Baseball Weekend Roundup

The Stanford Cardinal enjoyed their final weekend away from the diamond of the regular season as they gear up for the last month of the 2005 campaign. This past weekend saw two teams in the Pac-10 establish themselves as the favorites to contend for the conference championship heading into May. Read on for the details plus an updated "Super Sixteen" and notes on this week's Stanford non-conference opponents.

Pac-10 Standings  (records through games of Sun. 5/1)

                   Conf.  GB   Overall
Arizona            12-3    -    29-15
Oregon State       11-4   1.0   32-8
Arizona State      10-5   2.0   29-17
USC                 9-6   3.0   27-15
Stanford            7-5   3.5   24-15
California          9-9   4.5   29-19
Washington          7-8   5.0   27-17
UCLA                1-11  9.5   10-30
Washington State    0-15 12.0   18-26

It was a pivotal weekend in the Pac-10 Conference as Arizona and Oregon State established themselves as the favorites to contend for the league championship heading into the final month of the season.  The Wildcats were hammered in their series opener in Tucson by USC, 13-0.  Ian Kennedy struck out 14 Arizona hitters during his eight-inning stint on the mound.  But the Wildcats bounced back the following two days posting victories of 7-2 and 18-4 to claim the series victory.  Arizona proved yet again how difficult a team they are to beat at home, but will still need to prove they can play with a quality team away from Tucson to win the Pac-10 title.  Remember the Wildcats, just last weekend, went 0-3 against the likes of UC Irvine and Sacramento State up in Sacramento.  The month of May sees Arizona travel to Tempe and Palo Alto - a pair of series wins there and the Wildcats should take home the conference championship.

Meanwhile, the Beavers took 2-of-3 from Arizona State in a closely contested series up in Corvallis.  Oregon State took the Friday contest and the Sunday rubber game by the scores of 6-5 and 5-1 respectively.  The Sun Devils won the middle game, 3-1, to avoid the sweep.  Arizona State has a lofty RPI ranking in the top 15 and are still a major contender to host a regional, but it may take a top two finish in the conference race.  Oregon State has a favorable remaining schedule to try to stay ahead of the Sun Devils and possibly catch the Wildcats (at UCLA, at Washington, vs. USC).  It still remains to be seen if the Beavers will be able to host a regional (assuming they continue to win at this rate) due to their smaller home ballpark.

In other action this weekend, California won a road series at UCLA, but badly needed a sweep to move off of the NCAA Tournament bubble.  The Bears lost the series finale to the Bruins by a 4-2 score giving UCLA their first conference victory after 11 consecutive losses.  Cal is at .500 in the Pac-10, but with the Bruins and Cougars now off of their schedule, they're going to need to prove themselves against some of the top flight teams to make that final push to the NCAA's.

The Washington Huskies rebounded from getting swept at Stanford by easily taking three in a row from Washington State in Pullman.  The sweep moves the Huskies to within one game of .500 in Pac-10 play.  Washington is off this weekend and then a series in Corvallis against Oregon State the following week may ultimately decide whether they reach the tournament.

It's a light week upcoming in the Pac-10 with just two series' on the docket.  The Cardinal return to action with a three-game set against the California Golden Bears in Berkeley.  The Bears are fighting for their NCAA Tournament chances while Stanford is looking to build on the momentum of their sweep of Washington.

The only other series sees Oregon State head down to Los Angeles to take on the UCLA Bruins.  The Beavers, with a sweep, can move one-half game ahead of idle Arizona (although they'll still remain one game out in the loss column).

This Weekend:
* Stanford at California
* Oregon State at UCLA
Utah Valley State at Arizona
Sacramento State at Washington State

"Super Sixteen"

                    Record   Pvs.
1. CS Fullerton      33-11    2
* Titans move back up to top spot after subpar week from Texas and an easy sweep of UC Santa Barbara (outscored the Gauchos 35-8).

2. Tulane            38-8     3
* Green Wave with a 3-1 week that includes series win at South Florida ... one game ahead of TCU in Conference USA race.

3. Texas             37-9     1
* Longhorns drop midweek home game to Texas State and then take 2-of-3 from Missouri in Austin ... tied for second in Big 12 with Nebraska, 1 1/2 games behind Baylor.

