For the third straight game in the UA/ASU series a team was held to four runs but this time the Sun Devils got the pitching they needed to make it hold up.

ASU

ASU had just enough to get by the Cats.
Photo by Cheryl Evans/The Arizona Republic

The Arizona Wildcats were limited to four hits as ASU claimed a 4-2 victory Monday night to win the weekend and season series.

The Cats wasted a superb pitching performance from starter Daniel Workman who worked into the 7th inning allowing just one earned run.

Someone needs to show Workman a picture of Sparky before every start. The junior has a 2.19 earned run average over 12.1 innings in two starts against ASU, and a 9.47 ERA in nine starts against everyone else. He’s the Mike Jefferson of baseball.

There are no moral victories in rivalry games. Arizona State has baseball bragging rights for another year. But there were positive signs coming out of the Wildcat dugout. The season is not over. The team has not given up. The dream has not died.

That dream is making the 2010 NCAA tournament.

“We talk about it every day,” coach Andy Lopez said. “We talk about it from the very first day we meet in August. It’s always a goal. That’s what you come here for, to be in postseason play.”

The Wildcats have no more room for bad weekends. The upcoming series with Stanford is huge with a capital H and a couple extra U’s. Arizona absolutely has to take two of three games. Get back to .500 in Pac-10 play and the postseason goal is very much in reach.

ASU will be a national seed and stay at home all the way to Omaha. UCLA will probably host a regional. After that?

“The Pac is so jumbled,” Lopez said. “(The tournament) is within reach for five or six teams.”

Cal, Stanford, Washington State, Oregon and Arizona are all within a game of each other in the standings, and Oregon State is loitering a game behind that.

How many Pac-10 teams will get in? Over the past eight seasons the Pac has gotten either four or five teams in every season but one. That one was last year, but it was an odd season in that only three Pac teams finished with both a winning record in conference and overall.

If the Pac-10 quota remains at five it means you have six teams fighting for three spots. Oregon State is included because its RPI is so high (31 as of May 11) and by winning five of their last six league games the Beavers have moved their conference record within striking distance of .500.

It’s worth noting that if Arizona can beat Stanford and OSU to close out the season it would give the UA a series victory over four of the other five middle-of-the-Pac teams. Add in the two wins against ASU and a series victory over Cal State Fullerton and the Cats would be a lock.

Arizona certainly controls its own destiny and Andy Lopez has made sure his players have the tournament in mind . “They know that’s what they’re playing for right now,” he said.

They also know what it will take to get there.

“We’ve got to win some games.”

– – – – –

Here are the results from the other Pac-10 games this past weekend:

OSU won two of three vs. Washington. Scores: 8-6, 7-3, 2-3
The microwavable Beavers are suddenly hot.

UCLA won all three vs. USC. Scores: 13-7, 15-2, 2-1
The Bruins inched within three games of ASU. UCLA really wishes it had that series with the Sun Devils back.

WSU won two of three at Stanford. Scores: 7-8, 4-2, 9-3
This was a back-breaker for the Cardinal in the conference race. Can they bounce back in Tucson with a tournament bid on the line?

Oregon won all three vs. East Tennessee State. Scores: 5-0, 7-6, 17-7
Mister Jennings is not pleased.

The updated standings:

Place School Wins Loses Games Back
1 ASU 16 5
2 UCLA 13 8 3
3-T Cal 11 10 5
3-T Stanford 11 10 5
3-T WSU 11 10 5
6-T ARIZONA 10 11 6
6-T Oregon 10 11 6
8-T OSU 9 12 7
8-T Washington 9 12 7
10 USC 5 16 11

The most recent rankings:

School BAS COL NAT USA RIV Avg Points Previous CBCRDI
ASU 3 3 3 3 3 3.0 140 142 -2
UCLA 10 10 10 10 7 9.4 108 98 +10
Oregon 22 25 23 20 24.2 34 28 -6
WSU 24 24 24 26.8 21 0 +21
ARIZONA 26 24 29 28.2 14 6 +8
Cal 25 29.8 6 21 -15
Stanford 30 30.8 1 18 -17

BAS = Baseball America
COL = Collegiate Baseball
NAT = National Collegiate Baseball Writers
USA = USA Today/ESPN coaches’ poll
RIV = Rivals.com
CBCRDI = College Baseball Cumulative Rankings Directional Indicator

Washington State hit the polls which isn’t good for other bubble teams. The rankings only reflect the games through Sunday so Arizona actually moved up thanks to its 1-1 status with ASU at the time.

The bottom of the polls reflect the glut of semi-good teams in the Pac-10. Five of the middlings are in at least one poll but none are in every poll, and OSU is one more good weekend away from getting back in the polls.

Whose destiny will be controlled?