Tag: UofA

Battle For The Territorial Cup At Highest Level in Years

TEMPE – The 92nd meeting between Arizona and Arizona State heads for the gridiron this Saturday and supporters of both schools couldn’t be more pleased.

In a year when both schools were predicted to finish at the bottom of the Pac-12 South Division, they are now playing for a second place finish behind the University of Southern California. Depending on what part of the state you were in, the opinions varied on who would claim the cellar, yet neither fan base had much hope for even becoming bowl eligible this season.

The Wildcats started the season with Brandon Dawkins under center. Dawkins struggled in the opener against in-state FCS opponent Northern Arizona University, putting up a paltry 7-of-13 for 89 yards and one touchdown pass.

Is Tate the Cure-All for the Wildcats?

Head coach Rich Rodriguez’s squad would go on to lose two of the next three at home to Houston and Utah before opting to shake things up at the quarterback position. Enter sophomore Khalil Tate, and the rest they say, is history.

Tate rushed for 327 yards and four touchdowns while throwing for another 142 yards and a touchdown against Colorado sparking a huge four-game win streak with Tate ripping off big runs and scoring almost at will. During the stretch, Tate piled up all the accolades thanks to his five passing and four rushing touchdowns.

Over the past three weeks, the ‘Cats and Tate hit a roadblock losing two of three with their only victory being over a one-win Oregon State team.

The scene in Tempe was much more bleak at the start of the 2017 season. The Sun Devils were coming off their worst season of the Pac-12 era where they literally gave up in the final game of the 2016 season surrendering 56 points in Tucson.

The writing was on the wall for the Sun Devils and head coach Todd Graham – this was unacceptable.

Armed with a healthy quarterback in Manny Wilkins, a five-star backup quarterback who started for Alabama last year and a new coordinator on each side of the ball, the Sun Devils looked ready to compete.

Until the season started.

The Sun Devils were embarrassed in their home opener by nearly losing to New Mexico State and going on to lose the next two non-conference games to San Diego State and Texas Tech.

All was not well in Tempe and losses in what was supposed to be the easy part of the schedule looked to be a harbinger of things to come with conference play looming large.

N’Keal Harry Doing Great Things

Conference play for the Sun Devils was a gauntlet facing three ranked teams at home including Oregon, Washington and USC along with two tough road games at always-tough Stanford and Utah.

Nobody in their right mind could have predicted that the Devils would go on to beat then-No. 24 Oregon or then-No. 5 Washington, but the defense stepped up big…I mean huge. They were close wins, but they were wins—against ranked teams and the Sun Devil faithful believed once again.

The road games against Stanford, Utah, UCLA and Oregon St. were a literal “Tale of Two Devil Teams.”

After beating Oregon at home, Graham took his team on the road to face Heisman Trophy finalist running back Bryce Love and the Stanford Cardinal. Love, the former track and field speedster proved why he was a front-runner shredding the Sun Devil defense for 301 yards and three touchdowns.

Following the Washington win, the Devils put on a defensive clinic at Rice-Eccles Stadium holding the Utah Utes to three points for the first 57 minutes of the game. The road woes came back to haunt the Devils losing in embarrassing fashion to a hapless UCLA team. True to form, the following road game showed the offensive firepower of Manny Wilkins by scoring the first 30 points against Oregon State.

The momentum coming into the game is definitely on the side of the Sun Devils who have won two of their last three with the Wildcats losing two of three. All bets are off, however, when it comes to a rivalry game.

Literally.

The Greatest Picture of all Time

Most odds-makers have this game as a ‘pick-em’ meaning there is no clear favorite so bet accordingly. Here are a couple nuggets that will make this game all the more exciting.

  • The team with the worse record has won 13 times since 1979, ASU was nationally ranked four times during that span and lost to Arizona. Arizona was nationally ranked once and lost to ASU 7-6 in 1992.
  • The team with the worse record has won five of the last seven years.
  • The home team has won the past four years and 11 of the past 20 years.
  • Arizona State (Normal School) won the first ever meeting in 1899.
  • Arizona leads the all-time series 49-40-1.
  • Since Arizona State became a university in 1958, the Sun Devils lead the series 31-26-1.
  • Since both teams moved to the Pac-10 from the WAC in 1978, Arizona leads 21-17-1 including a streak of 9-0-1.
  • This century, ASU leads 10-7 and has won three of the past five years.

