Pac-12 power rankings: Baseball

Photo by Joshua Bessex

1. No. 10 Oregon (34-14, 16-8): It appears that money really can buy everything after all, including a top-notch college baseball program. The Ducks are already the class of the conference of champions a mere four years into the program’s existence. The Ducks stifled Arizona in Tucson last weekend, bringing a tear to Phil Knight’s eye (and, presumably, a dollar to his wallet).

2. No. 11 UCLA (31-13, 12-9): UCLA played No. 15 Purdue last weekend, which was great for them but awful for anyone trying to rank how they stack up against their conference foes on a week-to-week basis. No matter. The Bruins won a pair of pitchers’ duels, 5-1 and 3-2. After the series was decided, the coaches appear to have decided to have some fun and let the hitters use a tee in the final game, which Purdue won 15-11.

3. No. 19 Oregon State (30-15, 11-10): While Oregon State may not have a baseball team as good as rival Oregon (Who thought that particular sentence would ever appear in print?), the Beavers still boast a pretty good squad of their own. Ryan Dunn’s 10th-inning walk-off single against Stanford won the rubber match and the series for the Beavers, proving they are without a doubt the best 11-10 team in the conference.

4. No. 18 Arizona (30-15, 13-8): Arizona has lived and died by its offense all year, and for two games in this weekend’s series against Oregon, the Wildcats’ offense was roadkill. Saving all of their hits for the middle game may not have been the best idea, though, because while Arizona won that contest 12-6, it dropped the other two 6-1 and 3-1, respectively.

5. No. 12 Stanford (29-14, 11-10): That tears it — it’s time to punish Stanford. I don’t care what the coaches think anymore. They can take their poll and shove it. Last weekend, the Cardinal dropped a pair of games to Oregon State in Corvallis, Ore., continuing to barely keep its head above water in the Pac-12. After ace Mark Appel picked up the win in the first game, 8-2, Stanford laid its 13th and 14th eggs of the season. The Cardinal also dropped an 8-5 decision to San Jose State this past week. Yes, it was on the road, but I’m not sure the 33-minute drive really grants Stanford an excuse.

6. Arizona State (29-17, 12-9): Arizona State swept Utah. That is not news; Utah is terrible. A 17-1 win in the second game might cause an eyebrow or two to raise, but that’s about it for noteworthy things from this series. Consider the Sun Devils’ stats inflated for the rest of the season.

7. Washington (26-18, 11-10): That the UW only jumped one spot in this week’s rankings doesn’t do justice to how critical their series sweep of USC on the road was to this program. Starter Aaron West got the UW started with a complete game shutout, and by the time the dust had settled on Sunday, the UW’s tournament hopes were revitalized. But accurately describing what this series meant for the UW would require the use of baseball words such as “moxie” and “gritty,” and I refuse to do that.

8. California (24-19, 8-9): After California dropped the first game against Washington State 10-4, its offense finally found something to do in Pullman: hit baseballs. The Bears lit up the Cougars in the final two games, winning 9-4 and 8-0. It probably wasn’t enough to put the Bears in the postseason hunt, but I bet it sure was fun.

9. Washington State (23-20, 9-11): Finally, a chance to see if “couged it” makes it past my editors. There’s truly no other way to describe what the Cougars did in Pullman this past weekend, dropping two of three against California. Going into the series, Washington State was hoping for a sweep but would’ve been OK with a series win. Instead, the Cougars left with their tails between their, um, haunches.

10. USC (22-21, 6-12): Whither thou goest, USC? For a program with 12 national titles, this season has been most unbecoming for one of college baseball’s bluebloods. A sweep at home by the UW was just the latest in a series of insults besmirching the Trojans’ hallowed name.

11. Utah (12-33, 6-18): It’s probably a sign that your entire baseball program has mailed it in when the athletic department is titling press releases, “Ute Baseball Out-Hits Sun Devils in 4-2 Loss.” The aforementioned game was just one of three stellar losses by the Utes at the hands of Arizona State, whose players must’ve been quite embarrassed with themselves by the number of moral victories Utah had over them.

Reach reporter Jacob Thorpe at sports@dailyuw.com. Twitter: @Jacob_B_Thorpe

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