Pac-12 honors: Beavers, Beavers everywhere

Pac-12 honors: Beavers, Beavers everywhere

It has been a busy day in Beaver Nation, as a record-setting season was rewarded with numerous individual accolades.

The Pac-12 conference announced its season awards today, and it was littered with Beavers.

Oregon led the conference with six players named to the All-Pac-12 Team: RJr. OF Jack Anderson, So. SS Cadyn Grenier, Jr. 1B KJ Harrison, Jr. LHP Luke Heimlich, So. 2B Nick Madrigal, and RJr. RHP Jake Thompson. Arizona had the second most selections, with five players making the team.

Oregon State also was one of only two schools, Utah being the other, to have multiple players named to the Pac-12 All-Defensive Team: So. 2B Nick Madrigal and So. OF Steven Kwan.

Oh, but the Beavers weren’t done. Oregon State also won four of the six individual awards.

Madrigal added to his accomplishments this season by being named both the Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year, and the Pac-12 Player of the Year. Madrigal batted .377, with 77 hits, four home runs, and 31 RBIs this season.

Madrigal was among the top five in the conference in multiple offensive statistics including batting average, slugging percentage, on base percentage, hits, doubles, and stolen bases.

Defensively Madrigal committed just four errors on the season, good for a .981 fielding percentage, and was named to the All-Defensive team for the second year in a row.

Moving to the mound, star Pitcher Luke Heimlich was named Pac-12 Pitcher of the Year. Not only is Heimlich the best pitcher in the conference, he is one of the best in the entire nation. His .81 earned run average is the best in the country, he boasts the fourth best WHIP (.80), and his 10 victories tie him for third most on the season. He is also one of five finalists for the College Baseball Hall of Fame’s National Pitcher of the Year award.

The final individual award the program took home went to a very deserving Pat Casey, who was named Pac-12 Coach of Year.  The man who helped put OSU baseball on the map takes the award for the fifth time in his career, first winning it in 2005. Behind Casey the Beavers set a Pac-12 record with 27 conference wins, and are on pace for the greatest single-season winning percentage in history.

But wait, there’s still more.

Heimlich and fellow pitcher Jake Thompson were named First-Team All-Americans, and Madrigal was named a Third-Team All-American. The All-American selections are a first for all three players.

The future may bring some more hardware the Beavers’ way. Both Heimlich and Madrigal have been named semifinalist for the 2017 Golden Spikes Award, an award given annually to the top amateur player in the nation. The finalists for the award will be announced on June 14.

The Beavers get to put all this talent to good use on Friday when they host Holy Cross in the first game of the NCAA Regionals. First pitch is set for 8:00 at Goss Stadium.

Las Vegas says Ducks look like an 8-win team

Las Vegas says Ducks look like an 8-win team

Early betting odds for college football win totals hit the streets this month and it appears that the wise guys believe the 2017 Oregon Ducks will be much improved in coach Willie Taggart's first season. 

The over/under win total for Oregon is eight for a team that went 4-8 last year. Of course, early odds in 2016 had Oregon at over/under 8.5 wins. Oregon went 2-9-1 against the spread, losing four times when it was the favorite.  

Eight wins this season seems about right for a team that returns most of its talent on offense and is expected to at least be somewhat improved on defense under new defensive coordinator Jim Leavitt. 

The only games on the schedule that appear to be big trouble are at Stanford and at Washington. The Ducks do not play USC, which received 7.5-to-1 odds to win the national championship.

On the same site, Oregon is listed as 75-to-1 to win the national title

Here is a look at the odds for the Pac-12 teams:

Arizona - 5.5

Arizona State - NA

California - NA

Colorado - 7.5

Oregon - 8

Oregon State - NA

Stanford -8.5

UCLA - 8

USC  - 9.5

Utah - 6.5

Washington - 9.5

Washington State - 9.5


Historic season for OSU could end with a trip to Omaha

Oregon State Athletics

Historic season for OSU could end with a trip to Omaha

It has been nearly a month since the Oregon State Beavers dropped a game on the diamond (an April 29 loss to USC), and with the regular season ending this weekend they look to keep it that way.

