Archive for: April 2014

Pac-12 Baseball: Grading Teams at Midway Point of Conference Play

Washington - COVERCollege and mid-term exams go hand in hand and the Pac-12 Conference baseball teams are hoping to move to the head of the class. The Pac-12 is historically one of the toughest conferences in all of Division I with the past two national champions hailing from the Conference of Champions.

Four of the top six teams in College World Series games played currently play their games in the Pac-12. Even more impressive is that  three of the top four teams in terms of final game appearances and national championships come from Pac. With 28 national championships, including four in the past eight seasons, it is debatable that the Pac-12 is hands down, the best conference in college baseball—past and present. >>>Read more on College Baseball Central

Softball on Pac-12 Networks – April 17 – 18

Husky SoftballThree matchups featuring three ranked teams will hit the Pac-12 Network airwaves on Thursday and Friday with two games made available via live stream on Saturday.

Channel Finder

 

California at No. 1 Oregon (April 17-18 on Pac-12 Networks)

The Ducks are fresh off their clean sweep of all first place votes in both national polls and are home defending their top ranking for a three-game set. The Bears have lost back-to-back conference series at home to the Arizona schools but have won seven of its last eight on the road. The games will be broadcast live on Pac-12 Bay Area and Pac-12 Oregon at 4 p.m. PT on Thursday and Friday while Saturday’s 12 p.m. PT game will be on live stream.

 

CalNo. 6 Arizona State at No. 11 Washington (April 17-18 on Pac-12 Networks)

Arizona State is coming off two straight strong weeks in which it swept California and Utah. Washington took the series last weekend at Stanford and swept the Player of the Week awards. Senior pitchers Dallas Escobedo for Arizona State and Kaitlin Inglesby, arguably two of the best pitchers in the conference will go head-to-head on Thursday. The epic matchup of top-ranked teams takes center stage on the Pac-12 Networks at 4 p.m. PT on Thursday and Friday with Krista Blunk and Tammy Blackburn on the call.

Stanford at Utah (April 17 & 18 on Pac-12 Networks)

The matinee of games will kick off in Salt Lake City at 2 p.m. PT with both teams looking to rebound in the conference standings. The Utes and Cardinal are coming off conference losing streaks although Utah took two non-conference games over Utah Valley earlier in the week. Friday’s game will also be broadcast live at 2 p.m. PT with Anne Marie Anderson and Teri Goldberg calling the action. Saturday’s 11 a.m. PT game will be streaming live on the Internet.

Oregon Ducks Claim Clean Sweep of First-Place Votes

Ducks SweepThe Oregon Ducks swept in-state rival Oregon State over the weekend and became the first team to earn a clean sweep of all 32 first-place votes. The USA Today/NFCA Poll was released on April 15 and the top two teams are once again from the Pac-12 Conference.

 

No. 1 Oregon (37-5, 11-1 Pac-12)

 

The first-place Ducks recovered from their first conference loss to UCLA by sweeping the Beavers in the Civil War series in Corvallis. Ducks’ ace Cheridan Hawkins pitched 10 innings over the series and fanned 12 batters en route to picking up her 21st and 22nd wins. After a close 10-5 victory on Saturday, the Ducks decimated the Beavers, outscoring its opponent 28-2 in back-to-back run-rule games.

Catcher Janelle Lindvall paced the offense with 7-of-10 hitting with seven RBI and two homeruns while Kailee Cuico was 4-of-8 over the series with five RBI and two homeruns.

 

No. 2 UCLA (36-4, 9-3 Pac-12)

 

The No.2 Bruins were idle last weekend and suffered no ill-effects in the latest poll as it maintained its ranking securely behind the top-ranked Ducks. The Bruins returned to the diamond on Tuesday and defeated Cal State Northridge (26-19) in a run-rule 8-0 victory at home.

Jessica Hall took the win and catcher Brittany Moeai knocked her first career home run as well as a 2-RBI double in the decisive sixth inning. Next up for the Bruins is hosting Oregon State on a Thursday-Saturday series.

 

No. 6 Arizona State (38-6, 12-3 Pac-12)

Dallas

The Sun Devils completed its second consecutive conference sweep over the weekend when the Utes visited Tempe over the weekend. Neither the sweep nor any of the games came easy, however, as Utah fought tooth and nail but Arizona State’s ability to close out games prevailed.

First-year head coach Craig Nicholson earned his 1000th career victory on Friday night and senior pitcher Dallas Escobedo picked up her 17th win.

Escobedo celebrated her birthday on Sunday by picking up the win and the sweep.

