Baseball Weekend Roundup

The Cardinal split two games with the California Golden Bears last weekend in a rain-shortened series. Meanwhile, every club in the Pac-10 is playing well as there was one major surprise last weekend involving a conference team. In this week's Roundup, check out all of the latest from around the Pac-10, notes on San Jose State, plus much more.

Pac-10 Standings (overall records through games of Sun. 3/5)

Washington State      13-3
Washington            12-4
Arizona State         14-5
Oregon State           9-4
Arizona               10-5
Stanford              10-5
USC                   10-8
California             7-6
UCLA                   9-9

* Arizona: The Wildcats had a nice showing at a round-robin tournament in Minneapolis last weekend.  Arizona posted victories over the host Gophers in addition to a win versus Notre Dame.  Their lone loss came in a tight 3-1 affair to 14th ranked Nebraska.  Overall, the Wildcats pitching staff allowed just five runs in the three games.  Arizona now gets a huge test this weekend when they travel to Starkville for a three-game series against 6th ranked and undefeated Mississippi State.

* Arizona State: The Sun Devils remained red-hot with a perfect 4-0 week at home against teams from power conferences.  After a 13-5 Tuesday victory over Texas Tech, ASU smoked the visiting Auburn Tigers en route to a sweep (14-2, 12-3, 8-1).  Auburn is one of the worst teams in the SEC, but it was still an impressive weekend for the Sun Devils.  They've now won nine out of their last ten games and have moved back into the Baseball America Top 25 checking in at #17.  ASU heads out on the road this weekend for a round-robin tournament in Corpus Christi.  In addition to playing host Texas A&M-CC, the Sun Devils also have single games scheduled against #3 Rice and TCU.

* California: The Golden Bears' biggest enemy of late has been the weather.  After a scheduled midweek game versus Sacramento State was rained out, Cal was only able to get two games in versus rival Stanford over the weekend.  In a non-conference series, the Bears edged the Cardinal 7-6 in the opener before falling by a 6-5 score (11 innings) in the Saturday contest.  Cal is scheduled to have a busy week upcoming with five games on the docket (vs. Georgetown, at UNLV).

* Oregon State: The Beavers played an overmatched Nevada club in Corvallis last weekend and promptly took three straight games from the Wolf Pack (13-4, 4-0, 9-1).  Oregon State is ranked 11th in the country this week and now get set for a road weekend series at New Mexico.

* UCLA: The Bruins were the story of the Pac-10 last week.  After a surprising 6-3 midweek win over then-#16 Long Beach State, UCLA traveled across country and swept the 18th ranked N.C. State Wolf Pack.  After a 7-2 win in the opener, the Bruins squeaked by, 5-4, on Saturday before a 13-2 rout in the finale.  This was an N.C. State ballclub that entered the series with a 13-1 record while averaging an amazing 12 runs per game.  The Wolf Pack left the series with just eight runs scored and no wins.  In addition to gaining confidence, UCLA also vastly improved their power rating with this sweep against an RPI-inflated ACC club.  The Bruins are currently in the midst of playing 12 straight games against ranked opposition (4-4 thus far).  They'll wrap-up the stretch of games this week with a single contest at #23 Pepperdine and a home series versus #19 Mississippi.

* USC: The Trojans had a solid weekend at home as they took two-of-three from the visiting Georgia Bulldogs at Dedeaux Field.  After Ian Kennedy was defeated in the opener, USC came back with 9-5 and 12-11 victories to take the series.  USC now gets set to host Stanford in a non-conference series this weekend.

* Washington: Like Arizona, Washington had an impressive showing at a tournament last week.  Playing over in Honolulu, the Huskies went 3-2 in the five-day event.  Against the host Hawaii Rainbows, Washington dropped two-of-three games (Hawaii also took two-of-three from USC the previous week).  The Huskies did post single wins over UT-Arlington and #10 Arkansas for a winning roadtrip.  Tim Lincecum picked up the victory in the win over the Razorbacks - a ballclub that now possesses a sparkling 13-1 record.  Washington has a busy week upcoming with five home games on tap versus California foes San Diego (two games) and Santa Clara (three games).

* Washington State: It's not a bad conference when your supposed worst team sports a 13-3 record.  The Cougars went 3-1 last weekend at a tournament that was split-hosted by themselves and Lewis-Clark State.  WSU split two games versus Gonzaga (18-10, 0-7) while also recording single victories over Chicago State (16-0) and Lewis-Clark State (6-1).  It's still hard to tell if the Cougars are for real as their non-conference schedule has been weaker than every other team in the Pac-10, but a 13-3 record is still awfully impressive - especially for a team that typically resides at the bottom of the conference.  Unfortunately, we may have to wait a little longer to really judge the Cougars as they host lowly Chicago State in a three-game series this week.

