3 Quick Hits; Weekend Warriors

Featured3 Quick Hits; Weekend Warriors

By Con / PNW Sports Fans

Here on another addition of 3 quick hits to start off your week. Our random thoughts and observations from any weekend activities.

1. OSU Baseball just misses sweep: While one of the PNW crew members is busy in the Basque country, an unlikely member was glued to the Oregon State baseball series vs Stanford this weekend. It was a pleasurable site watching OSU pound the Cardinal into submission game one and game two and to start game three. Then it all fell apart when frosh Kevin Abel walked 30 straight batters… Ok maybe not that many but you get the point. However, this does not put a damper on taking the series from your only competition in the Pac-12. OSU bats are FIRE right now. They will continue to be the rest of the season. The lineup is too good for any pitcher to get past. But the elusive Sunday starter still remains a mystery. We had faith in Abel as he had a few brilliant performances recently and with Grant Grambrell not being able to pitch effectively in t-ball right now,  Abel is one of our only options. We will see what Pat does. I prefer to try Brandon Eisert out as Sunday starter. He is more experienced then Abel and has proven the ability to keep his pitch count down and be semi consistent. We will see how this develops. Quote of the weekend from Steven Kwan regarding Pat Casey as a coach: “He’s the biggest motivator ever, the best coach I’ve ever had, but really hard to play for at first. He had the look that would bring you to your knees. That played into my self-doubts, made you think you’re the worst baseball player ever.”

GOD BLESS YOU PAT. NEVER CHANGE.

2. HOW DID BRAD STEVENS NOT WIN COY??? HOW DID BRAD STEVENS NOT WIN COY? HOW DID BRAD STEVENS NOT WIN COY? HOW DID BRAD STEVENS NOT WIN COY?HOW DID BRAD STEVENS NOT WIN COY? HOW DID BRAD STEVENS NOT WIN COY? HOW DID BRAD STEVENS NOT WIN COY? HOW DID BRAD STEVENS NOT WIN COY? HOW DID BRAD STEVENS NOT WIN COY? HOW DID BRAD STEVENS NOT WIN COY?

PROOF THE NBA IS RIGGED. RIP DWANE CASEY THOUGH. Best record in FRANCHISE HISTORY and gets fired? LOL. Terry Stotts should retire then…

3. It’s a slow sports season…Braught what is happening with the Mariners? Oh yeah they suck again and over-committed to all fans and got everyone hyped about how good they were going to be and half their team is injured I guess. Oh and the Ichiro experiment? He is quickly to the front office…as what? Hopefully head translator so he can speak to the clone of himself he will bless the Mariners franchise with. Seriously, I am calling for a complete overhaul and dismantling of this franchise. A la the Florida Marlins except not with the slime ball Derek Jeter and with actual intelligence in trades and signings, not another MLB team working hard to make the Yankees better…

 

PS: Great job Wayne Tinkle for getting a midget point guard who can’t really shoot. So he will be slashing to the rim I guess at 5’5″??? Awesome strategy. But hey Nate Robinson is/was the ultimate OSU basketball killer…

 

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Civil War Baseball Preview

Beavers april 2018

Photo Courtesy of Andy’s phone. This was taken during February trip to Surprise, AZ

By Braught / PNW Sports Fans

I don’t know about you, but I still have a bad taste in my mouth from the 2011 Civil War Series. That season the ducks beat the Beavers in football and played in the BCS championship game, swept them in the Civil War basketball series, and swept the Beavers in the three game conference series in baseball. That is not supposed to happen to the Beavers! They are suppose to dominate the in state rival because as we have all known, and as ESPN declared this weekend, the ducks only have baseball because they are jealous of our success.

The Following is from the ESPN Broadcast of last Friday’s game against Missouri State.

Oregon will never admit this, but a lot of the reason why Oregon has a program, now that they brought baseball back, was the success Pat Casey has had 45 minutes up the road in Corvallis by winning those back to back national championships.”

