Pac-12 baseball power rankings: Oregon on the rise, ASU slips back to middle of the pack

Freshman infielder/outfielder Dalton DiNatale slides safely into second, defying a certain tag out. ASU lost 5-3 against California on April 13. (Photo by Mario Mendez)

Freshman infielder/outfielder Dalton DiNatale slides safely into second, defying a certain tag out. ASU lost 5-3 against California on April 13. (Photo by Mario Mendez)

The Pac-12 saw some major shakeups over the past week in both the standings and the power rankings.

1. Washington (27-8-1, 14-4 Pac-12)

As much as the Huskies expected to complete the sweep of Cal on Saturday, winning their third road conference series of the year was enough consolation. UW hosts in-state rival Washington State, and then travels to Utah to try for its fourth consecutive road conference series.

2. Oregon (31-10, 10-5 Pac-12)

The Ducks are arguably the hottest team in college baseball and peaking at exactly the right time. Coming off a sweep of WSU, they are winners of nine straight. A sweep of OSU in Corvallis, Ore., would not only vault them into second place in conference, but also would likely propel them even higher in the national polls.

3. Oregon State (27-7, 11-4 Pac-12)

The Beavers were off since April 13, but in their last series, they also lost a game they would like to have back. OSU dropped the first of three games in Pullman, Wash., as its road record fell to 8-2. The Beavers may come to regret not being able to make up for lost ground in the Pac-12 race, with a showdown with Washington on the horizon.

4. ASU (21-16, 10-8 Pac-12)

It would be a mistake to count out the Sun Devils, even after a disappointing series loss at Stanford, dropping two very winnable games. With the week off, they can recoup some lost momentum and avenge a devastating 10-9 loss to UA in their final visit to Packard, when they travel south to Hi-Corbett Field for three games with the rival Wildcats.

5. USC (20-17, 9-9 Pac-12)

This team has largely underachieved, and it seemed that it took everything the Trojans had to pick up their first conference series sweep since 2009 — against UA, a team having a rather mediocre year — even going into extra innings to clinch a home series win against the Wildcats. Still, they can compete on the road, and refuse to lay down in the third game of a series, even after losing the first two.

6. UCLA (21-16, 9-6 Pac-12)

It’s hard to explain the Bruins’ recent struggles, especially at UA and Utah. UCLA actually is better this year on the road, at 9-5, compared to 9-11 at Jackie Robinson Stadium. The Bruins’ cross-town rivals will be anxious to topple the defending champs when they meet in Westwood, Calif., on April 24.

7. Stanford (15-17, 6-9 Pac-12)

The Cardinal stymied one of the most potent offenses in the conference, with the series win against ASU being just their second of the year in league play. Knocking off the Sun Devils and the Ducks earlier proved that this team has another gear. Whether or not they permanently shift into that gear — with a tough road trip ahead of them, including a series at UCLA — remains to be seen.

8. WSU (17-19, 7-8 Pac-12

What happened to the Cougars? They’ve lost five of their last six conference games, and face their rival, the conference-leading Huskies on the road for three games beginning April 25. If they can manage to steal a game from Washington, they can regroup at home with back-to-back series against USC and Utah.

9. Cal (16-19, 5-10 Pac-12)

One of the highlights of the year for the Golden Bears’ season came in a 7-1 win over Washington on April 19. Cal still has plenty of opportunities to improve its conference record against Stanford, USC and Arizona. If the Golden Bears can upset Oregon State at home, or beat Oregon in Eugene, Ore., then they can build momentum with a postseason berth still in play.

10. UA (17-23, 6-12 Pac-12)

After taking two of three from UCLA at home and then losing three straight at Dedeaux Field to USC, the Wildcats are back down to earth. They will face an ASU team hungry to clinch a Territorial Cup point starting April 25 in Tucson.

11. Utah (12-23, 3-15 Pac-12)

Of the Utes’ three Pac-12 wins, one of them came on the road against USC. With the conference in such a volatile state, Utah can squeak out a victory on the road against WSU or ASU, and has arguably its best remaining chance of winning its first series when they close out the season against Stanford, which is just 4-10 on the road.

Reach the reporter at smodrich@asu.edu or follow him on Twitter @modrich_22