This Weekend:
Arizona at #6 Mississippi State
#17 Arizona State at Texas A&M-CC/vs. #3 Rice/vs. TCU
California at UNLV  (four games)
#11 Oregon State at Portland
#16 Stanford at USC  (non-conference)
#19 Mississippi at UCLA
Santa Clara at Washington
Chicago State at Washington State  (Tuesday-Thursday)

Baseball America Rankings:
-- Pac-10 --
11. Oregon State (9-4)
16. Stanford (10-5)
17. Arizona State (14-5)

-- West Coast --
7. CS Fullerton (10-6)
11. Oregon State (9-4)
16. Stanford (10-5)
17. Arizona State (14-5)
22. Long Beach State (10-7)
23. Pepperdine (9-9)
24. Cal Poly (12-6)

-- Top Ten --
1. Georgia Tech (13-0)
2. Clemson (7-2)
3. Rice (13-3)
4. North Carolina (10-1)
5. Tennessee (11-2)
6. Mississippi State (6-0)
7. CS Fullerton (10-6)
8. Florida State (14-1)
9. South Carolina (9-2)
10. Arkansas (13-1)

Opponents Update:
Cal State Fullerton played a highly entertaining series at #3 Rice last weekend.  The Owls hit a walkoff homer to win 3-2 in the opener before scoring four runs in the bottom of the eighth on Saturday to win 6-2.  The Titans bounced back with authority though in the finale blasting the host club by a 15-4 score to salvage a game in the series.  Coupled with Fullerton's Tuesday shutout victory at Pepperdine, the Titans held steady at #7 in the BA rankings this week.

Kansas swept past visiting Western Illinois to improve their record to 13-4.  One of the surprise teams in the country this early-season, the Jayhawks checked in at #25 in the BA poll this morning.  Meanwhile, Fresno State had a perfect 4-0 week at home with a single win over USF and a sweep of Portland.  The Bulldogs improved their record to 11-8.

Finally, it was difficult weekend for Augie Garrido and the Texas Longhorns.  The Horns blew a 10-0, fifth inning lead in the opener of their series at UNLV on Friday as the Rebels rallied for a 13-12 win.  After losing another tight affair on Saturday (9-8), Texas withstood a late UNLV rally to post a 9-8 win Sunday afternoon.  Their series loss against a sub-.500 team dropped Texas to 10-8 on the year and the #21 national ranking.

San Jose State Notes:
* The Cardinal take on the Spartans Tuesday evening in a single non-conference affair.  First pitch at Municipal Stadium is scheduled for 6:00 P.M.

* The Spartans are 9-8 this season after dropping two-of-three games in a home-and-home series with Santa Clara last weekend.  San Jose State has already lost weekend series' this year to the Broncos, #24 Cal Poly (two-of-three at home) and Loyola Marymount (two-of-three at home).  Their series wins have come over Big West doormat UC Santa Barbara (two-of-three on the road) and 3-9 BYU (sweep at home).

* San Jose State has struggled offensively this year with a .252 team batting average while scoring just 4.9 runs per game.

* The Spartans play their home games in a large, pitching-friendly ballpark.  However, their three total home runs hit through 17 games is still a very low output.

* Second baseman David Pierson leads the SJSU offense with a .357 average, no homers, and six RBI.  The leadoff hitter in the lineup, Pierson has also drawn a team-best 13 walks resulting in an impressive .486 on-base percentage.  Meanwhile, outfielder Ryan Angel (.297 AVG, 1 HR, 10 RBI) is an experienced bat who hits third in the order.

* The Spartans returned six of their starting position players from last year's team that went 28-28-1 (13-17 in the WAC).

* San Jose State has one of the better starting pitchers on the west coast in senior lefty Branden Dewing (5 GS, 3-2, 1.73 ERA).  Dewing though normally starts on Friday's and threw a complete-game versus the Broncos, so it would seem unlikely that Stanford will have to face him at any point on Tuesday.

* Outside of their three weekend starters, the only other pitcher on the staff to start a game this year is sophomore right-hander Brandon Hennessey.  In five games (two starts), Hennessey is 1-0 with a 6.75 ERA spanning eight innings.  Traditionally, the Spartans have used a number of pitchers (five-plus) in their Tuesday games against Stanford.

* As a staff, San Jose State possesses a 4.35 ERA.

Stanford Update:
* Shortstop Chris Minaker had a spectacular two games at the plate over in Berkeley last weekend.  The senior went 7-for-10 with a double and six RBI including the game-winning single in the 11th inning on Saturday.  For the season, Minaker leads the club with a sizzling .381 batting average.  He's also now driven home 19 runs in Stanford's first 15 games.

* Freshman Joey August may have found a home in the leadoff spot in the batting order.  In the two games last weekend, August reached base safely in a whopping eight of his ten plate appearances (four hits and four walks).  August is now hitting .345 this season (10-for-29) with team-high totals of 14 runs, 11 walks, and a .525 on-base percentage.

* On the flip side, senior catcher John Hester has seen his average drop down to .204 after a 1-for-10 performance in Berkeley.  Hester has driven in just four runs through 15 games this year.

* Stanford committed six errors at Cal in the two games: four throwing errors from Chris Lewis at second base, a throwing error from Austin Yount at third base that led to a Bears victory on Friday, and a fielding error from Minaker that allowed the tying run to score in the ninth inning on Saturday.

* Stanford's team ERA now sits at a sparkling 3.37.  Expect the likes of David Stringer, Matt Leva, Nolan Gallagher, and Jeremy Bleich to see time on the mound against the Spartans.  Stringer and Leva didn't throw at all last weekend while Gallagher and Bleich each threw less than an inning.

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