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Tuesday, April 17, 2012
Baylor Bears still perfect in Big 12

By Eric Sorenson
Special to ESPN.com

Baylor Baseball
Baylor has yet to be beaten in Big 12 play, boasting a 15-0 record.

Three things we learned over the weekend

1. Oregon has gone from "Flavor of the Week" to "Flavor of the Month" in the Pac-12.
2. Florida State and Kentucky weren't ready for the big spotlight just yet.
3. The mid-major attrition rate is starting to take effect with some in-conference losses.

Team of the weekend: North Carolina

The Tar Heels needed a bounce-back weekend after getting swept at Miami the weekend before. They got one, gutting out three wins at Virginia. Relief ace Michael Morin did a lot of heavy lifting over the weekend, ending all three games on the mound while giving up just one hit and no runs in 3.2 innings. After adding two saves this past weekend, Morin has 10 for the season.

Off-radar team of the weekend: Gonzaga

The Bulldogs may have fallen off the radar a bit after losing a hard-fought series at San Diego, but they got back on track last week by winning two games against Washington and three against Santa Clara.

Biggest disappointment: Texas State

The Bobcats have gone stone cold of late, dropping three straight games at Southeastern Louisiana over the weekend while giving up 24 runs, gathering just 14 hits and scoring three runs in three games.

Best series: Kentucky winning the series at Arkansas

What a show these two put on. Game 1 went to the Razorbacks courtesy of a bases-loaded triple from Derrick Bleeker to win, 8-7. But Games 2 and 3 went to Big Blue, as Kentucky rode strong innings from the bullpen to get out with a pair of one-run wins, 5-4 and 2-1.

Heating up: LSU

Having won series versus Arkansas and at Florida the previous two weeks, the Tigers went out and swept Alabama this weekend, giving them 13 wins in their last 14 contests. During that hot streak, the Tigers have outscored their opponents 86-43.

Cooling down: Miami

After sweeping North Carolina, the Hurricanes lost a mid-weeker to Florida Gulf Coast and then went to Blacksburg, Va., and lost two of three to Virginia Tech. The Hurricanes fall back into a tie with the Heels at the top of the ACC's Coastal Division at 12-6.

Raised an eyebrow: Oregon

Actually, these guys have been raising eyebrows for the past three weeks. After winning weekends versus Arizona State, UCLA and most recently at Stanford, the Ducks have the entire West Coast abuzz. A suddenly hot pitching staff deserves much of the credit, as starters Alex Keudell and Jake Reed combined for 16.0 innings and gave up just seven hits in the two wins against the Cardinal.

Without further ado, here are this week's Power Rankings …

1. Baylor (30-7)

Of note: The Bears won a wild series at windblown Kansas State and stayed perfect in Big 12 play. In the four games he played, catcher Josh Ludy was 11-for-17 with four home runs and 12 RBIs.

2. Florida (28-8)

Of note: It was a solid week for the Gators. Not only did they beat Florida State for the third time, but in their three wins, the bullpen went 13 innings, giving up five hits and one run.

3. UCLA (24-8)

Of note: The offensive explosion continues. The Bruins had 39 hits in three games at Arizona, taking two of three against the Wildcats. The top three in the order -- Beau Amaral, Tyler Heineman and Cody Keefer -- went 21-for-41.

4. North Carolina (27-9)

Of note: Odd stat: The Tar Heels are just ninth in the ACC in hitting (.273) and defense (.965). But the top-shelf pitching (ACC-best 2.64) is what demands lunch money from their opponents.

5. Kentucky (32-5)

Of note: The Wildcats showed some toughness. After that blowout loss to Louisville, they won two of three one-run games in Fayetteville against Arkansas. LSU pays a visit this week.

6. LSU (30-7)

Of note: The Tigers were solid again with a 5-0 week. Moving Arby Fields into the starting lineup was a boon, as the former Northwestern running back has gone 8-for-15 with five RBIs in his last four games.

7. Florida State (29-7)

Of note: Despite that third loss to Florida and the ugly blowout loss in the series finale at Boston College, the Seminoles still have a five-game lead in the ACC's Atlantic Division. A huge showdown with Miami looms.

8. Oregon (25-10)

Of note: Since the two losses at Texas State, the Ducks have gone 10-2. Typical of George Horton-coached teams, pitching and defense are setting the tone.

9. Arizona (24-11)

Of note: In their win versus UCLA, the Wildcats had no errors, one walk, no HBPs and no wild pitches. In the two losses they had seven errors, seven walks, four HBPs and three wild pitches.

10. Stanford (22-9)

Of note: It was a busy week for the Cardinal, who went 3-2. But the series loss to Oregon keeps them in backspin mode, as it sunk them to 5-7 in Pac-12 play, good for seventh in the league.

11. Rice (27-11)

Of note: After taking down Texas State on Tuesday, the Owls made the arduous trek to Charleston, W.Va., and held Marshall to 17 hits and two runs in a three-game sweep.

12. Purdue (28-5)

Of note: The Big Ten is getting stronger as the Boilermakers' sweep of Illinois improved their RPI. Usually, playing a midrange Big Ten team would hurt a team's RPI rating.

13. Texas A&M (28-8)

Of note: While the Aggies had an up-and-down week, going 2-2, All-American OF Tyler Naquin is still holding up his end of the bargain this year, hitting .403 with 11 steals.

14. South Carolina (27-10)

Of note: The Gamecocks put that curious loss to Francis Marion behind them and edged Mississippi State in three games. Freshman LHP Jordan Montgomery has stepped up huge in his last two Saturday starts.

15. UCF (30-8)

Of note: After being held to six hits in 14 innings in a Game 1 loss at Southern Miss, the Knights collected 27 hits and 23 runs in winning the next two in a pair of routs. Big wins in a tough place.

16. Miami (25-11)

Of note: The Canes couldn't maintain the momentum after sweeping North Carolina, falling in two of three games at Virginia Tech. Miami has hit just .222 in three games versus what was the ninth-best staff in the ACC.

17. Cal State Fullerton (23-12)

Of note: A tough series win over rival UCI keeps the Titans at the top of the Big West. But red-flag this: The top two hitters, Michael Lorenzen and Carlos Lopez, combined to go 5-for-33 last week during the UCI series and a midweek loss to UCLA.

18. San Diego (29-8)

Of note: The improvement is there for everyone to see. Last year, San Diego hit just .290 and had an ERA of 4.34. In 2012, those numbers are .314 and 2.84 -- and both marks are inside the top 20 nationally.

19. NC State (24-10)

Of note: The Wolfpack won a series at Clemson and have a freshman-of-the-year candidate in table setter Trae Turner, who was 8-for-16 with six walks, six RBIs and nine stolen bases in three games against the Tigers and a midweek game against Elon.

20. Arkansas (25-10)

Of note: The Hogs have their hoofs on the cliff's edge here, having lost seven of their past 10 games, including two of three to Kentucky this weekend. Road trips to Ole Miss and Florida are next in SEC play.

Dropped out: New Mexico State

Bubble wrap: Gonzaga, Oregon State, Sam Houston State, Louisville, Missouri State