#16 Oregon State (39-19) vs. Lousiana-Monroe (32-29) at 1:30 PM CDT (11:30 AM 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. faces Louisiana-Monroe, the winners of the Sun Belt Conference Tournament (after finishing 4th in the regular season), in a do or die elimination game in the Baton Rouge Regional of the 2012 NCAA Baseball tournament.
The winner gets a rematch with LSU tonight at 6:30 PM CDT (4:30 PDT). It's the second elimination game of the weekend for the WarHawks, who had to beat Belmont 6-3 Saturday afternoon, after the Tigers beat them 4-1 Friday night. #3 LSU added Oregon St. to their list of victims with a 7-1 win Saturday night, in front of the largest crowd ever to attend a baseball game in Baton Rogue. This Tigers' 2 wins in this regional improve their record at home in the post-season to a staggering 78-14.
The Tigers scored first, using 3 singles to take a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the second inning, but the Beavers responded with 3 consecutive 2 out singles in the 3rd by Michael Conforto, Danny Hayes, and Ryan Dunn, to pull within 2-1.
It was all LSU after that, though. The Tigers added 2 more runs in the bottom of the third, capitalizing on Oregon St. starter Dan Child's control problems. Child hit lead off batter Mason Katz, and also served up a wild pitch that set the stage for a sacrifice and a single to make it 4-1.
Consecutive errors by Oregon St. to start the LSU half of the 6th inning, after the Beavers had gone 8 games without an error, set the table for another Tiger run, and ended the night for Child, who took the loss, and fell to 6-4 for the season.
Dylan Davis took over, and though he allowed a run on a wild pitch, recorded 4 strikeouts in the 6 batters he faced. Riley Wilkerson came on when Oregon St. coach Pat Casey waved the white flag, and got the only batter he faced out, but when Zach Reser came in needing to get 1 out, things really fell apart. Reser hit Arby Fields with a pitch, gave up a triple to Austin Nola, and uncorked a wild pitch that allowed Nola to score to make it 7-1 before getting out of the inning.
It's not as though Oregon St. didn't have chances against LSU ace Kevin Gausman, putting runners on base in each of the first 5 innings, and 7 of the 8 that Gausman worked. But they were all stranded exclusive of the run Conforto scored. Gausman improved to 11-1 for the year, after Tiger closer Nick Goody set the Beavers down in order for just the second time in the game to end the game.
Rest Of Pac Rolling
Oregon St. is the only Pac-12 team in the post-season in any danger of elimination yet, as the 4 teams that hosted regionals have all moved within 1 win of the Super Regional round, and with an extra game to work with.
Oregon held off a 5 run Fullerton St. rally to post a 7-5 win, UCLA cruised past New Mexico 7-1, and Stanford edged Pepperdine 5-4 on Saturday. But it is Arizona that is really looking scary, as the Wildcats backed up their 15-3 Friday night rout of Missouri with a 16-4 pounding of Louisville in last night's last game.
Beavers Need Offense
After scoring only 3 runs in 2 games, its going to be imperative that the Beavers get better production out of their offense, or they will be on a plane home this evening instead of playing a rematch with LSU. An awakening of the Beaver bats isn't out of the question, though, as the UL-Monroe staff that has a collective ERA of 4.28, and no regular pitcher with an ERA under 3.18.
The Warhawks broke open a 3-3 game Saturday afternoon against Belmont, with 3 runs in the bottom of the 8th inning. A two RBI single up the middle by senior shortstop Jeremy Sy, the Sun Belt Player of the Year, who finished the day 3-for-4 with a pair of RBIs and a run scored, was the big play that made the difference.
Sy, the WarHeaks shortstop, and Joey Rapp are the leading offensive threats. Sy entered the tournament hitting .329, with 35 RBIs and 4 home runs, and a slugging percent of .500, and an on base percent of .432. Rapp hit .325 for the season, with 51 RBIs and 9 home runs, a slugging percent of .534, and an on base percentage of .422. Overall, the WarHawks had an overall batting average of .272, with 33 homers on the year.
Casey knows how to coach in such situations, and is 11-4 in his career in elimination games. The Beavers will be the home team against UL-Monroe, who was the 4 seed in the region, and should Oregon St. win, will again be the home team tonight in the rematch with LSU.
The Beavers will send sophomore LHP Ben Wetzler (7-2, 3.39 ERA) out to try to handle UL-Monroe. The WarHawks will counter with junior RHP Shelby Aulds (3-2, 4.77ERA), and who would follow remains to be seen, but both teams have reached the point where everyone except the 2 starters they have used this weekend have to be an option.
UL-Monroe needed 2 extra inning wins to claim the Sun Belt Conference tournament, and they would not have made the post season had they not claimed the Sun Belt's automatic bid with the tournament win.
For those in the mid-valley, KEJO Radio, the Home of the Beavers, will again have a 1 hour tailgater show, starting at 10:00 AM, preceding the network pregame at 11:30 AM.