Baseball Weekend Roundup

Stanford managed just one victory in three attempts last weekend when the USC Trojans came to town. The Cardinal are off to just a 2-4 start in Pac-10 play with now a bevy of non-conference games on tap. In this week's Roundup, check out what's ahead for Stanford plus all of the latest from around the Pac-10.

Pac-10 Standings (records through games of Sun. 4/2)

                  Conf.   GB  Overall
California         4-2    -    16-12
USC                4-2    -    17-13
Arizona State      2-1   0.5   23-9
Washington State   3-3   1.0   21-9
Washington         3-3   1.0   20-11
Oregon State       1-2   1.5   19-8
UCLA               1-2   1.5   16-13
Arizona            1-2   1.5   13-14
Stanford           2-4   2.0   13-11

* Arizona: The Wildcats opened their Pac-10 schedule with a three-game series in Berkeley last weekend winning once.  After a narrow 3-2 loss in the opener, Arizona came back with a 5-1 victory in the second game.  The Wildcats though continue to struggle in one-run games as they fell by a 5-4 score (13 innings) in the rubber contest.  Arizona did finish the weekend on a high note as they managed a 12-8 win over their rival Arizona State in a non-conference game on Sunday night.  The game was played in Phoenix at the home of the Arizona Diamondbacks.   It now doesn't get any easier for the Wildcats as they head back out on the road this weekend for a three-game series versus Oregon State.

* Arizona State: The Sun Devils also opened their Pac-10 slate last weekend on the road, but enjoyed more success then their rivals.  ASU ventured up to Pullman and suffered a 6-1 loss in the opening game of the series.  But the Sun Devils, now ranked 13th in the country, rebounded to post 8-3 and 2-1 victories over the host Cougars for an impressive road series win.  Arizona State did suffer the Sunday night loss to Arizona though to end their week with a 2-2 record.  The Sun Devils have a chance to continue their strong play this weekend when they welcome Washington to town for three games.

* California: The Golden Bears, like Stanford, played their first two Pac-10 series' in their home ballpark.  However, unlike the Cardinal, California has come out on the other end with a winning record.  After taking two-of-three from Washington, the Bears managed two wins in three games over Arizona last weekend.  The finale was especially exciting as the game was called late Saturday afternoon after 12 innings due to darkness at Evans Diamond.  The teams resumed play Sunday morning in Berkeley at 10:00 A.M. and the Bears promptly hit a walkoff, solo home run in the bottom of the 13th inning to record the victory.  Arizona, incidentally, quickly hopped on a plane after the game and flew to Phoenix for their evening tilt with Arizona State.  California now gets a taste of a tough roadtrip when they travel to USC for three games in the marquee Pac-10 series of the weekend.

* Oregon State: The Beavers stayed out-of-conference for the second straight week.  After a win at Pacific and a loss at surging San Francisco in a pair of midweek games, Oregon State swept away visiting UT-Pan American in Corvallis (5-4, 9-1, 14-1).  The Beavers have some much needed momentum as they resume their Pac-10 schedule now with consecutive home series' versus Arizona and Stanford over the next two weeks.  Oregon State is currently ranked 11th in the country.

* UCLA: The Bruins opened their Pac-10 schedule last weekend by dropping two-of-three at Washington.  The Huskies managed to cool off one of the hottest teams in the country with outstanding pitching all weekend.  UCLA's only win came in the Saturday contest when they pulled out a 3-2, 11 inning victory.  This weekend, the Bruins return home for a three-game series against Washington State.

* USC: The Trojans notched their fourth straight series win when they took two-of-three from Stanford at Sunken Diamond.  USC is now 4-2 against the Cardinal this season.  The Trojans, with series victories over OSU and Stanford, have moved to the front of the Pac-10 race - tied with California and a 1/2 game ahead of Arizona State.  USC returns home this weekend when they host California at Dedeaux Field.  A pair of probable high first round draft picks will meet in the opener Friday night when Ian Kennedy locks up with Brandon Morrow on the mound.

* Washington: The Huskies struggles continued when they dropped a Tuesday game at Portland (8-5) last week.  But thanks to Tim Lincecum, Washington was able to get back on track by taking two-of-three from UCLA over the weekend.  Lincecum fired a two-hit shutout in the series-opener against the Bruins issuing just one walk and racking up an amazing 18 strike outs.  Washington won the game by a 5-0 margin.  The Huskies, who have struggled on the mound for most of the season, also picked up an impressive 4-1 win in the rubber game.  This weekend marks a huge test for this ballclub as they head down to Tempe for a key series with Arizona State.