Regardless of what you think will happen, the opposite will usually occur. This game has seen it all from Arizona students burning the brand new field at Sun Devil Stadium in 1958 to two blocked PAT’s on a cold December night in 2010.

While that stung for Arizona, they will always have their big moment. In 1986, both teams came in to the game nationally ranked; the ‘Cats were 7-2 and ranked No. 14 and hosted the No. 4 Sun Devils who came to Tucson sporting a 9-0-1 record. Of course, Arizona went on to win that game being the only blemish on the Pac-10 and Rose Bowl champion’s resume.

This year’s game in Tempe has big bowl implications when we thought for sure the only thing they would be fighting for was saving their head coach from the unemployment line.

Arizona softball drops super regionals opener to Louisiana-Lafayette

Wilson ArizonaLAFAYETTE, La. — Arizona began the game with a leadoff home run from All-Conference first team selection Hallie Wilson, but would get little offense until the final frame of a 5-3 loss to Louisiana-Lafayette Friday night in Lafayette, La. The final Wildcat runs came when shortstop Kellie Fox launched a 2-run homer over the center field wall scoring Kelsey Rodriguez who reached on an error in the prior at-bat.

Cajuns’ junior Christina Hamilton pitched a complete game, scattering seven hits while only giving up two earned runs with four strikeouts and four walks.

For Arizona, seniors Estela Pinon and Shelby Babcock each pitched three innings. Pinon took the loss after giving up five hits and five earned runs, while striking out one and walking four. Babcock shut down the Cajuns’ bats, only surrendering one hit and no runs in the final three frames.

Aside from Wilson’s homer in the first and Fox’s two-run shot in the seventh, the Wildcats couldn’t find a groove. Power hitters Chelsea Goodacre, Katiyana Mauga and Mo Mercado managed a meager 1-for-11 with three strikeouts.

Arizona (44-15) and Louisiana-Lafayette (48-8-1) will meet tomorrow at noon PT with the Wildcats needing a victory to force a decisive third game at 3 p.m. for the right to go to Oklahoma City for the Women’s College World Series.

5 Pac-12 Teams Finish Regular Season in Top 10

 

ASU_UCLAThe Arizona State Sun Devils dropped the weekend series to UCLA, yet only fell one spot with Arizona doing the same, dropping its series to Washington. Here’s how the Pac-12 fared in the latest release of the USA Today/NFCA Division I softball poll:

No. 1 Oregon (49-7-1, 20-3-1 Pac-12)

Oregon traveled to Tucson to take on the No. 9 Wildcats and managed two wins in a stadium where no visiting team had won this season. Sophomore ace Cheridan Hawkins went the distance on Thursday and worked a run-rule victory on Saturday. Hawkins picked up her 29th and 30th wins while striking out 17 batters while only walking three. Oregon finished the regular season as the top-ranked team for the sixth consecutive week and was named the overall No. 1 seed for the NCAA softball championships.

Catcher Janelle Lindvall paced the Ducks’ offense with 5-of-9 hitting with six RBI, including a home run on Thursday and a double in the finale. Center fielder Koral Costa also knocked a two-run HR in Saturday’s 14-3 slufgest. Oregon hosts Albany, Utah Valley and Wisconsin in the regional round this weekend.

No. 2 UCLA (48-6, 19-5 Pac-12)

Ally Carda

Ally Carda

No. 2 UCLA also completed the regular season in Arizona, with the Bruins visiting Tempe and Arizona State. After suffering a 2-0 shutout Thursday night, junior pitcher Ally Carda revived UCLA with wins on Friday and Saturday. Carda, Thursday night’s starter, won both games in relief, taking over for Paige McDuffee and Jessica Hall. Carda fanned 21 Sun Devils in 17.2 innings pitched.

The National Player of the Year candidate also knocked a two-run HR in Friday night’s extra-inning matchup, finishing 2-of-4 with three RBI and four runs scored. The monster effort from Carda earned her the Pac-12 Pitcher of the Week nod, her third of the season.

The Bruins are the NCAA championship’s No. 3 national seed and host Long Beach State, Notre Dame and Southern Utah in the regional round.

