Four Pac-12 Baseball Teams, Two National Seeds Set for Postseason
Four Pac-12 baseball teams earned berths to the 2018 NCAA Baseball Championship, which begin this on Friday, June 1. Conference champion STANFORD earned the Pac-12's automatic bid and the No. 2 overall seed while OREGON STATE gained the No. 3 overall seed as both schools will serve as Regional hosts. At-large selections UCLA and WASHINGTON received the Nos. 2 and 3 seeds in the Minneapolis and Conway Regionals, respectively. It marks the eighth time since the NCAA began the national seeding format in 1999 that the Pac-12 secured multiple top-8 seeds, including only the second time with national top-4 seeds (2001).
The Pac-12 currently holds an all-time record of 820-519 (.633) in the NCAA Baseball Championship and leads the nation with 28 all-time national titles with the latest coming from UCLA in 2013. Six Pac-12 teams rank in the top-10 for most NCAA Championships by school, led by USC with 12 national titles.
PREVIEWING THE WEEK: 2018 Pac-12 champion Stanford (44-10, 22-8 Pac-12) collected the program’s 18th overall Conference title with a riveting 6-5 ninth-inning comeback victory over Washington of the regular-season finale. The Cardinal earned the program's 34th all-time postseason appearance, tied for the 10th-most in NCAA history (1954-present). With its first Pac-12 title since 2004 and automatic bid secured, Stanford will host a regional composed of No. 2 seed Baylor, No. 3 Cal State Fullerton and No. 4 Wright State. Stanford will square off against Wright State on June 1 at 7 p.m. PT on ESPN2 The Cardinal has extended its postseason quest past the first regional 26 times and has made 16 College World Series appearances.
Oregon State (44-10-1, 20-9-1) posted its second consecutive 40-win season and finished second in the Conference for the program’s fifth top-two finish in the past six years. OSU wrapped up the regular season by taking 2-of-3 games against No. 18 ranked UCLA (36-19, 19-11) for its eighth Pac-12 series victory of the year. The Beavers are headed into the postseason as the No. 2 ranked team in the nation and have been consistently ranked in the top 5 all season. Oregon State hosts the first round for the second consecutive season and opens the Corvallis Regional against No. 4-seeded Northwestern State Friday, June 1 at 7:30 p.m. PT on ESPNU. LSU earned the No. 2 seed while San Diego State rounds out the quadrant at No. 3.
UCLA finished fourth in the Pac-12, posting a 19-11 league record -highlighted by four series sweeps against fellow Pac-12 opponents- and going 36-19 overall. The Bruins earn their third postseason appearance in the last four seasons, 10th since 2006 and 22nd overall. UCLA earned the No. 2 seed in the Minneapolis Regional and will face No. 3 seed Gonzaga at 11 a.m. PT on June 1 on ESPN3. Host and No. 1 seed Minnesota and No. 4 seed Canisius complete the pod. UCLA will face a similar foe in the first round as the Bruins defeated Minnesota, 6-1, at the Pac-12 vs. Big 10 Challenge in March.
Washington posted a series upset of then No. 1-ranked Stanford to clinch third placed in the league standings with a 20-10 mark to help the Huskies earn their 11th NCAA bid in program history. Washington is riding a hot streak as it finished out the season with a 12-5 record in the second half and won five-consecutive Pac-12 series. UW has reached the postseason for the second time in three years and third time in five seasons. The third-seeded Huskies will face No. 2 seeded UConn on Friday, June 1 at 9:00 a.m. PT. No. 1 seed Coastal Carolina hosts the regional at Springs Brooks Stadium and will play No. 4 seed LIU Brooklyn.
Regionals are played from June 1-4, 2018 at 16 campus sites in a four-team, double-elimination format with the 16 winning teams advancing to the Super Regionals. The 2018 College World Series is scheduled for Saturday, June 16 through Wednesday, June 27
WEEKLY RECAP: CALIFORNIA (32-22, 16-14) finished fifth in the Conference standings despite winning its sixth Pac-12 series of the season last week against ARIZONA STATE (23-32, 13-17), which placed seventh in the final standings. ARIZONA (32-21, 12-15) concluded 2018 campaign in sixth place after earning a series win over OREGON (26-29, 12-18), which tied for eighth in the Conference. USC tied for eighth in the Pac-12 as it ended the season with a non-conference victory against CSUN. UTAH (16-36, 8-22) placed 11th as it rounded out the season with a 2-1 series victory over 10th place WASHINGTON STATE (16-33-1, 8-21-1).
IN THE RANKINGS: In the final USA Today Coaches poll of the regular season, three Pac-12 teams continue to rank among the best in the country with No. 2 Oregon State, No. 3 Stanford and No. 19 UCLA, while Washington is receiving votes. The Cardinal and Beavers both posted top-10 NCAA RPIs, finishing second and seventh, respectively.
In the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association, Oregon State ranks No. 1 for the fifth week overall this season, followed by Stanford at No. 3 and UCLA at No. 19, while Washington is receiving votes. In the NCBWA poll only three teams have been ranked No. 1 this year: Oregon State (March 12-26, May 21-present), Stanford (April 23-May 7) and Florida (preseason-March 5, April 2-16, May 14),
NUMBERS GAME: Two Pac-12 teams rank in the top-5 nationally in win-loss percentage with No. 2 Stanford (.814) and No. 3 Oregon State (.809). Stanford is second in the nation in earned run average (2.85), third in WHIP (1.17) and fifth in hits allowed per nine innings (7.39). OSU leads the Conference in 10 statistical categories including batting average (.318), on base percentage (.413), slugging percentage (.485), and doubles (125), which rank Nos. 3, 8, 3 and 9 in the nation, respectively. UCLA boasts a 2.94 earned run average that ranks second nationally, and is fourth in fielding percentage (.982).
