The Pacific-12 Conference announced today that it will “cancel … all Pac-12 sport competitions” until further notice, due to the coronavirus pandemic. We are going ahead still with a preview of the baseball season, however.
Last season saw some great highs in baseball for the Conference of (real NCAA) Champions, yet it also saw some true lows. This year, the Pac-12 season could be shaping up for more of the former—and less of the latter.
The UCLA Bruins are the top-ranked team in the conference, nationally, with a 13-2 record and the No. 5 spot in the D1Baseball.com poll. At No. 9, the Arizona State Sun Devils (13-4) also are doing well, continuing last year’s momentum as well.
Arizona (10-5) and USC (10-5) have reached double-digit wins already in out-of-conference play, with Pac-12 play scheduled to start tomorrow (see above, however).
Two of the big surprises, however, are the tough starts to the season for the Oregon State Beavers (5-9) and the Stanford Cardinal (5-11). Both squads had good seasons last year that ended prematurely, and that disappointment in the 2019 College World Series seems to have carried over to 2020.
For OSU, the current five-game losing streak reveals a lot. In two losses to San Diego State and three losses to UC Santa Barbara, the Beavers have been outscored 31-13. That includes three shutout losses, so the Oregon State lineup needs to start producing sooner rather than later if the Beavers want to return to the CWS.
As for the Cardinal, series losses to Grand Canyon University and Kansas State have dampened enthusiasm for the Stanford season. The GCU losses sting particularly hard, as Stanford should not be losing games to a school like that (no offense). Like the Beavers, the Cardinal must play a lot better in conference action to re-establish national credibility.
Either way, be assured when the season resumes, we will have coverage of it. Stay tuned!