The Arizona State Sun Devils had arguably the best weekend in the Pac-12. Arizona State defeated No.2 Arkansas and highly touted RHP Ryne Stanek Friday night 3-2. Second baseman James McDonald had two hits and two RBI. On Saturday, RHP Trevor Williams pitched a complete game in the 8-1 victory of Pacific University. Williams improved to 2-0 while only allowing one run and striking out nine. Sunday pitted the Sun Devils against Arkansas again, resulting in another Sun Devil victory 3-1. The score was tied 1-1 in the seventh, before Arizona State stuck for two runs. The game between the Sun Devils and Gonzaga ended in a 6-6 tie, after the Sun Devils scored a run on a Trever Allen homerun in the bottom of the eighth. The game was called due to Gonzaga’s pre-arranged travel plans. The Sun Devils are the big winners after two victories against the No. 2 ranked team in the country.
Arizona State 3-0-1.
San Francisco at Arizona
The Wildcats took two out of three from the San Francisco Dons over the weekend. On Friday, third baseman Brandon Dixon led the Wildcats with four hits in a 6-4 victory. RHP James Farris improved to 3-0 on Satuday with a 5-2 Arizona victory. Farris pitched eight innings while allowing two runs. He struck out six. On Sunday, the Dons were able to notch a victory against the Wildcats 9-2. RHP Stephen Manthei walked the first two batters he faced. He then allowed an RBI single, followed by his third walk of the inning. He was immediately replaced and the Wildcats were forced to use eight pitchers to get thru the day. In three starts, Mathei is now 1-1 with a 6.57 ERA.
Arizona takes the series 2-1.
Wright State at UCLA
UCLA was able to sweep Wright State over the weekend. The Bruins secured a Friday night victory by a score of 6-3. Third baseman Kevin Kramer had three hits while shortstop Pat Valaika had thee RBI. RHP Nick Vander Tuig pitched seven and a third innings of two-run ball Saturday as the Bruins won 4-2. He struck out one, while only allowing six hits. Sunday saw the Bruins complete the series sweep, 10-2, behind seven innings of zero runs from starter Grant Watson. Shortstop Valaika matched a career high with four RBI.
UCLA sweeps Wright State.
USC at Fresno State
In Game one of the series Friday night, the Trojans were able to secure the victory 9-1 behind a season-high 14 hits. First baseman AJ Ramirez led the Trojans with three hits. LHP Bob Wheatley was able to get his first win of the season with a seven inning, zero run performance. Fresno State was able to draw even on the series Saturday with a 5-1 victory. Sophomore Nigel Nootbaar recorded a career high 12 strikeouts in six innings pitched. The 12 strikeouts were the most for a Trojan since 2011. Walks, wild-pitches, and errors wound up costing the Trojans the game. On Sunday, freshman LHP Kyle Twomey was not able to get out of the first inning. He allowed five runs in just two-thirds of an inning. It was the worst start from the freshman this season. Fresno State was able to claim the series victory by a final score of 14-3. Right fielder Aaron Judge had four RBI to go along with his four hits.
Fresno State wins the series 2-1.
Texas at Stanford
Another major matchup this weekend in the Pac-12 took place in Palo Alto. The Stanford Cardinal was able to sweep the Longhorns this weekend by a combined score of 11-3. On Friday night, RHP Mark Appel built upon his last start by throwing another complete game. Appel matched a career high with 14 strikeouts and did not allow a run in the 2-0 victory. Saturday saw another Cardinal victory 7-2. Five Cardinals’ were able to record two hits in the victory. In the series final on Sunday, Lonnie Kauppila doubled off the right-center field wall to score Alex Blandino in the bottom of the ninth, to secure a series sweep by a final score of 2-1.
Stanford sweeps Texas.
Oregon at Cal State Fullerton
Head coach George Horton returned to his alma mater, where he coached for eleven seasons, and won one NCAA championship, over the weekend. On Friday night, the Titans took game one 8-2 behind a complete-game effort from Thomas Eshelman. The freshman improved to 3-0 on the season, after allowing three hits and striking out six. Saturday resulted in another Titan victory, 5-2. Titan teammate Nick Hurtado passed away on Friday after a long battle with bone cancer. The Cal State Fullerton community honored Hurtado with a ceremony before Saturday’s game. Outfielder Michael Lorenzen gave Fullerton the lead in the first with a thee run homerun off the left-field foul pole. On Sunday, the Ducks were able to put an end to the Titans 10-game win streak. LHP Cole Irvin silenced the Titan bats with a 9-1 victory. The freshman improved to 3-0 behind seven innings where he allowed just one run.
Cal State Fullerton wins the series 2-1.
Bryant at Oregon State
The Oregon State Beavers returned home over the weekend to kick off their 2013 campaign. In game one, Oregon State was able to get an RBI single from shortstop Tyler Smith in the bottom of the tenth inning for the walk-off victory, 2-1. On Saturday, the Beavers were able to secure the double-header sweep with a 7-2 and 3-1 victory. Left fielder Michael Conforto recorded a two-run homerun in each game. Sunday resulted in a four-game sweep by Oregon State. The Beavers, behind a two homerun game from Conforto, recorde the victory 14-0. Conforto recorded both a grand slam and a three-run homerun. He finished the weekend with four homeruns and 12 RBI.
