One week of Pac-12 play is officially in the books. No real surprises as Oregon St. and UCLA swept their series, and Washington, Washington St. and Oregon each took two-of-three.
Oregon St. has established itself as the best team in the conference, especially after this weekend's performance on the mound by Beaver pitching.
No change in the top four from last week, but some movement lower down on the list.
1. Oregon St. Beavers (18-3, 3-0)
Previous ranking: 1
Last week: 1-0 vs. Ohio State, 3-0 @ Utah
This week: vs. Arizona State (Fri-Sun)
Going into last week, I thought Utah might have had a chance to show they belong, but Oregon State's pitching absolutely dominated the Utes. Ben Wetzler got the weekend started by taking a no-hitter into the 8th, and everyone else followed suit. The Beavs won the three games by a combined 19-2. For a series on the road, that's pretty impressive.
2. Oregon Ducks (14-5, 2-1)
Previous ranking: 2
Last week: 2-1 vs. USC
This week: vs. Utah (Fri-Sun)
The Trojans managed to take the first game of the series with a 3-2 victory. Oregon was unable to plate the tying run in the final two innings, similar to what Arizona did. But the Ducks came back with consecutive 7-2 wins Saturday and Sunday thanks to scoreless work from the bullpen and Tyler Baumgartner racking up multi-hit games. Don't expect them to struggle at home vs. Utah this week, so the Ducks can solidify their hold on the two spot.
3. UCLA Bruins (12-7, 3-0)
Previous ranking: 3
Last week: 1-0 vs. UC Irvine, 3-0 @ Cal
This week: vs. Washington St. (Fri-Sun)
UCLA once again rode their pitching to a series sweep. But a series sweep on the road against one of the better teams is nothing to sneeze at. Ty Moore had a pretty good weekend, and David Berg closed out all three games. Having a guy like Berg at the backend of each and every game is going to be huge for the Bruins in their quest to defend last year's National Championship. And right now, Berg's every bit as good this year as he was last year.
4. Washington Huskies (12-5-1, 2-1)
Previous ranking: 4
Last week: 2-1 @ ASU
This week: vs. Portland (Tues), vs. Arizona (Fri-Sun)
Another impressive road showing from one of the top teams, this time it was UW in Tempe. The Huskies took the series on an 11-inning game on Sunday after dominating Saturday. The Devils pitching is suspect right now, so let's see what UW can do against a team that relies on its arms like Arizona this weekend.
5. USC Trojans (10-8, 1-2)
Previous ranking: 9
Last week: 1-0 vs. Loyola Marymount, 1-2 @ Oregon
This week: vs. Stony Brook (Tues), @ Stanford (Fri-Sun)
The Trojans make a big jump up the power rankings thanks to that win they picked up Friday in Eugene. They won that game with just five hits, but a great outing by Wyatt Strahan. The Trojans the second-toughest start to the conference season behind Utah having to travel to Oregon and Stanford back-to-back weeks. A lot of their possible success hinges on how they do against the Cardinal.
6. Stanford Cardinal (7-8, 0-0)
Previous ranking: 8
Last week: Off
This week: vs. USC (Fri-Sun)
Stanford has a rule where they don't play during spring break, so they were off last week. A huge opportunity for them to show they belong above Washington this week. Due to the toughest non-conference schedule out of everyone, it's tough to say how good this team is even though they are below .500.
7. Arizona St. Sun Devils (9-8, 1-2)
Previous ranking: 5
Last week: 1-0 vs. New Mexico, 1-2 vs. Washington
This week: vs. Wichita State (Tues & Wed), @ Oregon State (Fri-Sun)
A tough way to lose a series on Sunday for the Devils. And hey, Barry Bonds showed up to throw out the first pitch on Saturday before you got destroyed by the Huskies. Huge week for this team coming up. The Shockers are 11-6 and coming off of a closely contested series at UC Santa Barbara. And then of course travelling to Corvallis is the toughest weekend for any Pac-12 team.
8. California Golden Bears (10-8, 0-3)
Previous ranking: 6
Last week: 0-3 vs. UCLA
This week: @ Fresno State (Tues), Four games @ Cal Poly (Fri-Mon)
Tough week for Cal last week, and another one coming up this week having to go to Cal Poly. They were at least in the mix in all three games against UCLA. The Bears were just unable to pull out a win in any of those games. Going to need a couple of wins this week though.
9. Washington St. Cougars (6-9, 2-1)
Previous ranking: 11
Last week: 2-1 @ Arizona
This week: @ San Diego (Tues & Wed), @ UCLA (Fri-Sun), @ Cal State Northridge (Mon)
The Cougars pitching staff held their own in Tucson this weekend, and the offense did just enough to leave Tucson with two wins. Wazzou continues its trip through the Southwest against ranked USD and UCLA, followed up with a makeup game with Northridge, a game that was rained out March 1st. Even though they have two conference wins, I haven't seen enough to move this team up any farther than the nine slot. I wouldn't be surprised to see them go 0-6 this week.
10. Arizona Wildcats (11-11, 1-2)
Previous ranking: 7
Last week: 2-0 vs. Air Force, 1-2 vs. Washington St.
This week: vs. Grand Canyon (Tues), @ Washington (Fri-Sun)
Want to prove to the conference you can hang with the big boys? Win a series at Washington this weekend. Last week was a mess after Friday's dominating win. Time to dig deep and find out just how good you are and if you belong in the top half of this conference. Arizona drops to ten simply because I can't put them above WSU after last weekend.
11. Utah Utes (8-10, 0-3)
Previous ranking: 10
Last week: 0-3 vs. Oregon St.
This week: vs. Utah Valley (Tues), @ Oregon (Fri-Sun)
Tough draw to start the season having to play the two Oregon schools in the first two series. Simply by being the only team below .500 overall and in the conference brings Utah to the basement. The Utes need a win over Utah Valley Tuesday since I don't expect them to fare so well in Eugene this weekend.
A lot of intriguing matchups this weekend, so could see a lot of changes down here towards the bottom. I don't expect the top to change too much in the near future though unless we get some epic upsets.
Some baseball on Pac-12 Networks this weekend:
ASU @ OSU 7 PM Live
USC @ Stanford 12:30 AM Delayed
ASU @OSU Noon live
USC @ Stanford 9 PM Delayed