Oregon State, the consensus number one team in the country, plays host to Abilene Christian in a four-game set to end the season. The Beavers have already clinched the conference title, and even if second place Stanford wins it’s remaining three games, the Beavers will end the season with a six-game cushion. The last time a Pac-12 team won by six games or more was in 1985, when Stanford won the then Pac-10 South with a six-game lead. So let's just say it has been awhile since a Pac-12 team has taken home a conference title with such ease. 

While the Beavers have locked up a spot in the field of 64 for the NCAA Tournament, there is still plenty on the line this weekend. A series sweep of the Wildcats will all but guarantee the Beavers the No.1 overall seed (if they haven’t locked it in already), and will also cement the 2017 Beavers in the record books.

OSU needs to win its final four games to finish the season at 49-4, which would net them a .925 winning percentage, passing the .914 of the 1972 Arizona State Sun Devils for the highest single-season winning percentage of all-time and put a cap on an incredible regular season.

So how did the Beavers get here? With perhaps the greatest season in program history.  To this point the Beavers have won 45 games, tying the program record for single-season victories set in 2013. They won 27 conference games, breaking the league record 26 wins Arizona State amassed in 1981. And their .900 winning percentage in conference play; the best since the league expanded to the Pac-10 in 1979.

A quick look at the some of their team stats, and you will continue to be amazed. Oregon State leads the nation in ERA (1.87), shutouts (11), WHIP (.98), WL percentage (.918) and hits allowed per nine innings (6.27). LHP Luke Heimlich leads the nation with a .87 ERA, while RHP Jake Thompson has the nation's third lowest ERA at 1.01.

Put this all together and it’s no wonder the Beavers have been ranked the No.1 team in the country for nine straight weeks. Head coach Pat Casey has said all season that the Beavers only goal was to win the Pac-12. They did that, quite easily, so now it’s time to focus on the road to Omaha and seeing if they can repeat the magic of 2006 and 2007 and bring a championship to Corvallis.

It is obvious that only time will tell if the Beavers will win it all. It is also more than obvious that OSU is the best team in baseball and most certainly the favorite to do so.

The only question remaining is which teams will the Beavers have to get through to book a trip to Nebraska? We will find out on Monday, May 29 when the Division I Baseball Committee unveils its selections for the field of 64.

N’diaye, Tinkle granted medical hardships

Oregon State Beavers

N’diaye, Tinkle granted medical hardships

CORVALLIS, Ore. – Oregon State men's basketball players Cheikh N'diaye and Tres Tinkle were officially granted medical hardships by the Pac-12 Faculty Athletics Representative Committee.
"I'm happy that Cheikh and Tres got their years back," Oregon State head coach Wayne Tinkle said. "It's why the rule exists and we're sure that both student-athletes will take advantage of it from an academic standpoint as well as athletically."
Both were eligible for a medical hardship because they played in nine games or less during the first half of the season and suffered season-ending injuries.
N'diaye played the first nine games of the season, with eight starts, before missing the final 23 contests with an injured left shoulder. He was averaging 3.6 points and 2.2 rebounds before the injury, while shooting 52.2 percent from the field.
The Dakar, Senegal native is eligible to be a redshirt senior next season. He has played 80 games in his four-year career and has a career shooting percentage of 64.9 percent (48-for-74) from the field.
Tres Tinkle was injured in the sixth game of the season when he suffered a broken right wrist in the final minutes against Fresno State. He was averaging 20.2 points, 8.3 rebounds and 2.3 assists before missing the final 26 games with the injury.
The Missoula, Mont., native was named the first Pac-12 Player of the Week this past season after averaging 23.0 points and 13.5 rebounds in wins over Prairie View A&M and UTSA. He will be a redshirt sophomore next season.
Through the power of sport, we help people discover and pursue their passions, talents and purpose in order to live a life of balance and positive contribution.

Washington Huskies softball team closes home stand with win

Washington Huskies

Washington Huskies softball team closes home stand with win


The sun was out and so were the fans as the University of Washington Huskies softball team defeated the Stanford Cardinals 10-2 in their final Pac-12 regular season home game last Sunday at Husky Stadium in Seattle.