Now I don’t expect, nor could I handle, Oregon sweeping the Beavers this year. This is an ideal match up for the Beavers to see if they have made the right adjustments to get on track. The bats came alive for the Beavers while in Springfield, Missouri and the Oregon pitching staff should be a good test to see if that carries over.

Oregon’s Pitching:

Oregon’s rotation has been in flux a little all season long, but I would expect to see Matt Mercer, 2.40 ERA on Thursday and then Kenyon Yovan, 2.59 ERA, and Kolby Sommers, 3.57 ERA on Friday and Saturday.  I would consider Mercer the ace of their lineup. His funky delivery yields a solid fastball that can reach 95 and an above-average changeup. He has improved each year at U of O but his command is lacking, 23 BB in 56 IP, so I would like to see the Beavers get deep into the counts with him.

On Sunday, the ducks played 23 innings of doubleheader baseball and Yovan threw 118 pitches in game one. I would not be surprised if he gets pushed to Friday and Somers moves to Thursday. Yovan was an All American closer for the ducks in 2017 but you may remember him as the pitcher that bounced one off Madrigal’s hand, forcing him to miss multiple games last year. Yovan recently moved from the bullpen and just made his fourth start at Washington. He was selected in the 32nd round out of Westview High School but turned it down to go to college and is currently a Top 100 2019 MLB draft prospect. His fastball is in the lows 90s and he has an average to above-average slider. He is much more of strikeout pitcher, 55 in 41IP, than Mercer but has the same command issues, 23 BB in 41 IP. His start in Washington was the first time he has given up a HR in his collegiate career and his longest outing, 7 innings. Not only can Yovan pitch, he can hit and we will probably see him at the plate at some point in the series.

Somers elected to go to college after being drafted in the 38th round by the Mariners in last year’s draft. He is a left-handed pitcher with a 1-5 record and 3.57 ERA. Better command than the other two with 31 strikeouts and only 7 BB in 35 IP, but opponents are batting .294 against him.

The other pitchers to know are Parker Kelly, 4-0 1.72 ERA, and James Acuna, 2-1 4.88 ERA. Parker is by far the best arm out of the bullpen, throwing upper 80’s to low 90’s on his fastball and a solid breaking ball. He has 44 Ks to 9 BBs in 31 IP. The Beavers will see him more than once this weekend would be my guess.

Oregon’s Batting:

When it comes to team batting average, Oregon State is in the top 15, where as the Ducks are below 200, only above WSU in the Pac-12. And unlike in the past where Oregon may have a low BA but a high on base percentage due to the number of walks and pitches they leaned into, that is not true this year. There OBP again ranked in the 200’s, compared to OSU’s top 15 ranking. They also are not sacrificing at the same rate, with only 17 on the year compared to OSU’s 34 and Top 10 ranking. This is a different Penguin (Horton) style of baseball.

Hitters to know are Kyle Kasser 2B, Jakob Goldfarb RF, and Gabe Matthews 1B. Kasser will lead it off for them and has a .321 Avg and .415 OBP. He is there to set the plate as there is no power to speak of when it comes to him, only 5 doubles and 0 triples or HRs. Jakob, .319/.388/.529 and Gabe, .288/.393/.464 are much more your power guys. Jakob has some athleticism to him to go along with power as seen by his 6 stolen bases and 5 HR. Gabe will strikeout ever third time he’s up to bat though.

Oregon State:

Now if you are here, I expect you know the basics about the baseball team and will try not to fill you in with too many stats.

The big news for the Beavers this weekend is the return of their All American, Nick Madrigal. You must put Nick back at second as soon as he and the medical staff give you the greenlight but what do you do with the red-hot Andy Armstrong. Per the Oregon State gameday, Andy has hit safely in 19 of his last 20 games, at .361 Avg and 17 RBIs. I believe there are two options, Andy becomes the DH or if Andy has the arm, you move him to third and Gretler moves to first. Thankfully there is not much of a drop off from 1 – 9 in this lineup because this Oregon staff will be tough.