No. 4 Arizona State (44-10-1, 15-7-1 Pac-12)

 

The Sun Devils have faced the top two teams in the country the past two weeks, finishing with an admirable 2-3-1 record against the cream of the nation’s crop. Senior pitcher Dallas Escobedo pitched a two-hit masterpiece Thursday night, shutting out the Bruins for the first time, 2-0. The first-inning home run by catcher Amber Freeman, a team-tying 11th on the season, brought the only scoring in the pitchers’ duel.

Friday night’s game also went down to the wire with the Sun Devils taking a 5-4 lead in the fourth inning, only to allow the Bruins back into the game in the seventh inning and ultimately lose in the ninth. Senior shortstop Cheyenne Coyle finished the weekend with 3-of-7 hitting with three RBI including a two-run HR on Saturday. Arizona State was named the No. 9 national seed and hosts No. 13 Michigan along with San Diego State and Dartmouth in the NCAA regionals this weekend.

 

No. 8 Washington (33-13, 13-9 Pac-12)

Bryana Walker

Bryana Walker

Washington stayed put at the No. 8 spot despite making quick work of the California Golden Bears over the weekend. Senior pitcher Kaitlin Inglesby picked up her 12th win on Thursday and pitched a masterful performance on Saturday, giving up only one hit in a 14-0 run-rule victory. Fellow senior Bryana Walker picked up the save on Thursday night and her 18th win on Friday.

The Huskies’ bats were electric in Berkeley, outscoring the Bears 27-4. Kylee Lahners paced UW with five RBI, including a double on Saturday and two home runs. Not to be outdone, senior first baseman Hooch Fagaly also knocked homers on Friday and Saturday and finished the weekend 4-of-9 with four RBI and three runs scored. The 12-seeded Huskies host BYU, Iona and Northwestern in the regional round.

No. 10 Arizona (40-11, 13-8 Pac-12)

Arizona dropped back-to-back series for the first time this season after losing two of three to the No. 1 Ducks last weekend. The Wildcats suffered their first loss at home on Thursday night and their second mercy-rule loss of the season on Saturday – all in the final week of the season. Under the bright Friday night lights and in front of 2,566 fans, Arizona erupted for 11 runs, including a six-run first inning over Oregon’s Karissa Hovinga, who suffered only her second loss of the season.

Chelsea Goodacre, Katiyana Mauga and Kelsey Rodriguez all connected with long balls on Friday, while Estela Pinon earned her 17th win on the year and Shelby Babcock collected her second save. Rodriguez finished the weekend with a double, two homers and three RBI while Goodacre hit 5-of-8, including two doubles and a home run. Arizona received the No. 11 national seed and hosts No. 23 LSU along with Louisville and Boston University this weekend in the regionals.

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.

Softball Week Four Update: Five of Seven Top Teams from the Pac-12

UCLAOregon and UCLA held strong over the weekend and both received No. 1 votes this week in the USA Today/NFCA Coaches Poll released on March 11. The Bruins (23-1) received three top votes and the Ducks (18-2) received two. There are now five Pac-12 teams in the top seven in the country.

Here’s how the best from the Pac-12 fared is this week’s USA Today/NFCA Coaches poll:

The No. 3 Bruins easily swept their competition in the joint UCLA/Cal State Northridge Invitational after suffering their first loss to Michigan on Wednesday 9-4. Friday’s doubleheader against UNLV and Loyola Chicago were both called due to the mercy rule, while Saturday’s double dip saw the Bruins outscore their opponents 11-2. Sunday’s games were much closer, but UCLA prevailed over CSU Bakersfield and Georgetown, 4-2 and 3-1, respectively.

The No. 2 Ducks traveled to Orlando, Fla., to participate in the Diamond 9 Citrus Classic with top-ranked Florida, No. 24 Auburn, Maryland, Illinois State and Bradly University from Peoria, Illinois. Sophomore standout pitcher Cheridan Hawkins delivered her fourth shutout of the season and struck out 12 batters in the opener against Auburn,but picked up her second loss in an extra innings battle with No. 1 Florida. Oregon (18-2) would win the next three games by outscoring its opponents 14-2.

