The Pac-12 was disparaged for its lack of topflight teams in football and men’s basketball this past season, and now the conference can add baseball to its disappointments.
A Pac-12 team (Oregon State) won the baseball national championship last year, and the conference claimed five of the past 13 national titles.
But for just the third time in the past 22 years and just the sixth time since the conference was expanded to 10 teams in 1978, the Pac-12/Pac-10 will not have any teams in the College World Series this time.
What makes it so disappointing is that there were such high hopes. When the month of May began, Pac-12 teams (UCLA, Stanford, Oregon State) occupied the top three spots in the D1 Baseball national rankings, and UCLA and Stanford were still in the top four when the regular season ended.
UCLA, Stanford and Oregon State were named host teams to the Regional events, with the Bruins being the undisputed No. 1 overall seed. Cal and Arizona State were considered dangerous postseason teams, but neither made it out of its regional.
Arizona State never faced LSU, the winner of its regional, and its only win came against Stony Brook.
Cal was outscored 20-6 in its two regional games, and was eliminated by a Central Connecticut State team that had never won a postseason game previously. The Bears did not face the eventual regional champion, Arkansas.
Oregon State also went 0-2, getting stunned in its postseason opener by fourth-seeded Cincinnati, then getting eliminated by Creighton, which was subsequently ousted by Michigan.
Stanford survived its regional despite losing a game, but was dumped in two games by Mississippi State in the Super Regional by a combined score of 14-3.
The biggest disappointment was UCLA, which was ranked No. 1 in the country virtually the entire season by every major ranking outlet.
The Bruins squeezed through their regional, despite a loss to Loyola Marymount, then were eliminated at home in the Super Regional by Michigan, which had an RPI ranking of 39.
So now the Pac-12 will be bystanders for the eight-team College World Series. In fact, no team west of the Central time zone will be competing for the national championship.
Last year, the Pac-12 had two teams in the College World Series for the sixth time in 14 years, and Oregon State won it all. Different story this time.
The Pac-12 will have to be satisfied with the fact that two of the top three picks in the major league draft were from its conference (Oregon State's Adley Rutschman and Cal's Andrew Vaughn).