Category: Baseball

UCLA Baseball: Will the Bruins Get a Chance to Defend Its Title?

James Kaprielian - Katie Myers photo

WESTWOOD, Calif. —  The NCAA defending champion Bruins can’t seem to catch a break. Losers of nine of its past 15 games and a sixth-place standing in the Pac-12 Conference have people wondering not if UCLA will defend its national championship, but if it will even get the chance to defend it.

At 23-19-1 and 10-9 in conference, the Bruins need to close the season strong with 13 games remaining. On the heels of being swept by cross-town rival USC, the Bruins traveled to nearby Santa Barbara to take on another suddenly-struggling team in the Gauchos. First pitch was at 3 p.m. PT and the game was called after 12 innings due to darkness, four and a half hours later. The Bruins used eight pitchers and the Gauchos used four, but neither team could break through after UCSB tied it up in the fifth inning.>>>Read more on College Baseball Central. 


Maricopa Rams’ baseball ends season on high note

Karyn Speer Photo

MARICOPA, Ariz. —  The Maricopa High School baseball program struggled in the final month of the season, losing nine straight. However, the Rams took the final game with an 8-4 win over Poston Butte High in SanTan Valley last Wednesday.

Sophomore Tyler Rapp paced the Rams, hitting 3-of-4 with an RBI, a stolen base and two runs scored.

Senior pitcher Dillon Moran pitched six innings of six-hit baseball, issuing four strikeouts and allowing only three earned runs to pick up his second win of the season.

Senior Tristan Hartley pitched an artful inning of relief, retiring the Broncos in order in the seventh.

The Rams would finish the season 8-17 overall and 2-9 in section play. Coach Andrew Pollak’s squad only managed two wins at home.

Dallas Speer

Dallas Speer

Final season stats show that senior Bernardo Juarez led all batters with a .364 batting average. Tyler Rapp’s .323 average was the best among players with a minimum of 50 at-bats. Rapp led the team with 19 runs scored.

Junior Nick Diaz was the star from the plate and was the only player to record a home run this season, and he did it three times. Diaz also paced the team with 12 RBIs and was tied for most triples (1) and total hits (21) with seniors Noah Anderson and Hartley, respectively.

Senior pitchers Moran, Hartley and Dallas Speer were the heart of the Rams’ pitching staff. Speer led all pitchers with 57 strikeouts while Hartley issued the fewest walks among the three with 19. Speer allowed the fewest hits (37) while Hartley allowed the fewest earned runs (21).

Rapp and freshman Jackson Stensgard are the only returning pitchers with seven pitchers graduating this month.

Softball recap

The varsity softball team was not as fortunate, finishing the season on a nine-game losing streak, including the final two at home. The Lady Rams took a 4-0 lead into the fifth inning over Poston Butte last Wednesday but allowed three runs in the fifth and five in the sixth before falling 8-6 at home.

Coach Chris Ansley’s squad finished the season 11-16 overall and 1-8 in section. The Rams were 7-9 at home including a 6-0 sweep of the Krystin Diehl Softball Tournament and 4-7 away from home.

Through 25 of 27 games, senior catcher Madi Moncel led the Rams with a .437 batting average, 31 hits and was tied with junior Shay Barney with three triples.

Chelsea Trejo & Madi Moncel

Chelsea Trejo & Madi Moncel

Senior third baseman Madi Byrd tied for most doubles (8) and home runs (1) with junior Isabel McCloskey. Freshman Kayla Martinez knocked in a home run this season.

McClosley was an RBI machine with 31 RBIs in 25 games, averaging 1.24 RBI per game.

Senior second baseman Chelsea Trejo led the Lady Rams with 24 runs scored and was also tied for most doubles with Byrd and McCloskey.

The pitching rotation of junior Victoria Andrade and sophomores Amber Cramer and Yasmin Santa Cruz will all return next season and will look to lead the team to the playoffs.

Andrade was the team workhorse, starting 14 of 25 games. Andrade fanned 47 batters while surrendering only 23 walks. Cramer, in her seven starts and 11 total appearances garnered four wins and struck out 20 batters while only walking five.

