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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Pac-10 power rankings

With only three weeks remaining in Arizona’s baseball conference schedule, time is winding down and Oregon State and ASU have separated themselves from the rest of the Pacific 10 Conference. Though a conference championship is seemingly out of reach for the other eight members of the Pac-10, they are still jockeying for postseason position. Here’s how things are shaping up with four weeks of conference play remaining.

 

1. No. 3 Oregon State (32-9, 12-3 Pac-10)

Winners of all five Pac-10 series they have played, including a sweep of ASU, the Beavers have set themselves apart from the rest of the Pac-10. Fifth in the conference with a .274 batting average and third with a 2.82 ERA, the Beavers have put together their unexpected run by playing solid defense and not giving away runs — a recipe that could see OSU playing in Omaha, Neb., at the end of June.

2. No. 7 ASU (31-10, 13-5)

Other than being swept by Oregon State, the Sun Devils have won each of their conference series, including three sweeps. Reigning Pac-10 Player of the Year Zack MacPhee got off to a slow start to the season, but has seen his batting average climb to .277. As a team, ASU is hitting .311, behind only Arizona in the conference. The Sun Devils also lead the conference in home runs (24) and doubles (92) to go along with a 3.19 team ERA, which is fifth in the conference. The Sun Devils are also a team that could make a run to the College World Series.

3. UCLA (23-16, 11-7)

After taking two of three from Arizona, the Bruins have dropped consecutive Pac-10 series at the hands of Stanford and Oregon State. Although they have the best pitching staff in the conference and one of the best in America, the Bruins have struggled to consistently win games, thanks in large part to an offense that ranks eighth in the conference with a .263 batting average. The Bruins have a somewhat difficult schedule to finish the season, traveling to Oregon before taking on California and ASU.

4. Arizona (27-16, 9-9)

If their sweep of USC during the weekend is any indication, the Wildcats appear to have regained confidence after losing four of five series to open conference play. Arizona is top in the Pac-10 with a .325 team batting average and 300 runs — 40 more than anyone else in the conference — but has struggled to a 4.11 team ERA. The bullpen was a huge factor in the three-game sweep of USC, and could potentially be making the transition from an area of concern to an asset.

5. No. 21 California (26-14, 11-7)

Cal has beaten the teams that it should beat so far in Pac-10 play, but the Bears haven’t been able to pull off an upset that can catapult them in both the national and conference rankings. Battling an inconsistent offense, Cal was shut out in back-to-back games two weeks ago by ASU, and only reached the five-run mark once while taking two of three from Oregon — all coming after scoring 31 runs in a three-game series against Arizona, in which Cal lost two of three.

6. Stanford (21-16, 6-9)

The Cardinal has lost two of its last three Pac-10 series, but the losses were to Oregon State and ASU, which sit atop the conference standings. With series against Washington, Oregon, Arizona and California coming up to close out conference play, Stanford has a chance to win eight or nine games and finish above .500 in the Pac-10.  

7. Oregon (22-20, 5-10)

After taking two of three from Arizona two weeks ago, the Ducks weren’t able to keep momentum in their corner, losing two of three to California. Oregon’s pitching staff has kept the Ducks in games with a 2.81 ERA, good for second in the conference, but the UO bats haven’t capitalized, hitting at a conference-worst .242 clip.

8. Southern California (18-25, 8-10)

Coming off of a three-game sweep at the hands of Arizona, the Trojans are in the midst of a stretch that has seen them lose their last five games. With its next two games coming against conference leading Oregon State and second-place ASU, the road isn’t getting any easier for USC. Southern Cal hasn’t done anything to separate itself from the conference in a positive way — it ranks seventh in batting average (.266), eighth in ERA (4.70) and eighth in fielding percentage (.973).

9. Washington State (19-20, 5-13)

There isn’t much that the Cougars have done well in 2011. They rank sixth in the conference with a .270 team batting average and are dead last in pitching with a 5.01 ERA. Washington State has also committed a conference-worst 52 errors and opponents successfully steal a base on an astonishing 74 percent of attempts, also worst in the conference.

10. Washington (13-27, 4-11)

The Huskies have struggled all season and are basically out of the picture.

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