The only Pac-10 baseball series between ranked teams this week takes place at Kindall Field/Sancet Stadium where the Wildcats and Sun Devils renew their ancient rivalry. ASU would have to fall apart to avoid winning the league championship, and the Cats are trying to put an end to some falling apart of their own.
Here’s the entire rundown of what’s happening TWIT-Pac. The rankings are from here.
#2.6 ASU (41-5 / 14-4) at #29.8 ARIZONA (30-16 / 9-9)
The Sun Devils have won their last nine games by an average score of 11-2. The Wildcats are 3-7 in their last ten games. So…yeah.
USC (23-25 / 5-13) at #11.4 UCLA (34-11 / 10-8)
If the Bruins want to get back into the conference race they need all three against their cross-town rivals.
Washington (25-22 / 8-10) at OSU (24-18 / 7-11)
Thanks to their surprising sweep of Oregon last week, the Beavers can return to thinking they can make the NCAA tournament. Another home series is a great opportunity to get their conference record closer to .500.
WSU (26-17 / 9-9) at #27.4 Stanford (26-18 / 10-8)
The Cardinal is a huge fan of the Wildcats this weekend. You don’t have to be a Stanford grad to realize if you’re four games out of first and you only get three games against the top team, you need some help.
East Tennessee State (29-21) at #25.4 Oregon (31-18 / 10-11)
Yes, that East Tennessee State. The Buccaneers played in Florida last week, they’re in Oregon this week, and they’ll be in Georgia next week. Whoever made their schedule was really desperate for some frequent flier miles.
#26.8 Cal (27-18 / 11-10) does not play. No sweep this week.
Arizona coach Andy Lopez has 999 career wins. If he finishes the weekend with 1,000 his team will have exceeded expectations. Obviously you’d like to take the series from your chief rival at home but all the trending numbers point to ASU as a heavy favorite in each game.
The series has an odd Saturday-through-Monday schedule with all three games starting at 6 p.m. and all three on 1290 AM radio.
The Wildcats’ first goal is to get back to playing good baseball and that starts with a strong performance from pitcher Kurt Heyer in game 1. As poorly as the UA has played the last three weeks you can’t blame the freshman right-hander. Heyer has posted a 2.45 ERA with a 3-to-1 strikeout-to-walk ratio over his last three starts even though he hasn’t earned a win. If you want some hope that the Wildcats can tame the beast that is the ASU offense, there you go.
Then you have the inspiration of Oregon State. If the Beavers can go from the wheels falling off to sweeping their ranked rival, the Wildcats can too, right?
Maybe not, but at least the Cats can say they’ve already given the Sun Devils 20% of their losses.