By: Ryan Rosenblatt
Arizona St. continues to roll, USC enhances their regional chances with a series win in Corvallis, Arizona’s still awful in Pullman, UCLA picks up a sweep and Cal gets their first series win in a month. It was a weekend of sweeps in the Pac 10 as three of the five series saw one side go 3-0. rather boring week in the Pac 10 this weekend as each series went to the favorite with exception of USC taking two of three from Oregon St., but the implications of the weekend are wide-ranging.
Stanford at #5Arizona St.- ASU Sweeps
The Sun Devils began the series by smacking around the Cardinal for 14 runs in a 14-6 ASU victory. The Stanford offense actually showed some firepower by touching up Josh Spence, who entered the weekend with a 1.01 ERA, for six runs in his seven inning for work. It didn’t do the Cardinal much good because ASU pounded out 16 hits and Stanford starter Jeffrey Inman gave up seven runs in only 1.1 innings. On Saturday, Stanford got seven shutout innings of two-hit ball from starter Jordan Pries, but the bullpen gave away the Cardinal’s 2-0 lead when they allowed seven in the eighth. That propelled the Sun Devils to a 7-2 win over Stanford and wrapped up the series win for the conference’s top team. Arizona St. wrapped up the series sweep on Sunday behind the arm of Seth Blair. Blair, a sophomore, struck out six and allowed only one earned run in 6.1 innings and the Sun Devils cruised to a 6-3 win. The Sun Devils now sit at 28-8 on the season and 13-2 in Pac 10 play, while the Cardinal dropped below .500 to 15-16 and 7-8 in the Pac 10.
Southern Cal at #25 Oregon St.- USC Wins 2-1
USC’s push for a regional berth continued this weekend with a series win at #25 Oregon St. The Trojans almost made it a sweep, but a series win on the road is nothing to scoff at. The weekend began with six shutout innings of work from USC starter Brad Boxberger. Boxberger did surrender three runs in the seventh inning that cut the USC lead down to 4-3, but the Trojan’s didn’t allow a hit in 1.2 innings to secure the 4-3 USC win. The Trojans and Beavers played another close game on Saturday, but some clutch ninth inning hitting earned USC a 5-2 win. OSU starter Greg Peavey allowed only two runs in 7.1 innings, but his offense only backed him up with two runs and he picked up the no-decision. Consecutive doubles in the ninth inning by Billy Pinkerton and Alex Sherrod plated three for USC and proved to be the difference in the ball game. With USC going for the sweep on Sunday, it was Oregon St. who got off to the quick. The Beavers scored four runs in the first and carried that 4-0 lead into the seventh when USC finally got to OSU starter Jorge Reyes for four runs to even the game. The Beavers almost won the game in the ninth, but John Wallace was thrown out at the plate trying to score on a fly ball. OSU was able to secure the win in the tenth inning though when an error by pitcher Daniel Cooper allowed the winning run to score in the 5-4 OSU victory. USC now sits at 19-17 on the year with a 9-6 Pac 10 mark and OSU is 23-9 overall and 8-4 in conference.
