Baseball Weekend Roundup

With continued rainy weather in the Bay Area, the Cardinal were only able to play one game last week. Fortunately, they made that one game count by posting a convincing 13-3 victory over San Jose State. In this week's Roundup, check out all of the latest from around the conference plus notes on a busy week ahead for Stanford.

Pac-10 Standings (records through games of Sun. 4/9)

                   Conf.  GB   Overall
USC                7-2    -    20-14
Arizona State      4-2   1.5   25-10
Oregon State       3-3   2.5   21-9
UCLA               3-3   2.5   18-14
Washington State   4-5   3.0   22-12
Washington         4-5   3.0   22-13
California         4-5   3.0   16-16
Stanford           2-4   3.5   14-11
Arizona            2-4   3.5   14-16

* Arizona: The Wildcats had a tough time in the first two games of their weekend series at Oregon State getting handled by the Beavers, 10-5 and 10-2.  But Arizona certainly showed something in the series finale by posting an 8-1 victory to avoid getting swept on the road.  Arizona may find themselves under .500 for the year, but have still shown the ability to compete with the best in the country.  The Wildcats need a strong second half push to start garnering mention as an NCAA Tournament team, but at the very least, they should give every other club in the conference all they can handle.  For Arizona to have any postseason aspirations, they could really use a series win this weekend when the UCLA Bruins come to town.

* Arizona State: The Sun Devils were dominated by Tim Lincecum on Friday night last weekend losing by an 8-0 score.  ASU though rebounded to post 12-7 and 8-7 victories to take the series.  The finale on Sunday saw the Sun Devils rally in the bottom of the ninth inning before eventually winning in the 11th.  Arizona State and USC are the only two teams to have not yet lost a conference series and thus the two clubs have emerged as the early favorites.  A clear leader could establish themselves by the end of this weekend when the Sun Devils welcome the Trojans to Tempe for three games.

* California: The Golden Bears' roller coaster season continued last week when they were held without a win in four games.  After a midweek loss at Santa Clara (12-7), Cal ventured down to Los Angeles and were promptly swept by the Trojans.  The Golden Bears were very competitive in the first two games losing each contest by one run.  But then USC turned it on in the finale en route to a convincing 10-1 victory.  The horrific week has the Golden Bears back to .500 overall, under .500 in Pac-10 play, and in very much in need of a couple of wins at Washington State this weekend.

* Oregon State: The Beavers had a solid weekend taking two-of-three games from visiting Arizona.  Oregon State scored a combined 20 runs in the first two games before the 8-1 loss in the series finale.  The Beavers, who lost two-of-three at USC in their conference-opening series, now stand at .500 in Pac-10 play.  They'll bring the #11 national ranking into this weekend's home set versus Stanford.

* UCLA: The Bruins had a nice weekend as they managed two-of-three wins at home versus Washington State.  The lone defeat was a 4-3 loss in the middle contest.  UCLA posted victories of 9-5 on Friday and 10-7 on Sunday to get their Pac-10 record back to .500.  The Bruins, at 18-14 overall and with a Top 25 RPI ranking, have certainly become one of the best turnaround stories in college baseball this season (15-41, 4-20 last year).  This weekend, it's a key road series at Arizona on the docket.

* USC: The Trojans suffered a midweek loss at home to UC Santa Barbara before regaining their strong momentum by sweeping visiting California (2-1, 3-2, 10-1).  USC has now won five consecutive weekend series' and find themselves ranked 20th in the country according to Baseball America.  On Friday, Ian Kennedy tossed all ten innings (5 H, 1 R, 1 BB, 8 SO) to lead the Trojans to victory.  All total, USC's surging pitching staff held the Golden Bears offense to just four runs all weekend.  The Trojans can firmly establish themselves as the team to beat in the Pac-10 by recording a series victory at #13 Arizona State this weekend.

