by: , CASEY

Oregon State will step right into the fire Friday when it opens Pac-10 action with a three-game series at Arizona.

The Wildcats, ranked 21st and 23rd by two of the national polls a week ago, have won seven in a row and are 21-6 overall.

Oregon State (third in one poll, fourth in four others last week), Arizona and Arizona State appear to be the cream of the conference crop thus far.

Coach Pat Casey's Beavers were 22-3 and had an 11-game win streak going into Monday's series finale at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo,

A look at the defending national champions' eight Pac-10 opponents:

Arizona (21-6, 0-0): Wildcats have won seven straight. … Lost 22-8 to Arizona State in nonleague play and face the Sun Devils on Wednesday in another nonconference game. … Sophomore right-hander Preston Guilmet (5-0, 1.70 ERA) outdueled preseason All-American Wes Roemer in a 2-1 win over Cal State Fullerton. Senior left-hander Brad Mills (5-2, 2.61, 48 strikeouts in 41 1/3 innings) gives the Wildcats a potent 1-2 punch. … 6-2, 220-pound sophomore outfielder Brad Glenn (.344, five homers, 29 RBIs), 6-4, 225 junior first baseman C.J. Ziegler (.333, 31 runs, seven HRs, 31 RBIs) and outfielder Bill Rhinehart (.373, four HRs, 29 RBIs) lead a team batting .314.

Arizona State (21-8, 2-1): Ranked 13th in two polls and 14th in two other polls last week. … Won two of three at Southern Cal last weekend, dropping the finale to end an eight-game win streak. … Hitting .361 as a team, with 41 homers. … Three returning all-conference players in sophomore catcher Petey Paramore (.389, .543 on-base percentage), junior third baseman Eric Sogard (.363, six HRs, 30 RBIs) and 6-5, 210-pound Ike Davis (.366, four HRs, 36 RBIs), a pitcher-outfielder who was Pac-10 freshman of the year last season.

California (14-13, 0-0): Swept by Stanford in a three-game nonleague series in early March. … Bears have a Wednesday nonleague game with Cal-Santa Barbara before opening Pac-10 play this weekend against Washington State.

Southern Cal (17-12, 1-2): Trojans were ranked 19th, 23rd and 25th in three polls. … Swept three games at Georgia in early March. … Junior second baseman Matt Cusick, all-league last season, is the team's top hitter (.341, 15 RBIs).

Stanford (12-9, 0-0): Lost a three-game series to Cal State Fullerton in February but swept three games from both Kansas and California (nonleague). … Will open Pac-10 play this weekend against UCLA.

UCLA (9-14, 0-0): Scored a school-record 14 runs in the bottom of the eighth to rally from an 8-1 deficit and notch a 15-8 victory over Pacific on Sunday. … Top hitters include sophomore shortstop Brandon Crawford (.348, 20 runs, 23 RBIs) and junior second baseman Alden Carrithers (.330, 18 runs), a transfer from Cal-Santa Barbara who played at Beaverton High. 'Alden was first-team all-Big West last year,' UCLA coach John Savage says. 'He's leading off for us, can steal a base, is a tough out. And he plays good defense.'

Washington (14-9, 3-0): Swept three games at Washington State to open Pac-10 action last weekend. … Have won 12 of 13 after a 2-8 start, including a 13-11 loss to Portland. … Led the Pac-10 with 86 homers last season, but lost Zach Clem (20) and Matt Lane (12). And third baseman Matt Stevens, who hit 17 home runs in 2006, is batting .081 with no homers this season. … Junior outfielder Matt Hague (.295), all-league last season, is the top career hitter in UW history (.394 going into the season).

Washington State (13-10, 0-3): Top-hitting regular is junior utility infielder Scott Suttmeier (.341) … Jared Prince, an all-league utility player as a freshman who led the Pac-10 with a .401 average, is batting only .250 but has a team-high 17 RBIs.

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