 

No. 10 Arizona (34-9, 9-6 Pac-12)

 

Arizona dropped a spot in the polls this week due to a heartbreaking 9-1 loss at California on Saturday. The Wildcats rebounded on Sunday with a 9-2 win and secured its third conference series win of the season. Senior pitcher Estela Pinon picked up the two wins to advance her record to 13-5 on the season.

Freshman phenom Katiyana Mauga fueled the ‘Cats offense with a home run in both wins. Arizona hosts New Mexico State in a non-conference doubleheader on Wednesday and welcomes Utah this weekend.

 

 

No. 11 Washington (24-11, 4-7 Pac-12)

UW Inglesby

No. 11 Washington had a bittersweet weekend, dropping Friday’s game to Stanford 13-5 and subsequently dropping out of the top 10 for the first time this season. The Huskies, however, seem to be back on the winning track with the series win over the Cardinal.

For the first time in half a decade, the Washington softball team swept the Pac-12 Player of the Week awards with junior rightfiedler Kylee Lahners and senior pitcher Kaitlin Inglesby sweeping the honors.

Lahners went 5-of-10 with four RBI and two home runs, her first multi-home run game to earn the award for the second time this season. Inglesby, a four-time career honoree, pitched two complete games over the weekend including her second shut-out of the season and 17th of her career.

ASU Football: Updated Depth Chart, Spring Game and Fan Fest

ASU TheaterTEMPE, Ariz. — The 2014 Arizona State football team will kick off in earnest on Saturday, April 19 with the annual Fan Fest taking place at Sun Devil Stadium from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. PT with the Maroon and Gold spring game at 11 a.m. The game will be broadcast on Pac-12 Networks and will also be available online via the Pac-12 Now app.

The Pac-12 South champion Sun Devils led by senior quarterback Taylor Kelly and 2013 Pac-12 Coach of the Year Todd Graham return to the gridiron with unfinished business after ending the 2013 season in disappointing fashion. The goals for the 2014 season, and every season moving forward, are Pac-12 Champions, Rose Bowl Champions and National Champions.

The walls of the football theater are emblazoned with these tenets.

New Athletic Director Ray Anderson has sparked interest in the football program and is spear-heading the North End Zone renovation project in a campaign entitled Momentum.

Rendering of new Sun Devil Stadium

Rendering of new Sun Devil Stadium

The proposed plan will completely renovate Sun Devil Stadium, while preserving Tillman Tunnel and retaining the stadium in its iconic setting between the Tempe and Hayden Buttes. Construction on the stadium is scheduled to begin in 2015, with the football team competing in Sun Devil Stadium throughout the renovation.

The scheduled removal of the north end zone began on Monday and is not part of the renovation project. The removal of the north end zone upper deck will reduce the seating capacity at Sun Devil Stadium by approximately 5,700 seats.

FAN FEST 2014

 

The pre-game festivities will begin at 9 a.m. at the southern end of the stadium and parking lots. Activities include an interactive Sun Devil Way Fan Fest where younger Sun Devil fans can enjoy the Kids Zone presented by the Junior Sun Devil Club and Shamrock Foods, a Social Media Command Center where fans can get their photos taken, pose with the Territorial Cup and win Sun Devil apparel, and an autograph session for fans 18 and under.

2014 FanFestFor those looking to show off their master tailgating skills, there is The Great Sun Devil Tailgate Competition which will pit the best and brightest tailgaters competing for prizes, trophies and all-important bragging rights.

All attendees of Fan Fest will have a chance to win a trip for two to the ASU vs. Washington game Saturday, Oct. 25, 2014 at Husky Stadium. The giveaway includes hotel, airfare and tickets for two to the game.

BRING ON THE FOOTBALL

 

The Sun Devils return six All-Pac-12 performers, including the aforementioned Kelly, running back DJ Foster, wide receiver Jaelen Strong, tight end De’Marieya Nelson, left tackle Jamil Douglas and Lou Groza Award Semifinalist kicker Zane Gonzalez.

Along with Douglas, the starting offensive line is packed with veterans including junior center Nick Kelly, redshirt juniors Christian Westerman and Vi Teofilo at the guard slots and redshirt senior Tyler Sulka at right tackle. The veteran line will be heavily relied upon with Foster and a pair of redshirt seniors in Deantre Lewis and Kyle Middlebrooks out of the backfield.

ASU leading receiver Jaelen Strong

ASU leading receiver Jaelen Strong

The receiving corps will be quite different with Strong leading the way at the X slot. Redshirt junior Cameron Smith, who had only eight receptions for 129 yards in 2013 is the favorite at the Y position while redshirt sophomore Frederick Gammage will likely get the start at the Z. Gammage saw time in 13 games in 2013 yet only nabbed six receptions for 32 yards.

