The Pac-12 baseball Series of the Year is…not here yet.
Oregon and Oregon State will be meeting next week in a showdown that will more than likely determine the 2013 league champion. This week the key stories are UCLA and ASU trying to improve their chances to host regionals while Stanford and Arizona work to get added back onto the dance card.
Let’s see who the pollsters like this week:
Arizona is officially outside the top 25 for the first time in five weeks. Just in time to play a Bruin squad that two of the polls think is the second-best team in the conference.
Here are this weekend’s three-game sets:
ARIZONA (29-17 / 10-11) at #9.8 UCLA (31-13 / 14-7)
UCLA has lost four of their last five series finales. Can the Cats get to Sunday with a chance to win the weekend?
#5.6 OSU (37-8 / 17-4) at #22.2 Stanford (26-16 / 11-10)
Two ranked teams with some momentum. The Beavers have won eight straight and Stanford had an impressive series win at ASU last week.
#14.4 ASU (30-14 / 12-9) at Cal (21-26 / 9-15)
The Sun Devils had won five straight series before dropping two consecutive games to the Cardinal. Pac-12 Networks will be broadcasting Saturday’s game (7 p.m. Pacific/Arizona Time) under Cal’s new lights, as well as Sunday’s 12 p.m. game.
WSU (20-24 / 7-14) at USC (17-29 / 8-13)
This would be the worst series of the weekend if not for…
Utah (16-26 / 5-19) at Washington (16-29 / 8-13)
Watch the Huskies put up about seven total runs this weekend and really drive Wildcat fans crazy. The games on Saturday and Sunday will be on Pac-12 Networks, both at noon.
#8.0 Oregon (37-11 / 19-5) at Ohio State (32-14)
The Ducks are preparing for their showdown with OSU by playing OSU. Friday’s game will be televised on Big Ten Network at 4 p.m.
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If you look at the full-season stats it looks like this is a matchup of strength versus strength. Arizona still leads the Pac-12 in team batting average (.305) and UCLA is second in the conference in team earned run average (2.72).
The power shifts, however, when you look at the numbers for Pac-12 games only. The Bruins are still a strong third in the league in team ERA (2.88) but the Wildcats only rank tied for sixth in batting (.275).
If the Cats are going to pull this off it has to be like the Oregon series where two of the games were decided by one run. But this time someone has to rise up and get that extra hit with a man in scoring position and someone else has to record outs to leave one additional runner on base.
The ideal UA weekend is James Farris and Konner Wade both turn in quality starts, Johnny Field and Brandon Dixon give the Wildcats late leads and Mathew Troupe nails it shut.
Last week Arizona faced a “small” team and played small. This series is, as they say, big on big.
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