Baseball Weekend Roundup

The Stanford Cardinal bounced back from the Texas sweep by taking 2-of-3 from the 22nd ranked USC Trojans last weekend. In this week's Roundup, check out all the latest from around the Pac-10 as two teams continue to surprise. Also included is an updated "Super Sixteen" national ranking.

Pac-10 Standings (overall records through games of Mon. 2/28)

Oregon State         9-1
Arizona             11-3
USC                  5-2
California           9-4
Stanford             9-6
UCLA                 7-6
Washington State     7-7
Arizona State        8-10
Washington           4-7

The Beavers and the Bears remained red-hot with sweeps last weekend in non-conference play.  Oregon State has now won eight consecutive games after a sweep at UC Santa Barbara.  All three games were close, but the Beavers are finding ways to win right now - primarily with an outstanding pitching staff that boasts a 2.17 ERA.  Oregon State has even moved into the top 25 checking in at #24 in this week's Baseball America poll.

Meanwhile, California has recovered from a 1-4 start as they've rattled off eight straight wins.  Last weekend, the Bears swept a home-and-home series from lowly Saint Mary's.  A big non-conference series at Stanford looms this weekend for Cal - the series should be a pretty good indicator if the Bears can seriously make a run at the NCAA's this season.

Stanford rebounded from getting swept by Texas to take 2-of-3 from USC in a matchup of ranked teams.  Credit the Trojans though after a couple of tough losses to rebound and easily defeat the Cardinal in the finale.  USC is looking like an NCAA Tournament team this year, at the very least.

Other action saw Arizona State notch a big series win when they took 2-of-3 from #8 Baylor in Tempe.  Not much had gone right for the Sun Devils this early-season (they were beaten soundly by Arizona during the week in a non-conference tilt), but they may be getting back on track after their performance last weekend.

The other early-season disappointment for the conference, the Washington Huskies, had a weekend of mixed results.  Playing in a round-robin tournament at Texas A&M, the Huskies went 2-3.  They split a pair of games with nationally ranked A&M, split two games with San Diego, and dropped a close contest to Evansville.  Hitting has been the major problem for Washington with a team batting average of just .230, but they finally get to play at home after 11 straight contests on the road to start the season (4-7 record).

Arizona, who cracked the top 10 after three easy series victories over poor competition, struggled last weekend in dropping 2-of-3 at home to UC Riverside.  The Wildcats barely won the series finale taking the game by a 5-4 score.  UCLA continues to look unimpressive as they lost 2-of-3 to expected Big West bottom feeder Pacific in Los Angeles.  The Bruins have already dropped a pair of home series' this season (Cal Poly).  Finally, Washington State split a four-game set at Hawaii.

The Pac-10 currently rates as the #3 conference in the country in the early RPI rankings (behind the SEC and ACC).  Four teams from the conference are ranked this week with Arizona checking in at #10, Stanford at #11, USC #23, and Oregon State #24.  Both Washington and Arizona State have fallen out of the top 25 with their February struggles.  Both teams though don't lack for talent and are expected to turn things around (ASU may be on their way with the series win over Baylor).

In the individual team RPI rankings, Stanford is the highest rated Pac-10 club at #13 with surprising Oregon State just behind at #17.  USC (#30) and Arizona State (#49) also place in the top 50.  It should be noted though that Ball State, with their 4-1 record, is holding onto the top spot, so it's still a bit early be taking the RPI too seriously.

The big series involving a Pac-10 team this weekend is in Tucson where the Wildcats welcome 2nd ranked and undefeated Texas for a three-game set.  The Longhorns have rolled to a 15-0 record this season and will be looking for their second series win over a top-flight Pac-10 squad.  USC also has a big weekend as they play in a round-robin tournament in Round Rock, Texas.  The Trojans have single-game matchups versus #12 Rice, #15 Texas A&M, and Nebraska.  A few wins this weekend by Arizona and USC should really benefit the conference in terms of RPI rankings.

Cal tries to keep their winning streak intact with a non-conference series at Stanford.  Meanwhile, Oregon State finally gets to play a weekend series in Corvallis when they welcome UC Riverside (fresh off their impressive series victory at Arizona) to town.  Other noteworthy action this weekend sees Arizona State trying to keep their newfound momentum going when they play at a tournament in Greenville, North Carolina.  The Devils play single games versus #6 North Carolina, East Carolina, and Ohio State.  Washington opens their home schedule this week as UC Santa Barbara heads to Seattle for a three-game series.  Finally, UCLA has their hands full playing at Cal State Fullerton's round-robin tournament.  The Bruins will play single games against Oklahoma, Nevada, and #4 Fullerton.  All in all, this is a big weekend for the Pac-10.

"Super Sixteen"

                       Record   Pvs.
1. Texas                15-0     1
* Longhorns remain perfect with an easy weekend sweep of visiting Youngstown State.

2. CS Fullerton          7-2     2
* Titans finally avoid wet weather as they take 2-of-3 at UNLV.

3. South Carolina        9-0     3
* Gamecocks continue cupcake non-conference schedule with three-game sweep of Niagara.

4. Tulane                9-1     4
* Green Wave get a battle at Pepperdine, but manage 2-of-3 series win in highly competitive series.

5. LSU                   9-1     5
* Tigers go on the road and take 2-of-3 at Houston.

6. Miami                10-3     6
* Hurricanes blow ninth inning lead in one game to George Washington, but still take 2-of-3 in series.

7. Georgia               5-1     7
* Bulldogs with a 2-1 week (1-0 vs. Mercer, 1-1 vs. Georgia Southern).

8. Stanford              9-6     8
* Cardinal bounce back by taking 2-of-3 from visiting USC.

9. Florida               8-2    11
* Gators sweep rain-shortened two-game series from Rhode Island.

10. Mississippi          5-2     9
* Rebels take midweek game from Belmont and then split two-game weekend series with Southern Illinois.

11. Arizona             11-3    10
* Wildcats with a convincing midweek win over Arizona State, but then drop 2-of-3 to UC Riverside.

12. North Carolina       8-0    12
* Tar Heels still unbeaten after weekend sweep of Birmingham Southern.

13. Florida State       15-1    NR
* Seminoles in the "Super Sixteen" after perfect 5-0 week (2-0 at Stetson, 3-0 vs. Appalachian State).

14. Arkansas             9-1    NR
* Hogs, a 2004 CWS participant, make first appearance in ranking after home sweep of Minnesota.

15. Rice                10-2    15
* Owls post two wins over Western Carolina, a single victory over Houston, and a loss to Nebraska.

16. Texas A&M            9-4    14
* Aggies with a busy 4-2 week that includes two-game split with Washington.

Dropped Out: Washington (4-7, 2-3 last week), Baylor (6-4, 1-2 last week).

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