Oregon Ducks and USC Trojans Continue Diamond Dominance

DucksThe College Baseball Central No. 9 ranked Oregon Ducks traveled to Los Angeles, Calif., for a Week 2 series against the Loyola Marymount Lions. The Ducks (7-0) who have yet to play a home game, have been perfect on the road, opening up at Hawaii for a four-game set and then three games at LMU.

Ducks’ right fielder Tyler Baumgartner was the story of the weekend hitting 4-of-8 over the weekend with four doubles and a spectacular diving catch with two outs in the bottom of the eighth inning on Sunday to keep the score knotted at three apiece. The Ducks would bring a run across in the top of the ninth, securing the win and the sweep. Reliever Garrett Cleavinger picked up his second win of the season and closer Jake Reed picked up his third save.

A short drive to the northwest, the USC Trojans were celebrating the resurgence of their baseball program. The Trojans are the the winningest team in NCAA history—by far, with 12 National Championships. USC has been absent from the College World Series for more than a decade, last making an appearance in 2001. It’s safe to say that life is being breathed back into a program that has lied dormant for a while.

USC-Robinson12th inning heroics were necessary on Sunday for the Trojans to earn the sweep over the North Dakota State Bison. The three-run walk-off home run with two outs by Omar Cotto-Lozada was the second walk-off of the weekend when sophomore centerfielder Timmy Robinson knocked a two-RBI single on Friday. The Trojans are winning games that they have lost in the past with two extra-innings games in opening weekend and two walk-off wins last weekend.

The previously unranked Trojans will most likely enter the nationwide polls on the strength of beating Cal State Fullerton on Tuesday and sweeping Northwestern and North Dakota State in consecutive weekends.

The Arizona Wildcats (6-2) provided fans with free baseball in both mid-week games against Utah Valley last week. Wildcats’ head coach Andy Lopez called on Tyler Krause in the 14th inning on Tuesday night. In Krause’s first at-bat as a Wildcat, he delivered a two-out double to center field to help the ‘Cats overcome an early 6-0 lead and win 8-7.

On Wednesday, Arizona’s Bobby Dalbec blasted a solo shot in the ninth inning to send the game into extra innings but relief pitchers Tyler Parmenter and Tyger Tally gave up three runs in the top of the 10th to which the Wildcats could not answer.

PAC 12 Baseball

Arizona had no problem whatsoever in its’ weekend series against Alcorn State, outscoring the Braves 37-2. Weather delayed Alcorn State’s arrival to Tucson and the first game was played on Saturday night and a doubleheader on Sunday.

College Baseball Central’s No. 1 ranked team, the Oregon State Beavers, along with Washington and Utah participated in the Pac-12/Big 10 challenge in Surprise, Ariz., over the weekend. The Beavers dropped consecutive games to Nebraska and Michigan State before defeating Indiana, 8-1. Oregon State (5-2) takes on Washington on Monday morning in the final game of the classic and will host Wright State in its’ home opener this weekend.

Washington also finished the tournament 1-2 with losses to Indiana and Nebraska and defeating Michigan State on Sunday. Utah was the only team to notch a series win with a marathon 15-inning victory over Indiana and a 4-3 win over Nebraska on Sunday.

Nationally ranked UCLA and Arizona State had difficult weekends with each team only managing to win a single game. The defending National Champion Bruins won their opener against Cal Poly, yet had no answer to the upstart Mustangs being outscored 17-1 in the next two games.

The Sun Devils were in nearby Long Beach and were blown out by the Dirtbags and the Anteaters 16-2—talk about a blow to the ego. Starting pitchers Ryan Burr and Ryan Kellogg, who were phenomenal freshman have become slumping sophomores. Burr (0-1) has a startling 9.95 ERA with seven walks and eight strikeouts through two games. Kellogg (0-1) has a 5.73 ERA , giving up an alarming 16 hits in 11 innings pitched, including two home runs.

Arizona State manged a 7-2 victory over Wright State on Sunday and will likely bid adieu to their national ranking. The Sun Devils host a six-team tournament in Surprise, Ariz., from Thursday through Sunday welcoming Oklahoma, Gonzaga, Oklahoma State, Santa Clara and Manhattan College.

In other Pac-12 action, the Stanford Cardinal lost back-to-back games at Texas before winning the shortened finale 11-5. The Sunday game was shortened to eight innings to accommodate Stanford’s travel plans. Washington State will be looking for a split with Western Carolina in a doubleheader on Monday. The Cougars were blown out 13-1 on Friday and 8-6 on Saturday, Sunday’s game was postponed and the games are scheduled for 2 p.m. and 6 p.m. PT.

About the Author

David A. Bowers
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.