Sports

Arizona baseball stakes claim in Pac 10

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The Arizona baseball team moved into the top 25 last week for the first time this season on the heels of a three-game sweep of defending national champion Oregon State.

So what did the Wildcats do for an encore?

They swept California to run their winning streak to 14 and their record to 28-6. It also is the first time in school history that Arizona has started 6-0 in the Pacific 10 Conference as it heads into a weekend series against Stanford at Palo Alto.

Arizona moved up to No. 8 in the Collegiate Baseball poll and is ranked No. 12 by USA Today and No. 13 by Baseball America.

"I am proud about the way they have handled it," Coach Andy Lopez told the Tucson Citizen. "They have not paid attention to any magical polls or comments. They just have gone out and played good baseball, and they are getting rewarded for it right now."

Freshman pitcher Jason Stoffel (Agoura HS) has been strong the last six games, earning a victory and two saves. Stoffel earned his first save of the season after pitching 2 1/3 innings of scoreless relief in an 8-2 win over Oregon State in the second game of the series March 31.

Against Cal in the series opener last Thursday, Stoffel came into a scoreless game to pitch the 10th and 11th innings in Arizona's 1-0 victory to improve his record to 3-0. In the finale, two days later, Stoffel closed out a 5-3 win by pitching a scoreless ninth for his second save.

Stoffel has been thrust into the closer's role lately because of an injury to regular closer Daniel Schlereth, son of ESPN football analyst Mark Schlereth.

Other locals are helping the Wildcats on the mound as well. Freshman Paul Bargas (Riverside North HS) has a 3-1 record in eight appearances and 20 1/3 innings. He has 17 strikeouts and only three walks. Freshman Brett Lorin (Dana Point Dana Hills HS) has made six appearances with nine strikeouts in 9 2/3 innings.


Redshirt sophomore left-handed pitcher Drew Saberhagen (Calabasas HS) is having a solid first season at Western Carolina after transferring from Pepperdine.

Saberhagen's father is Bret Saberhagen, the coach at Calabasas and a former major leaguer who twice won the American League Cy Young Award.

Drew Saberhagen is part of the reason that Western Carolina (20-11) is atop the Southern Conference standings with a 6-3 record. Saberhagen is 3-1 with a 3.06 earned-run average in eight starts. He has pitched a team-leading 53 innings.

Saberhagen was drafted in the 38th round of the 2004 Major League Baseball first-year player draft by the Oakland Athletics but decided to attend Pepperdine. Saberhagen made only five relief appearances his freshman season in Malibu and redshirted the next year.


Five local players are having a substantial impact on the Liberty University baseball team in Lynchburg, Va.

The Flames were 21-13 heading into a Tuesday game against William and Mary and junior center fielder Garrett Young (Huntington Beach Edison HS/Cypress College) has been at the forefront.

Young has started all 26 games in which he has played and is batting a team-leading .392. Young also leads the team with six home runs, 30 runs and 40 hits, and is second in runs batted in with 27.

Sophomore catcher Errol Hollinger (La Verne Damien HS), the team's usual starter, is batting .277 with three home runs and 16 RBIs. Junior first baseman Aaron Grijalva (Redlands East Valley HS) is fifth on the team with 17 RBIs and has a .277 average.

On the mound, sophomore Tyler Light (Redlands Arrowhead Christian HS) is 4-1 with a 4.02 ERA in 10 appearances, including seven starts. Light has thrown 47 innings and struck out 32. Freshman pitcher Grady Inhat (Simi Valley Royal HS) has made six appearances and has seven strikeouts in 7 1/3 innings.


Another school with five locals on its baseball roster is Oral Roberts (16-14) in Tulsa, Okla.

The biggest contributions are coming on the mound from a trio of seniors, led by Chance Chapman (Templeton HS/Cuesta College), who is 3-1 with a 1.43 ERA in 14 appearances, including four as a starter. Chapman also has four saves and 55 strikeouts in 44 innings. He has given up seven earned runs.

Chris Ashman (Hemet West Valley HS/College of the Desert) has contributed a 3-3 record in 11 appearances with a 4.62 ERA in a team-leading 48 2/3 innings. Erik Crichton (Los Alamitos HS/Cypress College) is second on the team with 13 appearances and has two saves, despite a 5.47 ERA and 0-4 record.

Freshmen Jared Reynolds (Riverside North HS) and Jason Barth (San Pedro HS) have not played this season.


Senior second baseman and leadoff hitter Tim Carrier (Irvine Northwood HS/Irvine Valley College), who also has batted cleanup a few times this season, is batting .331 for North Carolina Greensboro (17-16).

Carrier is one of only three players who has started all 33 games for the Spartans, who are in third place in the Southern Conference.

Carrier's 46 hits, 11 stolen bases and four home runs lead the team. His 23 RBIs rank second.


Kansas' baseball team is bringing up the rear in the Big 12 Conference, but junior shortstop Erik Morrison (Arroyo Grande HS) has started 37 games for the 18-20 Jayhawks.

Morrison, who played mostly at third base his first two seasons, is batting .296 with six home runs, 31 RBIs and a .507 slugging percentage to rank second on the team in the latter three categories.


Another player in the Southern Conference doing well is redshirt freshman shortstop Mike Gilmartin (Encino Crespi HS/UC Irvine), who is batting .371 for last-place Wofford (17-17, 1-8). Gilmartin also has six home runs, 30 RBIs and a team-leading 49 hits. The right-hander has developed into the team's closer. Gilmartin has made 12 relief appearances for the Terriers and is 0-3 with a 4.96 ERA and five saves in 16 1/3 innings.


Senior driver Paige Lansing (Newport Harbor HS) earned Northern Varsity Division co-player of the week honors by the Collegiate Water Polo Assn. (CWPA) after scoring eight goals in four games last week for Brown University. Lansing has 20 goals and is fifth on the team in scoring for the Bears, who are 14-7 and ranked 19th in the nation by the CWPA.

"From Here To There" is a weekly web-exclusive column that appears Wednesdays. If you are aware of a former area prep standout competing in sports and excelling at the collegiate level or elsewhere, please let us know. Send any leads, tips or ideas to: jim.barrero@latimes.com.

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
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