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

Pac-12 baseball

Photo Oregon Sports Info

The 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.

The Ducks’ redshirt senior pitcher, Jeff Gold took the mound on Friday and delivered coach George Horton his 700th career Division I victory, 6-3. Freshman centerfielder Austin Grebeck, along with Gold were the standout players of the game. Grebeck pounded a three-run double in the fourth inning and then stopped the Cougars from scoring any more than they did the following inning. Washington State’s Yale Rosen knocked in two runs on a bases-loaded double but Grebeck was able to throw out Collin Slaybaugh at the plate to end the inning.

Saturday’s matchup saw the Ducks’ bats cool off considerably. Three Cougars’ pitchers limited Oregon to just four hits and two runs with starting pitcher Jason Monda taking the loss. The Cougars’ Slaybaugh finished the game 3-of-4 but third baseman Nick Tanielu was gunned down twice, in the fourth and eighth innings. Ducks’ freshman pitcher Trent Paddon (1-2) earned the 2-1 win and sophomore lefty Garrett Cleavinger collected his second save of the season.

The Ducks travel to Corvallis this weekend for the highly anticipated Civil War against in-state Pac-12 baseball rival Oregon State.

Pac-12 baseball

Photo Washington Sports Info

Conference-leading Washington(27-8-1, 14-4 Pac-12) traveled to Berkeley to take on California (16-19, 5-10 Pac-12) and narrowly escaped with the series victory.  In two hard-fought games on Thursday and Friday, the Golden Bears fought tooth and nail with the conference-leading Huskies before falling 4-3 on Thursday and 6-2 on Friday. The Huskies ran six pitchers to the mound on Saturday but still had no answer for the Bears’ big bats, eventually falling 7-1, giving starting pitcher Ryan Mason an unblemished 3-0 record.

Thursday’s game was a 1-1 pitcher’s duel heading into the eighth inning before a two-out rally off of Cal relief pitcher Chris Muse-Fisher scored three runs for the Huskies. The Bears returned the favor by beginning a two-out rally of its own against relief pitcher Will Ballowe. The only difference being, the Bears would scored two runs and Ballowe would notch his third win of the year.

Friday’s game was also close with the teams knotted at two runs apiece heading into the 7th inning. The Huskies pulled ahead in the final three innings with two runs in the seventh and a run apiece in the eighth and ninth innings. Huskies’ junior pitcher Tyler Davis advanced his record to 8-1 while sophomore pitcher Troy Rallings and senior pitcher Trevor Dunlap earned their fifth save each over the weekend.

The Huskies travel to nearby Bellevue, Wash., to take on Seattle University on Tuesday before hosting Washington State in the Apple Cup this weekend.

Pac 12 baseball

Photo UCLA Sports

UCLA (21-16, 9-6 Pac-12) needed a big series sweep over conference cellar-dweller Utah (12-23, 3-15 Pac-12) but instead struggled in Salt Lake City and settled for the series win. The Bruins trailed the Utes in Thursday night’s game, 1-0 heading into the eighth inning. The Bruins would tie it up in the eighth and freshman relief pitcher Nick Kern would enter the game in the ninth and knock in a two-run homer. Kern would go on to pitch a scoreless ninth inning with two strikeouts to also earn his first career save.

The Bruins would take a 5-1 lead into the bottom of the fifth inning on Friday afternoon at Smith’s Park before the Utes went on a hitting spree. Utah started the fifth inning with five straight hits, including two triples before chasing UCLA starter Grant Watson. Reliever Grant Dyer fared no better against the Utes, who hit his first batter and allowed two follow-up singles allowing another run to score. Sophomore Jake Ehret  relieved Dyer and gave up a 2-RBI single before closing out the Cougars’ 7-run fifth inning. The Bruins would score one run in the ninth before falling 8-6 with Nick Watrous (2-4) garnering the win and Nick Green earning his sixth save.

Saturday’s matinee saw Bruins’ sophomore righty Cody Poteet pick up his third win after pitching six innings of five-hit baseball. UCLA used a big 4-run third inning to take the lead and never looked back. The two-out rally was highlighted catcher Justin Hazard’s 2-RBI double. Hazard finished the game 2-of-4 with first baseman Shane Zeile finishing 3-of-5 with two RBI and a run scored.

The Bruins welcome neighboring Loyola Marymount on Tuesday prior to cross-town rival USC this weekend.

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David is a featured columnist for Arizona State athletics as well as PAC-12. He is an accomplished writer with numerous articles published by local and national publications and websites. He has worked in college athletics for many years from Arizona to Delaware. He is a founding member of the Arizona State Young Alumni – Tucson Chapter and a lifetime member of ASU Alumni Association. He resides in Tucson with his beautiful wife who shares his love of beer and their two gorgeous golden retrievers.

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