The Oregon St. infield of Ryan Dunn, Tyler Smith, John Tommasini, and Kavin Keyes celebrate the Beavers returning to the post-season. (Ethan Erickson photo)
Belmont (39-22) vs. #16 Oregon State (38-18) at 2 PM CDT (NOON PDT) at Alex Box Stadium on the LSU Campus in Baton Rogue, LA - Comcast Sports Northwest - KEJO 1240 AM & KPOJ 620 AM - Audio Stream on Beaver Nation Online, for a fee
Oregon St. opens NCAA Regional play in Baton Rogue with the Beavers' first ever meeting with the Belmont Bruins, champions of the Atlantic Sun Conference.
The Beavers finished tied for fourth in the Pac-12, 2 games out of first, after sweeping National Seed Oregon, who finished third for the conference, on the last weekend of the season.
The Bruins won 4 of 5 games last week to claim the Atlantic Sun Tournament, capped by a 10-4 win over Kennesaw St. Belmont was also the regular season champions of the Atlantic Sun, claiming the title by 1/2 game over South Carolina-Upstate, with a 17-10 conference record.
Belmont is located in Nashville, TN, and its the second year in a row the Bruins are in the post-season. The school was founded in 1951, and has an enrollment of 6,374. The Bruins first fielded a baseball team in 1954. Bruiser the Bruin is their mascot.
Last year, Belmont also won the Atlantic Sun tournament, and played in the Nashville regional, beating both Oklahoma St. and Troy, the first wins ever in the NCAA postseason in any sport for the Bruins, but falling twice to host Vanderbilt. The Commodores then proceeded to sweep Oregon St. in the Super Regional in Nashville.
For those in the mid-valley, KEJO Radio, the Home of the Beavers, has a 1 hour tailgater show, starting at 10:30 AM, preceding the network pregame at 11:30 AM.
Like Oregon St., Belmont has a long time coach in Dave Jarvis, who has a career record of 758-538-1 in 24 years, and a mark of 434-389-1 at Belmont in 15 seasons.
The Bruins are 4-2 against NCAA tournament teams this season, including a split with neighborhood rival Vanderbilt. Belmont is 2-1 against teams in the Eugene regional, having swept Austin Pea, but the Bruins did lose 13-4 to Oregon back in February, when the Ducks were in Nashville for a series with Vanderbilt, and also fit in a game with Belmont.
Besides Oregon, the Beavers and Bruins have another common opponent, as both beat St. Louis, with Oregon St. winning 6-5 in Surprise, Arizona, on March 3rd, and Belmont prevailing 5-4 way back on Feb. 19 in Nashville.
Belmont has the lowest team batting average of the teams in the Baton Rogue regional, hitting .266, compared to Oregon St.'s overall .283 average, and has scored the fewest runs, 335 of the 4 teams.
However, they also have the lowest team ERA, 3.11 (Oregon St.'s is 3.51), and opponents hit .249 against them, while the Beavers' opponents hit .264. Belmont pitching allowed 38 home runs, highest of the teams in the regional, and twice as many as Oregon St. surrendered. Relative stadium size the teams play in had a lot to do with those figures.
Not much work is likely to get done this afternoon, so take a long lunch, and join in in following along as the Beavers try to earn a Saturday night game instead of another afternoon game in the heat of the Bayou day.
Today's winner meets the winner of this evening's LSU (43-16) vs. University of Lousiana-Monroe (31-28) game tomorrow evening at 7 PM CDT (5 PM PDT), while the losers of today's games will meet in an elimination game at 2 PM CDT (NOON PDT).
Belmont is expected to go with junior LHP Chase Brookshire (8-3, 2.45 ERA), the best arm on a pretty solid staff. Oregon St. is going to open with freshman LHP Jace Fry (5-3, 2.48 ERA).
Of greater consequence is a change in the lineup, necessitated by the bruised foot/shin Michael Conforto has been struggling with. Conforto will be the DH today, with Ryan Barnes starting in left field. As a result, hot-hitting Danny Hayes, who has been the DH of late, will not start.