Washington at UCLA- UCLA Sweeps
There’s no doubt that UCLA has struggled thus year and fallen short of expectations, but a pair of pitching performances this weekend should have the Bruin faithful awfully excited for next year. The weekend began with freshman Gerrit Cole allowing only one hit and striking out 13 in eight innings of work in which the Huskies managed only two unearned runs in the 4-2 UCLA victory. Cole’s outing almost came to a close early on when a hard ground ball up the middle struck him on the foot, but he popped up off the ground after being examined by trainers and a pair of mid-90’s warm up tosses confirmed he was alright. While Cole’s start was awfully impressive, it didn’t match the show fellow freshman Trevor Bauer put on Saturday. Bauer threw a complete game one-hitter and struck out nine batters for the Bruins to secure the series win. The UCLA offense backed Bauer with 13 runs and the Bruins had no problems securing a 13-0 victory. Bauer’s one-hitter was the first such start for a UCLA pitcher in 11 years and the win was his fifth in his last five starts. Blair Dunlap hit a grand slam in Saturday’s victory, but that was in a blow out. The home run he hit on Sunday was far more meaningful as it proved to be the difference as the Bruins topped the Huskies, 6-3. Charles Brewer threw 6.1 innings for the Bruins and allowed only two runs, one earned, but exited in a 2-2 tie game. That tie was broken in the bottom of the seventh inning when Eddie Murray picked up a RBI single and Dunlap launched a home run over the fence in left center to put UCLA up 6-2. Washington added a run in the eighth, but it wasn’t enough as Gavin Brooks picked up his second save of the weekend to up his season total to five. Washington’s pitching was decent on the weekend and good enough to win a game or two, but the Huskies’ top hitter, Kyle Conley, was 1-11 on the weekend without a run or RBI and five strikeouts and the rest of the bats weren’t much better. UCLA is now 17-19 and 9-6 in the Pac 10, while Washington drops to 14-22 and 4-8 in conference play.
Arizona at Washington St.- WSU Sweeps
Washington St. continues to surprise many in the Pac 10 conference and their series sweep, coupled with Oregon St.’s series loss has the Cougars tied for second place. On the flip side is the disappointing Arizona Wildcats who now find themselves in last place, a game and a half back of ninth. The Cougars pulled off the sweep, but the Wildcats weren’t far off as each game was decided by a single run. Matt Way continued his outstanding season for WSU, but his defense let him down and he allowed four runs in his eight innings, although only one was earned. The Wildcats took advantage of the poor Wazzu defense to take a 4-2 lead, but the Cougars struck for three in the seventh inning to push them ahead 5-4. That scoreline would hold and Wazzu came away with a 5-4 win. Saturday’s game finished with the same scoreline as Friday’s, but the runs came in a different manner. The Cougars pushed five runs across in the game, four of which came on solo home runs and Wazzu won another 5-4 contest. The series finale couldn’t be decided in nine innings so they played extras. Washington St. had to make yet another comeback just to get into extra innings as they turned a 7-5 deficit into a 7-7 tie with a pair of ninth inning runs. Then in the 11th inning Cody Bartlett hit a RBI double to secure the 8-7 Wazzu win and series sweep. The sweep is Washington St.’s first Pac 10 sweep since 1997. Wazzu upped their record to 18-16 and 8-4 in the Pac 10, while Arizona has an overall record of 16-18, but a horrendous 3-12 in the Pac 10.
Oregon at California- Cal Wins 2-1
California has been very bad of late and hadn’t won a series since March 21-23, a stretch that included an eight game losing streak. Oregon has played well for a first year program and full credit goes to George Horton for keeping them competitive, but the fact is that they’re just not that good. Cal got off to a strong start in the series by scoring nine runs in the first two innings of the series opener. The Bears put two on the board in the first and seven in the second, which was plenty for starting pitcher Erik Johnson. Johnson, a freshman, allowed only six hits and one run in his eight innings as the Bears demolished the Ducks, 14-1. The Ducks rebounded though in game two of the series and were able to hold off a late rally to pick up the victory. Darrell Hunter had a pair of RBI for the Ducks and starting pitcher Erik Stavert didn’t allow a run until the ninth inning, when he surrendered two before being pulled with none out. Oregon had a 5-0 leading going into the inning, but Cal scored three in the inning. The Bears did bring the tying run to the plate in the ninth, but Oregon was able to hold them off for the 5-3 win. On Sunday, the Cal offense built upon what they started in Saturday’s ninth inning. The Bears scored runs in every inning except for the seventh and finished with 16 hits. Cal hit three homers in the game and starting pitcher Kevin Miller allowed only two hits and one run in seven innings as the Bears easily defeated the Ducks 11-1. Cal is now a game below .500 on the year at 18-19, but only 5-10 in conference play. Oregon is 13-23 and 3-9 in the Pac 10.
Pac 10 Standings
1. Arizona St………13-2
2. Oregon St……….8-4