Dallas Escobedo

Dallas Escobedo

No. 7 Arizona State, along with several other nationally-ranked teams, was invited to the 20124 Judi Garman Classic in Fullerton, Calif., over the weekend and the Sun Devils (26-3) absolutely dominated the competition. Senior righthanded pitcher Dallas Escobedo was the star of the tournament as she swept the national awards. Escobedo notched four wins in the week along with a 0.26 ERA and 38 strikeouts. Numerous accolades were showered on Escobedo including the Louisville Slugger/NFCA Division I Player of the Week, the USA Softball Player of the Week and Pac-12 Conference Pitcher of the Week.

The No. 6 Arizona Wildcats hosted Ball State for a doubleheader on Tuesday night and decimated the Cardinals in consecutive run-rule games. The Wildcats (23-3) also played in the Judi Garman Classic over the weekend, but didn’t fare as well as the rival Sun Devils. Friday’s double bill saw Arizona drop back-to-back games to Big Ten schools in previously-No. 5 Michigan and Wisconsin. The Wildcats would come roaring back with three straight victories, outscoring their opponents 29-6. Junior first baseman Hallie Wilson was named Pac-12 Player of the Week, hitting 13-for-20 with three triples and 14 RBI.

Kasey Stanchek

Kasey Stanchek

The Washington Huskies jumped a spot from No. 6 to No. 5 this week even though it dropped two of five games in the Judi Garman Classic. Pitching sensation Bryanna Walker dispatched Michigan 7-1, winning her 11th game on Friday night and then picked up her first save of the season Saturday night in relief against Texas. Washington (19-4) lost two one-run games over the weekend, 2-1 to Nebraska and 1-0 to Fresno State.

No. 21 Stanford hosted a tournament of their own in Palo Alto, welcoming BYU, Portland State, North Dakota State and UC Davis. The Cardinal finished 5-1 with two run-rule victories over Portland State. Stanford lost a 4-0 heartbreaker to North Dakota State in the Friday night nightcap despite a complete game from Madi Schreyer who fanned 10 batters and only walked one. The Cardinal defeated BYU twice over the weekend and finished the tournament with a 3-2 win over UC Davis, fueled by Erin Ashby’s 2-for-3 performance with a triple and a RBI.

Pac-12 Baseball: Oregon State Alone On Top Entering Conference Play

Jace Fry-Dave Nishitani OSU Ath.

The Oregon State Beavers (14-3) completed a four-game sweep of Northern Illinois over the weekend and is now alone atop the Pac-12 Conference standings. Baseball America and the USA Today Coaches Poll have the Beavers ranked No. 4 while Collegiate Baseball ranks them at No. 7 and College Baseball Central ranks them at No 6.

Oregon State, who played their first eight games on the road in Arizona tournaments has now played nine straight at home and has only lost one.>>>Read more on College Baseball Central.

Arizona Baseball: Wildcats Drop Doubleheader on Final Day of Classic

Cats Dogs

TUCSON, Ariz. — The Arizona Wildcats were having a good run on the first two days of the inaugural Hi Corbett Classic over the weekend, until Sunday arrived. Arizona had outscored its opponents, No. 17 Mississippi State (11-7) and UC Santa Barbara (10-2) by a score of 22-8  in the nightcap games on Friday and Saturday nights but couldn’t maintain the momentum coming into Sunday’s doubleheader.

The Wildcats were blown out 10-2 by the Gauchos in the early game and lost a close one to the Bulldogs, 6-4 in the later game.

Three Arizona pitchers were used against UC Santa Barbara and starting pitcher Tyler Crawford was ran from the game before he was able to record his second out of the game. Crawford walked the first batter he faced and hit the next.>>>Read more on College Baseball Central.

Big West Baseball: UC Santa Barbara Proves Worthy at Hi Corbett Classic

UCSB MSU

TUCSON, Ariz — The inaugural Hi Corbett Classic was scheduled to feature two College World Series finalists of the past two years. The 2013 runner-up Mississippi State Bulldogs and 2012 champion Arizona Wildcats were the big draws with the University of California Santa Barbara filling out the tournament.

Through five of six games, it is the Gauchos (10-2) who are making the big news over the weekend, not the No. 17 Mississippi State Bulldogs (11-7). >>>Read more on College Baseball Central.

Arizona’s Trent Gilbert Dominates No.17 Mississippi State

Trent Gilbert

TUCSON, Ariz. — The Mississippi State Bulldogs (11-6) saw their seven-game win streak end on Friday after dropping a pair of games in the Inaugural Hi Corbett Classic. The University of California Santa Barbara Gauchos (8-1) extended their win streak to seven games when they beat MSU in the matinee, 8-3.

