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Pac 12 Weekend Preview April 5/6/7

Pac12LogoOregon State at UCLA

One of the biggest matchups across the country this weekend takes place at Jackie Robinson Stadium, as the No. 8 ranked Beavers matchup against the No.11 ranked Bruins. Oregon State enters the weekend 23-4 and 5-1 in the Pac-12. The Beavers defeated Portland by a final of 7-5 on Tuesday, but the Beavers dropped two out of three last weekend at San Diego. In the series, the Beaver defense struggled as they committed 11 errors in three games. UCLA holds an 18-7 record and the Bruins are 6-3 in conference. UCLA is coming off a Tuesday loss to No. 4 Cal State Fullerton by a final of 9-6. The Bruins also dropped two out of three last weekend at Arizona State. This series should be an excellent display of talent as both teams rank in the upper half of the conference in most major categories. Oregon State holds a conference best 1.90 team ERA, while UCLA sits at fourth with a 2.73 ERA. Offensively, the Beavers sit third in the conference with a .287 team batting average. UCLA sits seventh with a .264 average. A few notes to keep an eye out for this series is how well Oregon State plays defense. The Beavers sit seventh in the conference with a .967 fielding percentage after last weekend’s series. UCLA ranks second with a .979 fielding percentage. Oregon State has committed 35 errors, while UCLA has only committed 21. The difference in the series could come down to how well the Beavers catch the ball. Shortstop Tyler Smith is expected back after missing a few weeks with a fractured hand.

Series Prediction: Oregon State takes two out of three

Friday, April 5 – 6:00 p.m. PT

UCLA – Adam Plutko, RHP, (2-2, 3.45 ERA)

Oregon State- Matt Boyd LHP (6-0, 1.69 ERA)

 

Saturday, April 6- 2:00 p.m. PT

UCLA – Nick Vander Tuig, RHP, (4-2, 2.11 ERA)

Oregon State- Andrew Moore RHP (5-1, 1.48 ERA

 

Sunday, April 7- 1:00 p.m. PT

UCLA – Grant Watson, LHP, So. (5-0, 2.30 ERA)

Oregon State- Ben Wetzler LHP (0-1, 2.41 ERA)

 

Stanford at USC

For both Stanford and USC, this weekend presents an opportunity to get much needed conference wins. Stanford enters the weekend ranked No. 26 in the latest NCWBA poll. The Cardinal are 14-9 overall and 3-3 in conference play. The Cardinal is coming off a 4-3 win over Cal on Tuesday. Last weekend saw the Cardinal take two out of three against Washington State in Pullman. USC sits 11-17 overall and 4-5 in conference. The Trojans dropped a midweek game against UC Irvine by a final of 3-1, but the Trojans were able to take two out of three from California last weekend. In breaking down a series involving Stanford, it’s safe to assume that the key for Cardinal success is winning either the Saturday or Sunday game after Mark Appel pitches So far this season, the starters following Appel have been a mixed bag. Stanford is second in the conference with a 2.54 ERA, while USC ranks last in the conference with a 4.89 ERA. Offensively, the Cardinal sits ninth with a .249 team batting average, while USC ranks fifth with a .278 average. The key to the series will be how well USC handles Stanford’s Saturday and Sunday starters. Can the Trojans get to RHP Marcus Brakeman in his second career start? Can RHP Bobby Zarubin notch his second win of the season for the Cardinal? The junior has a 1.78 ERA through 30.1 innings pitched and four starts.

Series Prediction: Stanford takes two out of three

Friday, April 5 – 6:00 p.m. PT

USC- Bob Wheatley, LHP (3-2, 1.58 ERA)

Stanford- Mark Appel RHP (4-2, 0.96 ERA)

 

Saturday, April 6 – 2:00 p.m. PT

USC- Wyatt Strahan, RHP (01-1, 2.21 ERA)

Stanford- Bobby Zarubin, RHP (1-1, 1.78 ERA)

 

Saturday, April 7 – 1:00 p.m. PT

USC- Kyle Twomey, LHP (2-3, 5.05ERA)

Stanford- Marcus Brakeman RHP (0-0, 2.35 ERA)

 

Oregon at Arizona State

The other marquee matchup in the Pac-12 takes place down in Tempe, Ariz., this weekend as the No. 5 ranked Ducks take on the No. 22 ranked Sun Devils. Oregon is 22-6 on the year and 8-1 during conference play. Arizona State is 17-8-1 overall and 4-5 in conference play. Oregon is coming off a three-game sweep against Washington last weekend. In the final two games of the series, Oregon starters Thorpe and Irvin held the Huskies scoreless. Irvin was named the Pac-12 Pitcher of the Week and the NCWBA Division I Player of the Week after throwing a complete-game, in which the freshman struck out a career high 11. Arizona State enters the weekend after a two-game sweep of Wichita State. The Sun Devils also took two out of three from UCLA last weekend. This matchup has all the makings of a low-scoring pitcher’s duel over the weekend. Oregon arrives in Tempe with a .249 batting average, tied with Stanford for tenth in the conference. Arizona State ranks fourth in the conference with a .286 average. On the mound, Oregon has the advantage with a 2.59 team ERA. That number is good enough for third in the conference. Arizona State, on the other hand, sits fifth in the conference with a 3.26 ERA. Something to keep an eye out for down in Tempe, is how well each team executes the fundamentals. Oregon ranks first in the conference in fielding percentage with a .988 mark. Arizona State sits at tenth with a 9.64 fielding percentage. The Ducks have only committed 13 errors, while the Sun Devils have committed 37. The most interesting matchup will be between LHP Ryan Kellogg and Ducks first baseman Ryon Healy. Kellogg is leading the Sun Devils with a 6-0 record and a 1.37 ERA. Healy leads the Ducks with a .345 average and five homeruns. He is the RBI producer that will need to drive home players when the Ducks get their opportunities.

