The defending NCAA baseball champions dropped in the weekly rankings, thanks to a four-game losing streak, while two other Pacific-12 teams remain strong atop the national polls. However, all four of those losses for the Oregon State Beavers came out of conference play, so they still remain tied atop the conference standings with the No. 2-ranked Stanford Cardinal.
Meanwhile, No. 1 UCLA remains one game behind both OSU and Stanford in the Conference of (real NCAA) Champions as just three weekends of the league schedule remain before we will know how many Pac-12 teams get selected for the postseason.
On that note, and despite an 8-7 win on Sunday against the Bruins, the Arizona State Sun Devils fell out of the national rankings after losing four of their last six games in conference play. ASU now trails the surging California Golden Bears in the league standings, as Cal has won seven of its last eight games to give itself a shot at a College World Series bid.
Realistically, all five teams could get the call for the CWS and its 64-team field, with UCLA (37-8), Stanford (34-8), OSU (31-14-1), and ASU (33-12) being relative locks at this point. The Golden Bears (27-15) still have some work to do, but with a strong finish against their remaining opponents—including the next six straight at home, against the Cardinal and the Sun Devils, respectively—they can make some noise.
With no championship tournament for the Pac-12 Conference, teams need to finish strong. Everyone remembers the cautionary tale of the 2016 Beavers, who swept UCLA in the final series by tossing three straight shutouts yet were snubbed by the NCAA for the College World Series despite a strong 35-19 overall record.
Of course, Oregon State turned it into motivation for the following two seasons, posting a combined 111-18-1 mark while reaching the College World Series in Omaha both seasons and winning it all in 2018.
How this regular season ends up is anyone’s guess with the conference title still up for grabs, but every game promises to mean a lot here in the final three weeks of the season. Just ask the Washington Huskies, who made it to Omaha last year but are scuffling this year with a 23-19 record overall.
The Huskies lost 13-2 on Sunday in Pullman to the Washington State Cougars, a team with just one conference victory prior to Cinco de Mayo. Washington would need a miracle finish to get a CWS at-large bid, but losing games like that never help the cause.