Skip to main content

2023 Pac-12 Baseball Tournament

May 23-27 | Scottsdale Stadium

How Arizona and Oregon reached the Pac-12 Baseball Championship Game

May 27, 2023

SCOTTSDALE — Unpredictability is part of what makes the postseason so special, and the second annual Pac-12 Baseball Tournament has had plenty of it.

Saturday's championship game at Scottsdale Stadium will feature 8-seed Arizona (33-23) and 6-seed Oregon (36-20), who both went 2-0 in pool play before defeating a higher-seeded team in the semifinals on Friday.

The title tilt will take place at 7 p.m. PT on ESPN2 with the winner clinching the Pac-12's automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament. Before the first pitch is thrown, let's take a closer look at how these teams got here. 

Oregon has owned the late innings

The Ducks were first to secure a title game berth, knocking off 3-seed Washington 11-6 in the first game of the semifinals on Friday afternoon.

Oregon has mashed a tournament-best 44 hits while posting the second-best ERA (4.82). The Ducks have been nearly spotless in the field, making just two errors, tied with the Wildcats for the fewest in the tournament.

Sabin Ceballos has been Oregon's top run producer, homering twice and driving in seven runs. He crushed the go-ahead homer in the 10th inning of the Ducks' 8-6 win over top-seeded Stanford in the second game of pool play, which secured a spot in the semifinals.

Maybe more impressive is that Oregon held the high-powered Cardinal offense scoreless for the final eight frames.

Oregon’s bullpen has been lights out. Logan Mercado (4.1 innings) and Josh Mollerus (2.2 innings) posted scoreless outings in that win, and also in 3-2 victory over Cal when Oregon closed the game with seven straight shutout innings.

While those two victories came down to the wire, the Ducks jumped out to a hot start against the Huskies in the semis, grabbing a 6-0 lead through the first two innings. Washington responded with five in the third, but had no luck cooling down the Ducks' bats. They had 20 hits, with six different players tallying at least two. Ceballos had three hits and drove in six runs.

Oregon put up a five spot in the fifth and mostly held the Huskies in check from that point on. That time it was Grayson Grinsell who was dominant in relief, pitching 3.2 scoreless innings with six strikeouts.

If there is one stat that sums up Oregon's success in Scottsdale, it's this: From the fourth inning on, the Ducks have outscored their opponents 16-2. They wouldn't be in this position if not for a two-run ninth and two-run 10th in the comeback win over Stanford in pool play.

Power hitting, strong starting pitching fueling Arizona's run

The Wildcats had the highest-scoring offense in the Pac-12 in the regular season and it has carried over to Scottsdale.

Arizona has plated a tournament-high 39 runs, 11 more than the next team (Stanford). The Cats have scored double-digit runs in all three of their wins — 12 against 5-seed Arizona State, 13 in a walk-off win over 2-seed Oregon State and 14 in a run-rule victory over 1-seed Stanford in the semis.

Chase Davis has mesmerized social media with his smooth swing, launching two long balls and driving in a tournament-best 12 runs so far. We're not sure if his grand slam against Stanford has landed yet.

The Wildcats' whole lineup can rake, batting .379 as a team in Scottsdale. Nineteen of their 42 hits have gone for extra bases, including a tournament-high seven homers. No other team has hit more than four.

The starting pitching, meanwhile, has been something of a revelation. Aiden May was masterful in the Wildcats' 12-3 win over Arizona State, tossing six innings of one-run ball, arguably the best outing of the sophomore's career. Bradon Zastrow was equally impressive against the vaunted Cardinal offense, allowing four runs in a seven-inning complete game.

Keep in mind this was a staff that had a 7.42 ERA in Pac-12 play.

By pairing their usual potent offense with prolific pitching, the Wildcats are a team that nobody wants to face right now.

It’s certainly a different squad than the one Oregon swept in Tucson in early April.