1. No. 7 Stanford (28-11, 10-8): Although its record stands barely above even in the conference, Stanford’s superior talent is starting to manifest itself. The Cardinal’s series win over UCLA last weekend in Los Angeles was the most impressive series of any Pac-12 team this year. With Washington State, Utah, and California still on the schedule, Stanford is still fully in the chase for the conference crown.
2. No. 12 Oregon (30-13, 14-7): A three-game sweep of California was just what the doctor ordered for the previously struggling Ducks. Although home wins over the Bears aren’t especially impressive, the sweep was symbolically important, as it moved the Ducks into first place in the conference.
3. No. 16 Arizona (29-13, 12-6): It’s hard to gauge Arizona from its weekend sweep of Middle Tennessee State. While the Wildcats’ wins didn’t help them at all in the conference standings, you can’t help but be impressed with an offense that led the Wildcats to wins of 24-7, 6-4, and 21-6.
4. No. 14 UCLA (28-12, 12-9): Just a couple weeks ago the Bruins were among the hottest teams in the country. Now they’ve lost two consecutive conference series, and the pressure is mounting in Los Angeles. The Bruins won’t play another ranked team this regular season, though, and have plenty of time to pad their record.
5. No. 20 Oregon State (28-14, 9-9): Well, who saw that coming? Oregon State’s bats went silent in Los Angeles, and the Beavers dropped a series to the lowly Trojans in a result that could open the door for other teams to leapfrog the Beavers in the conference standings.
6. Arizona State (26-17, 9-9): The Sun Devils were within one run of sweeping Washington State on the road but just couldn’t pull off a win in the final game, losing 7-6. Still, it was an impressive series for the Sun Devils, who have remained surprisingly competitive during a season in which they’re suspended from postseason play.
7. USC (22-17, 6-9): Their pitching has been a bright spot for the Trojans all season, and the USC hurlers really came through this weekend against Oregon State. USC won two of the three games, cathartic wins for a traditionally strong program that hasn’t had a very memorable season.
8. Washington (23-18, 8-10): While the Huskies weren’t able to secure the sweep against Utah, winning two of three Pac-12 games on the road is always something to be proud of. The UW seems to have put its recent struggles behind it for the most part and will have a chance to get above .500 in Pac-12 play next weekend against USC. But then the schedule stiffens considerably for the Huskies, who have to face UCLA and Arizona State before ending the season against rival Washington State.
9. Washington State (22-18, 8-9): Washington State narrowly avoided being swept by Arizona State, winning the final game of the series thanks to Taylor Ard’s two-out, walk-off single in the bottom of the ninth. That single could prove decisive down the road as Washington State battles with other teams for a postseason berth. Every win is crucial, and that one brought the Cougars within a game of .500 in conference play.
10. California (23-18, 7-11): Entering the weekend, California had to be feeling pretty good about itself. The Bears had overcome a sluggish start, and had scraped their way to almost even in the conference. Now their postseason hopes are all but dashed after an ugly sweep by Oregon. With Arizona, UCLA, and Stanford left on the schedule, a win or two over the Ducks sure would’ve been nice to have.
11. Utah (12-30, 6-15): Another weekend, another series loss for the Bad News Utes. Utah dropped two of three against the UW, although a late rally in the final game almost won them the series. The Utes have only won a single conference series, their first, against USC. And with a tough schedule still ahead, don’t expect much in the way of end-of-season momentum for a program that’s clearly at the bottom of the conference.
Reach reporter Jacob Thorpe at firstname.lastname@example.org. Twitter: @Jacob_B_Thorpe
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