Heading into the final weekend of the regular season, three Pac-10 teams have a shot at the championship.
Four more teams, including the Arizona Wildcats, are hoping to finish with a winning conference record and solidify their place in the NCAA tournament.
TWIT-Pac fights back a tear as we take one last trip around the league.
Washington (17-34 / 6-18) at
#29.4 Arizona (33-19 / 12-12)
If you’ve been digging yourself out of a hole and you need one last push to get on the positive side of .500, playing the last place team at home is a good place to be. It doesn’t hurt that the Cats have won six straight at home and eight of their last ten in Tucson.
#8.4 OSU (38-14 / 17-7) at Oregon (30-26 / 8-16)
It’s pretty straightforward. If the Beavers sweep they clinch the Pac title (even I can do that math). But even if OSU only takes two of three you have to like their chances at the outright crown. UCLA sweeping at ASU isn’t going to happen and I don’t see the Devils getting by all three Bruin pitchers unscathed.
#20.4 UCLA (31-21 / 16-8) at #9.4 ASU (38-14 / 16-8)
These two teams are huge Duck fans this weekend. If Oregon State drops its second straight series to end the season the winner in Tempe will earn a share of the championship. ASU, like OSU, is also playing for one of the eight national seeds and the chance to host a Super Regional.
#26.4 Stanford (30-20 / 12-12) at #28.0 Cal (31-18 / 13-11)
UA fans should be rooting for Cal so Arizona can finish ahead of the Cardinal.
Seeing the Bay Area and Oregon schools playing their rivalry series at the end of the year reminds us how annoying it is that the UA/ASU match up was the first weekend of the conference season. I get that the Pac-10 wanted the two College World Series teams from 2010 to play a “championship series” at the end of the year, but couldn’t the Wildcats and Sun Devils have played last weekend?
WSU (24-27 / 8-16) at USC (24-29 / 12-12)
The Trojans have a strong chance of finishing with another series win. Quite the turnaround for a team that started the season 10-18. The rest of the league is happy there isn’t a Pac-10 tournament.
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Worthless factoid of the week: Five of the six ranked teams have a .4 at the end of their average ranking.
If the Cats pull off a sweep they’ve got a shot at a 2-seed and if they get swept they could end up on the bubble. Anything in between and the UA is probably a 3-seed shipped at least two time zones away.
Something to watch: Washington pitcher Aaron West leads the league in picking guys off (8) and the Wildcats are a little loose on the base paths. That’s putting it mildly; the Cats have been horrible on the bases. They’d be wise to shorten that lead a tad against Mr. West.
The goal this week is for the starting pitching to do exactly what it did at Stanford but for the hitters to do the opposite. Returning to gap-friendly Kindall Field and facing the second-worst pitching staff (4.86 team ERA) in the Pac-10 should help.
Game times this weekend are 6 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and 12 noon on Sunday. The six Pac-10 tournament hopefuls will learn their fate on the NCAA baseball selection show Monday at 9:30 a.m. Arizona/Pacific time on ESPN.
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