Series Prediction: Oregon takes two of three

Friday, April 5 – 6:30 p.m. PT

Oregon- Jake Reed, RHP, (3-3, 3.22 ERA)

Arizona State – Trevor Williams, RHP (4-2, 2.54 ERA)

 

Saturday, April 6 – 6:30 p.m. PT

Oregon- Tommy Thorpe, LHP, (4-2, 2.68 ERA)
Arizona State- Ryan Kellogg LHP (6-0, 1.37 ERA)

Saturday, April 7 – 12:30 p.m. PT

Oregon- Cole Irvin LHP, (5-1, 3.00 ERA)
Arizona State- TBD

Washington State at Utah

The Washington State Cougars travel to Utah this weekend in a matchup that pits the conference’s best team batting average against the worst team batting average. Washington State, 16-11 and 3-3 in conference play, have a conference best .321 batting average. The Cougars are coming off a midweek loss against Gonzaga by a final of 7-2. Washington State also dropped two out of three against Stanford last weekend. Utah, 12-13 and 2-7 in conference play, enters the series with a 2.43 batting average. That number ranks last in the conference. Utah was swept on the road at Arizona last weekend and their midweek game against the Salt Lake Bees was cancelled. On the mound, Utah has the upper hand with a 3.83 team ERA, which ranks seventh in the conference. Washington State ranks ninth with a 4.08 team ERA. This should be a matchup where Washington State’s offensive firepower gets back on track. Although Utah is solid from the mound, Washington State can beat you from anywhere in the lineup as five of the regulars have an average above .290. The Cougars also have the conference’s leading hitter in Nick Tanielu, who is batting .424 through 26 games.

Series Prediction: Washington State takes two out of three

 

Friday, April 5- 11:00 a.m. MT

Washington State- Joe Pistorese LHP (3-2, 2.08 ERA)

Utah- Mitch Watrous RHP (1-1, 3.51 ERA)

 

Saturday, April 6- 11:00 a.m. MT

Washington State- Tanner Chleborad RHP (3-4, 5.26 ERA)

Utah- Dalton Carroll RHP (2-2, 3.78 ERA)

 

Sunday, April 7- 5:30 p.m. MT

Washington State- Scott Simon RHP (2-0, 4.18 ERA)

Utah- Joe Pond RHP (2-3, 6.14 ERA)

 

California at Arizona

 

It’s another big weekend for Arizona as the Wildcats have an opportunity to reach .500 in conference play with a sweep of the California Golden Bears. California arrives in the desert 16-13 and 5-4 in conference play. The Bears dropped a midweek game against Stanford by a final of 4-3 on Tuesday. California also lost two out of there against USC last weekend. Arizona is riding a modest three-game win streak after sweeping Utah last weekend. The Wildcats sit at 18-11 and 3-6 in conference play. This series has a lot of intrigue as both teams are strong offensively. The Wildcats rank second in the conference with a .308 team batting average. Brandon Dixon leads the Wildcats with a .413 average, and Dixon leads the conference in hits (45) for Arizona. California is sixth with a .267 batting average. They are led by catcher Andrew Knapp who has a .358 average. On the mound, Arizona ranks sixth in the conference with a 3.57 team ERA. California ranks tenth with a 4.20 team ERA. The nod goes to Arizona in this series for the simple fact that the Wildcats are 17-7 at home this season. California, on the other hand, is 7-8 on the road. Winning in Arizona is difficult, and the Wildcats are beginning to play more consistent baseball. On the other hand, if California wins this series, Arizona will be sitting at 3-8 in conference and any hope of a playing in a regional will be begin to fade away.

 

Series Prediction: Arizona takes two out of three

Friday, April 5- 6:00 p.m. MT

California- Ryan Mason, RHP, (4-0, 2.37 ERA)

Arizona- Konner Wade RHP (2-2, 3.99 ERA)

Saturday, April 6- 6:00 p.m. MT

 

California- Justin Jones, LHP, (1-3, 4.76 ERA)

Arizona- James Farris RHP (3-3, 4.08 ERA)

Sunday, April 7- 1:00 p.m. MT

California- TBD

Arizona- Cody Moffett, LHP (2-2, 3.96 ERA)

 

 

Washington at Pepperdine

The Washington Huskies travel to California this weekend to take on Pepperdine in a non-conference matchup. On paper this series looks like it will be favor Pepperdine as the Waves enter the weekend with a 16-11 overall record and 6-3 conference record. The Waves beat UC Santa Barbara 3-1 Tuesday, but dropped two out of three last weekend against BYU. Washington comes into the series with a 7-19 record. The Huskies are 2-7 in the Pac-12, tied with Utah for last place. Washington is coming off 14-1 victory against Seattle University on Tuesday, but the Huskies were swept at Oregon last weekend in a series where they only scored three runs. For Washington, a team filled with underclassman, finding consistency on the road has been difficult. The Huskies are just 3-15 away from Husky Ballpark this year. Look for the trend to continue this weekend as the Waves are a solid group led by Austin Davidson who has a .339 batting average.