Pac-10 Weekend Review (March 5-7)

The Pac-10 entered the season’s third weekend with three undefeated teams and by the end of it, that number was whittled down to two. It still proved to be a successful weekend for the league as eight of the 10 teams came away series winners and three of those came away with series sweeps. Through three weeks, the conference is 76-31, good for a .710 winning percentage as they show a depth of quality that was certainly missing a year ago when it was Arizona St. + 9.

Oregon at Fresno St.

Oh, that George Horton. In just their second year, Oregon is supposed to struggle. Every second year team is supposed to struggle. The problem with that is George Horton doesn’t struggle and he took his Ducks to the 2008 NCAA Champions not to earn respect, but to win and win they did.

In the first game of the four-game set, Oregon got a sensational start from Tyler Anderson who struck out 10 in his eight scoreless innings of work. Anderson got run support in the form of a five run, five hit second inning as the Ducks had no problem dealing with the Bulldogs in a 7-2 victory.

The starting pitching in game two wasn’t as good, but it was serviceable. Zack Thornton allowed four runs in six innings, but that was enough to earn the win. While Fresno St. was booting the ball around (two errors), Oregon was pounding out 11 hits, which led to eight runs. KC Serna led the way with three hits, a run scored and a RBI as the Ducks picked up the W, 8-4.

In a game shortened to seven innings, it was the pitching that got the job done for the Ducks again as they wrapped up the series win. Scott McGough struck out seven in six innings of work, allowing just one unearned run to pick up the victory. While McGough was dealing, Eddie Rodriguez was raking, going 3-3 with a pair of runs scored as Oregon upended Fresno St., 5-2.

The Ducks completed their uber-impressive series sweep with a strong finish. Alex Keudell did well in his start for the Ducks, going 6.1 innings and allowing just two runs, one earned, but going into the sixth, the Ducks were tied 2-2. Then, Oregon proceeded to score one in the sixth, two in the seventh, two in the eighth and one in the ninth to take down the Bulldogs, 8-3,.

Nebraska at #20 UCLA

UCLA is one of the Pac-10’s two undefeated teams after they swept Nebraska over the weekend. Because of impending rain, the schedule was shifted so the two teams played a Friday doubleheader and then one on Saturday, but it didn’t phase the Bruins. Gerrit Cole struck out nine and allowed just one run on two hits in seven innings while Justin Uribe went 3-5 with three RBI as the Bruins cruised in the series opener, 13-1. Trevor Bauer was nearly as good as Cole in his start, allowing one run on six hits while striking out 10 in 6.2 innings to pick up the win as the Bruins held off a late Nebraska rally, 5-3. The finale was a tight one. Rob Rasmussen allowed one run in five innings for UCLA and struck out 10, but the bullpen allowed their first earned runs of the season, when Nebraska scored three runs in the eighth to tie the game. The Bruins were able to pull it out in the ninth, though, when Tyler Rahmatulla hit a sacrifice fly to center. The fly ball scored Dean Espy from third to win the game, 5-4, and set a school record for wins to start a season with nine.

#4 Arizona St. at Coca-Cola Classic

The Pac-10’s other undefeated team, Arizona St., was finally challenged by a decent team this weekend and they passed the test with flying colors. The bats, specifically Zach McPhee’s, carried the load as the Sun Devils beat Cal Poly 12-9 to open the weekend on the back of McPhee’s 2-4, three RBI, two run game. Versus Oregon St., the Sun Devils fell behind, 3-0, but behind Drew Maggi’s 2-4, two RBI performance, they had no trouble coming back to defeat the Beavers, 6-4. Against a UC Riverside team that had been playing well, it was all offense yet again. 22 hits, led by Maggi’s fours, were turned into 16 runs as ASU romped over the Highlanders, 16-2. The final game of the weekend, versus Florida International, was shortened to seven innings because of rain and the bats cooled down, but Ffive innings of one-run ball from Jake Borup made that a non-factor. The Sun Devils still scored enough in a 4-1 win to improve to 11-0 on the year.

Utah at Washington St.

Washington St. entered the weekend undefeated, but couldn’t make it out of it unscathed. Chad Arnold got the Cougars off to a hot start, giving up just one run in a complete game, four hit, effort as Wazzu cruised, 5-1. The next game was more pitching thanks to Spencer Jackson’s two-run seven innings, but Derek Jones’ 3-4, two run, RBI performance helped in a 6-2 victory. The following game took more bats and the Cougs had them. Gary Kuykendall went 3-4 with three RBI and a run scored for the Cougs as they put double-digits on the board in a 10-4 win. Those bats were nowhere to be found in the series finale, however. Not until the eighth inning did the Cougars get on the board and that one measly was all they could muster as their perfect start came to an end, 4-1.

