UCLA at Arizona State
The premiere matchup in the conference this weekend takes place in Tempe, Arizona. The Bruins, ranked No. 6 in the latest NCWBA poll, come into the weekend 17-4 and 5-1 in conference. The Bruins are coming off a series victory last weekend against California. Arizona State, ranked No. 26, sits at 13-7-1 and 2-4 in conference play. Arizona State dropped two out of three last weekend against Oregon State. The player to watch for the Sun Devil’s is LHP Ryan Kellogg, who threw a no-hitter against the Beavers last Saturday. It will be interesting to see how he bounces back against another quality opponent. Arizona State ranks third in the conference with a .285 batting average, while UCLA sits at sixth with a .268 team batting average. On the mound, UCLA sits second in the conference with a 2.07 team ERA. Arizona State is fifth with a 3.10 team ERA. These are both regional teams and this matchup will be interesting to see how UCLA handles a quality opponent on the road in conference. The weekend at Arizona State will be the first time the Bruins have been on the road for a series since playing Baylor in Waco, Texas, on February 22.
Series Prediction: UCLA takes two out of three.
Thursday, March 28 – 6:30 p.m. PT
UCLA – Adam Plutko, RHP, (3-1, 3.47 ERA)
Arizona State – Trevor Williams, RHP (3-2, 2.36 ERA)
Friday, March 29- 6:30 p.m. PT
UCLA – Nick Vander Tuig, RHP, (4-2, 1.50 ERA)
Arizona State –Ryan Kellogg, LHP (5-0, 0.71 ERA)
Saturday, March 30- 12:30 p.m. PT
UCLA – Grant Watson, LHP, So. (5-0, 1.13 ERA)
Arizona State –Adam McCreery, LHP (1-3, 7.04 ERA)
USC at California
USC travels to California this weekend to take on a Bears team that is a perfect 7-0 at home. The Trojans are 9-15 and 2-4 in conference so far this season. Away from Dedeaux Field, USC is 3-9. California is 15-10 overall and 4-2 in conference. The Bears are coming off a mid-week victory over San Francisco, by a final of 5-2. On the mound, the matchup pits the two worst conference ERA’s against each other. California posts a 4.09 ERA, while USC sits at 4.67 ERA. Look for a lot of runs to be scored this weekend as both teams’ offense sits the middle of the conference. USC through 24 games has a .275 team batting average. California has a .266 team batting average through 25 games. In looking at the statistics, this matchup seems to be even. The difference maker is California playing at home. 7-0 on the season at home makes a strong case for a California sweep this weekend. Plus, the Trojans lost two out of three at Washington last weekend, while Cal lost two of three against UCLA.
Series Prediction: California sweeps USC
Thursday, March 28 – 7:00 p.m. PT
California- Ryan Mason, RHP, (4-0, 2.31 ERA)
USC- Bob Wheatley, LHP (3-2, 1.86 ERA)
Friday, March 29 – 6:00 p.m. PT
California- Justin Jones, LHP, (1-2, 3.94 ERA)
USC- Wyatt Strahan, RHP (0-1, 1.76 ERA)
Saturday, March 30 – 12:00 p.m. PT
USC- Kyle Twomey, LHP (2-2, 3.86 ERA)
Washington at Oregon
The Washington Huskies, fresh off a series victory last weekend against USC, travel to PK Park to take on Oregon. The Huskies are 6-16 and 2-4 in conference play. Oregon, ranked eighth in the latest NCWBA poll, enters the weekend with a 19-6 record and is 5-1 in conference. The Ducks are tied with Oregon State and UCLA atop the Pac-12 conference. On Tuesday, Oregon was able to get a mid-week victory over Portland by a final of 5-1. Last week the Ducks swept Arizona. Offensively, Oregon and Washington enter the matchup with similar batting averages. The Ducks sit at .247, while Washington post’s a .251 average. The difference maker for the series could be on the mound, where Oregon has a 2.84 ERA. Washington has a 4.08 ERA. Oregon has won four in a row and the Ducks are finally starting to swing the bats more consistently. They have scored five or more runs in their last three games. Look for that the trend to continue this weekend as Washington ranks ninth in the conference in ERA.
