A big weekend for Arizona State, as the Sun Devils took two out of three from UCLA. RHP Trevor Williams pitched 7 and 2/3 innings, while only allowing one run, in the 4-1 Sun Devil victory. Williams struck out six and walked one as the junior improved to 4-2 on the year. Arizona State had RBI contributions from four Sun Devils, including third baseman Michael Benjamin, who hit his second home run of the year.
The story going into Friday’s game, (Easter pushed the series to Thursday, Friday, Saturday), was how well freshmen LHP Ryan Kellogg would pitch after throwing a no-hitter against Oregon State last weekend. Kellogg responded by allowing four runs in eight innings, while striking out five, in the Sun Devil 7-4 series victory. The lefty is now 6-0 this season and has not issued a walk in 19 straight innings. Right fielder Kasey Coffman provided the support for Kellogg, by hitting two home runs and recording five RBI. Coffman hit a three-run home run in the bottom of the second inning. He then homered again, this time a two-run shot, in the bottom of the sixth inning. The five RBI by Coffman was a personal best.
Saturday’s matchup appeared to favor UCLA on paper. LHP Grant Watson was 5-0 with a 1.13 ERA. LHP Adam McCreery, for Arizona State, was 1-3 with a 7.04 ERA. Instead, both pitchers struggled as neither starter made it through the third inning. Watson was roughed up to the tune of six earned runs in 2 and 1/3. McCreery did not record an out, as he allowed two runs in the first inning. Heading into the bottom of the ninth, UCLA led 10-8. Freshman pitch hitter Dalton DiNatele hit a game-tying two-run home run off RHP Dave Berg, who had previously gone 19 consecutive innings without allowing a run. In the tenth, designated hitter Kevin Williams singled up the middle to drive in two, as UCLA thwarted off the sweep by a final of 12-10. The Bruins were led by second baseman Trent Chatterton, who was 3-3 on the day with two walks.
Arizona State wins two out of three
Arizona State: 15-8-1, 4-5
UCLA: 18-6, 6-3
USC at California
The most surprising results over the weekend in the Pac-12 were USC taking two out of three from California. The Bears had been 7-0 at home this season, while USC was coming off dropping a series against last place Washington. In the first ever night game played at Evans Diamond, USC defeated California by a final of 4-3. USC second baseman Adam Landecker hit a ball of Cal reliever Trevor Hildenberger in the top of the tenth. The ball tricked down the third baseline, allowing Timmy Robinson to score from third base.
In game two on Friday, USC overcame an early 3-0 deficit to claim a series victory by a final of 9-5. RHP Wyatt Strahan picked up his first win of the season after pitching six innings and allowing three earned runs. Strahan walked four and struck out one, while only allowing six hits. USC recorded nine runs on 14 hits. The Trojans also benefited from four California errors. Every starter for USC recorded a hit, while five Trojans had a multi-hit game.
Coming into the series finale on Saturday, USC freshman Kyle Twomey (2-2, 3.86) was set to face off against RHP Keaton Siomkin, who was making his second start of the year. After holding California scoreless through four innings, Twomey allowed eight runs over two innings as California defeated USC by a final of 15-5. Second baseman Chris Paul had a day, as the sophomore hit two home runs and drove in seven RBI. His first home run, a three-runner, came in the bottom of the fifth inning. In the sixth, first baseman Devon Rodriquez and catcher Andrew Knapp hit back-to-back homeruns to give Cal a 6-5 lead. In the bottom of the seventh, California hung an eight spot on USC, with the aid of Chris Paul’s second home run, a grand slam.
USC wins two out of three
USC: 11-16, 4-5
California: 16-12, 5-4
Washington at Oregon
Oregon did exactly what they needed to do if they wanted to compete for the Pac-12 championship this season. The Ducks recorded a series sweep against Washington at PK Park over the weekend. In game one on Thursday, with the score tied 3-3 in the bottom of the tenth inning, first baseman Ryon Healy hit a two-run walk-off over the left field wall. Healy was 3-5 on the day with three RBI.
On Friday, Oregon got an outstanding pitching performance from LHP Tommy Thorpe, who pitched eight innings and did not allow a run. Thorpe recorded seven strikeouts, while only allowing three hits as Oregon claimed the series victory with a 1-0 win. The lone Duck run came after catcher Josh Graham doubled to get the inning started. He later scored on a squeeze bunt from shortstop J.J. Altobelli. Closer Jimmie Sherfy picked up his eighth save of the season after pitching a perfect ninth.
Saturday saw the Ducks once again get a dominating pitching performance from another young lefty. Freshman Cole Irvin improved to 5-1 on the season after pitching a complete-game in the Ducks 6-0 victory. Irvin struck out 11and only allowed four hits. Oregon got on the board in the bottom of the first inning with an RBI single from first baseman Ryon Healy. After Healy made his way around the diamond to third, he scored on a squeeze from Steven Packard. Oregon scored four more times in the bottom of the fourth to lock up the sweep. Healy led the Ducks once again by going 3-4 with two RBI.
Oregon sweeps Washington
Oregon: 22-6, 8-1
Washington: 6-19, 2-7
Utah at Arizona
In what was considered a must win series for Arizona, the Wildcats responded in a big way by sweeping Utah over the weekend. In game one on Thursday, Arizona snapped a six-game losing streak with a 4-3 victory. Center fielder Johnny Field led the way for the Wildcats with a 4-5 day. Left fielder Zach Gibbons also went 2-2 with two walks. Gibbons drove in the fourth run for the Wildcats in the bottom of the seventh inning with an RBI single.