On the pitching side, it will be the same three, Heimlich, Fehmel, and Gambrell. The only change is that Fehmel could throw Thursday since he only threw 26 pitches when in Springfield, allowing Heimlich to get more rest. If the trio maintains command, I expect them all to have a good series against this Oregon lineup.

With the great weather inbound, Goss Stadium will be the place to be.

Beavs one step away from CWS.

By Andy / PNW Sports Fans

You would’ve thought Holy Cross and Yale were made of wood the way Oregon State chewed through last weekend’s regional. The Beavers left little doubt in all three games winning by a combined total of 27-3. The pitching was for the most part outstanding once again but perhaps more impressive were the bats. The Beavs showed the ability to to score runs in bunches and found themselves ahead early and often.

This weekend presents a different challenge. Oregon State wont be facing Holy Cross or Yale this time around. Instead it will be SEC power Vanderbilt visiting Goss Stadium for the Super Regional. The Commodores are 36-23-1 but have faced a rigorous schedule including having to beat Clemson twice to earn a trip to Corvallis.

Vanderbilt faced a lot of strong competition in the SEC and their fans aren’t afraid to let you know about it.  I’m sure they respect the Beavers and what they have accomplished this season, but I certainly get the sense that they don’t fully buy the hype. There’s no doubt Oregon State will need to play some of its best baseball of the season if they have any hope of punching a ticket to Omaha.

The talented Commodores have two outstanding pitchers of their own including  Kyle Wright, who many think could be the number 1 overall pick in the upcoming 2017 MLB draft. Vanderbilt compliments its pitching staff with a lineup that possesses some serious power, tallying a ridiculous 50 home runs.

Obviously the Beavers will be facing stiffer competition this weekend, but they should be able to take care of a streaky Vanderbilt team. My Vandy counterparts will certainly disagree and probably rebuttal by saying the SEC was far superior to the PAC 12 this season. After all, I can’t argue with the fact that there are six teams representing the SEC in the Super Regionals. But still, it’s not like the SEC is the MLB and the PAC 12 is a Single A short season division. Oh and let’s remember that the PAC-12 actually has 17 College World Series Titles compared to the SEC’s 10. Sure the Beavers might have lost a few more games had they faced Vanderbilt’s schedule, but 52-4 is no fluke. Aside from that I can pretty much guarantee this OSU squad wouldn’t drop two of three to Cal State Northridge or lose a game to Tennessee Tech. At the end of the day 52-4 is a far cry from 36-23-1 no matter what conference the teams play in.

I’m not saying Vanderbilt is a slouch. I actually think they are a really good team that is getting hot at the right time. As I stated before, OSU will need to play some of its best baseball to date if they want to move on. Yes, Vanderbilt is a formidable foe, but I also believe in the body of work this Oregon State team has put together. They have answered the bell at every checkpoint throughout this historical season and I don’t think they will cower in fear this weekend. When the Beavers take the field this Friday they’ll be focused on one singular thought. . . Omaha or bust!

Go Beavs!

Beaver Baseball heads into final weekend of regular season on historic rampage.

Beaver Baseball heads into final weekend of regular season on historic rampage.

By Andy / PNW Sports Fans

I know most Beaver fans, including myself believed the baseball team would have a great season in 2017. The combination of immense talent, incredible coaching, and the bitter taste of 2016 made a strong season almost a forgone conclusion.

But nobody saw this coming. Nobody could have predicted the team would be heading into memorial weekend with a 45-4 record, having already clinched a Pac-12 title nearly two weeks ago. The Beavs haven’t dropped a series since last season and went 27-3 in the Pac 12.

