Conf. GB Overall
10-5 - 42-9
Stanford 10-5 - 28-13
Arizona 9-6 1.0 30-16
USC 9-6 1.0 24-19
Washington 6-6 2.5 28-13
California 9-9 2.5 25-21
UCLA 5-7 3.5 19-25
Oregon State 4-11 6.0 18-22
Washington State 4-11 6.0 13-29
It's become a four-team race for the Pac-10 Conference
title as Arizona State and USC both recorded sweeps last weekend while Arizona
went up to Palo Alto and took 2-of-3 from Stanford. It was a huge series
win for the Wildcats as they've put themselves in a position to challenge
for the conference championship. Meanwhile, Arizona State moved into
a tie for first place with a convincing sweep of Washington State in Tempe.
USC has turned things around as they swept Oregon State up in Corvallis
to move within one game of first place. In a big series in Seattle,
the Washington Huskies took 2-of-3 from the Cal Bears which puts Cal at a
disadvantage if they want to reach the NCAA Tournament.
Speaking of the NCAA Tournament, if the season ended today,
four teams from the conference will likely get bids. Stanford and Arizona
State both could argue that they deserve national seeds right now while Arizona
and USC look like solid #2 seeds. Washington and California are both
"on the bubble," but I think both are out of the tournament right now. Washington's
RPI is very low, so they'll need to definitely finish above .500 in conference
play and even that may not be enough. Cal is in a tough position as
they only have two Pac-10 series' left and they are at Arizona and at home
versus Stanford. Not an easy road at all.
This weekend, the big series is down at Dedeaux Field where
the Stanford Cardinal take on the USC Trojans. Stanford is looking to
get back on track after their series loss to Arizona while the Trojans, all
of a sudden, have visions of winning the Pac-10. For that to happen
though, USC needs at least two wins this weekend. Arizona State has
the weekend off while Arizona hosts California in another big series. It's
do-or-die time for the Bears while the Wildcats try to maintain their momentum
as they look to win the conference. Washington has a chance to get back
in the mix as they travel to Pullman to play Washington State. In addition,
UCLA hosts Oregon State.
Last Week in Review :
The Cardinal went 2-2 last week which included a series
loss at home to the Arizona Wildcats. It was Stanford's first Pac-10
home series loss since April of 1999. The week started with a 5-1 win
at Sacramento State. Carlos Quentin led the charge with three hits including
a home run. Danny Putnam also homered. On the mound, Kodiak Quick
got the start and tossed three shutout innings while Ryan McCally, who was
making his first relief appearance since opening day, fired three scoreless
innings and looked great in the process. Matt Manship picked up the
The Wildcats came into town for the weekend and promptly
beat John Hudgins and the Cardinal 4-3 on Friday night. Brian Anderson's
solo homer in the eighth inning snapped a 3-3 tie and gave Arizona the victory.
Hudgins threw pretty well as he went the distance yielding four runs
on seven hits while picking up six K's. Still, it was not enough as
UA starter Richie Gardner (8 1/3 IP, 7 H, 3 R, 7 SO) was a little better.
At the plate, Carlos Quentin's 26-game hitting streak came to an end
as he went 0-for-3 with two walks. Quentin came up in the bottom of
the ninth with runners on first and second and two outs needing a hit to
extend the streak (and the game), but he flied out to left.
Saturday's contest was one of the more entertaining Stanford
games of the year. It was a back-and-forth affair that saw the Cardinal
eventually come out on top by a 10-9 score. Arizona scored three in
the top of the eighth to take a 9-6 lead, but Stanford answered back with
four of their own to take the lead which they held on to for the win. Sam
Fuld delivered the big hit with a two-run double in that eighth inning. Fuld
also hit a two-run homer in the seventh. Quentin and Ryan Garko contributed
home runs as well. On the hill, Mark Romanczuk was knocked out in the
sixth inning after giving up four runs (all on an inside-the-park grand slam)
while David O'Hagan and Kodiak Quick saw time out of the bullpen with mixed
results. Manship came on to throw a scoreless ninth to pick up another
The Cardinal fell behind 5-0 after just 1 1/2 innings on
Sunday as Ryan McCally was roughed up again. McCally gave up all five
runs on six hits in just 1 2/3 innings. Stanford would battle back
though as they tied it up with a four-run third inning and then took the
lead with a run in the bottom of the fifth. Matt Manship relieved McCally
in the third and looked great as he fired zeros in the third, fourth, and
fifth innings. The Wildcats though touched him up for two runs in the
sixth to take the lead and then two more unearned runs in the seventh to
go ahead 9-6. Arizona added two runs in the eighth while the Wildcat
bullpen completely shut down the Stanford hitters en route to an 11-6 victory.
It was a tough series loss for Stanford, but Arizona is
a certainly a very good team. The Wildcats feature an outstanding lineup
and seemed to come through with numerous clutch two-out run-scoring hits.
Some of the negatives this weekend for the Cardinal include Ryan McCally's
start on Sunday. I doubt we'll be seeing him start this Sunday at USC.
Brian Hall continues to struggle in the #2 spot in the order as he went
2-for-13 over the weekend and is just 14-for-81 (.173) since the middle game
of the ASU series back in late March. He really needs to get it going
as the Cardinal need all the runners on base that they can get in front of
Quentin, Garko, and Putnam. The bullpen had a tough weekend as well,
although Matt Manship deserves credit for his save on Saturday and his good
relief work on Sunday, despite getting the loss. Bottom line, Stanford
needs to pitch better or else they'll see the Pac-10 title slip through their
"Super Sixteen" National Rankings :
1. Cal State Fullerton
* Another sweep for Titans as they take three straight from Cal Poly.