STARS DELIVERING: The Pac-12 has recorded four no-hitters this season, which ties for the most in a single season in Conference history Washington, Feb. 24; USC, March 15; WSU, April 8, April 22). The Pac-12 leads the national home run race with ASU freshman Spencer Torkelson at the No. 1 spot with 25 homers and California’s Andrew Vaughn tied for second at 23. Vaughn earned the Pac-12 Triple Crown with a .402 batting average, .531 on base percentage and .819 slugging percentage, which rank Nos. 8, 3 and 2 nationally. Oregon State’s Luke Heimlich leads the nation with 14 victories and has totaled 139 strikeouts this season for the most among all Conference pitchers and fourth-most in the country. Arizona’s Gage Canning leads the country in triples (11) and triples per game (.20).
COLLEGE BASEBALL FOUNDATION: Four Pac-12 student athletes have been named semifinalists on the most respected national awards lists in the country. College Baseball Hall of Fame’s Brooks Wallace Award that honors the best shortstop in the country has named Oregon State’s Cadyn Grenier and Stanford’s Nico Hoerner as semifinalists. Heimlich of OSU is a National Pitcher of the Year semifinalist for the second consecutive year and is joined by Stanford’s Jack Little.
GOLDEN SPIKES: The Pac-12 ties for the most USA Baseball Golden Spikes Award Semifinals of any Conference with four student-athletes selected, two from Oregon State and one from Arizona State and California: OSU’s Trevor Larnach, Nick Madrigal, Arizona State’s Torkelson, and California’s Vaughn.
Now in its 40th year recognizing the top amateur baseball player in the country, seven former Pac-12 baseball players have won the award, most recently awarded to UCLA pitcher Trevor Bauer in 2011. The 41st Golden Spikes Award semifinalists will be announced on May 21, followed by the finalists on June 22 and the winner will be crowed on June 28 at the College Baseball World Series.
USA Baseball Golden Spikes Semifinalists
Trevor Larnach, OSU, OF
Nick Madrigal, OSU, 2B
Spencer Torkelson, ASU, IF
Andrew Vaughn, CAL, IF
SENIOR CLASS AWARD: Oregon’s second baseman Kyle Kasser is one of 10 finalists for the 2018 Senior CLASS Award. An honor that is given annually to a Division I senior student-athlete in baseball who has notable achievements in four areas of excellence: community, classroom, character and competition. Kasser boasts a 3.17 GPA in economics and participates in the community as a three-year member and past co-director of the Student Athlete Advisory Council SAAC). Kasser was a 2017 first-team All-Pac-12 Conference selection after hitting .381 in league games for the third highest in the Conference.
ALL AMERICANS: The Pac-12 had 11 different student-athletes from six different Pac-12 teams featured on Baseball America, NCBWA, and Collegiate Baseball preseason All-America teams.
STOPPER OF THE YEAR: The Pac-12 has four student-athletes on the NCBWA Stopper of the Year Preseason Watch List. Arizona State’s Connor Higgins, California’s Erik Martinez, Oregon State’s Jake Mulholland and Oregon’s Kenyon Yovan. The National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association will be presenting the Stopper of the Year Award to the top relief pitcher in Division I baseball for the 14th straight year at the College World Series on Saturday, June 16, 2018.
NCBWA Stopper of the Year Watch List
Connor Higgins, ASU, LHP
Erik Martinez, CAL, P
Jake Mulholland, OSU, LHP
Kenyon Yovan, ORE, RHP
CONFERENCE STANDINGS (Expanded Standings)
|Teams||Pac-12 Record||Overall Record|
|#2 Oregon State||20-9-1||44-10-1|
|Friday, June 1|
|No. 3 WASHINGTON vs. No. 2 UConn||ESPN3||12 p.m.|
|No. 2 UCLA vs. No. 3 Gonzaga||ESPN3||1 p.m.|
|No. 1 STANFORD vs. No. 4 Wright State||ESPN2||7 p.m.|
|No. 1 OREGON STATE vs. No. 4 Northwestern State||ESPNU||7 p.m.|
|Saturday, June 2|
|No. 1 STANFORD vs. No. 2 Baylor or No. 3 Cal St. Fullerton||TBD||TBD|
|No. 1 OREGON STATE vs. No. 2 San Diego St. or No. 4 LSU||TBD||TBD|
|No. 3 WASHINGTON vs. No. 1 Coastal Carolina or No. 4 LIU Brooklyn||TBD||TBD|
|No. 2 UCLA vs. No. 1 Minnesota or No. 4 Canisius||TBD||TBD|
|Sunday, June 3|
|No. 1 STANFORD vs. TBD||TBD||TBD|
|No. 1 OREGON STATE vs. TBD||TBD||TBD|
|No. 3 WASHINGTON vs. TBD||TBD||TBD|
|No. 2 UCLA vs. TBD||TBD||TBD|
2018 PAC-12 PLAYER AND PITCHER OF THE WEEK