Baseball Weekend Roundup

The Cardinal may have had the weekend off as they prepared for final exams, but the Pac-10 Conference, as a whole, continues to play very well. The surprise story of the first 1/3 of the season are the Oregon State Beavers while the usual suspects in Arizona, USC, and Washington stayed hot. In this week's Roundup, check out all of the latest from around the conference plus an updated "Super Sixteen."

Pac-10 Standings  (overall records through games of Mon. 3/14)

Oregon State         13-3
Arizona              14-6
Stanford             11-7
Washington           11-7
California           12-8
USC                   9-6
Washington State     12-9
Arizona State        13-12
UCLA                  7-13

Overall, it was another strong weekend for Pac-10 baseball as the conference remains a solid #2 in this week's RPI rankings.  USC continued their brutal schedule, but the Trojans are still playing good baseball.  They hosted a round-robin tournament against three quality opponents and notched a pair of wins over Texas Tech and Wichita State (a couple of ranked teams) and then dropped a decision to UC Irvine.  The Trojans, with their 9-6 record against arguably the toughest schedule in the country, boast the #12 RPI ranking.

Arizona bounced back from the Texas series loss (although by all accounts, the Wildcats played well against the Longhorns with the two losses coming by just one run each) with a 2-of-3 series win over previously unbeaten Mississippi State.  The quality series win puts Arizona back in the top 10 in Baseball America's poll as they check in at #9 this week.

Oregon State also continues to play well as the Beavers recorded a 2-1 record at Pepperdine's competitive round-robin tournament.  OSU lost a single game to the host Waves, but picked up victories over Cal State Northridge and a solid Winthrop team (they were ranked earlier in the season).  Meanwhile, Washington had the weekend off, but did manage a two-game, midweek sweep of Pacific.  Included was a 19-12 victory over the Tigers in which the Huskies blasted seven home runs.  Washington has recovered nicely from their slow start as they've now won seven consecutive games.

Arizona State had an interesting weekend.  The Sun Devils, like many of their fellow Pac-10 ballclubs, have played a brutal non-conference schedule.  But unlike USC, Arizona State has taken some lumps (they were swept convincingly by Tulane and have gone 0-2 versus Arizona in midweek contests).  Over the weekend, the Sun Devils played four games in Baton Rouge - two versus the host LSU Tigers (ranked #5) and two against Western Illinois.  ASU cleaned up against Western Illinois with a pair of easy wins which included a mind-boggling 30-13 victory on Sunday.  However, they didn't fair quite as well versus the Tigers losing both contests, 6-5 and 20-3.  The losses keep the Devils, a preseason top ten team, near the .500 mark.

California dropped their second home series of the year losing 2-of-3 to previously struggling UNLV.  The Bears figure to be a bubble team this season, so this was not a good series loss for them.  Washington State continued their cupcake schedule with a 2-of-3 series win over visiting Northern Colorado.  Finally, UCLA fell further below the .500 mark as they were swept by 9th ranked Texas A&M in College Station.  With the strength of this conference, 1-through-7, it's going to be a long year for the Bruins.

This weekend marks the final full weekend of non-conference games around the conference.  There's no doubt that Arizona has the biggest series with a three-game set at 2nd ranked Cal State Fullerton.  It will be interesting to compare the Wildcats success (or lack theirof) to Stanford's as the Cardinal lost a pair of close games at Fullerton while easily winning the series finale back in early-February.  The matchup at Goodwin Field this weekend could be a preview of a super regional or even Omaha tilt.

Washington has returned to form, but all of their recent wins have come in Seattle.  They take their act to the road this weekend for a big series at Cal Poly - a team that could potentially find its way into the NCAA's this June.  Arizona State tries to rebound from the LSU debacle with a home series against Oklahoma.  Finally, Oregon State hosts Sacramento State for three games, Stanford plays a home-and-home series with Pacific, and USC battles Nevada, Stony Brook, and UC Irvine in a tournament hosted by the Anteaters.  Overall, this should be a weekend where the Pac-10 does well while all eyes will be on the Arizona-Cal State Fullerton matchup.

"Super Sixteen"

                         Record   Pvs.
1. Texas                  21-1     1
* Longhorns shutout Rice in midweek game and then rolled to a three-game sweep of Purdue.

2. Cal State Fullerton    14-3     2
* Titans flex their muscles with a 2-of-3 series win at Tulane (won the opener by a 15-1 score).

3. South Carolina         15-1     3
* Gamecocks notched two-game sweep of rival Clemson in home-and-home set.

4. Tulane                 15-3     4
* Green Wave with impressive midweek win over LSU, but then lose 2-of-3 to visiting Fullerton.

5. Miami                  17-4     5
* Hurricanes beating up on lesser competition in the ACC ... easy sweep of Duke over the weekend.

6. Stanford               11-7     6
* Cardinal had the week off to prepare for final exams.

7. LSU                    14-4     7
* Tigers lose game to Tulane, but respond with a couple of victories over Arizona State.

8. Florida                15-4     9
* Gators split midweek series with UNC Asheville and then sweep weekend series from Michigan State.

9. Arizona                14-6    11
* Wildcats with a 2-of-3 series win over Mississippi State.

10. Mississippi           13-3    10
* Rebels sweep Sam Houston State.

11. Arkansas              16-1    13
* Hogs continue to climb after weekend sweep of Eastern Illinois.

12. Texas A&M             15-5    15
* Aggies sweep series from visiting UCLA.

13. Oregon State          13-3    NR
* Beavers make first appearance in "Super Sixteen" after 2-1 record at Pepperdine tournament.

14. Rice                  14-5    14
* Owls break even for the week (0-1 at Texas, 2-1 vs. TCU)

15. North Carolina        11-3    16
* Tar Heels record single victories over College of Charleston and Virginia Tech.

16. Georgia Tech          16-2    NR
* Yellow Jackets sweep Wake Forest scoring 47 runs in the three games.

Dropped Out: Georgia (10-5, 3-2 last week), Florida State (23-4, 2-3 last week).

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