Pac-12 baseball power rankings: Arizona still climbing
Wildcats take two out of three on the road
For the first time this season Arizona’s conference record is above .500. After taking two out of three in Pullman, Wash. against Washington State, the Wildcats maintained their fifth place position in the Pac-12 standings, four games back of the leaders Oregon.
Arizona lost game one of the three game series with the Cougars 9-5 due to a lack of pitching and the rain. Friday night ace Konner Wade’s (3-3) inconsistency continued as he allowed seven runs – five earned – on six hits in 7.0 innings. Friday night’s game was suspended after the seventh inning due to rain and was resumed Saturday afternoon.
Following the game one loss, Arizona got two strong performances from Saturday and Sunday pitchers James Farris and Tyler Crawford.
Despite the inconsistency this season from Wade, it’s clear his teammates still have all the confidence in him after he was a big part of the Wildcats’ 2012 national championship run.
This past weekend, second baseman Trent Gilbert played through his ankle injury he sustained two weekends ago against California and did so by going 5-14 at the plate. Gilbert, who has a .360 batting average, leads the conference in runs batted in with 39 and is only second to fellow Wildcats Johnny Field (51) and Brandon Dixon (51) with 50 hits on the season.
Arizona (23-12, 8-7 Pac-12) has a tough non-conference home game Tuesday against conference rival No. 9 Arizona State (22-10-1, 8-7). The game will count towards the territorial cup but not towards the 2013 conference standings. The Sun Devils are arguably the hottest team in the Pac-12 right now.
Similar to the Wildcats, ASU’s recent trouble has been getting consistent starts from their Friday ace Trevor Williams (4-3). That being said, the Sun Devils’ Saturday pitcher, freshman Ryan Kellogg (8-0), continues to roll and will be leaned heavily upon come post season.
Both Arizona and Arizona State are tied for fifth place in the conference standings. Even though Tuesday’s game will have no consequence on the standings the momentum sustained from that win could go a long way for either team.
Stanford (19-11, 7-5), who has played three less games but sits one spot ahead of the UA and ASU in the conference standings, still is waiting to take off. With four potential first round draft picks on their roster it’s hard to believe the Cardinal can’t seem to find their stride yet. They won their past weekend series vs. last place Washington but did so in flabby fashion, losing Saturday’s game 11-3.
Other than Friday night ace Mark Appel (6-2), not many of the Stanford players have found a consistent rhythm at the plate or on the mound.
Top prospect Austin Wilson’s 2013 season has been hindered because of injuries and thus has only started four games this season.
Not first round prospect, Catcher Brant Whiting, had a nice weekend series going 5-11 at the plate to boost his average to .413 on the season. But he is the only Cardinal with more than 60 at bats to have a batting average over .330.
Arizona travels to Stanford next weekend in what will be a pivotal series. Wade will need to step up to what will be his biggest start of the season.
1. No. 10 Oregon (27-8, 12-3) Last week: 2
This week: One game at Portland and weekend series vs. UCLA
Last week: W 6-3 at Oregon State, W 3-2, W 10-4, W 5-4 at California
2. No. 5 Oregon State (28-6, 10-2) LW: 1
This week: One game at Portland and weekend series at Washington
Last week: L 6-3 vs. Oregon, W 1-0, W 8-3, W 4-1 vs. Utah
3. No. 9 Arizona State (22-10-1, 8-7) LW: 3
This week: One game at Arizona and weekend series vs. Valparaiso
Last week: L 5-0, W 6-3, W 6-5 at USC
4. Arizona (23-12, 8-7) LW: 5
This week: One game vs. Arizona State and three games at Stanford
Last week: L 9-5, W 6-5, W 7-3 at Washington State
5. No. 13 UCLA (22-10, 7-5) LW: 4
This week: One game at UC Irvine and weekend series at UCLA
Last week: W 5-1 vs. Hawai’I, W 2-0, W 3-1, L 4-1 vs. Loyola Marymount
6. Stanford (19-11, 7-5 ) LW: 6
This week: One game at Pacific and weekend series vs. Arizona
Last week: W 7-5, L 11-3, W 12-2
7. Washington State (18-15, 5-7) LW 7
This week: One game at Gonzaga and weekend series at California
Last week: W 9-5, L 6-5, L 7-3 vs. Arizona
8. California (16-19, 5-10) LW 8
This week: One game vs. San Francisco and weekend series vs. Washington State
Last week: L 3-2, L 10-4, L 5-4 vs. Oregon
9. USC (13-22, 6-9) LW 9
This week: One game at Loyola Marymount and weekend series at Utah
Last week: W 5-0, L 6-3, L 6-5 vs. Arizona State
10. Utah (14-17, 4-11) LW 9
This week: One game at Utah Valley and weekend series vs. USC
Last week: L 1-0, L 8-3, L 4-1
11. Washington (9-24, 3-9) LW 11
This week: One game vs. Seattle University and weekend series vs. Oregon State
Last week: L 7-5, W 11-3, L 12-2 at Stanford