The atmosphere was full of excitement as everyone seemed to enjoy the annual Fan Fest and emotion as they prepared to say good-bye to seniors Ali Aguilar and Casey Stangel on Senior Day.

Trying to keep emotions in check during Senior Day is always tough but Huskies head coach Heather Tarr kept the focus on what it’s all about.

“I think that it’s a challenge but I think it being Senior Day before our seniors are truly done…makes it a little bit easier,” said Tarr. “But it’s just more of trying to think of it as a celebration and you’re celebrating them before their gone…We never want them to leave but that’s the whole of college athletics is that you graduate.”

It was a rocky start for Washington pitcher sophomore Taran Alvelo (25-6) who gave up a home run to the Cardinal’s lead-off hitter senior Kylie Sorenson.

Alvelo got out of the inning and her teammates quickly brought the game back to their side.

After senior Ali Aguilar and freshman Sis Bates hit back-to-back singles senior Casey Stangel worked out a walk to load the bases. Sophomore Morganne Flores doubled to left field scoring Aguilar and Bates.

This brought up junior Taylor Van Zee who deposited the ball over the left field fence to bring the remaining Huskies home and extend to a 5-1 lead.

Seventh ranked Washington (40-11) never looked back as they continued to pound Stanford pitchers. The second inning saw Bates triple and come in on a sacrifice fly by Flores.-

The third saw junior Kirstyn Thomas lead-off with a double then stole third. She come in on a single by Bates and the Huskies had pushed their lead to 7-1.

The Cardinals (19-29) produced another lead-off home run in the top of the fourth by senior Lauren Bertoy but Alvelo once again stayed steady and kept Stanford hitless the rest of the inning.

Washington head coach Heather Tarr liked what she saw in Alvelo’s ability to keep the home runs from rocking her game.

“I thought she did a good job. She could have easily given herself a hard time after that leadoff home run (in the first),” said Tarr. But I think she knew that she made a mistake and it was a good hitter and she got through the next pitch and she worked it and found a way to win the game for us.”

The Huskies closed out the weekend series when junior Kelly Burdick took first base by a Stanford error, stole second and watched as both Aguilar and Stangel walked to load the bases.

This brought up Flores who collected her third hit of the game with a single that brought in two runs and gave Washington a 10-2 walk-off win.

The runs gave Flores five RBIs as she joined junior Julia Deponte and Bates with three hits apiece of the team’s 13 total hits. Alvelo pitched a complete game with three strikeouts and four hits allowed.

Washington completes the Pac-12 regular season this weekend with a three-game series against the Utah Utes in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Former OSU CB Kendall Hill to transfer to Grambling State

USA Today

Former OSU CB Kendall Hill to transfer to Grambling State

Former Oregon State defensive back Kendall Hill has found a new home, announcing on his Instagram page that he will be transferring to Grambling State.

Hill, who came to Corvallis in 2012, had a rough start to his career at Oregon State. He redshirted his first year on campus while he took time to rehabilitate a knee injury he suffered the previous spring. The following season Hill injured his knee during spring ball and would miss the entire season once again.

Hill did not see real game action until 2014; a year that saw him switch from safety to wide receiver and play in eight games, mostly on special teams.

In 2015 Hill switched back to defense and had his most productive year as a Beaver, playing in 11 games (five starts) and recording a career best 39 tackles.

Due to his injuries in 2012 and 2013, the NCAA granted him a sixth year of eligibility prior to the 2016 season. He played in 12 games that season for the Beavers, before deciding to play his sixth season elsewhere.

Hill was in attendance for Grambling State’s spring game last month, in what was an unofficial visit to the program, and is expected to join the team early this summer.

Since Grambling State is in the FCS, a lower division than Oregon State, Hill will be immediately eligible to play for the Tigers. 

Oregon displays heart but lacks national championship feel minus Boucher

Oregon displays heart but lacks national championship feel minus Boucher

LAS VEGAS - Oregon junior forward Dillon Brooks bristled Saturday night at the idea that the loss of senior forward Chris Boucher for the rest of the season with a knee injury might change the Ducks' mindset entering the NCAA Tournament next week. 

"What, Chris is going to be out and we're just going to stop winning, stop competing?" Brooks said following a disappointing 83-80 loss to No. 7 Arizona in the Pac-12 title game at T-Mobile Arena. "That's not it."

