This week in Pac-12 baseball
At the halfway point of the season an unexpected leader has emerged at the top of the Pac-12 standings as WASHINGTON--a team picked to finish 10 out of 11--has a slim lead over league-favorite and defending Pac-12 champion OREGON STATE. After a weekend series sweep of STANFORD, the Beavers aren’t far behind with just one game separating OSU and UW. In the first Conference series matchup of two top-20 ranked teams, the Huskies got the best of OREGON in two of three contests to stay undefeated in Pac-12 series in 2014. While there is still a lot of season left the play, the Huskies have been impressive, winning 19 of their last 21. Overall, league-play heated up over the weekend, with six games going into extra innings and 10 of the 18 contests being decided by two runs or fewer, including eight of those being one-run finishes. Another surprise near the top is WASHINGTON STATE, who picked up its first Conference series sweep since 2010 to fall into a third-place tie with UCLA. It was another good week in the rankings for Pac-12 Baseball, who have three teams--Oregon State, Oregon, and Washington-- unanimously ranked in the four major polls. ARIZONA STATE and the Bruins of UCLA mark the fourth and fifth teams to garner rankings this week, coming in at No. 25 and No. 29, respectively, in Collegiate Baseball’s Top-30. Meanwhile, UW (9) joined Oregon State (6), in Baseball America’s Top-10, marking the Huskies’ first appearance in the top-10 in that poll since a Tim Lincecum-led team was ranked in week two of 2005. Six teams will partake in non-conference midweek matchups on Tuesday and Wednesday, including a Arizona-ASU non-league contest on Wednesday night. Conference games just get more important from here on out with a month and a half of regular season games left to play. Hosting league games this weekend are ARIZONA (vs. UCLA), Arizona State (vs. CALIFORNIA), USC (vs. UTAH), Washington State (vs. Oregon State) and Washington (vs. Stanford). Oregon will also play hosts this weekend to UC Riverside in a non-conference weekend series during the Ducks’ league bye-week. Pac-12 Baseball will make its’ debut on ESPNU on Saturday as Arizona takes on No. 29 UCLA in a 7:30 p.m. PT contest. Four other games will air live on Pac-12 Networks, starting on Friday night at 7 p.m. PT in Tucson.