The heart of the varsity softball team could be difficult to replace, losing seniors Moncel, Trejo and Rosie Naranjo. McCloskey, Barney, along with Sam Dugan and Alison Korittky, are likely the team leaders in the 2015 season.

Pac-12 Softball Claims Top 3 Spots

Wild Thing


Arizona State joined Oregon and UCLA at the top of the polls after Florida and Michigan tumbled last weekend. Here’s how the Pac-12 fared in the latest release of the USA Today/NFCA Division I softball poll:

No. 1 Oregon (44-5, 17-1 Pac-12)


The top-ranked Ducks have won 12 straight games and 19 of its last 20 and show no signs of letting up. Oregon has swept its past three conference opponents and took two of three from then-No. 1 UCLA. The Ducks bats’ dominated Stanford at Smith Family Stadium outscoring the Cardinal 21-3 with sophomore pitcher Cheridan Hawkins hurling her NCAA-leading 11th shutout on Friday en route to her 26th victory.

Hawkins improved to 27-3 on Sunday with the 7-2 victory, striking out 15 batters in both games. Left fielder Janie Takeda hit 6-of-11 and first baseman Kailee Cuico collected four RBI in the three game series. Next up for the Ducks is a tough home series hosting No. 3 Arizona State.

No. 2 UCLA (44-4, 15-3 Pac-12)

Ally Carda

Ally Carda

Since dropping two games to Oregon in early April, the Bruins have reeled off 11 straight victories to keep a firm grip on the its No. 2 ranking. UCLA has swept two conference opponents in Oregon State and California along with midweek games over Cal State Fullerton, Cal State Northridge and Long Beach State.

Junior pitcher Ally Carda was a one-woman show over the weekend in Berkeley winning Friday’s and Sunday’s games and collecting the save on Saturday. Carda also hit 7-of-11, nabbing a stolen base on Friday, knocking a double on Saturday and a solo home run on Sunday. Third baseman Mysha Sataraka knocked her 14th and 15th home runs on Saturday hitting 6-of-12 with 4 RBI over the weekend. The Bruins host Stanford this weekend for a three-game set.

No. 3 Arizona State (42-7, 13-4 Pac-12)


The Sun Devils took a break from Pac-12 Conference play hosting the Southern Mississippi out of Conference USA. The Golden Eagles were shutout in three straight games and were outscored 19-0 including an 8-0 run-rule loss on Friday night. The Sun Devils’ senior pitchers Mackenzie Popescue and Dallas Escobedo swapped positions for the non-conference series with Popescue in the circle on Friday and Sunday and Escobedo with the lone start on Saturday.

Popescue was dominant over the weekend, pitching her third career no-hitter on Friday and two complete game shutouts earning her first career Pac-12 Pitcher of the Week. Escobedo fanned a career-tying 16 batters and picked up her 20th victory of the season, tied with Popescue. The Sun Devils saved the best for last traveling to No. 1 Oregon this weekend and hosting No. 2 UCLA the following weekend.

No. 9 Arizona (39-9, 12-6 Pac-12)

Hallie Wilson

Hallie Wilson

Arizona jumped a spot to the No. 9 position after a midweek doubleheader victory over New Mexico State and a weekend sweep of Utah. The Wildcats have won its past six games and 11 of its past 12. With the home sweep of the Utes, the Wildcats are now 27-0 at home with 21 of them coming as run-rule victories.

Arizona batters decimated Utah pitchers over the weekend with 13 home runs in three games including a school record eight home runs on Saturday. Rightfielder Katiyana Mauga hit three solo shots on Saturday but it was first baseman Hallie Wilson’s four home runs over the weekend that stood up and earned her the Pac-12 Player of the Week nod for the second time this season. Arizona travels to Washington this weekend to take on the No. 11 Huskies.

No. 11 Washington (28-12, 8-8 Pac-12)


Speaking of the Huskies, the Washington softball team is back home after sweeping Oregon State in Corvallis. The quick series was a dominant performance with the Huskies winning rule-rule victories on Saturday and Sunday with Mother Nature throwing an assist on Friday, ending the game after six innings.

Pitchers Kaitlin Inglesby and Bryana Walker were once again at the top of their games combining for 15 strikeouts and allowing only 13 hits. Inglesby won Friday’s and Sunday’s games with Walker relieving while Walker won on Saturday with Inglesby pitching the final inning in relief. Washington hosts Arizona this weekend.

