Pac-10 Weekend Recap (Feb. 26-28)

Pac-10Logo The Pac-10 was never going to replicate their play of a week ago. An .862 winning percentage is just not something an entire conference keeps up week after week and the Pac-10 didn’t. The conference flashed a little of the opening week’s flash, but was also roughed up in a weekend’s showing that truly covered all bases. Some teams (UCLA, Washington St., Oregon St.) proved that they’re contenders, while others (Stanford, USC) made their opening weekend heroics fade into a memory of long ago.

Tennessee at #20 Oregon St.

They can pitch, they can pitch, they can pitch. That is the talk that surrounded Oregon St. as they got ready for the 2010 season and they were strong on the mound in their opening weekend, but also flashed the bats versus Hawaii. Returning home would be a much better test for the Beavers, though, as Tennessee was awaiting them in Corvallis.

Game one of the series was all Beavers as they put a five spot on the board in the third, then plated six more in the fourth. The game would finish 17-1 in favor of OSU as Tyler Waldron through 7.1 strong innings for the Beavers, holding the Vols to one run on five hits. While Waldron silenced the Vol bats, the bottom half of the Beaver lineup had their bats awake from the get-go as the five, six, seven and nine batters in the lineup each had three RBI.

The second game went decidedly in the Volunteers favor, but only at the end. Two runs in the second inning gave Tennessee a lead they would not relinquish, but one that took a while to extend. It wasn’t until the eighth inning, when the Vols struck for seven runs, highlighted by a Blake Forsythe grand slam, that the men in orange finally put the game to bed. Oregon St. managed a pair of runs in the bottom half of the inning, but it was not near enough as the Vols took down the Beavers, 9-2.

Sunday’s series was the Greg Peavey show. The Oregon St. right-hander tossed a complete game, three hit shutout with nine strikeouts. The junior was dominant from the start, but never was able to get comfortable because Tennessee’s Stephen McCray was throwing a strong game of his own. McCray allowed just three hits in his start and was holding the Beavers scoreless, but that changed in the seventh when Parker Berberet came through for a RBI single. Peavey needed nothing more as he picked up the win and the series win for Oregon St. over their SEC opponent.

Washington St. at Brooks Wallace Memorial Classic

The Cougars didn’t prove much by beating first-year program Seattle in the first series, but they did by dominating in Lubbock, Texas. A 10-4 win over Bethune Cookman got things underway on Friday in game one of a doubleheader and then downed Texas Tech 6-3 in the second game of the double dip behind a 3-4, two run, two RBI performance by Shea Vucinich. 6-3 in favor of the Cougars was the score again on Saturday as Bethune Cookman was the victim, just as they were a day before. The weekend culminated with Texas Tech’s attempt at revenge, but it was not to be as Jay Ponciano and Derek Jones each scored three times in Wazzu’s 10-7 victory that put the cap on a perfect 4-0 weekend.

#27 UCLA at Dodgertown Classic

UCLA got off to a quick 4-0 start to the season and put up double-digit runs in all four, but it wasn’t against the strongest of competition so their weekend in the Dodgertown Classic was to be their first test. Friday’s game was billed as match-up between two of the better pitching prospects in the country as UCLA sent Gerrit Cole to the hill opposite Vanderbilt’s Sonny Gray. Both pitchers were strong in the early going, but the Bruins bats came alive with one in the third, one in the fourth and then a big six spot in the fifth inning. The Bruins cruised from there to a 9-2 victory. Saturday’s scheduled game versus Oklahoma St. was rained out and sent UCLA to Sunday, where they played USC at Dodger Stadium in front of 14,588 fans. Freshman Cody Keefer showed no signs of jitters in front of the big crowd and went 3-5 with a pair of runs and a RBI, but it was the bullpen who stole the show. The UCLA bullpen extended their run of innings without allowing an earned run to 19.2 as the Bruins late runs led them to a 6-1 victory to improve to 6-0 on the season.

#17 Stanford at #8 Texas

Stanford swept Rice at home to open the year and the state of Texas remained a theme as they took on Texas, but this time it was on the road and things did not go near as well. The Stanford offense was missing in action all weekend, totaling just five runs and the Cardinal never led all weekend in a sweep at the hands of the Longhorns. Texas took the opener 6-0 as Taylor Jungmann was just too much for the Cardinal. The offense got a bit going in the second game of the series, but not enough as the Longhorns rode to a 6-3 victory before closing out Stanford 8-2 on Sunday.