The defense is markedly changed with the departure of nine starters including two-time All Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year Will Sutton and Carl Bradford to graduation. The defensive line will be anchored by junior Jaxon Hood at the Tiger position with redshirt junior Mo Latu at the Nose and senior Marcus Hardison coming off the end.

Redshirt junior Eriquel Florence will be filling the Devil backer spot while redshirt sophomores Viliami Moeakiola and Salamo Fiso will most likely start at the Spur and Sam linebacker spots. Freshman DJ Calhoun and redshirt junior Antonio Longino are battling for the start at the Will position.

Marcus Hardison with big shoes to fill

Marcus Hardison with big shoes to fill

The secondary will be anchored by returning senior Damarious Randall at field safety. Redshirt sophomores Lloyd Carrington and Rashad Wadood will fill the field corner and boundary corners respectively. Battling for the the boundary safety position will be redshirt freshman Marcus Ball and redshirt junior Jordan Simone.

Special teams will be relatively unchanged with sophomore punter Matt Haack coming into his own after losing punting responsibilities last season to kickoff specialist Alex Garoutte. New assistant coach Keith Patterson, a former punter has worked with not only Haack, but also with junior long snappers Donnie Shields and Easton Wahlstrom.

The pressure of punting took Garoutte’s focus of being a true kickoff specialist and this season he will be send more footballs into the end zone, nullifying any possible returns. Sophomore kicker Zane Gonzalez is facing a concerning sophomore slump with a couple misses in practice, yet he is 7-of-10 inside Sun Devil Stadium this spring.

On the return side of the coin, speedy running back Kyle Middlebrooks and defensive leader Damarious Randall are listed as the No. 1 and No. 2 spots on both punt and kick coverage.

MOVING FORWARD

 

The spring game will bring to spring practice season to a close but there are still many other events on the horizon.

  • Early bird season ticket pricing ends April 30.
  • Spring Coaching Clinic April 4-5
  • Camp Tontozona August 12-16
  • Season Opener August 28 vs. Weber State

Pac-12 softball on TV viewer guide: April 10-14

Cheyenne CoyleWith the Pac-12 Conference season in the heart of conference play, four top-10 ranked teams will have television coverage from Thursday to Monday.

Channel Finder

 

No. 1 Oregon at Oregon State (April 13-14 on Pac-12 Networks)

The Civil War comes to Pac-12 Networks as the Ducks look to defend their first ever No. 1 ranking. The Ducks took two of three from UCLA at home last weekend and travel to Corvallis for a Saturday-Monday series. Sunday’s game time is set for 2 p.m. PT and Monday’s game will be at 3 p.m. PT. Ann Schatz and Amanda Freed will provide coverage for the Pac-12 Networks.

Utah at No. 7 Arizona State (April 10-11 on Pac-12 Networks)

Arizona State is coming off a monster week in which it swept Cal in Berkeley. The visiting Utah Utes have won four of its past five games including a series win over Oregon State who took the series from Arizona State earlier this year. Thursday night’s broadcast will be at 7 p.m. PT and Friday’s game will be at 5 p.m. PT with Jim Watson and Amanda Freed on the call. Saturday’s 12 p.m. PT game will be provided via live internet feed.

Arizona Softball

Arizona Softball

No. 9 Arizona at California (April 11 & 13 on Pac-12 Networks)

The Bears will host another Arizona this weekend when the ninth-ranked Wildcats come to town. Fresh off the sweep of Stanford in Tucson, Arizona also brings USA Softball and NFCA Player of the Week Katiyana Mauga to Levine-Fricke Field. The Bears are in the midst of a five-game losing streak but had won the 10 games prior. Friday’s game will air at 3 p.m. PT with Sunday’s game at 12 p.m. PT with Krista Blunk and Tammy Blackburn covering.

No. 10 Washington at Stanford (April 10 & 12 on ESPN U)

The 10th-ranked Huskies are back in action this weekend after its bye week and an 11-0 victory over Seattle University. Washington will travel to take on Stanford who was swept in Tucson and fell out of the national rankings. Beth Mowins and Jessica Mendoza will be at Boyd and Jill Smith Family Stadium in Stanford for Thursday night’s 8 p.m. PT game and Saturday night’s 7 p.m. PT nightcap.

