Top 12 Moments In Pac-12 Baseball History


Image credit: Joey Wong (1), Jordan Lennerton (37) and Darwin Barney (6) of Oregon State University celebrate their victory over the University of North Carolina during the Division I Men's Baseball Championship held at Rosenblatt Stadium in Omaha, NE. Oregon State defeated North Carolina 9-3 for the national title. (Jamie Schwaberow/NCAA Photos via Getty Images)

As part of our preview of the 2024 college baseball season, we selected the top 12 moments in Pac-12 baseball history, presented in chronological order. Take a trip down memory lane before the last season of the Pac-12 as we know it.

1. Conference Of Champions

Pac teams California and Southern California won the first two College World Series, held in Kalamazoo, Mich., in 1947 and ’48. (The CWS moved to Omaha in 1950). The Bears also won it all in 1957. CWS titles won by members of the current, soon-to-be-disbanded Pac-12: a record 29.

2. Dedeaux Does It

Rod Dedeaux was co-coach for USC for their 1948 title, but 1958 is acknowledged as the first of his 10 championships as head coach. USC beat Missouri twice in the finals to come out of the loser’s bracket, rallying from a 4-0 deficit to win 8-7 in 12 innings in the clincher.

3. Holy Hollowell!

USC catcher Bud Hollowell, hitting .183 prior to the CWS, stroked four home runs to win Most Outstanding Player honors as the Trojans romped to the 1963 title, capping a stretch of three titles in five years.

4. Devilish Talent

Arizona State outfielder Rick Monday became the first player ever selected in MLB’s first draft in 1965. He helped lead the Sun Devils to their first national title that same month. Reggie Jackson went No. 2 overall in 1966, but Monday was the first of eight No. 1 overall picks for the conference, including Oregon State’s Adley Rutschman and ASU’s Spencer Torkelson back to back in 2019 and 2020. Arizona State’s four—Monday, Floyd Bannister, Bob Horner and Tork—is twice as many No. 1 overall picks as any other school.

5. Perfect Once, And Nearly Forever

Arizona State lefthander Eddie Bane threw a perfect game March 2, 1973, against Cal State Northridge en route to one of the best careers by any college pitcher, going 40-4, 1.64 for his career. Bane also set a record for a nine-inning College World Series game with 17 strikeouts in a 1972 win against Oklahoma.

6. Five-Peat

Southern California sets itself apart with five straight national titles from 1970 to 1974, featuring a parade of future major leaguers from pitchers Jim Barr and Brent Strom to hitters like Rich Dauer, Dave Kingman, Fred Lynn and Roy Smalley. That stretch included the greatest game in CWS history in 1973, when Minnesota’s Dave Winfield, on three days of rest, dominated the Trojans for eight innings while striking out 15 and walking nine. USC got three singles and three runs off him in the ninth to push him to left field, and after Minnesota’s coaches unsuccessfully tried to coax an exhausted Winfield back to the mound, the Trojans finished the comeback, winning 8-7 en route to the title.

7. Wild About Jerry

Jerry Kindall, who as a player won a national title at Minnesota, made Arizona a national power to rival Arizona State and USC, leading the Wildcats to the 1976 title. Arizona State answered with a championship in 1977 and USC in 1978. The two Arizona schools joined the then–Pac-10 in ’78, and Kindall’s UofA clubs won again in 1980 and ’86.

8. On The Marq

Mark Marquess, a first baseman on Stanford’s 1967 CWS team, made the Cardinal a juggernaut in the 1980s with five Omaha trips from 1982 to 1988. Stanford won back-to-back titles in 1987 and ’88 in dramatic fashion. They ended Robin Ventura’s record 58-game hitting streak (in a loss) en route to the ’87 title, which also included a Paul Carey walk-off grand slam to beat LSU. Stanford fought back through the loser’s bracket to repeat in ’88, beating Arizona State in the championship game.

9. Gorilla Ball Gone Berserk

USC (11 titles) and Arizona State (five) met in the 1998 championship game, the first time they had done so as Pac-10 rivals. The game capped college baseball’s most offensive season with some classic American excess, a 21-14 slugfest that included a Trojans triple steal. USC coach Mike Gillespie got his first national title, while ASU hasn’t reached the final since this loss.

10. Stanford, Synonymous With Second

The Cardinal made five straight Omaha trips from 1999 to 2003, finishing second three times, including getting walked off by LSU in 2000 and falling to Rice in 2003 in the first best-of-three CWS series.

11. O-State Ballaz

Coach Pat Casey assembled the last Pac dynasty from 2005 to 2007. Oregon State reached the CWS for the first time in ’05, won it all in ’06, then squeaked into the tournament and won it all anyway as a No. 3 seed in ’07. Shortstop Darwin Barney and catcher Mitch Canham, who would end up succeeding Casey as head coach, were connective tissue for a pitching-and-defense group that never lost its composure in back-to-back Finals wins over North Carolina. Casey assembled a talented behemoth in 2017 and ’18 (111-18-1 combined) with future big leaguers Adley Rutschman, Trevor Larnach, Nick Madrigal, Drew Rasmussen and Steven Kwan, with the ’18 team winning it all.

12. Pitching And Defense

As the offense went out of college baseball in 2010, the game changed. Arizona’s athletic 2012 team was perfectly suited for the new environment and beat two-time defending champ South Carolina to win the CWS in 2012. UCLA—which lost to the Gamecocks with Trevor Bauer and Gerrit Cole on the mound in the 2010 finals—made it a Pac-12 repeat by winning it all in 2013 in similar low-scoring fashion.

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