What’s transpired this season is downright insane. The fact that Oregon State has lost just four games the entire year is other worldly. The 23 game winning streak was wild enough, but at this point it seems puzzling that the Beavers have dropped any games this season. In fact, the team is currently riding a twelve game winning streak headed into the final weekend of regular season play.

We’ve seen some incredible teams grace the diamond at Coleman Field over the years, but this current team seems to have something a little extra special. They’ve won a ton of close games, and they’ve also dominated games. They’ve won with outstanding pitching, but they’ve also shown they can put up plenty of runs. There have been walk-offs and run aways, pitching duels and high scoring affairs, defensive clinics and offensive showcases. Through it all the Beavers have proven they are a team of championship pedigree. This team simply refuses to accept defeat and it’s that very trait that could take them to Omaha.

No, I’m not crowning them prematurely. In fact I’ll come right out and say if this team fails to make the College World Series it will certainly feel like a disappointment and a lost opportunity. This program knows the sting of falling short of big aspirations. Losing the regional as the top overall seed in 2014 was a tough pill to swallow. So again the purpose of this isn’t to anoint a team long before its goals are realized, but rather admire what they’ve accomplished over the course of a historic regular season.

I mean you’ve got to stop and at least appreciate the fact that the team has a collective 1.87 ERA. That shouldn’t even be possible. It’s been an incredible ride thus far and it should get more fun with every pitch going forward. No matter what happens this weekend with a less than stellar Abilene Christian team (13-39/3-27) the Beavers are all but guaranteed the top overall seed and a route to Omaha that will run through Corvallis. We’ve still got a long way to go before we can start reminiscing about how truly special this season has been, but until then I’m going to appreciate and enjoy what has been a historically dominant rampage through the regular season.

In case you aren’t enjoying this enough please refer to what I wrote a year ago and be thankful for where the team is at now. https://pnwsportsfans.com/2016/06/01/ncaa-hoses-the-beavers/

Man it’s fun to have a program like this.

Go Beavs!

 

OSU Baseball revenge tour: So far, so good.

OSU Baseball revenge tour: So far, so good.

By Andy/ PNW Sports Fans

Photo Credit: Daily Emerald

First of all, I owe everyone an apology. We’ve been way too inconsistent with updating content on here. So I’m just going to get this out of the way up front. Sorry for sucking. Not that anybody is reading this anyway, but I am sorry.

Well let me go ahead and jump right into it. The Oregon State baseball team is 21-1. By most standards that’s a pretty solid start (Thanks again for adding fuel to the fire coach Meggs. We’ll see you in a couple of weeks when the Beavs bring their brooms to Seattle).

After the great injustice of 2016 in being left out of the postseason , the 2017 Beavers aren’t leaving anything to chance.

Let’s take a look at what’s transpired to this point:

The Beavers have earned a unanimous No.1 ranking by getting the nod in all six of the major polls. They’ve won 16 games in a row, including a sweep of a top 10 Arizona team over the past weekend. They’ve shown resilience, winning three games in the final at bat over the span of a week. The team ERA is a filthy 1.55, while their batting average is hovering around .300. If that’s not enough they also lead the conference in stolen bases with 28.

Those are just a few noteworthy stats that start to tell the story of how dominant this team has been through the early part of the season. It’s easy to see that this team is as hungry as it is talented. Yes, it’s true that we aren’t even to April. But this squad looks to have all of the intangibles.

First of all you have fantastic coaching; This isn’t the first rodeo for Pat Casey and his experienced staff. You’d be hard pressed to find better coaching at any other program in the country. Casey is going to be that steadying force throughout the season. He tells it like it is, and he’s not going to sugarcoat anything. It also helps that he’s been on the biggest stage in college baseball several times.

This team is also the beneficiary of great pitching. Luke Heimlich, Jake Thompson and Bryce Fehmel provide a very solid starting rotation, and the depth of the bullpen is icing on the cake. Every team with aspirations for Omaha must have great pitching to get there. This team has that capability.