The Pac-12 player of the year said the goal remains to win the national championship. His defiance and determination matched that of the team during the game. Oregon (29-5) rallied from 14-points down in the second half to nearly steal the title game just hours after learning the bad news regarding Boucher, who injured his knee Friday night in the semifinals against California.

The fact that UO nearly pulled out the win minus Boucher should give the team confidence that it can carry on. However, the reality is that the 6-foot-10, shot erasing big man with three-point range makes it a serious long shot that the Ducks could pull out three or four games like Saturday's to win the national championship. 

Boucher is that good. Oregon is that limited without him. The field is too strong, at this point, to even make reaching the Final Four appear to be anything short of daunting. 

Boucher left the game in tears after the team's loss. The team felt his pain but didn't blame the loss on his absence. 

"Chris is a very talented young man, and he's a big part of our team," UO coach Dana Altman said. "But that's part of any season. I just feel really bad for Chris. He's a wonderful young man, and it's really hard for him. It was a big blow to our team this morning. We were all kind of down, because he's one of the most popular guys on the team. He's the one guy that picks everybody up. He's a wonderful young man."

And a key part to what made the Ducks resemble a national title contender. Boucher is Oregon’s third-leading scorer (11.1 points per game) and No. 2 rebounder (6.1). Oh, and he leads the Pac-12 in blocked shots per game (2.6), which also ranks 17th in the nation. 

None of that will be easily replaced. Arizona outrebounded Oregon 35-25 and the Wildcats' bench produced 23 points compared to just three for the Ducks. 

The Ducks fortunately have another big to lean on in Kavell Bigby-Williams. He played nine minutes in the first two tournament wins after contributing just 9.5 minutes per game on the season. But he didn't disappoint. 

He said he felt confident in his abilities and that he can bring the same energy Boucher does to the floor and gave UO three points, six rebounds and two blocked shots in 14 minutes. 

"I thought Kavell played really well," Altman said. "I thought he really gave us a big lift defensively.

Said Bigby-Williams: "I felt like I did okay, but we didn't win the game so I must not have done enough." 

Moving forward, Bigby-Williams will need to play like he did on Saturday for the Ducks to survive without Boucher. But clearly it won't be all on him to make this work. 

"Coach said it's not just one person," Bigby-Williams said. "Everyone has to step up in different ways, pick up their game."

Oregon will find out its NCAA Tournament seeding fate on Sunday. Any team in its region with adequate big men and a strong bench will present a challenge for the Ducks minus Boucher. More pressure will put upon inconsistent guards Tyler Dorsey, Dylan Ennis and Payton Pritchard to perform in the tournament. Guard Casey Benson also must deliver more than the zero points off the bench he put forth Saturday. The Ducks' starting five won't carry the Ducks beyond maybe the Sweet 16. 

Each player be motivated by what happened on Saturday. 

"We're going to remember this feeling," Dorsey said. "We're going to bounce back, let it in our rear view mirror and get ready...And our goal is still intact, so we've got to get ready."

Arizona coach Sean Miller said he expected Altman to have his team ready to play in the tournament minus Boucher. 

"I wish he'd be able to play for them in the tournament, because I still believe that they can make a run to Phoenix (site of the Final Four)," he said. "But certainly they lost a key player."

A loss likely put reaching Phoenix out of Oregon's reach. 

Oregon's rally falls short in 83-80 loss to Arizona in Pac-12 title game

Oregon's rally falls short in 83-80 loss to Arizona in Pac-12 title game

Arizona 83, Oregon 80

How Oregon lost: No. 1-seeded Oregon (29-5) couldn't quite overcome the loss of its second best all-around player, senior forward Chris Boucher, who was sidelined with a season-ending knee injury, but the Ducks still played a spirited game against No. 2-seeded Arizona (30-4) during the Pac-12 Tournament title game Saturday night at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nev. 

The Ducks struggle on offense in the first half managing to shoot just 34.5 percent from the field and fell behind 35-29. UO junior forward Dillon Brooks carried the team in the first half with 17 points on 5-of-12 shooting. The rest of the team made 5 of 17 from the floor. 

