Pac-12 at the Plate: Final Week of Regular Season

Photo Courtesy: Stan Liu, University of Arizona Athletics

It’s the final week of the Pac-12 baseball regular season. 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 ASU (23-29, 8-19 Pac-12) travels to Utah, while No. 15 Arizona (36-17, 15-12 Pac-12) will host Cal. Here’s what you need to know about last weekend’s conference series and what to watch for this weekend:

Sweep, Sweep

For the first time since 1989 Arizona swept ASU on the Sun Devils’ home turf. On Thursday and Friday night, ASU was able to stay in the game and keep things close against both JC Cloney and Cameron Ming, but the two Wildcat pitchers were able to stay ahead to get the wins.

Friday’s loss sealed the fate of the Sun Devils’ first losing season since 1985. Defensive miscues and not getting those crucial hits hurt the Sun Devils. 

The 2017 season was disappointing to an extent, but there is a lot to look forward to with ASU. Saturday night, sophomore outfielder Gage Canning became the first Sun Devil since Jason Kipnis in 2009 to have three or more hits 10 times in a season. Canning went 3-5 and had two doubles and a triple.

For Arizona, the Wildcats’ power offense, made up of JJ Matijevic, Jared Oliva, Cal Stevenson, Alfonso Rivas and Nick Quintana, felt at home in Phoenix on Sunday in Arizona’s 9-5 win. Rivas went 3-5 with a double and two runs scored. Matijevic went 2-5 with a double and Cal Stevenson went 2-2 with two runs scored. Sophomore Cody Deason, who has been impressive in the second half of the season, went six innings allowing only one run on eight hits to get his fifth win of the season.

The Final Countdown

ASU is in Utah for the final weekend of the season. The Utes were the surprise of the conference last season taking home the Pac-12 title. This season, they had big series wins against Oregon and Cal, and a sweep of Arizona in Tucson.

Senior infielder Dallas Carroll has been the guy to watch at the plate for the Utes. Carroll is batting at .365 and leads the team with 15 doubles, seven home runs and 49 RBIs. 

ASU pitchers Eder Erives and Eli Lingos will look to lead the Sun Devil pitching staff to a positive finish. Canning along with freshmen Hunter Bishop, Carter Aldrete and Lyle Lin, sophomore Tyler Williams, and senior Zach Cerbo have all been impressive in the box this season, they’ll look to back up the pitching staff this weekend to close the year out. 

First pitch for the Sun Devils’ final weekend of 2017 is set for Friday at 10:30 A.M. MST.

Arizona is hosting Cal this weekend. The Wildcats are looking to get their third straight conference sweep to put them in a good spot for hosting a regional next weekend.

Cal is coming off a series loss against No. 7 TCU. Freshman infielder Andrew Vaughn still leads the way for the Golden Bears batting at .341, with team leading 12 home runs and 48 RBIs.

The Wildcats are still leading the conference on offense with a team batting average at .309, run scored (420), doubles (121), RBIs (366) and walks (248). Nationally, JJ Matijevic is eighth in the nation batting at .400 and second in doubles with 27.

Around the Pac

UCLA @ Oregon: UCLA swept Utah last weekend, while Oregon took the series against USC. The Ducks have struggled in conference play and currently find themselves at the bottom of the Pac. UCLA finds itself towards the top of the Pac and will look to stay there with a series win against the Ducks.

No. 10 Stanford @ Washington State: Stanford head coach Mark Marquess will retire when the 2017 season concludes after 42 years at the helm and his team has made sure they send him out the right way. The Cardinal have won five straight conference series and have been climbing the rankings since mid-April. They’ll head North to close the year out against a Washington State team that has been giving the Pac some trouble in recent weeks.

USC @ Washington: Washington is coming off a troublesome last few weekends after being swept by both Arizona and Stanford. The Huskies are looking to finish off strong against the Trojans who have not had the season they were hoping for. USC has lost seven straight conference series and are in the same position as ASU, seeking a positive finish to a disappointing season.

NCAA regional sites will be announced on Sunday, May 28 and tournament teams will be announced on Monday, May 29.