Baseball Weekend Roundup

The Cardinal opened the conference season in style last weekend when they swept away Washington State up in Pullman. They had company though as two other ranked teams posted impressive Pac-10 sweeps. Read on for all of the latest from around the conference plus an updated "Super Sixteen" national ranking.

Pac-10 Standings (records through games of Mon. 4/4)

                   Conf.  GB   Overall
Arizona             5-1    -    21-10
Oregon State        3-0   0.5   24-4
Stanford            3-0   0.5   17-9
Arizona State       2-1   1.5   21-13
USC                 3-3   2.0   17-9
California          3-3   2.0   20-12
Washington          2-4   3.0   18-12
UCLA                0-3   3.5    7-17
Washington State    0-6   5.0   15-17

It was a weekend of sweeps around the Pac-10 as three of the four conference series' saw one team claim every game.  Stanford opened their Pac-10 schedule with a relatively easy sweep up in Pullman against the struggling Cougars.  The Cardinal handled Washington State, 14-5 and 11-4, in the first two games before a narrow 8-6 victory in the finale.  The Cougars are probably improved over last year's squad that finished in last place, but with the outstanding strength of the top 2/3 of the conference, this team will be hard pressed for any series victories against those clubs this season.

The same could be said for UCLA.  The Bruins school-record losing streak is now at an amazing 13 games after the drubbing they took at the hands of Arizona in Los Angeles.  The Wildcats posted 8-4, 11-0, and 12-2 wins in the weekend set to move to the top of the conference.  The future may be bright for UCLA with the top five recruiting class they're bringing in next season, but for the short term, it's not a pretty sight in Westwood. 

Oregon State opened their conference slate with a bang taking three straight from California up in Corvallis.  The Beavers continue to excel on the mound as they allowed just five runs to the Bears in the series (11-1, 5-2, 4-2).  OSU also notched a pair of midweek wins over an impressive BYU team.  The Beavers boast one of the best overall records in the country and have now garnered the #16 national ranking.  Meanwhile, Cal was unable to build on their sweep of Washington State two weeks ago as they drop to .500 in conference play.

The only conference series that didn't end in a sweep was up in Seattle.  But USC still notched a big road series win when they took 2-of-3 from the Huskies.  The weekend was highlighted by a pair of outstanding pitching performances in the first two games as the Trojans won 2-1 and 5-1.  Washington has now dropped two straight conference series' (the other was at Arizona) to open their Pac-10 schedule.  The Huskies also started slow in the non-conference portion of their schedule, but were able to recover.  The competition is much tougher now, however, for a potential turnaround.

The lone non-conference series saw Arizona State blast Wright State down in Tempe.  The Sun Devils, since getting hammered at LSU in a short two-game series a few weeks ago, have posted an 8-1 record in their weekend games (3-0 vs. Oklahoma, 2-1 at USC, 3-0 vs. Wright State).  The strong play has ASU, a preseason top 10 team, back in the rankings at #24.

The big series in the Pac-10 this weekend is unquestionably the matchup between Oregon State and Stanford.  The Beavers have certainly shown they're for real with their 24-4 record.  Now a series win in Palo Alto would make them one of the favorites to win the Pac-10.  But they should have their hands full with the two-time defending conference champion Cardinal coming off an impressive sweep.

Other action sees Arizona head north for a series at Washington State.  The Wildcats, by virtue of playing both WSU and UCLA so early in the Pac-10 season, have a chance to open up a lead in the conference standings - especially with OSU and Stanford doing battle this weekend.

California tries to get back on track when they host the surging Sun Devils in Berkeley.  This is the type of series the Bears could really use if they have any intentions of heading to the NCAA Tournament.  Finally, UCLA tries to snap their losing streak when they head cross town to play the Trojans.  Washington will play a three-game non-conference series at UC Riverside.

This Weekend:
* Oregon State at Stanford
* Arizona at Washington State
* Arizona State at California
* UCLA at USC
Washington at UC Riverside


"Super Sixteen"

                      Record   Pvs.
1. Texas               26-5     1
   
* Longhorns remain in top spot after 3-1 week that includes series win over visiting Kansas State.

2. CS Fullerton        20-7     2
   
* Titans bounce back from Long Beach State series loss by taking 2-of-3 from UC Irvine.

3. Tulane              25-5     4
   
* Green Wave flexing their muscles in Conference USA ... record relatively easy sweep of UAB over the weekend.

4. Mississippi         21-7     3
   
* Rebels pick up impressive midweek win over nationally ranked Mississippi State, but then drop 2-of-3 over the weekend at Vanderbilt.

5. Florida             23-7     6
   
* Gators continue to move up after easy win over Florida State and then sweep of lowly Kentucky.

6. Oregon State        24-4    13
   
* Beavers a big mover after perfect 5-0 week (2-0 vs. BYU, 3-0 vs. California).

7. LSU                 21-8     5
   
* Tigers lose their second straight SEC series ... drop 2-of-3 at Alabama.

8. Arizona             21-10   11
   
* Wildcats sweep away UCLA on the road.

9. Georgia Tech        23-6     7
   
* Jackets drop midweek game to Western Carolina and then take 2-of-3 from Maryland.

10. Stanford           17-9     9
   
* Cardinal lose a Tuesday game to Pacific, but rebound for sweep of host Washington State.

11. South Carolina     24-5    12
   
* Gamecocks rebound from Florida series loss by sweeping Georgia in Athens.

12. Miami              24-9     8
   
* Hurricanes not playing very good baseball right now as they split four-game home series with Oral Roberts.

13. North Carolina     24-5    14
   
* Tar Heels post perfect 4-0 week (1-0 vs. Winthrop, 3-0 vs. Virginia).

14. Long Beach State   21-10   15
   
* Dirtbags stay hot with sweep of UC Riverside in Big West opener.

15. Arkansas           22-6    10
   
* Hogs lose two best hitters to suspension (probably for season) early in the week and then drop 2-of-3 at Auburn over the weekend.

16. Baylor             19-11   16
   
* Bears manage 2-of-3 series win over visiting Oklahoma.

Dropped Out: none



Baseball America

Four Pac-10 teams are ranked in this week's Baseball America Top 25 poll :

Arizona: #6
Stanford: #10
Oregon State: #16
Arizona State: #24

The next two weekend should tell a lot about whether the Cardinal can compete for a Pac-10 title.  After the home series with Oregon State, Stanford goes out on the road for a series with ASU.

Other west coast teams in the poll :

Cal State Fullerton: #2
Long Beach State: #21

Texas remains in the top spot.


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