Oregon State returned to the top of the Pac-12 baseball power rankings after winning a much-anticipated series with Stanford.
The Beavers dominated the first 22 innings of the showdown and outscored the Cardinal 22-11 over the course of three days. Stanford did salvage the finale to preserve its lead in the conference standings.
With two weeks remaining in the regular season, only three Pac-12 teams are sure bets to make the NCAA tournament. Washington, Arizona, California and even Oregon still have paths to the postseason.
Here are my power rankings entering Week 10 of Pac-12 play.
1. Oregon State 40-8-1, 16-7-1 (Last week: 2)
Last week: 2-1 against Stanford (6-2, 10-0, 6-9)
This week: at USC, Friday-Sunday
Oregon State, which boasts the nation’s second-highest team batting average at .327, has been red-hot in May. The Beavers have averaged 11.9 runs in their last nine games, including two wins over San Diego by a combined score of 42-12.
2. Stanford 40-8, 18-6 (1)
Last week: 1-2 at Oregon State (2-6, 0-10, 9-6)
This week: hosts Washington State, Friday-Sunday
The Cardinal trailed 6-1 in Sunday’s finale with Oregon State before rallying for a win in extra innings. Stanford owns the third-lowest team earned run average in Division I at 2.75.
3. UCLA 32-17, 15-9 (3)
Last week: 1-2 at Washington (7-3, 6-13, 4-6)
This week: hosts Oregon, Friday-Sunday
Despite losing two of three at Washington, a strong overall body of work kept UCLA at third in the power rankings. The Bruins, who have fallen to 37th in the NCAA RPI, are no longer a candidate to host a regional.
4. Washington 25-22, 15-9 (5)
Last week: 2-1 against UCLA (3-7, 13-6, 6-4)
This week: at Utah, Thursday-Saturday
Following a big series win over UCLA, Washington suffered a disastrous 6-4 loss to Portland on Tuesday night. The Huskies are down to 74th in the RPI and may need a sweep in Salt Lake City to keep their NCAA tournament hopes alive.
5. California 29-19, 14-13 (6)
Last week: 3-0 against Arizona (9-3, 16-6, 12-11)
This week: at Creighton, Thursday-Saturday
In its final home games of the year, California put on an offensive show en route to a sweep of Arizona. The Golden Bears have a three-game series with Creighton before wrapping up the regular season at Arizona State.
6. Arizona 30-20, 10-14 (4)
Last week: 0-3 at California (3-9, 6-16, 11-12)
This week: hosts Arizona State, Thursday-Saturday
Arizona’s road struggles continued at California. The Wildcats are 3-9 away from home in Pac-12 play and 7-5 in Tucson, including series wins over UCLA and Oregon State. With an RPI of 43, Arizona is still in position to make a postseason run.
7. Oregon 25-24, 11-13 (9)
Last week: 3-0 against Utah (6-2, 13-1, 4-3)
This week: at UCLA, Friday-Sunday
With an RPI of 90, Oregon desperately needs a series win at UCLA to keep its NCAA tournament hopes alive. The Ducks close the regular season with a home series against Arizona.
8. USC 24-23, 11-16 (7)
Last week: 2-1 at Washington State (8-6, 4-8, 9-3)
This week: hosts Oregon State, Friday-Sunday
USC is 5-2 in its last seven games entering a big home series with Oregon State. The Trojans rank ninth in the Pac-12 in team batting average (.255) and ERA (5.20).
9. Arizona State 21-28, 11-13 (8)
Last week: 1-1 against Pacific (7-12, 8-3)
This week: at Arizona, Thursday-Saturday
Arizona State is 3-9 in Pac-12 road games as it looks to play spoiler against rival Arizona. The Wildcats swept last year’s conference series in Tempe.
10. Washington State 15-28, 7-16-1 (10)
Last week: 1-2 against USC (6-8, 8-4, 3-9)
This week: at Stanford, Friday-Sunday
Washington State could do Oregon State a huge favor by stealing one from Stanford, which leads the Pac-12 by a game and half. More likely, the Cougars will be the Cardinal’s bounce-back opponent.
11. Utah 14-35, 6-18 (11)
Last week: 0-3 at Oregon (2-6, 1-13, 3-4)
This week: hosts Washington, Thursday-Saturday
The confounding Utes are 4-2 in games with Oregon State and Arizona and 2-16 against the rest of the Pac-12. Will Washington be the next team to stumble in Salt Lake City?