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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Baseball Power Rankings

Now that conference play is a month old, the contenders for the Pacific 10 Conference baseball title are starting to be separated from the pretenders. Oregon State has only one conference loss while Washington State and Oregon have only managed two Pac-10 wins, without claiming a series.

Arizona is in the middle of the conference standings, but it will be tough for the Wildcats to climb, having already played three of the four teams ahead of them. Here’s a look at how the Pac-10 is shaping up after four weeks of conference play.

No. 3 Oregon State (27-7, 8-1 Pac-10)

Oregon State is just on fire right now and might be the best team in America. The Beavers have been playing with a chip on their shoulders since losing their only Pac-10 game, which was their conference opener at Arizona, 18-0. Since that blowout, OSU has won nine straight while outscoring opponents 65-29.

No. 15 California (23-9, 9-3 Pac-10)

A series loss to Arizona has been the only blemish in an otherwise stellar conference slate. Other than losing two of three to the Wildcats, Cal has only lost a Friday matchup with Southern California. The Bears have swept both of the Washington schools and have a chance to make a statement while hosting ASU this weekend.

No. 9 ASU (25-9, 8-4 Pac-10)

The Sun Devils’ only blemishes have come against Arizona on a Friday night (like everyone else so far in conference play), and getting swept by Oregon State. ASU — which has struggled on the road — plays at California this weekend in a series that could eliminate one of the schools from the running for the regular-season crown.

No. 20 UCLA (19-12, 9-3 Pac-10)

The Bruins have been the second most consistent team in the conference in 2011 behind only OSU. UCLA has won all four of its conference series behind dominant Friday and Saturday pitching, and that trend should continue at Stanford this weekend. Oregon State and UCLA will meet in Los Angeles in two weeks, and that looks like the most likely weekend for OSU to stub its toe.

No. 23 Arizona (23-13, 5-7 Pac-10)

Having lost three of four Pac-10 series, Arizona is looking for consistency from the bullpen. The Wildcats are undefeated in conference series openers behind ace Kurt Heyer, but Saturday and Sunday pitching has been erratic. New closer Matt Chaffee has been effective, save for Sunday’s loss at UCLA. But getting him the ball with a lead has also been an issue. Former closer Bryce Bandilla has consecutive solid appearances after struggling with command for most of the spring.

Southern California (15-20, 6-6 Pac-10)

Winners of their last two Pac-10 series, the Trojans travel to Washington this weekend. USC needs to take the series from Washington if it wants to make a move in the standings, which would set up a potentially key showdown in Tucson in two weeks, deciding which of the two teams will make a move to the top half of the conference standings.

Stanford (16-12, 3-6 Pac-10)

The Cardinal is battling a currently anemic offense that has scored nine runs in its last five Pac-10 games — a stretch that has seen Stanford go winless. Friday night pitching has been spotty, and teams need to be able to compete consistently on Fridays to make any noise in the conference — especially when the offense isn’t scoring enough runs to take advantage of Sunday pitching.

Washington (10-23, 2-7 Pac-10)

The Huskies have been swept in two of their three conference series, with both wins coming in a series win against Oregon. Pitching has kept Washington in almost every game, but its offense isn’t enough of a threat to put up wins.

Oregon (17-16, 2-7 Pac-10)

There’s not much to say about Oregon. The Ducks can’t hit well enough to overcome inconsistent pitching, and they’ve found that out the hard way — by not winning a conference series in three tries.

Washington State (14-17, 2-10 Pac-10)

Other than winning a slugfest against Stanford and stealing a pitchers’ duel from UCLA, it’s been nothing but bad from the Cougars, who have been swept twice. Expect that number to go up this weekend when WSU travels to Oregon State.

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