2. Florida State
* Seminoles finish 4-1-1 against Miami as they won 2-of-3 from the Canes last weekend.
* Owls lost another midweek game, but rebounded to sweep Louisiana Tech in WAC play.
* No letdown for the Huskers after their big series win over Texas as they won 2-of-3 at Texas Tech.
* Cardinal fall back one spot after losing 2-of-3 to Arizona.
* Longhorns move into first place in the Big 12 (one game ahead of Nebraska) after a sweep of last place Kansas State.
7. Arizona State
* Sun Devils move into tie with Stanford after easy sweep of visiting Washington State.
8. Long Beach State
* 49ers now two games back of Fullerton in Big West play after taking 2-of-3 from UC Santa Barbara.
* Second straight series loss for the all of a sudden reeling Tigers as they lost 2-of-3 to Vanderbilt.
10. Texas A&M
* Aggies trying to keep pace with Texas and Nebraska in the Big 12 as they took 2-of-3 from Missouri.
11. N.C. State
* Wolf Pack continue to impress as they won 2-of-3 at home over North Carolina last weekend.
* Tigers remain in first place in the SEC West after convincing sweep of Tennessee.
* Hurricanes move down after second straight series loss to Florida State.
* Wildcats in the "Super Sixteen" for the first time after impressive series win at Stanford.
State 30-12 13
* Bulldogs spilt a pair of midweek games with Southern Miss and then lost 2-of-3 to Florida.
16. Notre Dame
* Irish once again the class of the Big East ... swept Connecticut last weekend.
: Georgia Tech (32-11, 0-4 last week), Arkansas (30-12, 0-4 last
NCAA Tournament Projections :
Here's an updated look at the top of the standings of the
major conferences (RPI rankings are in parentheses - these are rankings prior
to this past weekend's games)...
ASU 10-5 - 42-9 (22)
Stanford 10-5 - 28-13 (10)
Arizona 9-6 1.0 30-16 (39)
USC 9-6 1.0 24-19 (26)
N.C. St. 13-5 - 36-10 (12)
Flo. St. 11-4 0.5 38-7 (2)
G. Tech 11-4 0.5 32-11 (4)
LSU 15-5 - 30-13 (9)
Auburn 13-8 2.5 32-13 (1)
Miss St. 12-8 3.0 30-12 (14)
Texas 16-5 - 35-13 (8)
Nebraska 15-6 1.0 33-11 (15)
Texas A&M 14-7 2.0 35-13 (19)
Fullerton 11-1 - 38-8 (6)
LBSU 9-3 2.0 29-13 (21)
Rice 19-2 - 40-7 (3)
Miami 29-11 (5)
Looking ahead to who the selection committee may put in
Stanford's regional, one should remember that teams from the same conference
can still be placed in the same regional. They can't play each other
in first round, but assuming Stanford is a #1 seed, a Pac-10 team could be
a #2 or #3 seed. If the season ended today, both Arizona and USC would
likely be #2 seeds, and it would not be a surprise to me if one of those teams
was placed in Stanford's sub regional.
At least one of the three teams will likely be from one
of major conference from the midwest or south. In 1999, we saw North
Carolina (along with two west coast teams), in 2000 it was Alabama (plus two
west coast teams), and in 2001 it was Texas and Marist (plus one west coast
team). In 2002, of course, the committee was placing teams together
strictly based on geography which resulted in a loaded regional for Stanford.
The NCAA has gone back to the old format, so that will not happen this
season. If you're trying to project a possible midwestern/southern
team that will be in Stanford's regional we're probably looking at the better
(but not elite teams) in the Big 12, SEC, and/or ACC. Some teams that
come to mind right now include Clemson, North Carolina, Missouri, Oklahoma
State, Baylor, Arkansas, and Alabama.
The #4 seed will either be an automatic bid team from the
east (a la Marist), or a west coast team from the WCC, Big West, Mountain
West or the WAC. The WCC is a one-bid conference and that will likely
go to either Pepperdine or Santa Clara (how about a Cardinal vs. Broncos regional
opener, wouldn't be a lot of secrets there). The WAC champion will
obviously be Rice, but second place Nevada may get an at-large bid and they
would be a #4 seed. The "Big 2" in the Big West are in, but the third
place team in that conference in UC Riverside is a dangerous team that should
qualify for the tournament (maybe as a #3 seed). UNLV is running away
with the Mountain West title (they're looking like a #2 seed, maybe in Stanford's
regional?), but second place New Mexico could get an at-large bid as a #4
I'll continue to look at possible regional opponents as
the season moves on. These possibilities are based on if the season
ended today, so if Stanford collapses down the stretch and doesn't look like
a #1 seed, then I'll adjust my projections accordingly. Next week, it's
back to projecting the eight national seeds ...
Up Next for Stanford :
The Cardinal are scheduled to play four games this week.
First, it's a single non-conference game versus the Santa Clara Broncos
on Tuesday night at Sunken Diamond (6:00pm). Stanford is looking for
the season sweep of the Broncos as they've taken the first three game of the
season series (7-2, 5-0, 17-8). Santa Clara is on fire as they've won
13 of their last 14 WCC games to go to 16-5 in conference play (one game behind
Pepperdine for first place). The Broncos are 24-22 overall.
This weekend, Stanford travels south to take on the USC
Trojans in an important Pac-10 series. USC trails Stanford and ASU by
one game in the Pac-10 race and is coming off a series sweep at Oregon State.
Friday's game is scheduled to begin at 6:00pm while Saturday's and
Sunday's games will both get started at 1:00pm. Chad will have a full
series preview in a couple of days.