Rivals Arizona and Arizona State are both clinging to outside hopes of winning the Pac-12 Conference baseball title as they meet for a regular-season ending three-game series at Hi Corbett Field in Tucson.
No. 13 Arizona is one game behind fifth-ranked Oregon in the conference standings, while No. 16 ASU is two games backs and tied with No. 9 UCLA and No. 14 Stanford in third place.
It's rivalry weekend for all the contenders, with Oregon playing three games at Oregon State, UCLA hosting USC for three, and Stanford at home against California for three.
The Wildcats and Sun Devils have already met in a pair of non-conference games in Tempe, with each team winning once.
Two of the conference's elite starting pitchers will take the mound for Friday's 6 p.m. game, with ASU's Brady Rodgers (10-2, 2.36) going against Arizona's Kurt Heyer (10-2, 2.20). The Saturday matchup, also at 6 p.m., pits ASU's Trevor Williams (11-2, 1.86) against Arizona's Konner Wade (7-2, 4.48). The series concludes at noon Sunday, with ASU throwing Alex Bradford (1-3, 5.57) against Arizona's James Farris (6-3, 4.22).
Arizona leads the conference in batting average (.326) and runs (374), while ASU ranks fifth in both (.293 and 323). But the Sun Devils have a decided edge in power, hitting 41 home runs compared with the Wildcats' 18.
Six Wildcats are hitting better than .350, led by Johnny Field (.374), Robert Refsnyder (.364) and Seth Mejias-Brean (.356). For ASU, Mike Benjamin is hitting .361, Joey DeMichele is at .337 and Abe Ruiz has a team-leading 13 home runs.
While numerous scenarios are in play in the tightly contested Pac-12 race, both the Sun Devils and Wildcats will need some help from Oregon State if they are to claim the conference title. ASU is ineligible for postseason play, while Arizona is hoping to strengthen its position for hosting a regional next week.
ASU is coming off a three-game sweep of Washington, while Arizona won two of three on the road at USC.