Here on Sports360AZ.com, 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 hosts USC, while Arizona hosts No. 4 Oregon State. Here’s what you need to know ahead of the action this weekend:
ASU Drops Midweek Series to Fullerton
ASU opened up Pac-12 play with a sweep of Oregon, but since then has struggled in and out of conference play. Last weekend they dropped the weekend series against Washington State, then they returned to Tempe for a two-game series against Cal State Fullerton and despite holding the Titans within reach in both games, couldn’t get a W.
This weekend, the Sun Devils host USC and look to turn things back in their favor.
Keep an eye on senior left-handed pitcher Eli Lingos again this weekend. Lingos has set career-highs in each of his last three starts. This past weekend, the lefty went the distance pitching his first complete game shutout against Washington State. The senior allowed six hits with one walk and seven strikeouts.
Lingos is the first Sun Devil pitcher to pitch a complete game shutout since senior Ryan Hingst pitched a no-hitter in 2016. The Sun Devil southpaw has a 2.02 ERA in 49 innings pitched in 2018. He has a 5-1 record on the year in his seven starts.
? COMPLETE. GAME. SHUTOUT. ?
Eli Lingos tossed a gem – 9 IP, 6 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 7 K – allowing only 1 runner to reach 2nd base after the 2nd inning! pic.twitter.com/Nyu7NDvMEs
— Sun Devil Baseball (@ASU_Baseball) March 31, 2018
Freshman Spencer Torkelson now has 14 home runs on the year, tied for first in the country with University of Illinois infielder Bren Spillane and Cal first baseman Andrew Vaughan. Torkelson leads the team in home runs and in RBIs with 28.
ASU’s bats have been producing. The Sun Devils have the fourth best team batting average in the Pac with a .292 and a slugging percentage of .436, third behind Cal and Oregon State. If pitching and defense don’t improve, however, ASU is going to find itself in a tough spot heading into the thick of conference play.
Arizona Hosts No. 4 Oregon State
The Wildcats swept a non-conference series against Nicholls last weekend, then won a midweek against one of the top offensive teams in the country, New Mexico State.
#WinnerWinner in New Mexico!
The Cats score a season-high 16 runs and tie a season high for hits with 18! We improve to 17-10 and have won seven of our last 8.
— Arizona Baseball (@ArizonaBaseball) April 3, 2018
This weekend they’ll be faced with the challenge of No. 4 Oregon State. The Beavers dropped two games against Utah, who has a 7-20 overall record, last weekend resulting in a drop in the national rankings this week. It was OSU’s first weekend series loss in almost two years. The Utes always seem to find a way in conference play and they shockingly did just that against one of the top teams in the country.
Oregon State second baseman Nick Madrigal has been out most of the season with a fracture in his wrist and could return in this weekend’s series against Arizona, though it appears unlikely.
The matchup between Arizona’s pitching and Oregon State’s offense will be intriguing this week. OSU ranks tenth in the country with a team batting average of .311, while Arizona has one of the best pitching staffs in the country with the fifth best team ERA of 2.67.
Sophomore pitcher Randy Labaut underwent two surgeries for compartment syndrome a couple weeks ago after the Washington series and is out for the season. Labut had a 1.71 ERA in his 31.2 innings pitched.
Around the Pac
No. 2 Stanford @ No. 21 UCLA
Stanford is the team to watch in the Pac-12 this season. The Cardinal sits at the top of the Pac with a 5-1 conference record and 22-3 overall record in 2018. Stanford’s pitching continues its hot streak with junior Kris Bubic leading the team with a .96 ERA in his 37.2 innings, sixth best in the nation. Stanford’s pitching staff is ranked second in the country with a 2.21 ERA, while UCLA’s staff is fourth with a 2.37 ERA. This is a series to watch for sure.
Utah @ Cal
The Utes shocked then No. 1 ranked Oregon State last weekend taking two of three against the Beavers. This weekend against Cal they’ll look to continue the trend of playing well in the conference. Cal won the series against No. 21 UCLA last weekend, so this weekend is all about seeing which team can carry the momentum. Cal took game one on Thursday with a 7-5 win.
Washington State @ Oregon
Oregon is coming off a series loss to No. 2 Stanford, while Washington State is coming off a series win against ASU. Both of these teams will be looking to get back in to it in conference play as both sit at 3-6 records in the Pac.