UCLA set to make final push for Pac-10 baseball title
There's a three-way competition for first place entering the final weekend of Pacific 10 Conference baseball action. Oregon State (38-14, 17-7) has a one-game lead over UCLA (31-20, 16-8) and Arizona State (38-14, 16-8).
UCLA plays at Arizona State in a three-game series beginning Friday. Oregon State plays at Oregon. All three Pac-10 leaders appear in good shape for NCAA playoff berths. California (30-18, 13-11), which was scheduled to drop its baseball program after this season until reversing itself, is in fourth place and could earn an NCAA berth with a win or two against Stanford this weekend.
UCLA was the preseason favorite but has struggled at times with its hitting. The Bruins have received strong pitching from starters Trevor Bauer (11-2, 1.37 ERA) and freshman Adam Plutko (6-3, 1.70). They are still hoping Gerrit Cole (5-7, 3.27) can regain his top form in time for the playoffs.
In the Big West Conference, Cal State Fullerton (37-14, 17-4) has a two-game lead over UC Irvine (37-14, 15-6). Fullerton plays a three-game series at Cal State Northridge. UC Irvine hosts Long Beach State.
-- Eric Sondheimer
Photo: Trevor Bauer. Credit: Chris Carlson / Associated Press