Pac-12 Baseball: Week 9 Holds Intriguing Matchups For Beavers, Bruins

Beavers CoverThe Pac-12 Conference enters week nine of play with Washington clinging to a one-game lead. The Huskies (22-6-1, 10-2 Pac-12), who were picked to finish near the bottom of the conference have proven that they belong in one of the toughest baseball conferences in the country.

The Pac-12 has four teams in the national polls including the latest College Baseball Central poll, it just depends on what poll you are looking at to know which four teams that are ranked. The aforementioned Huskies along with Oregon and Oregon State are unanimously ranked in all five national polls with UCLA garnering nods from the NCBWA and USA Today/Coaches’ Poll and Arizona State receiving a No. 25 vote from Collegiate Baseball.>>>Read more on College Baseball Central

Oregon Softball Takes Series from UCLA; Steals Top Spot in Rankings

Kailee CuicoThe Ducks took two of three from the Bruins and took over the top spot with 30 of the 32 first place votes in this week’s USA Today/NFCA Coaches’ Poll released on April 8. Three more Pac-12 teams make up the top 10.

No. 1 Oregon (35-5, 8-1 Pac-12)

 

The Ducks hosted UCLA over the weekend in a marquee matchup of top ranked teams and went to work on the then-No. 1 ranked Bruins. Catcher Janelle Lindvall and centerfielder Koral Costa were a perfect 6-of-6 for the Ducks and knocked in six RBI on two home runs on Friday.

Senior Kailee Cuico did them one better by knocking in a team-high seven RBI on two home runs on Saturday. Cuico was named Pac-12 Player of the Week with three HRs and 12 RBI in five games played last week.

No. 2 UCLA (34-4, 9-3 Pac-12)

 

The Bruins were not ready for the offensive prowess shown by the Ducks in Eugene but were able to rebound and capture the final game on Sunday to avoid the sweep. UCLA fell only one spot in the rankings due to Tennessee losing two of three to LSU.

Junior pitcher Ally Carda (20-2) was the do-it-all girl for the Bruins with two hits, an RBI and pitching 5.2 innings of relief to earn the win. Last week’s hero for the Bruins, Stephany LaRosa, also chipped in with a three-run home to secure the 6-1 victory.

No. 7 Arizona State (35-56 9-3 Pac-12)

Dallas Escobedo

Dallas Escobedo

The Sun Devils traveled to Berkeley and dispatched the Bears with little effort. Arizona State outscored California 27-4 in the three-game series with two run-rule victories to cap the weekend.

Senior pitcher Dallas Escobedo (16-5) garnered wins on Friday and Sunday striking out 23 batters over 12 inning earning the Pac-12 Pitcher of the Week. Offensive firepower was on display as Elizabeth Caporuscio knocked a grand slam on Friday followed two each by Haley Steele, Bethany Kemp and Alix Johnson over the weekend.

No. 9 Arizona (32-8, 7-5 Pac-12)

 

The Wildcats hosted the Cardinal over the weekend and were faced with a true challenge on Friday night with a wild 18-12 victory. Freshmen Katiyana Mauga and Mo Mercado combined for five hits, 12 RBI and four runs scored—on Friday night alone.

Saturday’s game saw Mauga maintain a hot hand going 2-for-2 with three RBI and two runs scored. First baseman Hallie Wilson was instrumental with her 3-of-4 performance with three RBI in the 12-3 run-rule victory. Stanford took Arizona to extra innings on Sunday but Mauga’s walk-off two-run homer in the eighth secured the sweep and earned her USA Softball and NFCA Player of the Week honors.

No. 10 Washington (22-10, 2-6 Pac-12)

Bryana Walker

Bryana Walker

The Huskies were idle last weekend and swapped spots with Arizona. Washington traveled to cross-town Seattle University and defeated the Redhawks 11-0 in five innings.

Bryanna Walker earned her 14th win of the season through four innings of shutout ball while Kaitlin Inglesby closed out the final frame. Victoria Howard and Hooch Fagaly combined for five hits, seven RBI and two runs scored.

Matt Huffman Community Night at the Ballpark on deck Wednesday

Batting PracticeThe Maricopa Rams Home Run Booster Club will be hosting Matt Huffman Community Night at the Ballpark Wednesday when both varsity softball and baseball teams host the Casa Grande Cougars.

Huffman, the former Maricopa High senior who was headed to Indiana State University on both an academic and athletic scholarship for baseball died while running in January 2002. The field where the baseball team plays, which opened in 2010, was re-dedicated to Huffman where his name and legacy will continue to inspire.

The event is open to the community. Youth are encouraged to wear their uniforms or school spirit to school to show their support of Rams’ athletics.