In the second half, Arizona built a 14-point lead and Brooks got into foul trouble. That's when UO guards Tyler Dorsey and Dylan Ennis finally got things going on offense to help rally the Ducks back to within striking distance of winning the game.

But UO's rally fell short as Dorsey missed two late three-point attempts, one coming with the Ducks trailing 81-77 with eight seconds remaining. 

Oregon won the lone regular season meeting between these two teams, 85-58 on Feb. 4 in Eugene. 

What it means: The Ducks failed to win back-to-back conference tournaments and maybe blew their chances at receiving a No. 2 seed in the NCAA Tournament. However, many prognosticators have stated that they believe the Ducks could still very easily end up with a No. 2 seed. 

Key sequence: Oregon got to within 68-64 with 5:25 remaining after UO junior forward Jordan Bell scored on a dunk off an assist from Brooks and was fouled leading to a made free throw. 

However, Arizona answered with a 6-2 run that included a 14-foot jumper from Kadeem Allen, two free throws from Rawle Atkins and a jumper from Chance Comanche that made the score 74-66, UA with 3:22 remaining.

That didn't cause UO to go away. Brooks made a three later on to make the score 78-75, UA with under two minutes remaining.

Arizona helped Oregon's cause by then missing four consecutive free throws in the final minute. That allowed the Ducks to make it 79-77 on a follow up by Bell.

Then, UA's Allonzo Tier finally made two clutch free throw to give the Wildcats an 81-77 lead. The Ducks got a desperate three from Dorsey off but it missed with 6.6 seconds remaining and Arizona got the rebound. 

High-flying Ducks: Brooks finished with 25 points on 8-of-18 shooting.  Dorsey fought off a bad first half to score 23 with 21 coming in the second half. Bell had 16 points and 10 rebounds.  

Oregon committed just six turnovers. 

Fowl play: UO freshman guard Payton Pritchard played 28 minutes and contributed just one point and three assists. He attempted just three shots. Senior guard Casey Benson had zero points in 18 minutes off the bench. 

After the game, Dorsey said the Ducks lost it on defense. He believed 80 should points scored should have been enough to win the game. 

Up next: Oregon, like every other team in the country, will find out its seeding and destination in the NCAA Tournament.

Oregon pulls away in second half, wins 80-57 over Arizona State

Oregon pulls away in second half, wins 80-57 over Arizona State

Oregon 80, Arizona State 57

How Oregon won: No. 8-seeded Arizona State (15-18) hung tough with No. 1-seeded Oregon (28-4) during the first half of their second-round matchup in the Pac-12 Tournament Thursday afternoon at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nev. But in the second half, the Ducks put an end to any thoughts of a repeat of the team's 71-70 meeting that UO pulled out at home out on Feb. 2. 

The Ducks dominated the second half of play from the get go, jumping out to a 16-point lead and then cruising from there.

ASU guard Torian Graham scored 32 points on 12-of-12 shooting but he prove to be no match for Oregon's overall team game. The Ducks shot 49.2 percent from the field while ASU shot 31.1.  Player not named Graham made just seven of 36 field goals. 

What it means: The Ducks advance to the semi-finals and another step closer to a possible championship game showdown against either No. 2-seeded Arizona (27-4) or No. 3-seeded UCLA (28-3) on Saturday night. 

Key sequence: Oregon took control of the game early in the second half. Leading just 34-31 at the break, the Ducks went on an 18-5 run to go up 52-36 with 13:04 remaining. Igniting the run was sophomore guard Tyler Dorsey. He had two strong drives to the basket for layups before senior guard Dylan Ennis made a three to give UO a 45-33 lead. A few possessions later, Dorsey moved to the basket, drew some attention from ASU defenders who ignored senior forward Chris Boucher underneath. Dorsey read the defense, dumped the ball off to Boucher who threw down an easy dunk to give the Ducks a 52-36 lead. 

High-flying Ducks: Dorsey had a great all-around game with 21 points, nine rebounds and four assists. He made 8 of 14 shot attempts, but did miss four of five from three-point range.

Junior forward Dillon Brooks had 22 points, seven rebounds and three assists. Ennis shot poorly, making just 3 of 10 shot attempts, but he did have 12 rebounds and five assists. 