Oregon State sweeps Bryant
Cal Poly at Washington
The Washington Huskies knocked off the undefeated Cal Poly Mustangs Friday night 2-1. RHP Austin Voth went seven and one-third innings while allowing one run. He struck out nine. Second baseman Robert Pehl had both RBI in the game after notching two doubles. On Saturday, the Mustangs responded by beating the Huskies 5-3. Right fielder Nick Torres hit two homeruns for the Mustangs and accounted for all five runs. In the series finale on Sunday, the Mustangs were able to secure the victory, 5-1. Bryan Gardner improved to 3-0 after not allowing a run in five innings. He struck out three
Cal Poly wins the series 2-1.
California at Houston College Classic
The California Golden Bears traveled to Minute Maid Park in Houston, Texas over the weekend to participate in four-team tournament. The Bears dropped the Friday night game 9-0 to Baylor. On Saturday, the Bears faced off against the No. 1 team in the country, North Carolina. The Tar Heels beat the Bears 11-5. The Tar Heels scored eight runs in the fourth inning. California was able to respond on Sunday by defeating Houston 13-2. The Bears recorded 20 hits in the game and were led by catcher Andrew Knapp and first baseman Brenden Farney. Both players recorded four hits apiece. California will take on Rice Monday.
California 1-2. At Rice Monday at 3:00 p.m.
Utah at Dairy Queen Classic
Like Arizona State and California, Utah also traveled to tournament over the weekend. The Utes participated in the Dairy Queen Classic inside the Metrodome in Minnesota. On Friday, the Utes were able to beat Northern Illinois 6-1. Braden Anderson, Konnor Armijo and Dallas Carroll each had two hits for Utah. On Saturday, Minnesota recorded the victory 4-1. Minnesota starting pitcher Ben Meyer pitched eight innings of scoreless ball, while recording five strikeouts. Sunday saw Dartmouth record a 5-2 victory. Second baseman Thomas Roulis had three hits for Dartmouth.
Cal State Northridge at Washington State
The Washington State Cougars completed their eight-game home stand over the weekend by taking three out of four from Cal State Northridge over the weekend. On Thursday, Washington State claimed the 2-1 victory after Trace Tam Sing broke up a 1-1 tie with an RBI single in the bottom of the seventh. The Cougar victory on Friday, 8-2, was propelled by a 17 hit performance from the Cougars. Six hitters for the Cougars recorded a multi-hit game. Saturday resulted in a 7-4 Cougar victory, behind three RBI’s from outfielder Jason Monda and infielder Adam Nelubowich. Cal State Northridge was able to halt Washington States win streak on Sunday by the final score of 5-3. Northridge scored five times in the top of the third inning to secure the victory.
Washington State wins the series 3-1.
5 Thoughts from the Weekend
- The Arizona State Sun Devils had the most impressive weekend by far. Claiming two victories against then #2 Arkansas, on a neutral field, is a major feather in the cap of the Pac-12. It not only solidifies Arizona State as a regional contender, it also sends a message to the rest of the conference that Arizona State will be tough team to play this year.
- The next two are interchangeable. RHP Mark Appel dominates again. The Stanford senior returned to Stanford in a questionable move after being selected 11th overall in the 2012 MLB draft. Many wondered if he could be as good in 2013 as he was in 2012. How as Appel responded? How about back to back complete game effort victories. He starter is now 2-1 with a 1.17 ERA with 28 strikeouts and just five walks. He has only allowed three earned runs in 23 innings pitched.
- Michael Conforto could easily be flip-flopped with Mark Appel at number two. Conforto finished the weekend against Bryant with four homeruns and 12 RBI. On Sunday, he delivered both a grand slam and a three-run homerun. The Sophmore had been hovering around .300 with no homeruns before the weekend. Look for Conforto and Appel to be named offensive and pitcher of the week for the Pac-12.
- The Oregon Ducks losing two out of three at Cal State Fullerton. Fullerton is clearly a team on the rise after possibly being undervalued to start the season. Losing two of three on the road in a difficult environment is not something to be too worried about if you are Oregon. Something to maybe be worried about instead is RHP Jake Reed who is now 1-2 with a 4.32 ERA. Reed was 8-4 with a 2.92 ERA last year and must replace Alex Keudell (11-5 2.38) if the Ducks have championship hopes this season.
- Washington State out to an 8-3 record. The Cougars are also 7-1 at home. The Cougars are leading the Pac-12 in major offensive categories such as team batting average (.319), homeruns (10), and doubles (22). Although the Cougar schedule has not been murderer’s row, a team ERA 2.86 is good enough to win some games in the Pac-12. Taking three out of four from Cal State Northridge is also a good thing for the strength of the conference.