California Sweep Moves Oregon St. Baseball Up To #19

Oregon St. got mostly good pitching against California, and swept the series as a result, including from Matt Boyd, above, who closed out the series successfully. (Photo by Andy Wooldridge)

Oregon St.'s weekend sweep of California in Berkeley in the opening weekend of Pac-12 play has moved the Beavers up to #19 in the BaseballAmerica.com top 25.

After taking both ends of Saturday's double header, Oregon St. (14-5, 3-0) hammered out a 13-5 win Sunday, powered by Michael Conforto's 3 hit, 6 RBIs afternoon. The Beavers big 4 run 2nd inning, followed up with a 3 run 3rd provided enough margin for Jace Fry to get 5 innings in, enough to get him his first win.

Taylor Starr and Zack Reser combined to get through the 6th inning with only 1 run allowed, which get the game withing range of 2 of the 3 Beaver bullpen "Killer Bs", and Cole Brocker and Matt Boyd took care of it the rest of the way.

Coupled with other conference games, where UCLA & Arizona St. split their Sunday doubleheader, USC rebounded from being swept on Friday by Utah to down the Utes, and Oregon winning the closing game of their series at Washington, Oregon St. sits alone in first place in the Pac-12.

And, as noted, beating California (11-7, 0-3), who was either just in or just outside of various top 25 polls, 3 times on the Bears' own field bumped the Beavers up from #25 last week to #19 this week.

Florida, the #1 team all season, remained there, after beating #6 Florida St. 9-2, and then sweeping a 3 game SEC series with Vanderbilt.

Stanford (13-2, 0-0) had the bye in Pac-11/12ths schedule on the conference race opening weekend, and took the weekend off all together to prepare for finals, but remained #2, where they have been all season.

Arizona and UCLA both benefited from former #3 South Carolina getting swept by Kentucky, which dropped the Gamecocks to #8, and lofted the Wildcats, who are the only unbeaten team left in the country, all the way up to #16.

The Wildcats had a wild week, splitting a midweek series at then #8, and now #9 Rice, and then getting upset by Washington St. in their Pac-12 opener, before bouncing back with a sweep of a Saturday double header with Cougs, as Sunday's game was moved up to get ahead of the storm that impacted every series on the west coast this weekend in one way or another.

Despite the 2 losses, the 'Cats climbed from #6 to #5. The rise in the polls by both teams only elevates the already high level of anticipation for this weekend's series between Arizona and Oregon St. at Goss Stadium.

UCLA beat USC on Tuesday in the Dodgertown Classic, a game that did not count in the Pac-12 standings, and took their series opener from Arizona St. But the Bruins saw their 12 game winning streak snapped Sunday in the first game of their double header with the Sun Devils, a game that had to be pushed back from Saturday due to the same storm that had hit northern California, forcing the Oregon St.-California Friday game to be postponed to Saturday.

UCLA bounced back to take the second game of the double header, and their 3-1 record elevated them from #9 to #7. Prior to losing 2 of 3 to the Bruins, Arizona St. had split a pair of games with Utah Valley St. Despite going 2-3 for the week, and having lost 6 of their last 10, dropping them to 12-7 overall, the Sun Devils only fell from #11 to #14.

After Washington took the first 2 of 3 games from Oregon, the Ducks dropped from #17 to #24 in the poll.

Cal St.-Fullerton, the only other western team in the top 25 besides the 6 from the Pac-12, was also victimized by Washington St., dropping a 9-8 11 inning game when the Cougs dropped in on their way to Tucson, and then dropped the 3rd game of their series with Long Beach St.

Despite the 2 losses, the Titans still moved up from #15 to #13, mostly due to the difficulties Arizona St. and Mississippi St., who lost 3 of 5 games, encountered.

Andy_Wooldridge@yahoo.com

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