The Oregon State Beavers pulled off a big sweep this weekend as they look to atop the Pac-12. In game one, Mat Boyd improved to 8-2 after pitching 8 and 1/3 innings of three run ball. Boyd struck out 11 and did not have a walk in the Beaver 10-4 victory. Oregon State was led by centerfielder Max Gordon, who went 4-5 on the day with two RBI. Every Beaver starter had a hit in the game, and eight of the nine starters had a multi-hit game, as the Beavers belted out a season high 20 hits.
In game two, Oregon State took the series with a 3-0 victory. Beaver starter Andrew Moore improved to 8-1, after pitching 7 and 2/3 innings and not allowing a run. He walked two and had one strikeout. Tyler Smith, the Beaver shortstop, led all starters with two hits. Left fielder Michael Conforto also hit his seventh home run of the season.
Sunday saw the Beavers complete the sweep by a final of 6-1. Beaver starter Ben Wetzler pitched eight innings of one run ball. Wetzler struck out five and did not walk a batter. He improved to 4-1 and has won three consecutive games after returning from injury. The Beaver offense was keyed by two RBI from right fielder Dylan Davis. Second baseman Andy Peterson and left fielder Michael Conforto each had two hits apiece.
Oregon State: 34-8, 14-4
USC: 16-26, 8-13
Oregon State sweeps USC.
Stanford at Oregon
The biggest matchup in the Pac-12 took place in Eugene over the weekend, as Oregon swept Stanford. In game one on Friday, Oregon defeated Mark Appel and Stanford, by a final of 2-1. In the bottom of the ninth inning, after an error put the winning run at second, Oregon rallied to load the bases. Second baseman Aaron Payne delivered an RBI single to center to drive in the winning run. Appel pitched 8 and 1/3 innings and allowed two runs, one earned. He walked two but struck out nine. The win went to Garrett Clevinger, who pitched 1 and 2/3 innings for Oregon in relief.
In game two on Saturday, Oregon was led by first baseman Ryon Healy. Healy hit two mammoth home runs, both opposite shots to right field, as Oregon defeated Stanford 6-4. Freshman starter Cole Irvin improved to 8-2, after pitching seven innings. Irvin allowed four runs, two of which were unearned, as the Ducks committed three errors in the game. The two home runs left Healy with 9 on the year, best in the Pac-12.
In what could have been considered a must-win game for Stanford on Sunday, Oregon rallied to sweep the Cardinal by a final of 4-3. In the bottom of the ninth inning, after a one-out walk put the tying run on base, first baseman Ryon Healy delivered a game-tying double just over third base. The situation left runners at third and second with one out. As the runner from third base broke for home, freshman third baseman Mitchel Tolman squared his shoulders to the mound. The result was a perfectly placed squeeze bunt that finished off the sweep.
Oregon sweeps Stanford
Oregon: 33-10, 16-5
Stanford: 23-15, 9-9
UCLA at Washington State
UCLA was also able to keep pace atop the Pac-12, after taking two out of three over the weekend at Washington State. In game one on Friday, catcher Shane Zeile delivered an RBI single in the top of the 11th inning. The RBI would hold up as UCLA defeated Washington State by a final of 7-6 in 11 innings. UCLA closer Dave Berg secured the victory after pitching 3 and 2/3 innings in relief. He improved to 5-0 and leads the conference with a 0.75 ERA in 48.0 innings pitched.
In game two on Saturday, UCLA scored six runs in the first two innings to defeat the Cougars 10-1. Bruin starter Nick Vander Tuig improved to 7-3, after tossing a complete game. He struck eight and allowed one run on seven hits. Left fielder Christoph Bono led the way for the Bruins with three RBI. He hit a two-run home run and also contributed an RBI single in the victory. Right fielder Eric Filia and third baseman Kevin Kramer also had two hits apiece.
Washington State responded on Sunday with a 4-3 victory. In the bottom of the eighth inning, with the score tied 3-3, Collin Slaybaugh hit a slow chopper to first base. The resulting throw in the base, allowing Shea Donlin to come around and score for the Cougars. The score would hold, as UCLA failed to rally in the ninth. First baseman Brett Jacobs led the way for the Cougars with two RBI.
UCLA wins the series 2-1.
UCLA: 27-13, 11-7
Washington State: 20-20, 7-11.
Arizona State at Utah
Arizona State was the biggest winner this weekend after sweeping Utah. The Sun Devils moved into a tie with UCLA for third place. In game one on Friday, Arizona State defeated Utah 5-4 in 10 innings. The Sun Devils, down 4-2 in the ninth inning, rallied to force extra innings. Center fielder Kasey Coffman and third baseman Michael Benjamin each drove in an RBI to tie the game at 4-4. In the tenth, shortstop Drew Stankiewicz singled to center to score Trever Allen. Freshman Ryan Burr loaded the bases in the bottom of the tenth, but would strike out the final batter to secure the victory.
