stadium, for the State Farm College Baseball Showdown. Joining the Wildcats in Arlington are Kansas State, Oklahoma and No. 12 Texas Tech for a Top 25 showdown on Sunday.

Oregon State will open its season at the spring training home of the Rangers and Kansas City Royals in Surprise, Arizona for the College Baseball Classic with New Mexico and Gonzaga.  

Across town in Scottsdale, CALIFORNIA will be participating in the MLB4 Tournament at the spring training home of the Colorado Rockies and Arizona Diamondbacks.  The Bears will face off with San Diego State, No. 18 TCU, and Houston (in a Friday game on MLB Network).

Four Pac-12 teams will open up their season at home (Arizona State, Stanford, UCLA, USC) while the other four will open on the road but still stay on the West Coast (Oregon, Utah, Washington, Washington State).

NEW SHERIFFS IN TOWN:  Three Pac-12 head coaches will also make their debuts this weekend, two of them with their alma maters.

Arizona is looking to go to the College World Series for the second straight year, something it has not done since new head coach Chip Hale was a player on the 1986 CWS Champions.  While this is Hale’s first college job, he did manage in the big leagues for two seasons with the Arizona Diamondbacks (2015-16) and won a World Series as the bench coach for the Washington Nationals in 2019.

Willie Bloomquist will be looking to return the Sun Devils to glory in his first college coaching job.  The 1999 Pac-10 Player of the Year led Arizona State to second place finish in the 1998 CWS.  Bloomquist has been working in the Diamondbacks front office the last 5 years after retiring from a 14-year MLB career in 2016.

After spending the last two seasons as associate head coach, Gary Henderson takes over as skipper in Utah for the retiring Bill Kinneberg.  Henderson has previous experience as a head coach, winning more than 250 games in eight seasons with Kentucky (2009-16), and as interim head coach took Mississippi State to the 2018 CWS while winning multiple national coach of the year awards.

NATIONAL AWARDS PRESEASON WATCH LISTS

GOLDEN SPIKES

  • OF Dylan Beavers, California
  • OF Brock Jones, Stanford
  • IF Ethan Long, Arizona State
  • IF Sean McLain, Arizona State
  • RHP Max Rajcic, UCLA
  • C Daniel Susac, Arizona
  • RHP Josh White, California

BOBBY BRAGAN COLLEGIATE SLUGGER AWARD

  • OF Dylan Beavers, California
  • C Cole Elvis, California
  • OF Brock Jones, Stanford
  • IF John Kasevich, Oregon
  • OF Tanner Smith, Oregon
  • C Daniel Susac, Arizona

PRESEASON ALL-AMERICAN TEAMS

  D1 Baseball Baseball America Collegiate Baseball
1st Team: C Daniel Susac (Arizona), OF Brock Jones (Stanford) C Daniel Susac (Arizona) C Daniel Susac (Arizona), OF Brock Jones (Stanford)
2nd Team: SP Josh White (Cal), RP Holden Christian (Arizona) OF Brock Jones (Stanford), OF Dylan Beavers (Cal), SP Cooper Hjerpe (OSU) 3B Ethan Long (ASU), OF Dylan Beavers (Cal)
3rd Team: OF Dylan Beavers (Cal), DH Ethan Long (ASU), RP Kolby Somers (Oregon) 2B Sean McLain (ASU), SP Max Rajcic (UCLA) RP Kolby Somers (Oregon), OF Tanner Smith (Oregon)
  NCBWA Perfect Game
1st team: C Daniel Susac (Arizona), OF Brock Jones (Stanford), OF Dylan Beavers (Cal) C Daniel Susac (Arizona), OF Brock Jones (Stanford)
2nd team: 3B Ethan Long (ASU) OF Dylan Beavers (Cal)
3rd team: OF Tanner Smith (Oregon) UT Ethan Long (ASU), SP Cooper Hjerpe (OSU)

AMERICAN MADE:  Seven Pac-12 players were part of the 45-man roster for the 2021 Collegiate National Team.  Normally this would include exhibitions against international opponents but instead played an 11-game intrasquad series last summer at Appalachian League ballparks.  The roster included OF Dylan Beavers (CALIFORNIA), OF Brock Jones (STANFORD), OF/1B Ethan Long (ARIZONA STATE), INF/OF Sean McLain (ARIZONA STATE), C Daniel Susac (ARIZONA) and RHP Josh White (CALIFORNIA).

NEXT GENERATION:  The Class of 2021 recruits will get their first taste of Pac-12 play this season and it was a strong class across the board for the conference.  

Baseball America ranked UCLA’s class number one in the country for the first time in their 22 years for rankings.  The class is highlighted by a pair of Top 100 pitchers in RHP Thatcher Hurd (#44) and LHP Gage Jump (#57) along with Top 100 outfielder Malakhi Knight (#72).

Three other schools made their Top 25 with Oregon State (#6), USC (#17), and Washington (#24).

ALUMNI TOP PROSPECT LISTS:  In the latest lists by MLB Pipeline, Baseball America and The Athletic’s Keith Law, former Oregon State catcher Adley Rutschman is considered the top prospect in Major League Baseball.  The #1 pick in the 2019 draft by the Baltimore Orioles hit a combined 23 homers over 123 games between their AA (Bowie) and AAA (Norfolk) affiliates.