Fowl play: Oregon shot a mediocre 63.2 percent from the free throw line (12 of 19).

Up next: Oregon will face the winner of today's game between No. 5-seeded California (20-11) and No. 4-seeded Utah (20-10) tomorrow night at 6 p.m. 

No. 5 Ducks eager to win Pac-12 Tournament, remain out West for NCAA's

No. 5 Ducks eager to win Pac-12 Tournament, remain out West for NCAA's

Update: Oregon will play Arizona State in the second round of the Pac-12 Tournament at noon on Thursday. ASU defeated Stanford 98-88 in overtime in the first round. 

LAS VEGAS - Now things get serious for No. 5 Oregon.

UO was predestined to rip up the regular season and enter the postseason with a chance to make some noise and a potential run at winning the program's first national championship since 1939 after returning loads of talent from last season's team that reached the Elite Eight. 

The quest to exceed last season's accomplishments begins Thursday in the Pac-12 Tournament at T-Mobile Arena where the Ducks (27-4, 16-2 Pac-12) are the No. 1 seed. Oregon will face the winner of today's first-round game between Stanford (14-16) and Arizona State (14-17, 7-11). 

"People who say they're not important, I don't agree with them," Oregon coach Dana Altman said Tuesday in Eugene of conference tournaments. "We're going to go play and we're going to try to win the darn thing."

Some do scoff at the importance of conference tournaments in the grand scheme of things, but for Oregon, doing well here could pay some serious dividends heading into the NCAA Tournament, which begins next week.

"I think whoever wins the (Pac-12) tournament will be one or two in the West," Oregon coach Dana Altman said of seeding. "The other two teams will be shipped to the South or the Midwest."

The three Pac-12 teams in play for high seeds are Oregon, No. 3 UCLA (28-3, 15-3) and No. 7 Arizona (27-4, 16-2). No. 4 Gonzaga could have already locked up a No. 1 seed out west by winning the WCC Tournament championship game Tuesday night with a 74-56 win over No. 19 St. Mary's. 

However, the winner of a potential Pac-12 championship game between Oregon and UCLA or Oregon and Arizona could make a strong case to be a No. 1-seed.  The winner would almost assuredly be a No. 2 seed in the West, and play tournament games in Sacramento, Calif., and San Jose, Calif.

That could leave the two remaining teams from that group, as Altman said, to get shipped elsewhere, likely to the Midwest to play in Salt Lake City, Utah, and then Kansas City, Mo for the regionals. Or, they could go to the South and end up playing in the regional finals in Memphis, Tenn. 

"It's a big advantage," Altman said of playing on the West Coast, "and that's why we want to win the conference tournament."

Less travel for UO is an obvious advantage.  Last year the Ducks played the first two rounds in Spokane, Wash., before moving on to Anaheim, Calif.  Maybe the biggest advantage, however, is making life easier for more Ducks' fans to get to the games.

"The West is going to be decided on who wins the Pac-12," Oregon forward Dillon Brooks said. "We want to be that so we have home fans and a lot of energy. We know what's at stake and we want to win out."

Fans mean a lot to these Ducks, who have won 42-straight games at Matthew Knight Arena and seem to feed off of the energy there, especially on defense. 

That all said, Altman doesn't want his players to feel any extra weight on their shoulders to perform well. 

"There's a lot of pressure on the guys," Altman said. "They want to do well. It's a time when the media focuses on college basketball. There's enough pressure on them. We don't need to put any more. Just go out and play."

First things first. Oregon's second-round matchup might not be all that easy. Stanford gave Oregon all it could handle on Feb. 25 before the Ducks escaped with a 75-73 road win. However, the Ducks destroyed the Cardinal, 69-52 at home on Jan.21. Arizona State pushed the Ducks to the limit on Feb. 2 in Eugene before UO pulled out a 71-70 win. That was the only meeting between the two teams. 

"Two teams that will be a tough matchup for us," Altman said. "They definitely have our attention just because of the tough games we've had with them previously."

On the other hand, if the Ducks struggle with the likes of Stanford or Arizona State, then details like seeding might become moot points moving forward.