Dan Child is expected to take the mound for Oregon St. against San Francisco tonight. - (Photo by Andy Wooldridge)
San Francisco (6-8) at #3 Oregon St. (15-0) / 5:35 PM PDT / Goss Stadium / KEJO 1240 AM & KPOJ 620 AM
Oregon St. starts a 2 game mid-week series against San Francisco this evening, with the second game scheduled for the same time tomorrow night. The Dons are swinging by Corvallis on their way to Spokane, for their West Coast Conference opening series at Gonzaga.
The Beavers completed a sweep of Texas St. Sunday with a 6-4 win powered by Tyler Smith's 4th career homer, a 3 run shot in the 6th inning that went out over the 15' high left field fence.
Smith's weekend, which also included a triple, and going 7 of 15 at the plate, with 6 RBIs, earned him the Pac-12 Player of the Week honor. Smith brings a 9 game hitting streak into the series with San Francisco.
The Diamond Dons had the final game of their series at Missouri rained out, after splitting the first 2. San Francisco's last game was an 8-3 win Saturday over the Tigers, in which the Dons scored 5 runs in the 9th. inning.
San Francisco has already accumulated 1 upset win over a ranked Pac-12 opponent, having taken the final game of their series weekend before last at Arizona by a 9-2 score, so Oregon St. certainly can't take the Dons lightly.
With maximizing wins in their non-conference schedule a priority, since overall record and RPI will matter when it comes to trying to secure not only the best possible NCAA regional seeding, but also gain a SuperRegional, Oregon St. coach Pat Casey is tentatively going to go with junior RHP Dan Child (3-0, 1.56) on the mound.
Another reason for the move is the fact that Child is a low-ball, ground-ball pitcher, and this coming weekend's Pac-12 opening series is at Arizona. The 'Cats' infield is notoriously hard and fast (Casey has likened it to a parking lot), a surface tailor made for ground ball to get through for hits, clearly not the best match for Child's style.
At this point, Casey believes Child has a quicker turn-around time, and could be used Sunday if needed, whereas Casey didn't think Ben Wetzler, who started last Sunday would be ready again by this weekend if he had pitched tonight.
San Francisco's decision on who to counter with will be a late in game day decision. One possibility is Christian Cecilio, who started the series finale against Arizona, but missed an expected start Sunday in Columbia. Cecilio (1-0, 7.11) has made 3 starts this season.
Some players the Dons will go with include outfielder Derek Atkinson, who has hit safely in 4 straight games, and went 5 for 15 over the weekend, scoring 3 runs and driving in 2, and third baseman Bob Cruikshank and probably catcher Zachary Turner, both of whom have hit safely in 12 of San Francisco's 14 games. Turner leads the West Cost Conference, with a .407 batting average, and is tied for the conference lead with 22 hits. He has 13 RBIs already this season.
The Beavers and Dons haven't met in 4 years, since an 11-9 Oregon St. win in Palm Springs in 2009. The Beavers have beaten the Dons in 8 of 11 meetings all time, including the last 4 contests.
It's a half-price series, with all tickets discounted. The reserved seats are $10, and the right field bleachers can be accessed for just $5.