Another key ingredient which the Beavers posses is the ability to consistently hit the ball. Nick Magdrigal should change his name to Nick Magical. The guy flat out has “it”. He’s incredible at the plate, currently boasting a .407 average. Madrigal seemingly comes up with clutch hit after clutch hit. Madrigal is no doubt the face of the team, but he’s not the only one carrying the load. KJ Harrison has had an electric start (even while battling a thumb injury) posting a .337 average while knocking 12 RBI’s. On top of that, a host of other Beavers also have averages of .300 or better.

Leadership is crucial for a team with lofty goals. Luckily the Beavers have that and it has shown during some tense early season moments. Oregon State has several players who have extensive experience with Division 1 baseball. Some names that come to mind include, Max Engelbrekt, Christian Donahue, KJ Harrison, Jake Thompson, Luke Heimlich and others. These guys understand what it takes to be successful and know that nothing can be taken for granted (including that a 35-19 record is good enough to get you to the postseason).

I understand there’s many innings left to play this season, but I also understand that this team has the potential to be National Champions. A lot can happen between now and June, but I don’t think the 2017 Beavers will fade away. There will be losses along the way, that’s a given. However, I think what’s transpired so far is no fluke. This revenge tour is the real deal. Hopefully by the season’s end people will understand it’s unwise to piss off a Pat Casey coached team.

Go Beavs!

 

 

God Bless Pat

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Photo Courtesy Brent Drinkut Statesman Journal

By Andy / PNW Sports Fans

It appears as if the Oregon State baseball season ended on a good note after all. You might ask yourself, “how can you possibly say that after the article you wrote a few weeks ago, Andy?” The answer is simple friends. Pat is staying.

For those who don’t know, Coach Casey was offered the head coaching gig at The University Texas last week. My guess is the offer was nothing to scoff at. I’m sure he was promised just about everything. I imagine it included a cool Mil salary, a vacation home in the Bahamas, a seventy oz steak paired with a glass of scotch for every meal and a $100,000 Ford F-650 (yes those are real) with big A** authentic long horns mounted on the grill.  I’m sure the list goes on, but those are some of the perks I would expect Texas to offer a fine coach like Casey.

But as I mentioned, Casey isn’t going anywhere. He’s staying put in Corvallis.  And since I started down the road of fantasizing, I might as well add that I would like to believe that while the two sides were meeting, they were all smoking giant cigars and when Casey got up to leave he put his out on the forehead of the Texas Athletic Director to let him know his decision. Anyways, Casey turned down a school that has great tradition and a lot of resources to offer in favor of remaining with the program he built in to a champion. Now let’s all celebrate with a deep sigh of relief

All that to say, I’m not really surprised that coach Casey decided to stay at Oregon State. He is a native Oregonian who is deeply rooted in this region by both family and success. His fingerprints are all over the baseball program, school, city, and state. Thats something to be proud of. He’s been a constant the last 22 years at OSU. A  stretch that has seen many other coaches come and go. Casey has been the symbol of stability for a fan base that’s waded through many shaky stretches. It’s not just that he’s stuck around a while either. He has built a powerhouse baseball program in the state of Oregon. He hasn’t just coached for two plus decades, he’s won! Again and again and again and again. Or in the words of Marshawn Lynch, “over and over and over and over”.

This isn’t the first time Casey has been offered a job at another school. Heck, it happens almost every summer. But he sticks around and is far from shy about the way he feels about the university and community at Oregon State. In a day in age where it seems everybody eventually leaves for perceived “greener pastures” coach Casey seems to think the artificial turf at Coleman Field is the greenest. Now that’s loyalty.

