Fresh off a non-conference series loss in the Midwest against Nebraska last weekend, Arizona State (35-14, 14-10 Pac-12) is back on the road this weekend as they return to the West Coast.
The Sun Devils head to Berkeley to take on the California Golden Bears (29-17, 14-10 Pac-12) for a three-game tilt that has big postseason and Pac-12 implications.
Cal and ASU are currently tied for fourth place in conference play, but the Devils hold a better overall record.
On their home field at Evans Diamond, the Golden Bears can look to put a dent in ASU’s armor as the postseason nears. In a projection from Baseball America earlier this week, Cal was listed as a 2-seed in the Vanderbilt regional of the NCAA Tournament.
ASU was listed as a 3-seed in the UC Santa Barbara regional. With postseason rankings on the line, both teams will duke it out in the Bay Area with just six games remaining in the regular season for both sides. Here is more to know about the matchup:
What Time/Where to Watch:
Game one: Friday, May 17 at 6:05 P.M. MST/Pac-12 Network
Game Two: Saturday, May 18 at 1:05 p.m MST/Pac-12 Network
Game Three: Sunday, May 19 at 12:05 p.m. MST/Pac-12 Network
A Look at the Golden Bears:
Under second-year head coach Mike Neu, the Golden Bears are having a legitimate season in a high-caliber Pac-12 conference. His team is third in the conference in hitting, and they boast one of the most prolific bats in the country with junior first baseman Andrew Vaughn.
As many Sun Devil fans can likely recall, Vaughn and ASU sophomore first baseman Spencer Torkelson were in a toe-to-toe home run battle last year in the conference. With both players back on their respective rosters, it’s liable to be an offensive show in Berkeley.
Vaughn is fourth in batting average in the Pac-12. He is at a .374 clip with 14 home runs and 47 RBI’s. Similar to ASU’s lineup, Cal also has hitting depth 1-9. They have six different hitters with an average above .300 and the team leads the conference in big flies.
Junior catcher Korey Lee leads the team in RBI’s with 51 and he has belted 13 homers on the year. Additionally, junior infielder Cameron Eden is hitting .349.
Combine Cal’s offensive numbers with the likes of Torkelson and Hunter Bishop, who were both named Golden Spikes Award Semifinalists earlier this week, and both teams could be in for an offensive showcase. Torkelson and Bishop will also play nearly the friendly confines of home as they return to Northern California.
As for the pitching duties, Cal’s team ERA stands in the middle of the Pac-12 at 4.15. The Golden Bears are somewhat of a work by committee staff.
Two of their top performers have been junior Jared Horn, who holds a 1.79 ERA in 10 starts, and out of the bullpen, junior Arman Sabouri holds a 2.68 era while leading the team in appearances.
With a chance to create some separation in the Pac-12, ASU and Cal will get ready for a three-game battle this Friday-Sunday.