#3 Oregon St. (50-11, 24-6 in the Pac-12) vs. Mississippi St. (48-18, 16-14 in the SEC) / 2 PM CDT (12 Noon PDT) / TD Ameritrade Park, Omaha, NE / ESPN2 / KEJO 1240 AM & KPOJ 620 AM / SiriusXM Channel 91
Oregon St. and Mississippi St. square off today to open the 2013 College World Series. It's the first trip back to Omaha for both teams since 2007, when the Beavers won their second National Championship in as many years.
Back then, the games were played at Rosenblatt Stadium, which is not nothing but a parking lot. The College World Series has since moved to downtown Omaha in 2011, to TD Ameritrade Park, so its a new experience for those returning for both teams' staffs.
That of course includes Oregon St. head coach Pat Casey, but also assistant coach Andy Jenkins, who was a part of the Beavers' 2005 team, which made the first trip back to Omaha for the first time 53 years, but wasn't around for the 2 titles, playing instead in the minor leagues.
It's the 5th trip to Omaha for Oregon St., and #9 for Mississippi St., where only 8 of 298 Division I baseball teams are still playing.
TD Ameritrade Park is a somewhat spacious venue, measuring 334 feet down each foul line, tapering away quickly to 375 feet in the power alleys, and its 408 feet to straightaway center field, which should hold balls well, a plus for Oregon St.
The big news item leading up to the game came yesterday, when Casey decided to bypass senior LHP Matt Boyd (10-3, 2.13) who has been the series starting starter all season, opting instead to go with Freshman RHP Andrew Moore (14-1, 1.36).
Boyd threw 21 pitches in 1 2/3 innings on Monday evening to close out Oregon St.'s 4-3 win over Kansas St. in the deciding game of the Corvallis Super Regional, which made the Beavers one of only three of the eight National Seeds to advance to Omaha. It was Boyd's only relief effort of the season.
Casey spoke all week of starting with Boyd, who had 4 full days of rest, but changed his mind Friday. One factor is the loss of 1 day's rest relative to what Casey thought would be the case when he made the decision to use Boyd Monday evening.
Oregon St., and the rest of their regional group, which included Indiana and Louisville, who will play at 7 PM CDT (5 PM PDT), as well as Mississippi St., was originally scheduled to play their first games on Sunday, but during the game Monday night, the NCAA decided to flip the schedule, giving top seed North Carolina an extra day's rest, after rain postponed the finale of the Chapel Hill Regional to Tuesday morning, at which time the Tar Heels edged South Carolina 5-4.
It's certainly not a step back for the Beavers, though, as they get to go with a Freshman and a First Team All-American in Moore, who is on the final, short list for National Pitcher of the Year. Moore has his normal full week of rest, and Boyd will go Monday, in Oregon St.'s second game.
"It's going to be cool being able to throw the first pitch out there," Moore said.
Moore did what he has done all season in his last outing, an 8+ inning outing in the Beavers' 12-4 win over Kansas St. last Sunday in the middle game of the SR series. After 5 of Oregon St.'s losses this year, Moore has taken the mound and turned in a tide turning effort, picking up 4 wins and a save in the post-loss situations.
Mississippi St. will counter with senior RHP Kendall Graveman (7-5, 3.14). Graveman has 17 starts, including 3 complete games, for the Bulldogs.
Graveman worked an out into the 6th inning last Saturday in Mississippi St.'s 11-6 win at Virginia in the first game of their Super Regional. Graveman allowed 9 hits and 2 walks, and was charged with all 6 of the Cavaliers' runs, 4 of them earned, but he had 10 runs of offensive support by the point he turned the game over to the Bulldog bullpen, a group that had thrown the majority of Mississippi St.'s innings this season.
Oregon St. is the home team today, and is going with their usual lineup:
Mississippi St.'s batting order:
There's a 40% chance of showers and thunderstorms today in Omaha, so a delay is a possibility. Afternoon temperatures are expected to just top 80 degrees.