Arizona State claimed the series on Saturday, behind a solid outing from freshman Ryan Kellogg. Kellogg improved to 10-0, as Arizona State defeated Utah 5-1. Kellogg pitched eight innings of one run ball. He struck out four and did not walk a batter. Four Sun Devils had multi-hit games. Second baseman James McDonald hit his fourth home run of the year to lead the Sun Devils in the victory.
On Sunday, Arizona State scored three runs over the final two innings to defeat Utah 9-6. Sun Devil reliever Darin Gillies picked up his first victory of the season, after pitching 1 and 2/3 innings and striking out three. Designated hitter RJ Ybarra was 2-4 on the day with four RBI. Catcher Max Rossiter also had three hits for the Sun Devils.
Arizona State sweeps Utah.
Arizona State: 28-12-1, 11-7
Utah: 16-23, 5-16
California at Washington
California responded from an extra-inning loss on Friday to win the series at Washington. In the game on Friday, California scored a run in the top of the 12 inning to take a 2-1 lead. In the bottom of the 12th, Washington loaded the bases after a hit batter, a single, and an error. A wild pitch allowed the tying run to score, and then center fielder Braden Bishop singled to center to give Washington a 3-2 victory.
Saturday saw California respond by defeating Washington 8-1. California starter Trevor Hildenberger improved to 5-2, after pitching seven innings and allowing one run. He struck out five and walked two. The Bears were led offensively by third baseman Mitchell Kranson. Kranson was 2-5 with three RBI. Including Kranson, four Bears had a multi-hit game.
With the series tied at one apiece, California was able to score a run on a wild pitch to take the series. The wild pitch allowed Brenden Farney to score, as California defeated Washinton 6-5 in 14 innings. Catcher Andrew Knapp led the Bears with three hits and three RBI. Shortstop Chris Paul also had two hits on the day, including his sixth home run of the year.
California wins the series 2-1.
California: 20-23, 9-12.
Washington: 14-28, 6-12
Alabama State at Arizona
In taking a break from conference play, Arizona swept Alabama State over the weekend. The game one final was 8-2. Wildcat starter Konner Wade pitched a complete game in the victory, and Brandon Dixon hit a three-run home run to lead the Wildcats.
The game two final was 4-3 Arizona in 10 innings. A dropped popup with two outs in the bottom of the tenth allowed the winning run to score. Reliever Mathew Troupe secured the victory. He is now 4-0. The Wildcats were led offensively by Johnny Field and Riley Moore, who each had two hits apiece.
On Sunday, Arizona finished off the sweep by a final of 18-3. The Wildcats had 22 hits on the day and scored in every inning. Brandon Dixon led the way with five hits for the Wildcats. Arizona starter Tyler Crawford improved to 5-1, after pitching six innings and allowing three runs.
Arizona: 28-14, 9-9.
Oregon State 14-4
Arizona State 11-7
Washington State 7-11
Takeaways from the Weekend
Arizona State taking care of business and sweeping Utah. With the sweep, Arizona State moves into a tie with UCLA for third place. They sit just two games off Oregon for second place, and three games away from the Beavers for first place. The Sun Devils took the series from Oregon and UCLA, and have put themselves in position to possibly host a regional, as they rank 15 nationally in the RPI. With conference matchups against Stanford, California, Arizona and Washington, the Sun Devils are in great position.
Stanford being swept at Oregon was devastating for the Cardinal. They rank 97th in the RPI and really needed a conference victory on the road against a top ranked opponent. That being said, they are still in decent position in the conference. The Cardinal will have every opportunity to improve their position as their final four series include Arizona State, Oregon State, California, and UCLA.
On the other side, Oregon sweeping Stanford was huge for the Ducks. The sweep puts Oregon at 7th in the RPI, and in position to claim one of the final national seeds. The Ducks have three conference matchups left and a non conference matchup at Ohio State. Oregon is at Washington State this weekend, before returning home in two weeks for the showdown with Oregon State in Eugene.
A.J. Vanegas missing the weekend at Oregon. There were rumors starting to spread Friday that Vanegas did not make the trip to Eugene due to having Mononucleosis, although I could not confirm it. It became apparent that he was out after Appel pitched the ninth inning on Friday. It became even more obvious on Sunday as Garrett Hughes and Sam Lindquist were called on to hold the Cardinal lead. Moving forward, the Cardinal bullpen is vulnerable without Vanegas, especially on Saturday and Sunday.
The Pac-12 being in position to have 6 of the 11 teams in the conference in postseason play. Oregon State and Oregon both sit in the top 7 in the RPI nationally. Arizona State ranks 15 nationally and UCLA is right below the Sun Devils at 17. All four teams are in position to host a regional. Arizona ranks 45 nationally, so as long as they continue to play well they should be safe. Stanford at 97 nationally is a problem. The Cardinal need to play well down the stretch and possibly claim a few series to have a shot at postseason play.