Pac-10 Weekend Recap (March 19-21)

SethBlairASU The last two undefeated teams in the nation are still undefeated and both hail from the Pac-10. Arizona St., 20-0, and UCLA, 16-0, each took care of business this weekend to continue their perfect runs this season, but the rest of the conference is also faring well as only one checks in below .500 despite the conference playing the toughest schedules as ranked by BoydsWorld.com

This weekend marked the final weekend before conference play gets underway so several teams were looking to put in a good weekend of work in hopes of carrying momentum into the league season. In total, six teams swept their series, another took two of three, two lost two of three and one lost their only game of the weekend because two were snowed out.

Houston at Arizona St.

In taking two midweek games at Cal St. Fullerton, Arizona St. answered their final question of non-conference play by proving that they could win away from Arizona. They got to come back from that with a visit from a Houston Cougars team that entered the weekend winners of seven of their last eight. Houston, meet the Sun Devils.

Seth Blair was the star of the series opener by tossing seven innings of one run ball to shut down the Cougar offense. While Blair was rolling, the offense was smacking the ball and no one more so than Kole Calhoun. After taking a 3-0 lead, the Sun Devils put the game out of reach with six runs in the sixth inning. Calhoun hit the big bomb with a grand slam, but Riccio Torrez put a cap on it when he made it back-to-back jacks and the Sun Devils cruised to a 10-1 victory.

After Blair turned in a strong performance Friday, Merrill Kelly bettered him on Saturday. The right-hander allowed just two hits in seven shutout innings, while striking out eight to improve to 5-0 on the season in five starts. Kelly got help form Zach Wilson, who went 3-4 with a home run and five RBI in the contest. What was a hot Houston team was relegated to battling for a single win over the weekend because Kelly and Wilson overpowered them in a 6-0 Sun Devils win.

It was all Arizona St. again to start Sunday’s game, but it got awfully close late. Zach MacPhee carried the big bat for the Sun Devils, going 2-4 with a big three RBI double in the bottom of the first, a half inning after Houston jumped out to a 1-0 lead. The Devils carried a 6-2 lead into the ninth inning, but the Cougars made the Arizona St. fans nervous. With the lead cut to 6-5 and the bases loaded, MacPhee made a diving stop at second base and flipped the ball to second for the game’s final out and saving the Sun Devils’ perfect 20-0 record.

Oral Roberts at UCLA

The Golden Eagles never had a chance. The Bruins scored 16 runs in the first three innings and Gerrit Cole allowed just two runs in seven innings of the series opener, a 20-4 UCLA victory. Trevor Bauer surrendered just one run in eight innings in Saturday’s game and every UCLA starter picked up a hit as the Bruins had no issue with the Golden Eagles again, 12-2. Blair Dunlap led off the series final with a home run to extend his hit streak to 11 games and Justin Uribe went 3-4 with three RBI as the Bruins completed the sweep, 9-1. In total, UCLA outscored Oral Roberts 41-7 on the weekend to improve to 16-0 on the season and join Arizona St. as the only undefeated teams remaining in the country.

Pepperdine at Stanford

Stanford welcomed Pepperdine to Palo Alto for their final weekend of non-conference play and they got some things to smile about over the weekend. On Friday night, Brett Mooneyhma turned in his best start of the season by allowing only one earned run in five innings to give the Cardinal hope that he just may get on track and pitch to his potential. The Cardinal also took advantage of four unearned runs to take down Pepperdine, 10-9. Jordan Pires was the star on Saturday, tossing a complete game, one-hitter in a dominating 10-0 victory for the men in red and white. The Cardinal put the series sweep in the bag early on Sunday, plating seven in the first three innings and then cruising to a 11-6 victory.

Sacramento St. at Arizona

People may want to check in on those Arizona Wildcats because they’re winners of 11 in a row now. Arizona got there by taking care of the Hornets 5-0 on Friday night thanks to 7.1 shutout innings. Saturday wasn’t nearly as easy and the Wildcats actually went to the ninth inning all tied up. There, Joey Rickard came through with a bases loaded single to plate the winning run to pick up the W, 8-7. Sunday was the Jett Bandy show as the sophomore went 4-4 with three runs scored and two RBI to lead Arizona to the series sweep, 10-6.

Nevada at Oregon

They’re a second-year program and as such, destined to struggle, but it may be time to stop expected Oregon to struggle. The Ducks swept Nevada this weekend to improve to 16-6 in advance of the beginning of conference play next week. Oregon kicked off their weekend with a 16-2 demolition of the Wolfpack thanks to eight RBI from Jack Marder. The Ducks proceeded to take both games of the Saturday doubleheader before closing out the series with a 5-0 win on the back of seven shutout innings by Alex Keudell.

Cal St. Fullerton at Washington

Things never got going in the right direction for Washington. The first four Husky pitchers on Friday night all gave up multiple runs to ruin an 11 hit effort from the offense in a 9-7 defeat. The pitching was worse on Saturday as starting pitcher Andrew Kittredge allowed 11 runs in just 4.2 innings to take the Huskies out of the game early. The game finished 19-6 and Sunday wasn’t much better, but it was the offense that fell short. No runs and just six hits resulted in a 6-0 defeat and sweep at the hands of the Titans.

Cal at Cal Poly

The freshmen have been the driving force in Cal’s strong start, but it was junior Mark Canha who did the big damage on Friday night by hitting an eight inning grand slam to break a tie game and lead the Bears to an 11-9 win. Chadd Krist did the damage on Saturday, going 3-5 with three runs and three RBI, but the entire offense was clicking as the Golden Bears picked up the win, 14-2. Cal fell behind 6-1 in the final game of the series and tried to make a comeback, but it wasn’t enough and the Bears dropped the finale, 6-5.

Maine at Oregon St.

It took all of one inning for Oregon St. to show that weren’t taking anything for granted against the overmatched Black Bears. A six run first, highlighted by Stefen Romero’s home run as the Beavers dominated, 18-3. Romero hit another home run and finished with three RBI as the Beavers took game one of Saturday’s doubleheader, 7-5. Tanner Robles’ eight innings of two hit, one run (unearned), 12 strikeout work was the highlight of the doubleheader’s second game, a 12-2 victory. It was more pitching in the final game of the series that got it done as Matt Boyd threw 6.1 innings of one-run ball to lead OSU to a 2-1 win and series sweep.

Southern Cal at Pacific

In need of a big road series victory before they get into conference play, USC came up short. Friday night pitcher, Andrew Triggs, allowed six runs and the offense mustered just four hits in a series opening defeat, 8-2. Things were close on Saturday as a Ricky Oropesa homer in the ninth cut the Pacific lead to 6-5, but the tying run was thrown out trying to steal second to put a wrap on the game. The offense came alive in the series finale to salvage the trip to Stockton. A seven run second inning, five RBI from Matt Foat and four by Cade Kreuter led the way in a 15-9 Trojan win.

Washington St. at Wichita St.

The snow was not kind to the Cougars and Shockers. The two teams got in the series opener, but the next two were wiped out because of snow and the teams were left with a one-game series. Washington St. fell behind 3-0 early in that game, but fought back with three in the ninth inning to even the game. A two-run homer in the bottom half of the inning by the Shockers handed the home team a victory though and the Cougars walked away losers.