The first game of the day will be at 3:45 p.m. when the junior varsity baseball team hosts the Casa Grande JV squad. The varsity teams will take the field at 6 p.m. with several events prior to the first pitch.

Every student in attendance will receive a raffle ticket with several prizes available including two 7-inch Android tablets, iTunes gift cards, a summer splash basket of goodies and gift cards from Yogurt Jungle among the giveaways.

Photo courtesy of Sam Dugan

Photo courtesy of Sam Dugan

Each team will honor the teachers that have made a difference in their education at 5:30 p.m. and two lucky youths will be throwing out the ceremonial first pitch for both games at 5:55 p.m.

The rivalry between the Rams and Cougars is an intense one with the Rams leading the Cougars in all sports, 21-17-1 since the 2007 season. The Rams have won the past four events against Casa Grande including baseball in April, boys and girls soccer in January and girls basketball in December.

The softball team is coming off their biggest win of the season when it defeated Coronado High School in Scottsdale on Monday night, 21-3. The Lady Rams improved to 11-7 and 1-2 in section standings.

The Casa Grande Cougars (10-10, 0-4 section VI) are in the midst of a rollercoaster season coming into the game on a five-game losing streak when they had won the seven games prior.

The Lady Rams are led by sophomore pitcher Amber Cramer’s section-leading 1.48 ERA with junior Victoria Andrade currently in the No. 5 spot at 2.45. On the offensive side of the ball, junior first baseman Isabel McCloskey is tied for the most RBI with 25, while senior third baseman, Madi Byrd ranks fifth in runs scored with 22.

Next up for the Rams is traveling to Vista Grande (11-6, 2-2 section VI) in Casa Grande on Friday at 6 p.m. and hosting Williams Field (9-4, 4-4 section IV) from Gilbert on Monday.

photo courtesy of Karyn Sather Speer

photo courtesy of Karyn Sather Speer

The baseball squad snapped its four-game losing streak when it defeated Coronado 7-5 on Monday afternoon at Huffman Field. Senior pitcher Tristan Hartley went the distance pitching his first complete game of the season and improved his record to 3-1. Hartley fanned eight batters while only giving up seven hits and three earned runs. From the plate, Hartley went 1-of-3 with a walk and two stolen bases that led to scoring two runs.

The Rams trailed 4-0 heading into the bottom of the fifth inning but rallied to score five runs in the fifth and added two more in the sixth. While the Rams only totaled three hits on the game, the Dons’ pitching staff issued six walks and allowed six more to reach on error.

Senior pitcher Dallas Speer is the projected starter against Casa Grande (7-9-1, 2-2 section VI) and currently is tied for the lead in Section VI with 43 strikeouts on the season. The Cougars baseball team also enters the game on a losing streak of their own; it has lost the last two games and three of its past six.

Next up for the baseball team is hosting the Vista Grande Spartans (5-12, 1-4 section VI) on Friday at 3:45 p.m. and traveling to Williams Field High School (11-7, 7-0 section IV) on Monday, also at 3:45 p.m.

Cal Poly Baseball: Mustangs Earn Hard-Fought Series Win Over Gauchos

Casey BloomquistSAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif.—  UC Santa Barbara visited Cal Poly with something to prove. The Gauchos faced three-time Big West Pitcher of the Week Matt Imhof on Friday night and dismantled him. Imhof, theNCBWA National Player of the Week for the second time this season was lit up by UCSB hitters to the tune of five hits and seven runs in just 3.1 innings.

Back-to-back home runs from sophomore designated hitter Robbie Nesovic and junior first baseman Tyler Kuresa scored four runs in the third inning but appeared to have no impact on Imhof’s psyche as he retired the next two batters.>>>Read more on College Baseball Central

Arizona State Baseball: Sun Devils Topple Trojans in 11; Take Series

RJ Woody CauseySophomore RJ Ybarra set a career high with five RBI and tied his career best with three hits and a walk-off sacrifice fly in the bottom of the 11th inning to put ASU over the top, 10-9. Saturday’s victory secured the Sun Devils’ third consecutive conference series win and its seventh win in eight games. Arizona Sate baseball (17-11, 7-4) is ranked in only one national poll, No. 25 by Collegiate Baseball newspaper, but should start receiving national recognition after its strong showing as of late.

Ybarra has been the definition of clutch with five career game-winning hits after the eight inning—one each over the past three weekends. Record nights were enjoyed by both junior rightfielder Trever Allen, who tied his career best with four hits and junior first baseman Nate Causey,who scored a career-tying four runs.>>>Read more on College Baseball Central