The eyes of the college baseball world will be on Los Angeles this weekend. The fans in Tucson may be paying attention to the Arizona Wildcats taking on USC, but everyone else will be watching to see what happens when ASU visits Westwood to duke it out with UCLA.
(The rankings are the average of the five college baseball polls.)
#19.0 ARIZONA (28-11 / 8-7) at USC (17-23 / 3-12)
You can’t assume a sweep on the road but you should be able to win two of three from the last-place team. Anything less would be a step backwards for the Cats.
#2.6 ASU (35-5 / 11-4) at
#6.4 UCLA (30-7 / 7-5)
Here it is. The Pac-10 series of the year is here. Stanford will have its say in the conference race but UCLA has already beaten the Cardinal head-to-head so the winner in L.A. this weekend will have the inside track at the league crown.
A series this big gets a second paragraph. It’s a classic showdown of offense vs. defense. The Sun Devils lead the Pac-10 in every offensive category. Seriously. ASU is at the top of the list for every offensive category that doesn’t involve making an out except Hit By Pitch, and I doubt they feel bad about conceding that one.
On the flip side (three paragraphs!) the Bruins lead the conference in ERA, Opposing Batting Average, Strikeouts, Hits Allowed and Runs Allowed. Arizona fans just got a taste of what the UCLA arms can do, and it’s a very strong flavor. Sadly, Pac-10 baseball isn’t on TV anywhere but you can listen to the games online via the UCLA site.
#30.0 OSU (21-14 / 4-8) at #24.8 Cal (23-15 / 8-7)
The Beavers continued their slide with a midweek loss to Oregon. Cal tries to regain its footing after losing three games to Stanford by a combined five runs.
#21.2 Stanford (21-14 / 10-5) at Washington (21-19 / 5-7)
If the Cardinal can take care of business in Seattle they’re going to gain ground on somebody and they could very well end the weekend in 1st place. Saturday’s game will be played in the Mariners’ home stadium.
WSU (21-15 / 5-7) at #21.2 Oregon (28-13 / 8-7)
The Cougars have lost all three of their road series this season. Oregon has won three straight Pac-10 series and are a 1-0 loss away from having beaten all three of the league contenders.
Andy Lopez has to be nervous about how his young Wildcats are going to approach this series. The Trojans have lost every conference series. They’re the only Pac-10 team with an overall losing record. The Cats have another game with ASU on Tuesday followed by the final nine home games of the year. That’s a whole lot of reasons for a bunch of inexperienced players to come out flat and unfocused.
With seven games left against ASU and Stanford, and another Pac-10 road series waiting, you can’t miss this opportunity to win a couple games. If the Cats can get the kind of pitching they got from Kurt Heyer and Kyle Simon the last time they hit the road they’ll be fine, but if balls start flying around Dedeaux Field, look out.
Game times for the UA this weekend are 6:30 p.m. on Friday, 1:30 p.m. on Saturday, and 1 p.m. on Sunday. All three games can be heard on 1290 AM in Tucson and seen on USCTrojans.com.