Commentary

Baseball Power Rankings (Week 8)

Originally Published: April 8, 2014
By Eric Sorenson | Special to ESPN.com

Blake TrahanBobby McDuffie/Icon SMILouisiana has 20 wins in its past 21 games and has moved into the top five of the Power Rankings.

The top three stay the same in this week's Power Rankings as Virginia, Cal Poly and Florida State all held court this week. But the SEC East accounted for some turmoil, with Vanderbilt and South Carolina each dropping a series on the road this weekend. Yes, once again, venturing from the home confines proves to be a speed bump to anyone who dares.

Now on to who's hot and who's not in the Power Rankings.

1. Virginia (27-5)

Trending:

Last week: 1

Of note: You want the Cavaliers in a microcosm? Check out this past week, when they posted three shutouts, including Nathan Kirby's 18-strikeout no-hitter against Pitt. The offense hit just .198 versus the Panthers, though.


2. Cal Poly (26-5)

Trending:

Last week: 2

Of note: Good series win over Central Coast rival UC Santa Barbara, but the concern is over staff ace Matt Imhof, who left Friday's 8-6 loss early with an apparent lower back injury.


3. Florida State (26-5)

Trending:

Last week: 3

Of note: A pair of near-misses versus Notre Dame raises some concern. So does Jameis Winston's eight-pitch, two-hit, two-earned run performance. He also went 0-for-9 last week.


4. Oregon State (25-6)

Trending:

Last week: 6

Of note: How stingy are these guys? Stanford could muster only two runs in 31 innings against Oregon State's steady pitching and defense, and was held to a .203 average in the process.


5. Louisiana (30-3)

Trending:

Last week: 7

Of note: The Cajun juggernaut is in full swing as Louisiana totaled 53 runs in four games. It also features the 11th-best offense in the country with a .310 team average, and are second in home runs with 34.


6. Houston (25-6)

Trending:

Last week: 8

Of note: The Cougars dodged rain drops and upsets in a 2-1 weekend versus Rutgers to open the road portion of American play. More importantly, Houston leads the country with a miserly 1.56 team ERA.


7. Vanderbilt (25-8)

Trending:

Last week: 4

Of note: Just 6-6? Really? Odd to see the Commodores are an even .500 in SEC play. Vandy gave up 17 runs in two losses to close the road trip to Tennessee this past weekend. Yikes.


8. South Carolina (26-5)

Trending:

Last week: 5

Of note: In losing two of three at Arkansas, the Gamecocks hit just .168 and the defense committed more errors (seven) than the offense had multibase hits (three doubles).


9. Texas (26-7)

Trending:

Last week: 10

Of note: The Longhorns are certainly hitting their stride here midseason, having won 11 of their past 12 since that series loss at home to Kansas in mid-March.


10. Washington (22-6-1)

Trending:

Last week: 12

Of note: What a white-knuckle Game 3 versus Oregon. The Ducks scored twice in the top of the 10th inning, only to see the Huskies load the bases and get Andrew Ely to clear them with a walk-off double.


11. Oregon (22-10)

Trending:

Last week: 9

Of note: This team probably shouldn't have dropped that far since that road series loss at Washington was this close to going Oregon's way, as Sunday's epic 10-inning battle showed.


12. LSU (24-8-1)

Trending:

Last week: 16

Of note: Wow. Big-time sweep of Mississippi State. That could be a season-turner for the Purple and Gold. But a hot and hungry Arkansas team comes to town next. No time to let up.


13. UNLV (22-9)

Trending:

Last week: 14

Of note: In their three wins this week, Rebels pitching gave up just 14 hits and struck out 26. Big Friday mound stud Eric Fedde is eighth nationally with 61 K's in 57 innings.


14. Louisville (23-8)

Trending:

Last week: 13

Of note: Things get a little more serious as the Cardinals go on the road the next two weeks at Houston and UCF. The Cards love pressure, having stolen 70 bases, second-best in the country


15. Oklahoma State (22-10)

Trending:

Last week: NR

Of note: The Pokes' 160th-rated schedule has not been kind to their RPI. But West Virginia, Kansas, Texas, Arizona State, K-State and Oklahoma will close out the season.


16. Alabama (22-9)

Trending:

Last week: NR

Of note: The Tide now own weekend wins over Kentucky, Ole Miss and Texas A&M in the last month, boosting their profile. Don't you know Auburn would love to knock them off this week.


17. Kentucky (22-10)

Trending:

Last week: NR

Of note: Nobody is having a better year than the Big Blue's A.J. Reed. The two-way star is second nationally with 12 homers, is hitting .377 and is also 6-1 with a 1.93 ERA. Spell "stud" with all caps here.


18. Rice (22-12)

Trending:

Last week: 11

Of note: Is this the last saving grace for the Owls? Well, despite their recent struggles, the strength of schedule is still ranked No. 21 overall, so don't jump off the cliff yet.


19. Texas Tech (24-11)

Trending:

Last week: 17

Of note: Tough series loss at Oklahoma State. But the bigger picture is the Red Raiders have still won only one Big 12 series this season. The RPI is at No. 17 right now, so all is well, right?


20. UC Santa Barbara (20-7)

Trending:

Last week: 20

Of note: Had a great win over Cal Poly ace Matt Imhof on Friday, chasing him in the fourth inning. But the Gauchos ended up losing two of three in Big West play for the second week in row.


Five on deck: Tennessee (21-9), Pepperdine (24-7), San Diego State (24-8), Kansas (21-11), San Diego (22-9)

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