The Wildcat’s bats came alive on Friday, as Arizona claimed the much-needed series victory by a final of 15-4. Second baseman Trent Gilbert recorded a career-high five RBI after going 2-5 on the day. Gilbert had a pair of two RBI doubles. He also led the Wildcats with three runs scored. Freshman reliever Tyger Tally recorded his second win of the series after pitching two innings in relief of RHP James Farris.
The final game of the series on Saturday, presented Arizona an opportunity for a valuable sweep. The Wildcats answered the call with a 2-1 victory. Both pitchers, Dalton Carroll for Utah, and Tyler Crawford for Arizona, held their opponents scoreless through six innings. In the bottom of the seventh, Arizona got on the board with an RBI single from center fielder Johnny Field. In the bottom of the eighth, Trent Gilbert delivered an RBI single to give the Wildcats a 2-0 lead. Closer Mathew Troupe allowed a leadoff single to Tyler Relf. One out later, Wyler Smith singled to put the tying run on base for Utah. With two outs, Braden Anderson singled to left field to cut the deficit to 2-1. Kody Davis then loaded the bases for Utah, as Troupe failed to record an out on comebacker. Troupe then got Trey Neilson to ground out to shortstop to end the game.
Arizona sweeps Utah
Utah: 12-13, 2-7
Arizona: 18-11, 3-6
Stanford at Washington State
The most intriguing individual matchup of the weekend took place in Pullman as RHP Mark Appel faced off against a Washington State team that leads the conference in most major offensive categories. On Thursday, behind Appel, the Cardinal secured a victory by a final of 3-0. Appel pitched a complete game, while recording 10 strikeouts. The senior walked one and only allowed four hits as he improved to 4-2 on the season. Third baseman Alex Blandino collected three hits, as did first baseman Brian Ragira, who drove in two RBI.
For the second straight game, Stanford outhit the Cougars and won by a final of 9-3. Second baseman Danny Diekroeger went 3-5 on the day and knocked in two RBI. Designated hitter Wayne Taylor also had two RBI. RHP Bobby Zurubin only lasted four innings, but held the Cougars to only one run. Noteworthy was the return of closer AJ Vanegas. Venegas recorded his first save of the season in working 1 1/3 innings, while striking out three.
Washington State responded Saturday afternoon be defeating Stanford 8-5. Designated hitter Jason Monda had an impressive day. He hit a two-run home run over the right field wall, and he picked up the win in relief after pitching 2 1/3 innings. Center fielder Collin Slybaugh went 2-4 on the day with two RBI.
Stanford takes two of three
Stanford: 13-9, 3-3
Washington State: 16-10, 3-3
Oregon State at San Diego
Without fully analyzing this series (not a conference matchup), the Beavers dropped two out of three at San Diego. In game one on Thursday, San Diego beat Oregon State by a final of 7-4. Head Coach Pat Casey decided to give Dan Child the start. Child had been starting the first half of the season due to an injury to Ben Wetzler. Child had been working out of the bullpen for the past two weeks. The Beavers had five errors in the game, as the infield as been adjusted due to shortstop Tyler Smith’s injury. Only two of San Diego’s seven runs were earned.
Friday saw LHP Matt Boyd pick up his sixth win of the season. This time, San Diego played sloppy as the Toreros had six errors in the 14-5 Beaver victory. Starter Andrew Moore followed Boyd an in inning later, and pitched the final four innings for Oregon State. Oregon State had 18 hits as two Beavers recorded three hits and five Beavers had two hits in the game.
In the series finale on Saturday, San Diego won the series by posting a 13-3 victory. Oregon State, once again, was plagued by poor defense. The Beavers committed four more errors Saturday. LHP Ben Wetzler went three innings and allowed six unearned runs.
Oregon State: 22-4, 5-1
Pac-12 Power Rankings
- Oregon State
- Arizona State
- Washington State
Takeaways from the Weekend
1. Arizona State taking two out of three against UCLA. The Bruins traveled to Tempe, Ariz., over the weekend in their first road trip since February 22. How UCLA plays on the road will be interesting sidebar to watch as they travel to Oregon, Washington State, USC, and Stanford still in conference.
2. Oregon playing extremely well right now. The Ducks are winners of seven in a row and are 12-1 since losing two out of three at home against Vanderbilt on March 8. During their seven game winning streak, the Ducks are averaging 4.42 runs per game. Putting up roughly five runs per game, with a pitching staff and defense that ranks in the top three in the conference, is a recipe for a lot of victories.
3. Oregon State committing 11 errors in three games. The Beavers have as much ability as anyone in the Pac-12. Their offense, led by Michael Conforto, is potent. Their staff is lights out and deep. (Boyd 6-0). But it all won’t matter if the Beavers can’t play defense. Granted, shortstop Tyler Smith is out, resulting in a re-adjustment of the infield. Smith is expected back next weekend against UCLA.
4. In the next week there should be clarity atop the Pac-12 conference. Oregon State plays UCLA this weekend, while Oregon travels to Arizona State.
5. Arizona responding by sweeping Utah. It was a must win series. In reality, Arizona has already played Oregon and Oregon State. Look for the Wildcats to improve their record as they play more of the middle of the conference competition.