The Oregon Ducks moved into first place in the Pac-12 Conference on Sunday but failed to overtake their cross-state rival Oregon State Beavers in all four major polls. They crept into the top five of the National College Baseball Writers of America (NCBWA) poll while being ranked as low as No. 11 by Baseball America.
Conference wins aside, I am still giving the top spot to the Beavers with a better overall record. The defending champion Arizona Wildcats also earned a much-needed sweep over the weekend and received a couple points in the NCBWA and USA Today polls.
Oregon State Beavers
Record: 23-4, 5-1 Pac-12
NCBWA Rank: No. 8
Baseball America Rank: No. 6
Collegiate Baseball Rank: No. 6
USA Today Coaches Poll: No. 6
It was a tough weekend for the Beavers, losing two of three to the San Diego Toreros over the weekend. The bright point of the weekend was pitcher Matt Boyd, who won Saturday's matchup and improved to 6-0 on the season. They rebounded on Tuesday with a 7-5 victory over the University of Portland. Things don't get any easier for the Beavers, as they travel to Westwood to take on the UCLA Bruins and then host the rival Ducks for a game the following Tuesday.
Record: 22-6, 8-1 Pac-12
NCBWA Rank: No. 5
Baseball America Rank: No. 11
Collegiate Baseball Rank: No. 8
USA Today Coaches Poll: No. 7
The Ducks took care of business over the weekend, sweeping the Washington Huskies and shutting them out in the final two games of the series. They have the week off to rest before traveling to Tempe and to take on the surging Arizona State Sun Devils. Freshman left-hander Cole Irvin was named Pac-12 Pitcher of the Week after a complete-game shutout on Saturday.
Record: 18-7, 6-3 Pac-12
NCBWA Rank: No. 11
Baseball America Rank: No. 10
Collegiate Baseball Rank: No. 13
USA Today Coaches Poll: No. 10
The Bruins are reeling right now after losing three of the past four games. They only scored five runs in the first two games at Arizona State and narrowly averted being swept after late-inning heroics in the series finale. They returned home and were blasted by the No. 4 Cal State Fullerton Titans 9-6. Pitcher David Berg has the third-lowest conference ERA (1.30) and ranks fifth in opposing batting average (.196) They host the Beavers for three straight this weekend and the University of Hawai'i the following Tuesday.
Arizona State Sun Devils
Record: 19-8-1, 4-5 Pac-12
NCBWA Rank: No. 22
Baseball America Rank: No. 24
USA Today Coaches Poll: No. 23
What a difference a week makes. After dropping consecutive series to Washington State and Oregon State, the Sun Devils reignited their offense and lit up one of the best starting pitching trios in the country. The Bruins had allowed three or fewer runs in 15 of their past 21 games, and the Devils averaged seven runs per game. They bested the Wichita State Shockers in back-to-back games Tuesday and Wednesday, and host the Oregon Ducks this weekend.
Record: 14-9, 3-3 Pac-12
NCBWA Rank: No. 26
USA Today Coaches Poll: No. 25 (t)
Stanford took the series from Washington State in Pullman by outscoring the Cougars 12-3 in the first two games. The Cougars are the tops in nearly every offensive category in the Pac-12, and the staunch Cardinal pitching staff hurled a shutout in the first game and allowed only three runs in the second. Pitcher Mark Appel leads the league in strikeouts with 64, and his 0.96 ERA is the 12th lowest in the NCAA. The Cardinal topped Cal on Monday night and travel to Los Angeles to take on USC this weekend.
Record: 18-11, 3-6 Pac-12
The Wildcats swept the Utah Utes at home last weekend and look to get back to their winning ways when they host the Cal Bears this weekend. Sophomore second baseman Trent Gilbert was named Pac-12 Player of the Week for his efforts over the weekend. Gilbert leads the league in RBI with 35 and his triples are the most in the Conference and NCAA.
Washington State Cougars
Record: 16-11, 3-3 Pac-12
The Cougars' prolific offense was stymied by Stanford last weekend but were able to escape the sweep with a victory in the series finale. They lost at home to Gonzaga on Tuesday and travel to Utah this weekend.
California Golden Bears
Record: 16-13, 5-4 Pac-12
The Bears lost the first two games to visiting USC last weekend but rebounded with a 15-run effort in the finale. They lost to Stanford 4-3 on Monday night and travel to Tucson to take on Arizona this weekend.
University of Southern California Trojans
Record: 11-17, 4-5 Pac-12
The Trojans won the first two in Berkeley but lost on Saturday and followed it up with a loss to UC Irvine on Tuesday at home. They host the Cardinal this weekend and travel to Cal State Fullerton on Friday.
Record: 12-13, 2-7 Pac-12
The Utes were swept by Arizona in Tucson last weekend being outscored 21-8. It was a lot closer than it sounds as they lost the bookends by only a run apiece. They host Washington State this weekend.
Record: 7-19, 2-7 Pac-12
The Huskies can't seem to catch a break. They were swept at Oregon last weekend after losing in extra innings in the series opener and were then shut out the next two games. They rebounded nicely with a 14-1 win over Seattle University on Tuesday. The Huskies take a break from Pac-12 action this weekend to travel to Malibu and take on the Pepperdine Waves.