4. Oregon State      32-8     5
* Beavers notch important 2-of-3 series win over visiting Arizona State.

5. Nebraska          37-9     7
* Huskers with a midweek win at Wichita State and then a 2-of-3 series victory over Oklahoma in Norman.

6. Florida           31-12    4
* Gators fall back after dropping 2-of-3 at home to Tennessee ... still 1 1/2 games ahead of the Vols in the SEC East.

7. Miami             33-11    6
* Hurricanes play lowly Maryland in Coral Gables and only manage two wins in three games.

8. Arizona           29-15    8
* Wildcats still on top of the Pac-10 after home series win over USC.

9. Long Beach State  32-14    9
* Dirtbags outscore UC Davis 22-1 in weekend sweep ... LBSU (10-2) is one game behind first-place Cal State Fullerton (11-1) in Big West.

10. Georgia Tech     32-12   10
* Jackets lose midweek game to Georgia, but rebound with 2-of-3 series victory at Clemson ... GT (18-6) is one-half game ahead of Miami (17-6) and 1 1/2 in front of North Carolina (15-6) in ACC race.

11. LSU              31-14   11
* Tigers starting to turn it up after 2-of-3 series win at Vanderbilt.

12. Arizona State    29-17   12
* Sun Devils in third place in Pac-10 after losing 2-of-3 to Oregon State up in Corvallis.

13. Baylor           31-17   15
* Bears maintain top spot in Big 12 with series win at home over Texas Tech.

14. South Carolina   32-12   16
* Gamecocks climb to within two games of Florida after 2-of-3 series victory over visiting Auburn.

15. Mississippi      32-13   NR
* Rebels back in "Super Sixteen" after 5-0 week that includes easy weekend sweep of in-state rival Mississippi State ... Ole Miss (12-9) and LSU (12-9) both one game behind Alabama (13-8) in SEC West.

16. USC              27-15   13
* Trojans fall back after 1-3 week that saw them drop a series at Arizona.

Dropped Out: North Carolina (36-10, 3-2 last week)

Upcoming Opponents

After a weekend off, the Cardinal return to action on Monday afternoon with a single non-conference game at UC Davis.  First pitch is scheduled for 2:30 P.M.  The Aggies are ice cold having dropped seven games in a row to see their overall record fall to 21-21.  However, it should be noted the type of competition UC Davis has been playing during their losing streak.  Two weekends ago, the Aggies were swept at home by Cal State Fullerton getting outscored 22-10 in the process.  After a close one-run loss at Cal on Tuesday, Davis was hammered by Long Beach State this past weekend down south.  The Dirtbags dominated in all facets of the game taking the three contests by a combined margin of 22-1. 

UC Davis is officially an independent this season, but they're playing a complete Big West schedule as they get set to join the conference.  And this team, despite their recent struggles against elite competition, can definitely play.  They've notched series wins over Big West opponents UC Riverside and UC Santa Barbara (sweep).  They've also chalked up a 3-1 record against Sacramento State.

Pitching is the strength of the Aggies with a 3.63 team ERA.  Sophomore right-hander Paul Gonzales (1-1, 5.04 ERA) has started their last two midweek affairs.  Meanwhile at the plate, UC Davis is hitting just .279 as a team.  Power is definitely not their forte with only eight home runs as a team on the season. 

Following the UC Davis game, the Cardinal head up the mountains for a game with Nevada on Tuesday afternoon starting at 2:00 P.M.  Playing in the high elevation, hitter-friendly Peccole Park, Stanford has seen their fair share of shootouts in Reno in recent years.  The Wolf Pack are right at .500 on the season with a 20-20 overall mark and a 9-9 record in WAC play.  Like UC Davis, Nevada has not been winning much of late as they've dropped seven out of their last eight games.  Included in the cold stretch was a series loss at Fresno State two weeks ago and a sweep at the hands of Hawaii out in Honolulu this past weekend.

Nevada has hit 45 home runs in their 40 games this season, but their team batting average resides at a below-average .274.  Cal State Fullerton transfer Shawn Scobee is tops on the club with 12 long balls, but with only a .240 batting average.  Meanwhile on the mound, their team ERA is at 5.65 while the defense has committed a whopping 68 errors on the season.

After these two games, the Cardinal will travel to Berkeley for a three-game series with California starting on Friday afternoon at 2:30 P.M.

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