Pac-12 Baseball: Ducks Pull into 1st After Series Losses for Beavers and Bruins

David A. Bowers@asudaveCorrespondent IIMarch 31, 2013

photo courtesy of dailyemerald.com
photo courtesy of dailyemerald.com

With Easter Sunday upon us, teams adjusted the traditional Friday-Sunday schedule to play Thursday-Saturday. 

Big changes occurred as the top two teams in the league lost twice and the third-place Oregon Ducks swept their opponent at home. 

The Oregon State Beavers (22-4, 5-1 Pac-12) traveled to San Diego to take on the Toreros (18-10, 4-2 WCC) but the reception for the No. 2 Oregon State team was less than sunny. Sloppy play on Thursday night led to a season-high five errors and five of the seven Torero runs were unerarned.

Oregon State clobbered San Diego on Saturday, 14-5, but the Toreros returned the favor on Sunday scoring six runs in the third and a three-run home run by Dillon Haupt in the fourth. San Diego went on to win 13-3 and is in the mix for the West Coast Conference title with Gonzaga, Portland and Pepperdine.

The road wasn't kind to the No. 6 UCLA Bruins (18-6, 6-3 Pac-12) either when they visited the Sun Devils of Arizona State. The Sun Devils bested the Bruins behind solid performances by Trevor Williams and freshman sensation Ryan Kellogg. Williams improved his record to 4-2, allowing only one run in seven and two-thirds innings on Thursday. 

Kellogg added another win to his record, winning his sixth game in seven appearances. He is 6-0 on the season and carries a team-leading 1.37 ERA.

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Saturday's game was a hitters' paradise at Packard Stadium. Sun Devils pitcher Adam McCreery started the game but was pulled before recording his first out. McCreery walked two batters, hit another and allowed a run to score on a wild pitch.

Mark Lambson pitched for two innings, giving up four runs before he was replaced by Billy Young, who went three innings. Five more Sun Devil pitchers contributed to the game, but Eric Melbostad took the loss although Ryan Burr gave up the game-winning two-RBI single in the 10th to secure the 12-10 victory for the Bruins.

Arizona State improved to 15-8-1 and 4-5 in Pac-12 play and will most likely return to all four polls, they are currently only ranked at No. 26 on the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Poll.  

The Oregon Ducks (22-6, 8-1 Pac-12) did what they needed to do and swept the visiting Washington Huskies. The Huskies gave the Ducks a scare on Thursday night taking the game into extra innings, but Oregon's all-everything Ryon Healy knocked in a two-run walk-off home run in the bottom of the 10th inning to beat the Huskies 5-3.

The Huskies were shut out the next two games and Oregon pitchers surrendered only seven hits and freshman Cole Irvin pitched the first complete game of the season for the Ducks with 11 strikeouts to one walk. Ryon Healy once again proved he was the Ducks' go-to guy going 3-for-4 with two RBI and a run scored.

Stanford won its series at Washington State and improved to 13-9 and 3-3 in conference. The Cougars saved face by defeating the Cardinal on Saturday 8-5 and improved to 16-10 and 3-3 in Pac-12 play.

The Cal Bears lost two of three to the USC Trojans at home to fall to 16-12 and 5-4 in conference while the Arizona Wildcats earned a sweep of the Utah Utes in Tucson to improve to 18-11 and 3-6 in the conference.

The upcoming week brings several non-conference games for the Pac-12, including Arizona State visiting Wichita State for two games mid-week. Tuesday also has Portland visiting Oregon State, UC Irvine at USC, Gonzaga at Washington State, Washington at Seattle and UCLA hosting the No. 7 Cal State Fullerton Titans.

The weekend brings great conference matchups when Oregon State travels to UCLA and Oregon travels to Arizona State. Also on the slate are Cal at Arizona, Stanford at USC and Washington State at Utah.

With so many great conference games, I would not be surprised to see another shake-up at the top.

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