This Week in the Pac-10, Apr. 29: A Beaver-Bruin baseball battle, and Arizona really needs to winby Scott Terrell on Apr. 28, 2011, under Sports
TWIT-Pac asks: Why draft players if you’re not going to let them play?
TWIT-Pac answers: Watch college baseball!
There’s a huge series in Los Angeles and the Arizona Wildcats are back home with a hint of desperation in air.
It’s the last of a stretch of weekends with a full five Pac-10 series before some non-conference tilts get mixed in. The rankings, as always, are the averages of the five main polls.
USC (18-22 / 8-7) at #29.8 ARIZONA (24-16 / 6-9)
Don’t let the rankings or the Trojans’ overall losing record fool you. USC has gone 8-4 in its last 12 games while the Cats have lost 9 of 13. The road team is the favorite this week.
#7.4 OSU (30-8 / 10-2) at #19.8 UCLA (22-14 / 10-5)
The Pac-10 series of the week. OSU has a two-game lead in the loss column over ASU and a three-game cushion over the Bruins. The Beavers have a favorable schedule the rest of the way so if Oregon State can get it done in L.A. the race may be over.
Bonus note: When was the last time the Pac-10 Pitcher of the Year wasn’t his team’s Friday night starter? Last weekend UCLA’s Trevor Bauer struck out 17 in his fourth complete game of the season. He leads the league in wins, ERA, opponents batting average and strikeouts (by 32!), yet Gerrit Cole continues to be the Bruins’ #1 starter. Tough crowd.
#23.2 Stanford (20-14 / 5-7) at #8.2 ASU (29-9 / 11-4)
ASU is this year’s Cal. Last year seven of the Bears’ nine Pac-10 series ended in sweeps (three good, four bad). The Sun Devils’ last four series have been sweeps and, since I expect the Cardinal to come back to earth after their stunner against UCLA last Saturday, that sweeping trend might continue.
Oregon (21-18 / 4-8) at #22.6 Cal (24-13 / 9-6)
So far this month the Bears have won two straight, then lost three straight, then won five straight, and now have lost four straight. If they win the first one against Oregon, look out.
Washington (12-25 / 3-9) at WSU (17-19 / 3-12)
Because it’s on the schedule.
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The Wildcats know what’s at stake. After the loss to ASU on Tuesday all the talk was about needing to turn things around right now and the math backs it up. Unless there’s a sweep along the way Arizona has to win each of the remaining four Pac-10 series to finish with a winning record in conference play.
With Kurt Heyer going six innings against ASU his next start won’t be until Sunday, and that might not be a bad thing. Fridays have been very good to the Cats no matter who has started, and Andy Lopez knows it.
“We’ve had a pretty good propensity to play well on Friday and then disappear on Saturday and Sunday,” he said. “I might be able to throw on Friday and win.”
When the USC series opens in Tucson either Kyle Simon will get the ball or freshman Konner Wade will make his third start of the year.
Game times are 6 p.m. on Friday and Saturday, and 12 p.m. on Sunday. Win time is right now.
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