There are so few coaches these days that seem to have an unbreakable bond with their school. I mean just look at Oregon state. Yes, I know some have been fired because they are so inept (once again, looking at you Craig). But most of the half-decent ones that have tasted success seem to think OSU is a stepping stone. Happy go lucky Mike even did it twice and didn’t give so much as an “Aw Shucks” or a “hip hip hooray” on his way out the door. And as much as I like coach Tinkle and the program he is building, he represents the most recent example. I simply can’t fathom why he felt it was acceptable to interview for the Stanford job after just two years with OSU and putting up a 19 win season. I mean don’t get me wrong, thank you for breathing some life in to a program that’s been dormant for 26 years, but sheesh! That’s the thanks the school gets for giving you a shot at coaching in the Pac 12? I’m still a huge Tinkle fan, but I would like a formal apology for even toying with the possibility.

I digress. Basically what I’m trying to say is that coach Casey should be the most beloved coach of any sport by Beaver fans. He gets it. He’s proud of what he’s built in Corvallis and he loves the school and hasn’t forgotten the opportunity he was given all those years ago. Coach Casey summed it up best through a comment to Danny Moran of The Oregonian. “My loyalty speaks for itself.”

And for that, I and all of Beaver Nation say,

God Bless Pat.

NCAA Hoses the Beavers

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Photo Courtesy LM Otero Associated Press

By Andy / PNW Sports Fans

Does somebody need to remind the NCAA that the Beavers have a sanctioned Division I baseball program? It seems as if that fact has escaped the minds of the organization’s selection committee as the Beavs were inexplicably left out of the NCAA baseball playoffs on Monday. Leaving us all to question, how?

I guess the quickest way to make sense of it is to look at the resumé that fell short of the selection committees so-called “criteria”. Thirty Five and Nineteen. OSU wrapped up the season with a record of 35 wins and 19 losses. Pretty respectable record by most standards, especially for a school in a power five conference. Their RPI? Try 44. Only a point lower than that of conference foe Arizona State whom the Beavers swept while also finishing with a better overall record than the Sun Devils. What did the selection committee do with ASU? They went right ahead and gave them a two seed. What a joke. Unfortunately it gets worse.

The Beavs were once ranked as high as the No. 3 team in the country. However a slew of injuries saw them rapidly fall out of the top ten. The biggest blow was losing the team ace in starting pitcher Drew Rasmussen. Sure the Beavers went through a tough slide, but that was understandable with the constant shuffling of lineups and the pitching rotation. Even so, the Beavs found themselves in the top 25 as recently as three weeks ago. Yes, they had let downs to lesser teams such as dropping the civil war series to Oregon or losing a mid-week head scratcher to Portland, but they kept fighting. They finished the season by taking five out of their final six games including a three game sweep of UCLA in the final series of the season.  How that wasn’t enough to get them in will never be clear. Again a top 25 team just weeks ago somehow found itself outside of the top 64 yesterday. Puzzling to say the least.

Well maybe it’s not that puzzling when you consider that two bubble teams had  strong influences on the committee. South Alabama, a team that had a less than impressive resumé  found itself teetering on elimination. Not to fear! Turns out South Alabama’s athletic director is actually the chair of the selection committee. South Alabama gets  in as an at large bid. Beautiful! Two more people on that committee were formally assistant AD’s at OSU and apparently they had an axe to grind as both applied for the AD position that ultimately went to  Todd Stansbury. Hmmm??? I’m sensing a theme of a little conflict of interest going on. Still not ready to move into a full-blown conspiracy plot against the Beavs? Let’s add in the fact that another bubble team (University of Washington) has their very own coach on the West Region Committee. Where does Washington end up? YOU GUESSED IT! IN THE TOURNAMENT! How is that even remotely acceptable? Why are coaches  and AD’s of other schools that have a dog in the fight allowed to make these decisions? In what universe does that begin to make sense? Go ahead, call me biased… after all, I am. However, the facts speak for themselves. The Beavs got jobbed and everyone who pays attention to the sport knows it. I’ll lose my bias when the NCAA starts to show a shred of integrity in anything it does. In other words, I’ll lose my bias when there’s a blizzard in the hot place!

Do I sound bitter? Good!

Go Beavs!