Pac-12 Softball Power Rankings

Josh Worden Senior Beat Reporter

#1 No. 3 Oregon (38-6, 16-2 Pac-12). Last weekend: 3-0 vs Arizona. This weekend: at California.

Oregon shut out Arizona this weekend — no, not just in Sunday’s game. Not in two of the games. Yes, all three; not once did Arizona cross the plate this weekend in Eugene. The Ducks scored 17 runs in the three games, but they could have tried to win 1-0 in each game just to make things interesting. Instead, they capped off the weekend with an 8-0 mercy-rule win on Sunday and Oregon pitcher Cheridan Hawkins won Pac-12 Pitcher of the Week honors by tossing two complete game shutouts. Speaking of hardware, you might as well consider the Pac-12 title already Oregon’s. Nobody is catching the Ducks this year in the regular season.

#2 No. 11 Washington (32-11, 13-8). Last weekend: 2-1 vs Utah. This weekend: at LSU.

The positives for Washington after beating Utah two games to one: the Huskies have won six consecutive series. The negatives: Washington won five of those series 2-1 and notched just one sweep. Put those two together and you’ve got a good team that hasn’t reached championship-caliber yet. There’s no mistaking who’s on top of the conference; Washington got swept in its first Pac-12 series this year by Oregon, so the Huskies are lucky to be in second place. With a trip to Louisiana on the docket this weekend and an easy matchup with Stanford following that, Washington could make some noise as the regular season closes and the NCAA Tournament begins May 20.

#3 No. 14 UCLA (33-13-1, 14-5-1). Last weekend: 3-0 vs Arizona State. This weekend: at Utah.

Sure, UCLA swept an Arizona State team that has spent most of the season in the NCAA’s Top-25. But ASU has been slipping down the standings the last few weeks harder than a greased pig on a waterslide, and UCLA’s overall 23-15 scoring margin in the series was surprisingly slim. Honestly, the Bruins should be somewhat ashamed themselves. Sure, sweeping a Pac-12 team is admirable no matter what, but if UCLA plays against Utah like it did against ASU this weekend, there’s no reason why the Bruins shouldn’t tumble to the bottom half of the Pac-12 rankings.

#4 Utah (31-15, 12-6). Last weekend: 1-2 at Washington. This weekend: vs UCLA.

After getting throttled in the first two games in Seattle, losing the pair of contests by a combined 14-0 score, Utah salvaged the series by beating Washington 6-5 on Sunday. Overall, the Utes revealed the spot they really deserve in the Pac-12: competitive, but not one of the best teams yet. Still, Utah has been one of the most consistent squads in the conference and there’s no reason why the Utes should be counted out against UCLA this weekend and even Oregon the following week. Actually, that series is in Eugene and the Ducks haven’t lost a game in seemingly three years. Maybe Utah should just focus on the Bruins for now.

#5 California (28-18-1, 9-7-1). Last weekend: 3-0 at Stanford. This weekend: vs Oregon.

It was the weekend of threes for California: three wins over Stanford in three games and freshman infielder Lindsay Rood recorded three hits in a game three different times this week. Cal also beat UC Davis twice last Tuesday, so the Bears are rolling on a five-game win streak and should make it six on Wednesday night against the University of the Pacific. But then comes the Real University of the Pacific Northwest: the Oregon Ducks, who seem about as beatable as a healthy Golden State Warriors team against a pack of fourth graders. You should better savor your win over Pacific on Wednesday, Cal fans.

#6 Oregon State (27-16-1, 6-12). Last weekend: bye. This weekend: at Arizona.

Oregon State has won five of its last twelve Pac-12 games, a pretty good mark considering that three of the four teams the Beavers faced were in the Top-25 nationally. It doesn’t get easier this weekend with a trip to face Arizona, but it will get much more manageable in the final week of the regular season when Arizona State travels to Corvallis. But that’s two weekends away, let’s focus on the now: if OSU is serious about its NCAA Tournament hopes and its ability to make some noise in the postseason, a strong showing against the Wildcats is key. On a sidenote: OSU is still on pace to break the program record in batting average for the fourth consecutive year, hitting .319 compared to .298 last season.

#7 No. 18 Arizona (32-17, 9-9). Last weekend: 0-3 at Oregon. This weekend: vs Oregon State.

Arizona was outscored 17-0 by Oregon this weekend. Put it this way: if a team’s best offensive game included five hits and no runs scored — that was Arizona’s stat line on Saturday — something is wrong. Or maybe, something is very right on the opposite end. Oregon’s pitching staff looked like Randy Johnson and Curt Schilling on the 2002 Arizona Diamondbacks. That’s right, Arizona, it was a pitching duo from your own state that apparently taught Oregon how to shut you out.

#8 Arizona State (27-22, 3-15). Last weekend: 0-3 at UCLA. This weekend: vs Stanford

Okay, okay, let’s wait a minute here. Yes, Arizona State has lost 12 straight games. Sure, they’re arguably the most pitiful team in the Pac-12 (Stanford makes a strong case of its own, though). But look on the bright side, Sun Devils: your team hasn’t gotten shut out in any of those 12 games! That’s definitely something to take pride in. Or if not, maybe ASU will actually get a win or two this weekend against the lowly Stanford Cardinal.

#9 Stanford (13-29, 0-18). Last weekend: 0-3 vs California. This weekend: at Arizona State.

The series of the century. The matchup of the millennium. It’s what we’ve all been waiting for. That’s assuming you only want to watch the two worst softball teams in the conference play each other in a battle for last place, because who doesn’t want that? Stanford and Arizona, with a combined 3-33 mark in Pac-12 contests, will end up with a combined 6-36 mark after the weekend. Doesn’t that sound a little better? Not really? Yeah, not really.

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