USC’s Jake Hernandez, ASU’s Ryan Kellogg Earn Pac-12 Weekly Honors

Pac-12 POW


Rivalry weekend in the Pac-12 Conference over the weekend led to big games and even bigger performances from University of Southern California’s senior first baseman Jake Hernandez and Arizona State University’s sophomore pitcher Ryan Kellogg. This is the second consecutive week that a Trojan has been honored with a weekly award and the first time this season for the Sun Devils. USC has earned 57 all-time weekly selections while ASU has 63 overall. This is Hernandez’s first career selection and the second in Kellogg’s two-year college career.>>>Read more on College Baseball Central



Rams’ baseball, softball seasons come to a close

MHS Base

The Maricopa High School varsity baseball and softball teams have hit a wall.

After great starts from the boys (5-3) and girls (7-3), the teams have only one win apiece since April began. Both teams will miss out on the state playoffs and will try to end the season on a high note.

The baseball team will play its final home game under the “Friday Night Lights” and will honor the seniors in a pre-game ceremony at 6:30 p.m. with first pitch at 7 p.m.

Dallas Speer

Dallas Speer

The opponent will be Valley Christian High School from Chandler. The Trojans are from a lower division based on school population but look to be heading to the Division III playoffs with a 12-9 overall record and 6-3 in section 4.

Twelve seniors will be honored on Friday night including team batting-average leaders Noah Anderson (.333) and Tristan Hartley (.308). Bernardo Juarez, who is tied for the team’s best fielding percentage (1.000) will also be honored.

The biggest hit will be in the pitching rotation with starters Dallas Speer, Dillon Moran and the aforementioned Hartley bidding farewell to the red and black. Senior reliever Michael Gunter had a season-ending surgery on Monday; he is at home recovering and will likely miss the ceremony.

Jesus Orci-Vega, Michael Ashe, Derik Johnson, Eduardo Martinez, JJ Salaz and Colton Rosales will be honored as well.

Following Friday night’s game, the Rams travel to Yuma to take on Cibola High (5-12, 4-8 section 7) on Monday at 4 p.m. and then finish the season in San Tan Valley at Poston Butte High School at 6 p.m. The Broncos are 8-14 overall and 3-5 in section 6.

Seniors Trejo, Moncel, Naranjo & Byrd

Seniors Trejo, Moncel, Naranjo & Byrd

The softball team traveled to Tucson to take on the top two teams in the section and was dismissed unceremoniously in back-to-back, run-rule games. The girls will play their final two games at home hosting Cibola (13-10, 8-4 section) at 4 p.m. and Poston Butte (3-24, 1-6 section) on Wednesday night at 6 p.m.

The softball team will bid adieu to several starters including the heart of the team in catcher Madi Moncel, second baseman Chelsea Trejo and third baseman Madi Byrd.

Moncel leads the team in batting average (.456) and hits (31), while tied with the team lead for triples (3) and home runs (1). Trejo is team leader in runs scored (24) and tied for team lead with eight doubles also places second in batting average at (.412) and hits with 28.

Moncel signed a letter of intent in February to play at Colby Community College, a two-year college in Kansas. She previously told that if things go well in Kansas, she hopes to go to the University of Illinois to play ball.

Byrd closely follows Moncel and Trejo with a .397 batting average, 27 hits, 23 runs scored and is tied for Trejo with eight doubles and tied with Moncel with a home run.

Shortstop Rosie Naranjo, a 21-game starter will also finish her season along with outfielder Kaylee Darnall and utility player Sydnee Akers.

Pac-12 Baseball: Are Teams Putting Too Much Emphasis on Rivalry Games?

Will Ballowe-Washington COVER


Pac-12 rivalry games takes center stage across the conference this weekend and fan bases from Arizona to Washington couldn’t be happier. For many teams, it is the height of the regular season and fodder for state supremacy throughout the summer and into football season.

Unfortunately, the midweek games prior to the big weekend get lost in the shuffle. Are teams putting too much focus on the rivalry games or are they merely complacent against non-conference opponents?

