Benny is amazed how tight the Pac-12 baseball race is. His guys are only 6th in the conference, though they are 4 games out of 1st, and 23rd ranked in the country. (Photo by Andy Wooldridge)
Oregon St. stayed at #23 in the BaseballAmerica.com top 25 poll for the third week in a row, after winning 3 of 4 games, including a home win over Portland, and then taking 2 of 3 at Washington St. Danny Hayes, who had 3 home runs and 8 RBIs against the Cougars, and was 8 of 14 (.571) with 10 RBIs in the 4 games, was named Pac-12 Player of the Week in the process.
Meanwhile, the other 5 Pac-12 teams ranked ahead of the Beavers, and ahead of them in the incredibly tight conference race, all edged upward on the strength of good weekends.
Oregon, the hottest team in the Pac-12, remains the conference leader, and still has a 1 game lead over Arizona. The Ducks climbed from 6th to 5th, after opening the week with a conference win over USC, and then a non-conference sweep of Seattle, giving them 8 straight wins, and pushing them to 41-14, and making them the first Pac-12 team to reach and surpass the 40 win mark this season.
Arizona moved up from 14th to 13th, after the Wildcats took a mid-week non-conference win at Arizona St., and then taking 2 of 3 at California. The Sun Devils bounced back to sweep Washington, and pull into a 3 way tie for third place in the Pac-12, just 2 games behind Oregon, and edged up from #18 to #16.
Stanford is the second hottest team in the conference currently, having run off 7 straight wins, including a win over San Francisco, and then a 3 game sweep of Utah in Salt Lake City, which moved the Cardinal into the 3 way tie for third, and elevating them from #17 to #14.
UCLA is the third team in the 3 way tie, and was hot as well, with a mid-week win at then 8th ranked Cal-St. Fullerton, and a pair of wins over California in Berkeley, which extended the Bruins' win streak to 7 games, all on the road, before the Golden Bears upset them Sunday to keep UCLA from keeping up with Arizona, and in second in the standings.
After the loss to the Bruins, Cal-St. Fullerton, the highest ranked non-Pac-12 team from the west, also lost the last 2 of their 3 game series against UC-Riverside. As a result, the Titans tumbled to #12.
The only other team from the west that is ranked is San Diego. The Toreros took the weekend off, and only had a win at UC-Irvine this week. As a result, the West Coast Conference co-leaders remained at #21, heading into a weekend series at Pepperdine, where the series winner will win the WCC.
Florida St. stayed atop the poll, after winning 3 of 5 games, and the ACC Atlantic Division. LSU jumped up to #2 from #9, after the Tigers took 2 of 3 at then 2nd ranked SEC East Division Champion South Carolina to claim the SEC West, dropping the Gamecocks to #7.