With just two weeks of conference play remaining and no conference tournament, the Pac-10 championship is still within reach of several teams. Arizona State is currently in first place with a one game lead over Stanford, while Washington is another one game back in third place. Cal and Oregon State are tied for fourth place, however they both have only three conference games remaining while all other teams will still play six more.
This weekends most intriguing match up happens in Tempe, as Washington brings it’s league best 3.57 ERA to face the conference’s most offensive team Arizona State (.333 team batting average). Brett Wallace and Ike Davis (who is rumored to be returning to the starting line-up after missing the last ten games due to a rib injury) are the only two player in the league with batting averages over .400, while Jorden Merry is scheduled to head to the mound on Friday night for the Huskies with his 2.31 ERA and perfect 8-0 record on the line. Then on Sunday the leagues best strike out pitcher Nick Haughian will look to add to his 99 K’s while facing the nations second most disciplined team at the plate as ASU has 320 walks for the season.
At this point of the season Stanford has played all of its home conference games and must now defend its position in the standings on the road. This weekend the Cardinal travel to Tucson to take on fifth place Arizona. That series begins Saturday and concludes on Monday.
The Oregon State Beavers travel south to Los Angeles to take on eighth place USC, while across town seventh place UCLA hosts last place Washington State. Finally, Cal has the weekend off as they concentrate on academics and take finals.
As the conclusion of the regular season approaches, individual achievements are recognized through accolades and awards. This past week saw several Pac-10 players listed among the nations best as their accomplishments so far place them under consideration for national awards. The Dick Howser Trophy is given to the nations best collegiate baseball player by the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association. David Cooper of Cal, Ike Davis of Arizona State and Brett Wallace also of Arizona State were listed among the 16 semifinalists for the award. The Johnny Bench award goes to the nations best collegiate catcher as determined by a panel and this year Jason Castro of Stanford and Petey Paramore of Arizona State were listed among the 12 semifinalists. Finally coaches and media included Mike Leake of Arizona State as one of the ten best college pitchers and a semifinalist for the Roger Clemens Award.