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Pac 12 Weekend Recap (March 15th-17th)

ConfortoFeaturedOregon State at Arizona

The Oregon State Beavers swept Arizona for the first time in school history. The Beavers, now 19-1 and 3-0 in the Pac-12, took the Friday night game by a score of 6-2. Outfielder Michael Conforto hit a three-run home run and LHP Matt Boyd held Arizona to two hits and two runs through seven innings. Boyd improved to 4-0 on the season. On Saturday, Oregon State pulled off the series win by a final of 4-3. RHP Andrew Moore became the first Pac-12 pitcher to 5-0 this season. The freshman only lasted 5 2/3 innings, but the Beaver bullpen held Arizona scoreless the rest of the way. Designated hitter Dylan Davis and catcher Jake Rodriquez each had two RBI apiece. The Beavers finished off the sweep Sunday afternoon by a final of 8-4. Catcher Jake Rodriquez, who came into the game in the fourth inning as defensive substitution, had a career high five RBI. LHP Ben Wetzler made the start Sunday as he continues to battle back from a bad back. He went 4 1/3 innings while only allowing one run. With the sweep, the Arizona Wildcats fell to 15-8 overall and are now 0-3 in the conference. 

Washington at UCLA

The other big winner over the weekend was UCLA. The Bruins pulled off the sweep of Washington and improved to 15-3 overall and 3-0 in conference. Washington, on the other hand, dropped to 4-14 overall and sit 0-3 in conference. On Friday, the game was called in the fourth inning due to low visibility caused by fog. The teams picked up the action on Saturday with the Bruins wining by a final of 3-2 in 15 innings thanks to a two-out RBI single by Christoph Bono. The game lasted five hours and 35 minutes. In the second game Saturday, UCLA claimed the series victory behind a complete game from Nick Vander Tuig. Vander Tuig had eight strikeouts and did not allow a run. The Bruins cruised to a 5-0 victory with Bono recording two RBI. The sweep was completed on Sunday with a 3-0 Bruin victory. LHP Grant Watson improved to 4-0 after going six innings and not allowing a run. Shortstop Pat Valaika went 2-4 on the day with a solo home run.

Oregon at USC

The Oregon Ducks took two out of three over the weekend at USC. Oregon improved to 15-6 overall and 2-1 in conference. USC feel to 8-11 overall and 1-2 in conference to start the season. On Friday, Oregon rallied in the later innings to overtake the Trojans by a final of 5-2. Oregon had multi-hit games from three players, while five different Ducks recorded an RBI. On Saturday, Oregon scored six runs in the top of the eighth inning to rally to an 8-4 victory. Centerfielder Scott Heineman led the Ducks going 3-6 on the day. He had two RBI and scored two runs. In the final game on Sunday, Oregon could not find the magic once again to overcome an early inning deficit. The Trojans beat the Ducks by a final of 5-3. Shortstop Blake Lacey had three hits for the Trojans, while LHP freshman Kyle Twomey improved to 2-1 on the season after going eight innings of two run ball. He struck out five while only allowing five hits. Catcher Jake Hernandez drove in three RBI for the Troajans.

Washington State at Arizona State

The Arizona State Sun Devil magic seemed to cool off over the weekend as the Washington State Cougars traveled down to Tempe, Ariz., and took two out of three. With the series victory, Washington State improves to 11-7 overall and 2-1 in conference play. Arizona State is now 12-4-1 overall and 1-2 in conference. On Friday, the conference leaders in batting average showed their strength by roughing up reigning Pac-12 Pitcher of the Week, RHP Trevor Williams, to the tune of seven runs over seven innings. The Cougars had 17 hits and six players recorded a multi-hit game in the 15-4 victory. Outfielder Collin Slaybaugh went 4-5 with three RBI. On Saturday, Arizona State bounced back by a final of 4-1. Freshman LHP Ryan Kellogg pitched seven innings while only allowing a run. The Sun Devil struck out two and only allowed three hits. Four different Sun Devil’s recorded solo RBI’s in the victory. In the rubber match, Washington State was able to claim the series victory Sunday by a final of 11-8. Outfielder Jason Monda went 3-4 had drove in three RBI.

California at Utah

California came into the weekend winners of five straight. After leaving the state of Utah, the Bears are now riding an eight-game winning streak after completing the sweep. California improves to 13-7 overall and are now 3-0 in conference play. Utah is now 8-9 overall and has a 0-3 conference record. California won Friday by a final of 9-5. Catcher Andrew Knapp and first baseman Devon Rodriquez each went 3-5 on the day. Rodriquez had a double, a home run, and recorded four RBI. On Saturday, California took the series behind another 9-5 victory. First baseman Devon Rodriquez continued his power display by hammering a grand slam in the second inning. From there on out, it was all California. In the series finale on Sunday, California trailed 4-0 in the second inning. Freshman centerfielder Devin Pearson led Cal in the comeback that saw the Bears take the lead in the seventh on a Rodriquez RBI single. Pearson was 3-4 at the plate and drove in a run in the ninth to secure the 6-4 victory.

Pac-12 Power Rankings

  1. Oregon State
  2. UCLA
  3. Oregon
  4. Stanford
  5. Arizona State
  6. Arizona
  7. Washington State
  8. California
  9. USC
  10. Utah
  11. Washington

Five Takeaways from the Weekend

  1. Oregon State is hands down the best team in the Pac-12. In pulling off the sweep of the defending National Champions, Oregon State improves to 7-0 on the road. With key players such as Barnes and Wetzler returning from injuries, the Beavers are now faced with the problem of finding room for all their depth. RHP Dan Child was 3-1 and had an ERA below 3.30 in four starts before being pushed back to the bullpen over the weekend. Outfielder Michael Conforto seems to have found his swing after struggling a bit early on. The sophomore is now batting .380 with six home runs and 21 RBI.
  2. UCLA was also impressive in their sweep of the Washington Huskies. The Beavers and Bruins seem to be a notch above everyone else in the Pac-12. Starters Vander Tuig and Watson, aided by the Bruin bullpen, held Washington scoreless in the Saturday and Sunday games. If these two starters continue to impress, the Bruins could stay atop the conference with Oregon State. One area of concern is still the lack of development from freshman and sophomores.
  3. Arizona State dropping two out of three at home thanks to Washington State. RHP Trevor Williams had thrown consecutive complete-games and was starting Friday night after being named the Pac-12 Pitcher of the Week. The Cougars were able to rough up the All-American. The Cougars put up 30 total runs over the weekend and if they continue to lead the conference offensively, they could find themselves competing for a possible regional bid. It will all come down to how well each team’s Saturday and Sunday starters pitch.
  4. Oregon taking two out of three at USC. Although the Ducks dropped the Sunday game, it’s a positive sign if you’re a Duck fan that they put up some crooked numbers. The Ducks scored five runs Friday, eight runs Saturday, and ended with three on Sunday. An average of 5.3 runs per game will keep Oregon in contention for a conference championship this season.
  5. Arizona being swept at home. It’s clear this Wildcat team is not the same bunch of guys as last year’s national championship group. Although Oregon State is the best team in the conference, the Wildcats were outscored by a total of 18 to 9. Friday night starter Konner Wade is 2-1 with a 4.41 ERA in five starts. Arizona will need him to start becoming more consistent if they want to stay in the upper half of the conference.