A second win was just out of reach for the Cats.
Photo by Michael Chow/The Arizona Republic

It started out so well for the Arizona Wildcats.

With the athletic department still basking in the glow of the basketball team’s demolition of Duke, the UA baseball squad opened Pac-10 play with a road win against their biggest rivals.

Kurt Heyer and Matt Chaffee combined to strike out 10 Sun Devils in the 5-2 victory in Tempe.

Then the hoopsters lost to UConn and the Arizona baseballers couldn’t get their shots to fall either.

Winning Friday night is where you want to be. Take the first game behind your ace and you have two games to try and clinch the series. Unfortunately for the guys from Tucson the home team won both of those games.

ASU’s combination of pitching and defense was excellent on Saturday and Sunday. In the two games the Devils only allowed three walks and didn’t commit an error. The Wildcats on the other hand issued nine free passes and committed four errors. The results were 5-1 and 8-1 wins for ASU.

Arizona State reestablished itself as the top team in the conference while the UA returned home with work to do. The good news is that trip home will last nine games and it started Tuesday night with a 12-3 victory over New Mexico.

Here’s what happened in the other two Pac-10 series last weekend:

Cal won all three vs. Washington State.
Scores: 7-0, 3-0, 4-3 (11 inn.)
The Bears started their program’s final season in style. Maybe they could move the whole team to Colorado and stay in the Pac-12.

UCLA won two of three at USC.
Scores: 8-4, 4-0, 2-6
UCLA’s #2 starter took a perfect game into the 7th and a no-hitter into the 8th. Number two starter. That’s why the Bruins remain ranked even with their 11-9 record.

That brings us to the updated polls:

ASU 5 7 5 7 9 6.6
Stanford 11 18 19 14 21 16.6
Cal 13 19 21 15 18 17.2
ARIZONA 18 17 18 18 17 17.6
UCLA 24 15 20 21 24 20.8
OSU 23 29 27 19 20 23.6
Oregon 26 30.0

BAS = Baseball America
COL = Collegiate Baseball
NAT = National Collegiate Baseball Writers
PER = Perfect Game
USA = USA Today/ESPN coaches’ poll

Both Stanford and Cal passed the UA in the cumulative rankings. The pollsters don’t know how to order the three teams behind ASU so most of them have the Cardinal, Bears and Wildcats bunched together. Conference play will show us what’s what and who’s who.

But at this point it looks like (grumble, grumble) everyone’s once again chasing the Devil.

– – – – –

Scott Terrell gives credit where it’s due, even when he doesn’t like it. Get more bitter honesty on Twitter and Facebook.