USC at Dodgertown Classic

As well as the Dodgertown Classic went for UCLA, it went that bad for USC. After Oklahoma St. starter Tyler Lyons shut the Trojans out for seven innings, SC was able to pick it up against the bullpen and score a pair of runs in the eighth and the ninth to force extra innings on Friday. The game went to the 11th and the Trojans gave up two runs before going down in order in the bottom half of the innings to lose 6-4. Saturday’s game was almost canceled due to rain and if the Trojans had known how the game would have gone, they may have canceled it. USC scored the first run of the game in the third inning, but four runs in fifth by Vanderbilt and three more in the sixth as the Commodores cruised to a 10-1 win. Having used five pitchers on Friday and eight on Saturday, the Trojans were thin in the bullpen going into Sunday, then things got worse when starting pitcher Kevin Couture was hit by a liner in the second inning and had to come out. The strained bullpen was tested and did well until the seventh and eighth, when they let a 1-1 game become a 6-1 game as SC was swept for the weekend.

Towson at #6 Arizona St.

It wasn’t much of a test, although it was a bit of one in the finale. 10 Sun Devils recorded hits as Arizona St. spanked Towson, 15-1. The Sun Devils hit the ball well again in game one of the Saturday doubleheader, but it was the four hits that the pitchers limited Towson to that grabbed headlines in their 9-1 win. The pitching wasn’t near as strong in game two of the double dip and through two and a half, the Sun Devils were tied with Towson at five apiece, but the offense picked it up and ASU won, 11-6. Sunday’s game was a tight one and Towson actually led 3-2 in the middle of the fifth. Arizona St. did battle back to take a 5-3 lead, but it wasn’t safe in the eighth when Towson cut the lead to 5-4 and had runners on the corners with one out. The Sun Devils worked out of though and held on to win, 5-4.

Washington at Fresno St.

It was one heck of a series, but unfortunately for Washington, they came out on the wrong end on two of the three games. A back and forth series opener was tied heading to the ninth inning when Bradley Bowyer ripped a single to drive home the game’s winning run for Washington in their 10-9 victory. Things looked good for the Huskies in Saturday’s game, taking a 9-4 lead to the eighth, but it was there that they gave up seven runs to fall behind, 11-9. The Huskies got one back in the ninth and had the bases loaded with two out, but couldn’t plate the tying run and fell, 11-10. Sunday’s contest was another one-run contest that the Huskies fell short in. Down two, just like Saturday, the Huskies scored a run and had the tying run on third with two-out, but couldn’t score him in a 3-2 defeat.

Long Beach St. at Arizona

An offense that couldn’t get going did against the Arizona pitching staff. Long Beach St. had scored six runs in their first four games, but in a two games at Arizona, they scored a grand total of 18. In the opener, the Wildcats surrendered four unanswered runs in the final three innings to drop a 8-7 contest to the Dirtbags. Saturday’s game wasn’t near as close as all four Arizona pitchers gave up at least a run in Long Beach St.’s 10-3 dismantling of the Wildcats. The series was supposed to be a three-game set, but Sunday’s game was canceled due to rain, giving the Arizona pitchers a sigh of relief.

Oregon at Hawaii

Fresh off of a fast start in Southern California, Oregon went to Hawaii looking for some more of the same. Things got off to a rough start when Tyler Anderson allowed three first inning runs, a deficit the Ducks could never recover from in their 4-3 loss. The Oregon offense proved impotent once again in game two of the series as they managed just one one to negate a strong performance by the pitchers in a 2-1 loss to the Warriors. The Ducks offense struggled again in game three, scoring just two runs, but that was enough until the seventh inning when Ryan Fleckenstein gave up three runs in a 5-2 loss. The offense wasn’t overly strong again in the finale, but it was enough. Three runs was all the Ducks could manage, but Zack Thornton and Drew Gagnier made it enough in a travel curfew shortened, seven inning, 3-0 win to get out of Hawaii with at least one victory.

Cal at Cal St. Bakersfield Tourney

Cal thoroughly dominated in the opening weekend against a weak Southern Utah team and things didn’t get much tougher in Bakersfield where they faced some more weaker competition. Eight runs in the first four innings drove the Bears to a 9-4 victory over Central Michigan on Friday, then the Bears took a 4-0 lead and held on to beat St. Mary’s 5-4 on Saturday. Cal St. Bakersfield was no match for the Golden Bears on Sunday as Mark Canha’s 2-3, three run, three RBI performance led Cal to a 13-0 win and weekend sweep.