Pac-12 at the Plate: No. 9 Arizona at WSU, ASU at Cal

Photo Courtesy: University of Arizona Athletics

Pac-12 baseball is in full swing. Here on, Pac-12 at the Plate is the place to keep up with how ASU and Arizona baseball are stacking up in the conference. This week No. 9 Arizona travels to Washington State and ASU heads to Cal. Here’s what you need to know about last weekend’s conference series and what to watch for this weekend:

Midweek Matchup

Tuesday, Arizona and ASU matched up for game one of five this season. The Wildcat bats were poppin’ against the Sun Devils with junior infielder JJ Matijevic hitting two homeruns and junior outfielder Cal Stevenson hitting a grand slam in the 11-2 win.

The game did not count towards conference records.

Arizona Offense on Fire

Last weekend against USC, Arizona swept the series to improve to 5-4 in conference play. The Wildcats’ bats were on with junior outfielders Cal Stevenson and Jared Oliva and junior infielder JJ Matijevic all making an impact at the plate. Matijevic leads the team with five home runs and 17 doubles, batting at .385. Oliva has four home runs, 14 doubles and is batting at .349.

Defensively, freshman Randy Labut and sophomore Cody Deason impressed on Saturday, combining for a one-hitter against USC  in the Cats’ 5-1 win.

Arizona travels north to Washington State this weekend. The Cougars are 1-5 in Pac-12 play after being swept by Cal last weekend.

Senior JC Cloney will look to keep his perfect record this weekend. The senior is 6-0 so far this season with a 1.75 ERA. Cloney is still in the top 50 in the national rankings for ERA.

Keep an eye on sophomore outfielder Alfonso Rivas in the box. Rivas went 4-11 against USC and is batting at .400 with two home runs and 32 RBIs, tied with Matijevic.

Washington State is 10-1 at home so far this season. Junior third baseman Shane Matheny is the threat at the plate for the Cougars, Matheny is batting at .337 and is tied for second in the conference for doubles with 12. Reliever Scotty Sunitsch is tied for second in the conference with seven saves on the season.

Struggles Continue for ASU

The Sun Devils are now 2-7 in Pac-12 play sitting just ahead of Washington State in the conference, after dropping last weekend’s series to UCLA 1-2.

Freshman pitcher Chaz Montoya made his second start for the Sun Devils on Saturday. Montoya began the season as a reliever, but was moved into the starting rotation in the USC series. Last Saturday, Montoya went 6.1 innings with three strikeouts and didn’t face any 3-0 counts. The lefty earned his first quality start of his career.

Offensively, junior infielder Taylor Lane has been doing well. Lane went 6-11 in last weekend’s series against UCLA and is now batting at .308.

This weekend, the Sun Devils travel to the bay to take on the Cal Golden Bears. ASU will look to continue to figure out their bullpen situation and hope to get back on track offensively.

Cal has struggled a bit to get things going this season in conference play, but after a sweep at Washington State, are looking to keep the momentum going against ASU.

Andrew Vaughn is the key for the Golden Bears in the box. Vaughn has seven home runs this season and is batting at .366 with 23 RBIs. Cal is another team that is still trying to figure out pitching, freshman Jared Horn will get the start for the Golden Bears on Friday. Horn has a 3.94 ERA and is 2-2 on the season.

This series will be crucial for both teams to rediscover a rhythm in conference play.

Around the Pac

No. 21 Stanford @ USC: The Trojans took game one on Thursday 7-5. After getting swept by Oregon State last weekend No. 21 Stanford is hoping to regain momentum against USC. The Cardinal will look to avoid the series loss Friday night with junior left handed pitcher Andrew Summerville on the mound. Summerville has a 2.88 ERA.

Washington @ UCLA: This series will be one to watch this weekend. Both teams are doing well in the conference, with UCLA at 6-3 behind Oregon State at 9-0 and Washington right behind the Bruins at 4-2. Junior pitcher Griffin Canning will be a test for Washington as he has been pitching well now with a 2.87 ERA.

Utah @ No. 1 Oregon State: Oregon State is still dominating the Pac-12 and the national rankings. Luke Heimlich is ranked fourth nationally with a .52 ERA in his 52 innings pitched. The Beavers should have no problem with keeping their impressive season going against Utah this weekend.