The PAC-12’s UCLA Bruins have pushed Arizona State down a notch to take the top of the NCAA power rankings for week #2, after sweeping their 2-game sets against city rivals USC Trojans and a pair of blow-outs over the Oregon Ducks, and starting it all with a 1-1 series split against Texas A & M.
The Bruins are now 11-3 after two weeks, with their pitching staff bearing the brunt of the workload in keeping them on top. The Bruins pitching has the lowest ERA (4.71) in the NCAA after Michigan State (4.39). The NCAA average is floating at above 6.00, as all teams have found power in their lineups as the home runs continue to pile up.
Batters have now amassed 584 homers in two weeks of NCAA play, which has now surpassed the Pacific Rim College League’s total of 526 taters after more than half a season – 37 games for most teams.
The Bruins haven’t just impressed us with great pitching, however. They have also been in on the home run tally, so far adding 21 to the total, second most in the PAC-12 behind the Sun Devils, who have 29. But the Auburn Tigers are still the top home run team, with a total of 41 so far this season.
The home run leaders so far are Indiana’s John Housley (RF) with 10, who is also hitting at a clip of .418 so far, then the ‘Noles Brian Goldstein (1B) with 9, followed by three players tied up at 8: Arizona’s Nick Charest (RF), Arkansas Razorbacks’ Pablo Diaz (RF) who had a 3-homer game earlier, and finally Bull League Hall of Famer’s son Carl Simms Jr. (LF), who plays for UCLA.
NCAA PLAYERS OF THE WEEK NAMED
The Players of the Week for Week #2 are Alabama Crimson Tide’s Dale Bernard (LF), who blistered all week with a 12-for-25 spell at the plate, adding 5 homers and batting in 25 runs, and who is .370 on the season, and Adrian Ruegge (1B) from Indiana.
Ruegge started the week off in spectacular style with a 4-for-6 effort last Tuesday, in a marathon 16-inning match against the Miami Hurricanes. Ruegge went yard twice, tagging opposing pitcher Paul Fenn with both of them, both solo shots. Ruegge added two more hits, and scored another run, though it was DH Harrison Shaw who was named player of the game.
Bernard, for his part, has been on a 7-game hit streak, and capped the week off with a 3-for-4 effort against the Washington State Cougars in a 13-3 victory yesterday, with three runs coming from Bernard.
ALL-STAR VOTING OPENS
College managers and fans are casting their votes for the NCAA all-star game, which will take place on March 12.
BUCKEYES’ ROSEN HOLDS RUTGERS SCORELESS
The Buckeyes had a huge outing from 3rd in the rotation righty Justin Rosen, a native of Oklahoma City, as the 22-year-old held the Rutgers Scarlet Knights to just 5 hits and 2 walks in front of a home crowd in Columbus, Ohio, yesterday.
Rosen went the full nine innings, striking out 8 batters, and claiming his first win of the season, after facing 32 batters during the game. His ERA improves to 6.53 on the year as he looks towards his next start against conference rivals Indiana on either Friday or Saturday. Rosen now leads the team in strikeouts with 19.
Rutgers has struggled in the first two weeks of the college season, and are jammed up in a 3-way tie for last place with Iowa and Northwestern, all three teams at 6-8. A day before their shutout loss, Ohio demolished them 18-8.
They did start last week off with a 2-0 sweep of Michigan, but some of their other losses this season have been heartbreaking as well, falling 11-5 to Clemson last Sunday, and getting outscored 10-2 in their two losses to Indiana in Week #1, a series which included another shutout loss of 2-0 in the second game.