Conference-leading Washington (27-8-1, 14-4 Pac-12) suffered a loss to neighboring Seattle University (18-18, 7-5 WAC) on Tuesday night and has now lost two straight. This is the Huskies’ first losing streak since week two in late February. Washington returns home on Friday where it is 9-2 to take on Washington State in the Apple Cup. >>>Read more on College Baseball Central


Pac-12 Baseball: Ducks Sweep; Huskies, Bruins Win Series

AJ BaltaThe Pac-12 Conference saw eight teams earn wins over the Easter weekend while Oregon State was idle. The No. 5 Beavers travel to Sacramento State to take on the Hornets for a two-game set on Monday and Tuesday.

No. 11 Oregon (31-10, 10-5 Pac-12) hosted Washington State (16-19, 7-8 Pac-12) over the weekend and the Cougars battled every step of the way before coming up just short. Thursday’s game at PK Park was a blowout with the Ducks scoring early and often on Cougars’ starting pitcher Joe Pistorese. Freshman first baseman A.J. Balta was the star of the night for the Ducks hitting 3-of-5 with a double, a 2-run home run and three RBI.>>>Read more on College Baseball Central

Does Cal Poly’s Victory over Cal State Fullerton Signal Changing of Guard?

Titan Woes - COVERSAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. —  Cal State Fullerton has long ruled the roost in the Big West Conference. As the three-time defending conference champion, it has also garnered 10 championships in the past 15 years. The Titans not only ripped through the Big West Conference over the past two and half decades, but have dominated the national playoff landscape as well.

Cal State Fullerton has reached the postseason for the past 22 seasons and has made the trip to Omaha nine times in the past 20 years. The Titans have won a national championship at least once in the past four decades and are tied for fourth place overall with Arizona and Miami (Fla.) with four titles.>>>Read more on College Baseball Central

Rams baseball out of playoff contention; tough road for softball

BaseballThe Maricopa High School baseball and softball teams returned to the diamond Thursday with more than winning on their minds. The teams have both struggled of late and with only one section win apiece, their playoff hopes are quickly fading.

The Division II playoffs begin May 3 with the top team in each of the seven sections receiving an automatic bid. The bracket’s remaining 17 at-large bids will be given to the teams with the best overall ranking.

Division II in baseball has a total of 77 teams with seven sections of 11 teams each. The Rams (7-13, 1-7) are currently in 10th place in the section with five games remaining. Winning out against the remaining teams will provide great morale moving into the future but the state playoffs are out of reach for Coach Andrew Pollak’s squad.

The Rams lost a heartbreaking 7-6 game to South Mountain in Phoenix Thursday and are back home for their final home stretch. Maricopa faces section foe, Canyon del Oro from Tuesday at 3:45 p.m. The Dorados (15-5, 4-2 section VI) are currently in third place in section VI and 17th in Division II overall.

The final two home games will be held on Thursday and Friday hosting Ironwood Ridge (13-11, 4-4 section VI) from Tucson at 3:45 p.m. and Division III’s Valley Christian High (10-8, 5-2 section IV), under the Friday night lights at 7 p.m.

Rams SBDivision II in softball has 73 teams and section VI includes 17 teams. The Rams (11-11, 1-5 section VI) need to win the final five games of the season to move into discussions about receiving an at-large bid.

Coach Chris Ansley’s team is currently ranked at No. 30 overall in Division II and wins over three of the section’s top five teams will go a long way to convince the selection committee.

The final road top of the season sees the Rams travel to Tucson twice in the coming week. On Tuesday, it visits Canyon del Oro (17-6, 6-0 section VI) and Ironwood Ridge (20-7, 7-1 section VI) on Thursday. First pitch for both games will be 4 p.m.

Canyon del Oro has won 10 straight games and Ironwood Ridge is undefeated at home. Next week’s games are more than important – they are a necessity.

The regular season for the Rams ends at home with games April 28 and April 30. Cibola (12-8, 7-2 section VI) visits on April 28 at 4 p.m. and is in the same boat as Maricopa. It is on the fringes of the playoffs needing big wins to finish the season. Poston Butte (2-22, 1-5 section VI) from San Tan Valley is just hoping to be competitive in the 6 p.m. game on April 30.

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