Series Prediction: Oregon sweeps Washington
Thursday, March 28 – 6:00 p.m. PT
Oregon- Jake Reed, RHP, (3-3, 3.44 ERA)
Washington- Nick Palewicz RHP (2-4, 5.40 ERA)
Friday, March 29 – 6:00 p.m. PT
Oregon- Tommy Thorpe, LHP, (3-2, 3.28 ERA)
Washington- Austin Voth RHP (3-3, 3.92 ERA)
Saturday, March 30 – 7:00 p.m. PT
Oregon- Cole Irvin LHP, (4-1, 3.69 ERA)
Utah at Arizona
One of the biggest matchups in the conference this weekend is Utah traveling to the desert to take on Arizona. Although it’s early in conference play, this series is a must-win for Arizona. Utah comes into the weekend 12-10 overall and 2-4 in conference. The Utes secured a 5-4 win over BYU on Tuesday. They also were able to take two out three from Stanford last weekend. Arizona comes into the weekend losers of six in a row. The Wildcats are 15-11 and 0-6 in conference play. The six game losing streak is the longest for Arizona in five years. There is reason for optimism in Tucson, as the Wildcats have six consecutive home games. Arizona is 14-7 at home this season. Offensivly, Arizona sits second in the conference with a .308 team batting average. Utah, on the other hand, ranks last in the conference with a .244 team batting average. On the mound, Utah and Arizona each rank in the middle of the conference in team ERA. Utah sits sixth with a 3.57 ERA and Arizona ranks seventh with a 3.72 ERA. Look for Arizona to come out with a sense of urgency in this series. As previously stated, Arizona cannot afford to lose this series.
Series Prediction: Arizona takes two out of three
Thursday, March 28- 6:00 p.m. MT
Arizona- Konner Wade RHP (2-2, 4.14 ERA)
Utah- Mitch Watrous RHP (1-1, 4.08 ERA)
Friday, March 29- 6:00 p.m. MT
Arizona- James Farris RHP (3-3, 3.83)
Utah- Dalton Carroll RHP (2-1, 4.44 ERA)
Saturday, March 30- 12:00 p.m. MT
Arizona- Cody Moffett, LHP (2-2, 3.96 ERA)
Utah- Joe Pond RHP (2-2, 5.23 ERA)
Stanford at Washington State
Stanford heads to Pullman this weekend in a matchup between two teams that have only played one conference series. Stanford, ranked No. 23 by the NCWBA, enters the weekend with a 11-8 record and are 1-2 in conference. The Cardinal has lost three in a row and has lost six out of their last seven. On Tuesday, the Cardinal was beaten by UC Davis 2-1. Washington State, on the other hand, enters the weekend winners of four in a row. The Cougars are 15-8 and 2-1 in conference. They swept Brown last weekend in a four-game series in Pullman. Stanford ranks ninth in the conference with a .250 team batting average. Washington State ranks first in the conference with a .333 team batting average. On the mound, Stanford ranks third in the conference with a 2.43 ERA. Washington State is eighth with a 3.87 ERA. The matchup with the most intrigue will take place Thursday as RHP Mark Appel will face the Cougar lineup that leads the conference in batting average, on-base percentage, slugging percentage, hits, doubles, and home runs. Pullman is a long way to travel, especially when you’re not playing well as a team.
Series Prediction: Washington State takes two out of three.
Thursday, March 28- 6:00 p.m. PT
Stanford- Mark Appel RHP (3-2, 1.18 ERA)
Washington State- Joe Pistorese LHP (3-1, 2.09 ERA)
Friday, March 29- 6:00 p.m. PT
Stanford- Bobby Zarubin, RHP (1-1, 1.71 ERA)
Washington State- Tanner Chleborad RHP (3-3, 5.18 ERA)
Saturday, March 30- 12:00 p.m. PT
Stanford- Marcus Brakeman RHP (0-0 first career start)
Washington State- Scott Simon RHP (2-0, 3.90 ERA)
Oregon State at San Diego
Oregon State has their Pac-12 bye this weekend, so they will travel down to San Diego to take on the Toreros in a three-game series. The Beavers are ranked No. 3 by the NCWBA and are 21-2 overall. In the conference, Oregon State is 5-1, tied with Oregon and UCLA atop the standings. The Beavers are coming off taking two out of three against Arizona State last weekend. San Diego is 16-9 and 4-2 in conference play. Keep an eye out for LHP Matt Boyd this weekend. The lefty threw a complete game one-hitter last Friday and it should be interesting to see how does in facing third baseman Kris Bryant. Bryant leads the nation with 12 home runs and is second in the nation in slugging percentage (.938). Head coach Pat Casey has yet to decide the rotation for the weekend. Shortstop Tyler Smith is also expected to miss the series, but he is expected back for the upcoming series against UCLA.