Pacific Baseball Heads To Coca Cola Classic in Arizona
The Pacific baseball team visits Surprise, Ariz., for this weekend's Coca-Cola Classic. The Tigers will face No. 2 Arkansas, No. 25 Arizona State and future WCC foe Gonzaga.
Pacific (3-4) opens play Friday afternoon against Arizona State. First pitch is slated for a 3 p.m. PT start, but subject to change as the game will follow the conclusion of the Cincinnati Reds-Kansas City Royals spring training game at Surprise Stadium.
The Sun Devils enter the weekend at 4-2 overall on the year. ASU dropped out of the Baseball America Top 25, but remains No. 25 in the USA Today Coaches' poll.
Pacific will send LHP John Haberman to the hill on Friday. The senior has a 5.40 ERA in 10 innings for the Tigers this season, he's 0-0 with a pair of no decisions on the year. In 10 innings, he's struck out 10 batters, including six in a five-inning stint against Gonzaga last Saturday.
Arizona State will counter with RHP Trevor Williams, who is 1-0 with a 1.50 ERA. In 12 innings pitched, the junior has struck out 12 against three walks. He picked up the win last Friday against Tennessee with seven shutout innings.
On Saturday, the Tigers tangle with Gonzaga in a 3 p.m. start. Pacific split with the Bulldogs (4-4) last weekend at the Pacific Baseball Invitational, but will each send starters to the mound which faced UNLV last weekend.
Junior RHP Cory Popham, the Big West Pitcher of the Week takes the bump for Pacific. He tossed a complete-game shutout of UNLV last Friday in Stockton. He scattered five hits, while striking out five to lower his ERA to 2.63
Gonzaga will hand the ball to LHP Tyler Olson, who went eight innings allowing three runs to UNLV last Saturday in a loss. He is 1-1 on the year with a 2.08 ERA in 13 innings.
On Sunday, Pacific faces No. 2 Arkansas in the Coca Cola Classic finale. The Razorbacks (7-1) are ranked second by the Coaches and No. 3 in the Baseball America Top 25 after opening the season number one in the preseason polls.
Sophomore RHP Michael Benson gets the starting nod for Pacific. He is 2-0 on the year with a 1.32 ERA after a 7.2 inning stint against Gonzaga last Sunday. Benson picked up the win, allowing two earned runs on seven hits.
Senior LHP Randall Fant will make his season debut for Arkansas.
The Tigers split last weekend's action at the Pacific Baseball Invitational, going 1-1 against both UNLV and Gonzaga. Sophomore 1B Erik Lockwood leads the Big West in batting average and on-base percentage as he's 10-for-20 on the year (.500) and has three walks to go with a pair of hit by pitch for a .600 OBP.
Pacific's last win over a ranked team came in 2011, when Pacific topped No. 10 Cal State Fullerton, 8-7, on April 30. The Tigers posted three wins over ranked teams in 2011, with victories over No. 17 UC Irvine and No. 13 Cal. The Tigers were 0-9 vs the Top 25 last season.