Former Sun Devil Spencer Torkelson, the #1 pick in the 2020 draft by the Detroit Tigers comes in #4 on all three lists.  Torkelson hit 30 home runs over three different minor league levels.

INAUGURAL PAC-12 TOURNAMENT:  The inaugural Pac-12 Baseball Tournament is scheduled for May 25-29, 2022 at Scottsdale Stadium.  The double-elimination tournament will be spread over five days at the Spring Training home of the San Francisco Giants.

The top eight teams in the Conference standings at the conclusion of the regular season will earn berths in the Pac-12 Baseball Tournament, from which the champion will receive the Conference’s automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament. The Pac-12’s initial agreement with the City of Scottsdale runs through 2024.


ON DECK (Full Schedule

Friday, Feb. 18    
New Mexico vs No. 20 Oregon State (1) FloSports 11:00 a.m. PT
Houston vs California (2) MLB Network 12:00 p.m. PT
Kansas State vs No. 15 Arizona (3) FloBaseball 1:00 p.m. PT
Cal State Fullerton at No. 5 Stanford Stanford Live Stream 2:05 p.m. PT
Dixie State at Arizona State  Arizona State Live Stream 5:30 p.m. PT
Cal State Northridge at No. 24 UCLA   6:00 p.m. PT
Oregon at San Diego   6:00 p.m. PT
Santa Clara at USC USC Live Stream 6:00 p.m. PT
Utah at Loyola Marymount WCC Network 6:00 p.m. PT
Washington at Cal Poly Cal Poly Live Stream 6:00 p.m. PT
Washington State at Hawai'i Spectrum Sports 8:35 p.m. PT
Saturday, Feb. 19    
Gonzaga vs. No. 20 Oregon State (1) FloSports 11:00 a.m. PT
No. 18 TCU vs. California (2)   12:00 p.m. PT
Cal State Northridge at UCLA   2:00 p.m. PT
Santa Clara at USC USC Live Stream 2:00 p.m. PT
Cal State Fullerton at No. 5 Stanford  Stanford Live Stream 2:05 p.m. PT
Washington at Cal Poly Cal Poly Live Stream 4:00 p.m. PT
Dixie State at Arizona State Arizona State Live Stream 5:00 p.m. PT
Oklahoma vs. No. 15 Arizona (3) FloBaseball 5:00 p.m. PT
Oregon at San Diego   5:00 p.m. PT
Utah at Loyola Marymount WCC Network 6:00 p.m. PT
Washington State at Hawai'i   8:35 p.m. PT
Sunday, Feb. 20    
Gonzaga vs. No. 20 Oregon State (1) FloSports 11:00 a.m. PT
Dixie State at Arizona State Arizona State Live Stream 11:30 a.m. PT
No. 12 Texas Tech vs. No. 15 Arizona (3) FloBaseball 12:30 p.m. PT
Cal State Northridge at UCLA   1:00 p.m. PT
Oregon at San Diego    1:00 p.m. PT
San Diego State vs. California (2)   1:00 p.m. PT
Santa Clara at USC USC Live Stream 1:00 p.m. PT
Utah at Loyola Marymount WCC Network 1:00 p.m. PT
Washington at Cal Poly Cal Poly Live Stream 1:00 p.m. PT
Cal State Fullerton at No. 5 Stanford Stanford Live Stream 1:05 p.m. PT
Washington State at Hawai'i   3:05 p.m. PT
New Mexico vs. No. 20 Oregon State (1) FloSports 4:00 p.m. PT
Monday, Feb. 21    
Gonzaga vs. California (4)   12:00 p.m. PT
Oregon at San Diego   12:00 p.m. PT
Washington State at Hawai'i Spectrum Sports 8:35 p.m. PT
Tuesday, Feb. 22    
Utah at Utah Valley ESPN+ 3:05 p.m. PT
Grand Canyon at No. 15 Arizona Arizona Live Stream 5:00 p.m. PT
Nevada at Arizona State Pac-12 Arizona 5:00 p.m. PT
Pepperdine at No. 24 UCLA Pac-12 Networks 6:00 p.m. PT
Santa Clara at No. 5 Stanford Pac-12 Bay Area 6:00 p.m. PT
UC San Diego at USC USC Live Stream 6:00 p.m. PT
Washington at UC Riverside ESPN+ 6:00 p.m. PT
  • (1) - College Baseball Classic, Surprise, Ariz.
  • (2) - MLB4 Tournament, Scottsdale, Ariz.
  • (3) - State Farm College Baseball Showdown, Arlington, Tex.
  • (4) - Mesa, Ariz.

CONFERENCE STANDINGS (Expanded Standings

Teams Pac-12 Record Overall Record
#15 Arizona 0-0 0-0
Arizona State 0-0 0-0
California 0-0 0-0
Oregon 0-0 0-0
#20 Oregon State 0-0 0-0
#5 Stanford 0-0 0-0
#24 UCLA 0-0 0-0
USC 0-0 0-0
Utah 0-0 0-0
Washington 0-0 0-0
Washington State 0-0 0-0

PAC-12 BASEBALL WEEKLY AWARDS

  Player of the Week Pitcher of the Week
Feb. 21