- The Beavers are National Champions again!
Hogs in two?
What in the world just happened? That was the most incredible sequence of events I’ve ever witnessed in a baseball game. And it was all right in front of Con and I. Wow!
Day three was an interesting one to say the least. The main story is that the Beavers didn’t play very good ball and as a consequence are down 0-1 in the series. However, the good news is this club plays well when things are bleak. After all, that’s how they got to this point.
Let’s dive in:
We survived night one. I mean that quite literally between some rough Lyft rides and the things I mentioned regarding our hotel last night.
Here’s the updates we have to share:
Braught / PNW Staff
Wow! What a fun College World Series it has been. The Beaver’s two Ace’s have looked awful and far too many errors have been committed but that hasn’t mattered as the both the bullpen and offense have stepped up. Their is no quit in this team and I know half of the PNW crew never lost faith that we would be in the finals. Unfortunately, I am unable to make it to Omaha, as I have recently started a new job. But I know Con and Andy will shut TD Ameritrade down for me.
Usually when I begin researching for a new series, I look for common opponents. I did not expect to find as many but I was wrong. The Beavers and Razorbacks have had six common opponents thus far: Arizona, Cal Poly, San Diego, USC, LSU and Mississippi State.
Altogether the Beavers went 10-3 and the Razorbacks were 4–8.
Some common pitchers in all those games are:
Take from those matchups as you wish.
From there, I usually begin to look at the pitchers that will be throwing. Mostly focused on starters but relievers/closers will catch my eye if they are dominate. At Oregon State we have been spoiled with killer pitchers for many years and usually other teams staff does not standout to me comparatively. But Arkansas’ does. They have legit arms.
Blaine Knight (13 – 0, 2.88 ERA) is their game one starter. The righty has thrown 106.1 innings this year and has a WHIP of 1.06 (!). He pounds the strike zone with his great command and batters only hit .226 against him. The knock on him has been his durability and is probably why he was not drafted until the third rd round. MLB Pipeline has his mid-90’s fastball graded out as a 60. His next best pitch is a slider / cutter at 55 and both a changeup and curveball graded out at a 50. A four-pitch mix with great command usually means dominance.
Game two starter will be Kacey Murphy ( 8-5, 3.16 ERA) who only threw 4.2 innings against Texas Tech in Omaha. The southpaw was the first pick on day three of the draft (11th rd) because of his command. Opponents are batting .222 against him and his WHIP is 1.04 . I was not able to find much on his mixes of pitches.
And if there is a game three, the Razorbacks will throw Isaiah Campbell (5 – 6, 4.12 ERA). The righty looked good on Friday against Florida when he gave up only two hits and two runs in five innings. He was the 109th best prospect by MLB Pipeline going into the draft but has not had the season he wanted after returning off shoulder surgery. He fell to the Angels in the 24th round. His WHIP is 1.38, which is still pretty good. Especially when you see that he has had 73K’s in 67.2 IP.
Two relievers stood out, Jake Reindl (3 -1, 2.87 ERA) and Barrett Loseke (4-2, 2.86). Opponents are hitting .191 against Barrett who was selected by the Yankees in the 17th round. Jake was selected one pick later and has an impressive 64Ks to 53.1IP.
And then I will begin to look at the other eight positions on the field. Defense is hard to gauge from stats (.972 fld%) and I usually rely on what others say there. I read that Dominic Fletcher in CF is very athletic and is a guy to keep an eye on. In terms of offense, this is quite evenly matched; which is not something I expect of many teams. Third basemen, Casey Martin, leads Arkansas with .357 average and a 1.013 OPS. Their second basemen, Carson Shaddy, has an OPS of 1.057 and a .335 batting average. Heaston Kjerstad, LF, and Eric Cole, RF and 4th rd pick, are hitting .337 and .325 respectively. As a team, they are hitting .302 on the season and are regarded as one of the top hitting teams.
And finally, how teams and players are performing recently is very important. Arkansas is quite rested compared to the Beavers because they have only played three games in Omaha. The centerfielder above, Dom Fletcher, and Casey Martin, are hitting .571 in Omaha.
Even though the Beavers have played five games in eight days, their two aces have not thrown well at all, and Kwan may not be able to play, I still think the Beavers are the favorites. The few Vegas lines I was able to find also feel the same way, somewhere between -245 to -345 for OSU to win it all. The lineup is red hot, hitting .351 in Omaha and I have a hard time believing Heimlich and Fehmel each have three straight bad games. The Beavers are also Omaha experienced and are led by one of, if not, the best coaches. I strongly feel that Con and Andy will be flying back after having shut down TD Ameritrade with a National Championship.
Grace and Peace.
By Andy / PNW Sports
What seemed like a tall order a week ago is now reality. After dropping its first game of the College World Series to North Carolina, Oregon State fought back to win four consecutive elimination games and earn a spot in the championship series against Arkansas.
With an appearance in the National Championship secured, we decided it was time for our rag tag crew to make the long dreamed of pilgrimage to Omaha. Over the course of the next few days we’ll be sharing our experiences and thoughts with you as we take in Omaha live and in person for the first time. Hopefully this provides some insight/entertainment to you. If nothing else, it will serve as a way for us to document the trip.
Now that we’ve given you a fair explanation, here are some notes from day 1:
By Andy / PNW Sports Fans
It seems like yesterday that the Beavers historic 2017 season came to an end in Omaha. But it didn’t conclude with the dogpile that had been seemingly written into the script months prior. A team that came to Omaha with just 4 losses on the season, was instead sent home from the doorstep of the championship series. How could this be? What happened? Greg Street couldn’t see an elephant if its trunk was touching his nose! The Beavs were a team of destiny! These thoughts among others raced through my head as my friends and I finished our beers in disgust at Prineville’s, Ochoco Brewing (Shoutout to them. Good food, good beer and they put the game on for us after a dusty day of softball.) We were supposed to embark on a cross country road trip the following morning to take in the championship series. But like the Beavers, the season didn’t end with us being where we’d hoped.
No matter how hard we tried to pinch ourselves, it was over. The best Oregon State baseball team to ever grace a diamond was coming back to Corvallis empty handed. It was a sobering couple of weeks. An all time great team wouldn’t be rewarded with the immortality it deserved. Instead it would be remembered as a great season that ultimately ended with thoughts of what could have been.
Fast forward a year to present day. Here we are. The Beavers are back in Omaha with a chance to start over and be remembered in a positive way (Hopefully John Canzano and the Oregonian see the irony). It won’t be easy. This field is stacked with blue bloods, immense talent, and teams that are incredibly tough outs. Oh, and the Washington Huskies will also be there.
A lot of familiar faces remain from last year’s squad. Nick Madrigal and Steven Kwan are back. Cadyn Grenier, Trevor Larnach, Adley Rutschman, and Bryce Fehmel are there too. Battle tested seniors Jack Anderson, Kyle Nobach and Luke Heimlich (who decided not to pitch last year because our society doesn’t truly believe in two sides to a story, rehabilitation, or second chances) will all be there. And of course, Pat Casey will be there donning the number 5 from a sun soaked dugout of TD Ameritrade Park.
Yes, much will be the same. But one key difference will be the repetitive muttering of a single word by both players and fans. “FINISH”! It’s a word Nick Madrigal and other leaders of the team have repeatedly used to describe the sole focus of this season. It’s the reason a customary dogpile was absent from an Omaha clinching celebration. And it is that word that will ultimately define the 2018 Beavers. It’s time to finish.
See you in Omaha!