* Washington: Ho hum, another dominant performance for Tim Lincecum.  The hottest pitcher in the country fired a complete-game, two-hit shutout at Arizona State last Friday night.  The junior right-hander issued four walks and struck out 12 (he fanned 18 in a complete-game shutout two weeks ago).  Unfortunately, Lincecum can't pitch in every game for the Huskies and the rest of their pitching staff continued to struggle.  Washington surrendered 20 runs in the final two games of the ASU series (both losses) to fall to under .500 in Pac-10 play.  This weekend, the Huskies step out of conference action to host BYU in a three-game series.

* Washington State: The Cougars traveled down to Los Angeles last weekend and picked-up one victory in three attempts at UCLA.  One of the surprise teams in the country this year, Washington State could use a home series win over struggling California this weekend to bolster their NCAA Tournament hopes.

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

(all series' are Thursday-Saturday)

Baseball America Rankings:
-- Pac-10 --
11. Oregon State (21-9)
13. Arizona State (25-10)
20. USC (20-14)

-- West Coast --
1. CS Fullerton (26-8)
11. Oregon State (21-9)
13. Arizona State (25-10)
20. USC (20-14)
23. San Diego (21-12)

-- Top Ten --
1. CS Fullerton (26-8)
2. Rice (28-8)
3. North Carolina (27-7)
4. Florida State (31-4)
5. Clemson (24-8)
6. Nebraska (24-5)
7. South Carolina (27-6)
8. Texas (24-11)
9. Alabama (25-10)
10. Mississippi State (25-6)

Pac-10 RPI Update:
(rankings from Boydsworld through Sunday, April 9th)
18. Stanford
19. Arizona State
20. UCLA
26. USC
39. Washington
40. Oregon State
67. Arizona
91. California
93. Washington State

Stanford Update:
* The Cardinal played just one game last week due to continued rainy weather in the Bay Area.  Stanford did make the game count though as they routed host San Jose State 13-3 on Saturday afternoon.  The Cardinal posted season-high totals of runs (13 - tied), hits (18), and doubles (seven).

* Greg Reynolds notched the victory on the mound after allowing just one earned run on three hits over six innings.  The junior right-hander issued just one walk to go with six strike outs.  Through nine starts this season, Reynolds is 2-2 with a 3.81 ERA and a 45-to-14 strikeout-to-walk ratio.

* Offensively, senior catcher John Hester paced the 18-hit attack by finishing 4-for-5 with a pair of doubles and two RBI.  Hester raised his season batting average to .256 with the excellent output at the plate.  Meanwhile, Chris Minaker and Brendan Domaracki each blasted home runs.  Minaker finished the day with three hits and is now batting .343 on the season with team-best totals of five homers and 31 RBI.

* Up ahead, it's a busy week on tap for the Cardinal.  Stanford is scheduled to host Pacific on Monday night (6pm) in a game that was rescheduled from an earlier rainout.  On Tuesday, the Cardinal welcome San Francisco to Sunken Diamond for a 6pm contest.  Then Stanford heads up to Corvallis for a key three-game series at 11th ranked Oregon State beginning Thursday.

* The Pacific Tigers are 19-11 on the season (1-2 in Big West play).  They are certainly one of the tougher midweek opponents this season for the Cardinal having already posted series wins over the likes of Santa Clara, BYU, Nevada, and California.  Last weekend, the Tigers took two-of-three games at UC Davis.  Pitching is their strength as they boast a team ERA of 3.68.  Offensively, Pacific is batting just .268 as a group while averaging 5.5 runs per game.  The Tigers split two games with Stanford at Sunken Diamond last year with the Cardinal winning the only meeting played in Stockton.

* Tuesday sees Stanford host the red-hot San Francisco Dons.  The Dons are 21-14 on the year (4-2 in WCC play).  USF has posted consecutive road series victories (two-of-three) against Santa Clara and nationally ranked Pepperdine to open their conference slate.  Before that, the Dons handled Oregon State 8-2 in a single game played in the Bay Area.  Overall, San Francisco has won 16 out of their last 19 games after a difficult start to the season.  Like with Pacific, pitching has been the strength of the team as evident by a 3.61 team ERA.  USF averages 5.3 runs per game while hitting .279 as a club.  Stanford will no doubt be tested these next two games with a pair of matchups against very strong midweek opponents.

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