* Washington State: The upstart Cougars came very close to posting their season straight series win over a ranked opponent to begin the Pac-10 campaign.  Behind star freshman pitcher Jared Prince (who doubles as an outfielder), WSU took the series-opener from Arizona State 6-1 last weekend.  But the Sun Devils rebounded to take the next two games, including a narrow 2-1 affair in the finale, to steal the series from the host Cougars.  This weekend, it's a roadtrip down to Los Angeles and a matchup with UCLA on the docket.

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

Baseball America Rankings:
-- Pac-10 --
11. Oregon State (19-8)
13. Arizona State (23-9)

-- West Coast --
1. CS Fullerton (24-7)
11. Oregon State (19-8)
13. Arizona State (23-9)
22. Pepperdine (22-13)

-- Top Ten --
1. CS Fullerton (24-7)
2. South Carolina (26-3)
3. Mississippi State (22-3)
4. Rice (24-8)
5. North Carolina (23-6)
6. Florida State (27-4)
7. Clemson (20-7)
8. Nebraska (20-5)
9. Texas (21-11)
10. Georgia Tech (22-6)

Pac-10 RPI Update:
(rankings from Boydsworld through Sunday, April 2nd)
19. Arizona State
20. UCLA
21. Stanford
25. USC
35. Washington
40. Oregon State
53. Arizona
73. California
79. Washington State

Opponents Update:
The Cal State Fullerton Titans remained red-hot with a convincing sweep of a solid CS Northridge team last weekend (2-1, 6-1, 14-2).  That performance combined with Mississippi State's series loss at Alabama vaulted the Titans up to #1 in this week's Baseball America Top 25.  Fullerton has won 15 out of their last 16 games.

Texas also had another solid weekend as they went into Norman and took two-of-three from the 19th ranked Sooners (2-0, 9-4, 7-12).  The Longhorns, now ranked 9th in the country, are also one of the hottest teams in the country having won 12 of their last 15.

Kansas moved back into the BA rankings at #24 on the strength of a midweek win at Wichita State (previously #17) and a two-of-three series victory over Missouri.  The Jayhawks are 20-11 on the season.  Meanwhile, Fresno State lost a game for the first time in over a month when they suffered a 9-8 defeat at New Mexico State on Sunday.  The Bulldogs though did win the first two games of the series to improve their overall record to 24-9.  They've won 17 of 18.

Stanford Update:
* Weather permitting, the Cardinal are scheduled to play five consecutive non-conference games (against different opponents) over the next eight days. 
- Tuesday: vs. Sacramento State (6pm)
- Wednesday: vs. Pacific (6pm)
- Saturday: at San Jose State (1pm)
- Monday the 10th: at Santa Clara (6pm)
- Tuesday the 11th: vs. San Francisco (6pm)

* Note that the Wednesday game versus the Tigers has been moved to Sunken Diamond from Pacific.  The Cardinal will now travel to Stockton on Tuesday, May 23rd in a game that was originally scheduled to be played at Stanford.

* Tuesday's game versus the Hornets is an important one for a couple of reasons.  First, Stanford badly needs some victories to get back on track and put some distance between themselves and the .500 mark (currently 13-11).  Second, Sacramento State is an RPI-killer if the Cardinal were to lose.  The Hornets have struggled mightily for the better part of the season (13-20 overall, 2-4 in WAC) and bring an RPI rating of 184 into this week.  Only Cardinal opponents Sac State and UC Davis have RPI ratings that place them in the bottom half of the country.  One of the few things Stanford has going for them right now is a strong power ranking - that would take a severe blow if the Cardinal were to lose on Tuesday night.

* Pacific, meanwhile, is perhaps the toughest midweek opponent of the season for the Cardinal.  The Tigers are 17-10 having posted series victories over the likes of California, Santa Clara, and Nevada.  Pacific has struggled offensively this year (.264 AVG, 5.4 runs/game), but have a very solid pitching staff (3.64 ERA).  They were scheduled to open their new stadium on Wednesday afternoon against the Cardinal, but continuing rain has postponed the event to a later date.

The Bootleg Top Stories