The Arizona Wildcats (7-7), who were on a streak of a different kind, rebounded in a big way and snapped their five-game losing skid in front of 2,764 fans on Friday night. >>>Read more on College Baseball Central.

Rain Hampers Play in Pac-12 Softball Over the Weekend

Cheridan HawkinsSeveral games in California and Arizona were postponed or cancelled altogether after rainstorms and lightning persisted over the weekend. No. 4 ranked UCLA had its entire slate of games in the Long Beach Louisville Slugger Invitational cancelled while No. 7 ranked Arizona and No. 10 ranked Arizona State missed out on three games combined.

The USA Today/NFCA Coaches Poll was released on March 4 and there was a bit of movement by teams, both up and down.

The No. 2 ranked Oregon Ducks (18-2) traveled cross-country to the Diamond 9 Citrus Classic in Orlando, Fla., and took four of five games losing an extra-inning heart-breaker to top-ranked Florida 2-1 in eight innings. In the four victories, Oregon outscored its opponents 17-2 including three shutouts and a run-rule defeat of Maryland. Sophomore pitcher Cheridan Hawkins was named Pac-12 Pitcher of the Week for her efforts. Hawkins pitched all three complete game shutouts and registered 44 strikeouts against No. 25 Auburn, Bradley and Maryland.

Senior outfielder Victoria Hayward

Senior outfielder Victoria Hayward

The No. 6 Washington Huskies (16-2) recovered a spot in the polls after dropping four spots last week. Washington traveled to Stockton, Calif., to participate in the Libby Matson Tournament. Pitching ace Bryana Walker came in for the final two innings against San Jose St. and gained her ninth win on the year only surrendering two hits. Walker would return to the mound on Sunday to blank the UTEP Miners 9-0 in five innings, once again giving up only two hits. Junior pitcher Kasey Stanchek was in a pitcher’s duel with Cal State Bakersfield on Saturday until the Husky bats woke up and scored eight runs in the sixth inning.

The No. 7 ranked Arizona Wildcats (18-1) jumped in the rankings for the third straight week on the heels of three straight run-rule victories over the weekend. The Wildcats hosted the Wildcat Invitational and dominated Longwood and Valparaiso in Friday’s doubleheader. Saturday’s games against Texas-Arlington and Iowa were cancelled due to the rain and the ‘Cats returned to the diamond on Sunday to dismantle Indiana 9-1 in five innings. Senior catcher/designated player Kelsey Rodriguez was honored with Pac-12 Player of the Week, the 138th all-time for Arizona, the most in the Pac-12.

The Louisville Slugger Invitational in Tempe, Ariz., was not kind to the No. 10 ranked Arizona State Sun Devils (20-3) that fell seven spots to No. 10. The Sun Devils lost their first game of the season to South Carolina, 3-2, in the back half of Thursday’s

Mackenzie "Wild Thing" Popescue

Mackenzie “Wild Thing” Popescue

doubleheader. The Devils would finish the tournament going 3-3 with losses to Minnesota and Ball State. Mackenzie Popescue improved her record to 11-0 and Dallas Escobedo took two losses over the weekend and is now 7-2.

The No. 4 UCLA Bruins were idle over the weekend due to inclement weather and jumped a spot from No. 5. The Bruins were slated to take on current No. 5 Michigan, Long Beach St., Louisville and Northwestern. UCLA and Michigan will face off for two consecutive games on Monday and Tuesday nights, with the latter being broadcast on the Pac-12 Networks at 7 p.m. PT. The Bruins face a brutal stretch of eight games over the next six days, with the UCLA/CSUN Invitational taking place at Easton Stadium this weekend.

The No. 22 Stanford Cardinal dropped seven spots from No. 15 after dropping two of five games in Florida over the weekend. The Cardinal participated in the Under Armour Invitational with games in Tampa and across the bay in Clearwater, Fla. Both losses for Stanford came in the back end of doubleheaders on Friday and Saturday to South Florida and Central Connecticut State. Freshman phenom pitcher Madi Schreyer improved to 14-3 with a complete game shutout of Kennesaw St. on Sunday.