Omaha_dogpile

Mathew Troupe has remained dogpile-worthy in 2013.
Photo by Rob Schumacher/The Republic

There are just three games left in the NCAA men’s basketball tournament and the Pac-12 won’t be playing in any of them.

Batter up.

This Week in the Pac-12 (TWit-Pac) now shifts full-time to baseball. Read on for a summary of the polls and the weekend’s schedule, including the Arizona Wildcats on TV.

Here are the Pac-12 teams in the five college baseball polls with each squad’s average ranking:

BA CB NC PG US Avg
OSU 6 6 8 8 6 6.8
Oregon 11 8 5 11 7 8.4
UCLA 10 13 11 9 10 10.6
ASU 24 22 21 23 23.2

BA = Baseball America
CB = Collegiate Baseball
NC = National Collegiate Baseball Writers
PG = Perfect Game
US = USA Today/ESPN coaches’ poll

Stanford lost its hold on the last two polls, leaving the Pac-12 with just four ranked teams for the first time this year.

Here are this week’s three-game series:

Cal (16-13 / 5-4) at ARIZONA (18-11 / 3-6)
Game times at Hi Corbett: 6 p.m. on Friday and Saturday, 1 p.m. Sunday, with the finale broadcast live on ESPNU.

#6.8 OSU (22-4 / 5-1) at #10.6 UCLA (18-6 / 6-3)
The series of the week in the Pac-12. The Beavers slipped a bit in the polls after dropping a non-conference series last week but this showdown between top-10(ish) teams will factor heavily in the league race.

#8.4 Oregon (22-6 / 8-1) at #23.2 ASU (15-8 / 4-5)
Arizona State surprisingly lost its first two Pac-12 series but bounced back to take two of three from UCLA last week.

Stanford (14-9 / 3-3) at USC (11-16 / 4-5)
The Cardinal started the season 10-2 but hasn’t recovered from UNLV sweeping a series in Palo Alto. Stanford is just 4-7 over the last three weeks.

WSU (16-10 / 3-3) at Utah (12-13 / 2-7)
Washington State is off to a better-than-expected start including winning a series in Tempe. The Cougars lead the conference with a .323 team batting average.

Washington (6-19 / 2-7) at Pepperdine (15-11)
The Huskies have played weekend series against three ranked teams, LSU, UCLA and Oregon. All nine games were on the road and Washington didn’t win any of them.

* * *

Sweeping Utah was a positive step for Arizona but there is no time to let up. This will be the BatCats’ third home series over the first four weeks of the conference season and the UA needs a sweep to avoid a losing record in that stretch. After Cal the Cats play four of their next five Pac-12 series on the road.

The Bears swept Utah to open league play but lost two of three to both UCLA and USC the last couple weeks. Cal also dropped a non-conference game against Stanford on Monday leaving the Bears 3-6 since departing Salt Lake City.

Cal’s pitching rotation has been unsettled with only senior Justin Jones making more than four starts on the year. Freshman right-handed Ryan Mason became the Bears’ Friday night starter three weeks ago and he has a 4-0 record with a 2.37 ERA.

The UA’s strategy last week was take the lead into the 8th inning and hand the ball to closer Mathew Troupe. The sophomore is 6-for-6 in save opportunities and batters are hitting just .130 against him in 20 innings.

I’d say it’s a good strategy.

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Scott Terrell is all baseball, all the time. Except for spring football and basketball recruiting. And referee bounty scandals. Keep track on Twitter and Facebook.