#15 Arkansas at Cal

Cal will have to wonder “what if” because a blown lead in the opener ruined what was almost a huge series win for the young Golden Bears. Leading 3-2 in the eighth, the Bears gave up five runs as the Razorbacks stormed back to take them down, 7-3. Game two was all Arkansas as they jumped out to a 9-1 lead then just waited things out. Cal did their best to get back in it, but at that point, their four more runs were not nearly enough in a 9-5 defeat. Kevin Miller and Brian Diemer salvaged the weekend for the Golden Bears as the two combined to allow just six hits in their nine shutout innings to pick up a 6-0 win for Cal.

#18 Oregon St. at Coca-Cola Classic

After scoring four runs in the second inning, Matt Boyd hit a two-run home run in the third inning to put Oregon St.’s opening game of the Coca-Cola Classic versus UC Riverside out of reach. At that point, it was just a matter of playing out the innings and the Beavers did that to win, 10-3. That set up a tough showdown with Arizona St. and things started well as the Beavers jumped out to a 3-0 lead. The Sun Devils then ran off six runs to take command of the game and even though the Beavers added one more, that was all they could muster to drop a 6-4 decision. Tanner Robles got things back on track for the Beavers in the final game of the weekend, shutting Utah Valley out for 7.2 innings while striking out nine in OSU’s 9-0 domination.

#17 Cal St. Fullerton at Arizona

They had to play extras in the series opener, but Arizona prevailed. Jett Bandy led the way with a 3-4 game to go along with two RBI and two runs, but it was Seth Mejias-Brean who was the hero when he came up with an 11th inning RBI single to give the Wildcats a 8-7 win. On Saturday, Fullerton’s Noe Ramirez absolutely dominated the Wildcats with nine, one-run innings as the Wildcats were put away meekly, 6-1. Just as Saturday was all Titans, Sunday was all Wildcats. Daniel Workman allowed just one run in seven innings and Rafael Valenzuela went 2-3 with three runs and two RBI as the Wildcats scored 10 runs in the first five innings of a dominating 10-1 win to take the series.

Washington at Long Beach St.

As part of an eight game road trip, Washington went to Long Beach to take on the Dirtbags and they came away happy campers. Trailing 9-4 in the series opener, The Huskies got a pair of two RBI doubles as part of a seven run seventh inning to storm back for a 11-9 victory. That 11-run offense wasn’t anywhere to be found on Saturday as the Huskies wasted 4.1 strong innings from the bullpen in which they allowed just one unearned run to fall, 3-1. To close out the series, it was Andrew Kittredge on the hill and the defense almost ruined it for him. Kittredge struck out 10 and allowed just one earned run in 7.2 innings, but there were also three unearned runs that the Huskies barely staved off to win the game, 6-4, and the series.

UC Santa Barbara at #26 Stanford

Close game, close game, close game. Three close games and Stanford was good enough in them to pull out two of them for the series win. Jonathan Kaskow was the game one hero when he singled home the winning run in the bottom of the ninth to give the Cardinal a 6-5 win. Game two took extra innings, but when the 11th came around, it was Jake Schlander who answered the call by ripping a home run to left field for another one-run win, this time 5-4. The final game of the weekend didn’t finish as well for the Cardinal because starter Brett Mooneyham allowed six runs while only being able to retire a single batter. After that, Stanford was chasing the rest of the way and couldn’t catch up, dropping a 15-11 contest.

New Mexico at Southern California

USC looked like they were getting off on the right foot versus New Mexico, then then eighth and ninth inning cam about. Leading 2-0 after a pair of first inning runs, USC looked to be in command, but then starting pitcher Andrew Triggs ran into trouble. Having struck out nine and allowed just two hits through seven, Triggs allowed three hits in the eighth and a run before the bullpen entered to let one more in. New Mexico scored the game winner in the ninth and that was all it took to drop USC, 3-2. Ricky Oropesa’s two-run homer in the first got things going for the Trojans in game two and this time they added four more the rest of the way to secure a 6-2 victory. The series finale lacked any semblance of pitching. New Mexico scored four runs in the first, the SC countered with six of their own before the Lobos got two in the second, five in the third, four in the fourth and one more in the fifth for a 16-7 win.