Washington, Oregon State headed for Pac-12 baseball showdown

Washington, Oregon State headed for Pac-12 baseball showdown

Credit: USA TODAY Sports

Washington, Oregon State headed for Pac-12 baseball showdown

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by ERIC OLSON / AP Sports Writer

NWCN.com

Posted on May 5, 2014 at 12:48 PM

Defending champion Oregon State and upstart Washington gave up no ground to the other in the Pac-12 race over the weekend, and the two appear headed for a showdown in Corvallis, Ore., in two weeks.

The Beavers (34-8, 17-4) lead by 18 percentage points over the Huskies (32-11-1, 19-5), but Washington is up a half-game with two more wins and one more loss.

Oregon State, ranked No. 1 by the Collegiate Baseball newspaper, hosts 2012 national champion UCLA starting Friday. Washington, also a consensus top-10 team, plays out-of-conference games before starting its three-game series at Oregon State on May 16.

Left-hander Jace Fry (9-1) allowed one hit in his third shutout of the season in OSU's 5-0 win at California on Sunday. The victory was OSU's seventh in a row and the team finished its fourth Pac-12 sweep of the season. Fry has allowed two hits in his last 17 innings.

Oregon State has beaten Cal 10 straight times, the Beavers' longest streak against a conference opponent since winning 10 in a row over Washington from 1967-71.

Washington wrapped up its series at Utah with a wild 21-17 victory. The Huskies, who won despite blowing leads of 10-1 and 13-12, established their season high for runs and had five players with three or more hits.

The Huskies haven't had a first-place finish in the conference since 1998, when they won the Pac-10 North in the last season of divisional play.

A look around the country:

FLORIDA BREAKS OPEN SEC: Florida increased its lead in the Southeastern Conference by going on the road and sweeping Alabama. The Gators (33-15, 18-6) beat the Tide 13-3 on Sunday for their 11th straight SEC win, matching their school-record conference streak set in 1968. Florida is three games ahead of Mississippi in the overall SEC race and four games up on Vanderbilt in the East Division.

BULLDOGS' BIG UPSET: Daniel Nichols' third-inning grand slam Sunday carried Georgia to a 5-3 win over South Carolina. The Bulldogs posted their first series win over the Gamecocks since 2008. Georgia entered the weekend having lost eight straight.

STREAKING JAYHAWKS: Kansas' three wins over Texas Tech marked the Jayhawks' first consecutive weekend conference sweeps since 1994. The Jayhawks (30-20, 12-9 Big 12) have won seven in a row, including six straight in conference play for the first time in five years, and they're in position to return to the NCAA tournament for the first time since 2009.

HOOSIER FAITHFUL SHOW UP: Big Ten leader Indiana set attendance records for its sweep of in-state rival Purdue. The three games at Bart Kaufman Field drew 10,526, and the Hoosiers drew more than 3,000 for each game of a weekend series for the first time. Sunday's crowd was a school-record 3,862. "Fans were absolutely electric this weekend! Loved the atmosphere! We appreciate the support," first baseman Sam Travis tweeted.

STORM RISING: St. John's (30-15, 10-2), which finished sixth in the Big East a year ago, has won 13 of its last 15 and hosts conference newcomer Creighton (25-14-1, 10-2) this weekend for first place.

NCAA-MLB PARTNERSHIP: A proposed partnership between the NCAA and Major League Baseball is on hold. Two years ago there were discussions about MLB funding scholarships, altering the calendar for the amateur draft and College World Series and returning wooden bats to the college game, among other things.

University of Hartford president Walter Harrison, the NCAA's point man in the talks, said progress stalled with the death in November of Major League Baseball Players Association executive director Michael Weiner.

"The MLB officials know we at the NCAA would love to resume talking whenever they wish," Harrison wrote in an email to The Associated Press.

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