Wright St. (2-5) vs. #3 Oregon St. (6-2) / Goss Stadium / 5:05 PM PST / No TV / KEJO 1240 AM / KPOJ 620 AM
It's the home opener for Oregon St. baseball this evening, which could prove to be a chilly affair, especially compared to having spent the first 2 weeks of the season in suburbs of Phoenix, AZ, where the over-night lows didn't approach what the high temperature during tomorrow's doubleheader will be, never mind the football season weather that will prevail this evening. First pitch was moved up from the originally published 5:35 PM to 5:05, but you won't feel that difference.
Fortunately, Oregon St. fans are used to chilly night games, especially after getting plenty of practice last football season. And so are this weekend's opponents, the Wright St. Raiders from Dayton, OH, an upper mid-west team from the Horizon League.
Why, exactly, Wright St. is known as the Raiders when their logo and mascot, though known as "Rowdy Raider", is a wolf, which replaced a Viking-like character used in the early days of the school which was founded in 1967, is unknown.
What is known is Wright St., who will face Oregon St. twice more tomorrow, beginning at 12:35 PM, and again on Sunday for a 4th game in the series, scheduled to start at 1:05, has already logged a lot of miles, and faced some quality opponents.
Wright St. was originally scheduled to play, with Michigan St., who beat the Beavers 8-7 last Saturday in Surprise, AZ, in the Aramark Big-10 Pac-12 Challenge, among others, in the USA Baseball Complex Classic in Cary, NC, on opening weekend. But that tournament was snowed out, and the Raiders and Spartans found an available field in Nashville, TN, at Vanderbilt's home park, idle while the Commodores were spending opening weekend in Long Beach, CA, and played a 3 game series.
Michigan St. won the opener 4-1, but Wright St. took the opener of Sunday's double header 7-1, before falling 2-1 in the concluding game of the series.
Last weekend, it was Wright St.'s turn to head out to Long Beach, where the Raiders upset UC-Irvine 3-1 last Friday. Saturday, Wright St. dropped a 4-1 decision to the tournament host 49ers, and the Raiders concluded the weekend with a 7-2 loss to Arizona St., whom Oregon St. will be hosting in 3 weeks.
Wright St. also dropped a 7-1 contest at Kentucky on Tuesday.
Wright St. junior righthander Travis Hissong (1-1, 3.55 ERA), who was the Horizon League Pitcher of the Year last year, was also named last week's Horizon League Pitcher of the Week, after allowing just 1 run on 3 hits, with 2 walks and 5 strikeouts, in 7 innings in the Raiders' win over the Anteaters. Hissong will head to the hill again this evening.
Oregon St. sophomore RHP Andrew Moore (0-1, 1.42 ERA), who will get the start for the Beavers, worked 2 outs into the 7th inning against Nebraska, and gave up 6 hits and 5 runs, though errors behind him had a lot to do with it, as only 1 run was earned.
Offensively, Oregon St.'s Kavin Keyes enters the weekend hitting .487, with already 14 hits. Jeff Hendrix is hitting .500, but left last Saturday's game with a pulled hamstring, suffered while legging out a double.
Michael Conforto is [only] hitting .385, but has drawn 11 walks already.
Wright St. has no one hitting above .300. Joe Ford leads the Raiders, at .292, and Kierston Greene is hitting .286, with 8 hits, though 4 of them have been doubles.
Oregon St. last met Wright St. in baseball in the 2006 Corvallis Regional, and the Beavers defeated the Raiders 5-3, before also downing Kansas and Hawaii, en route eventually to Omaha, where they won the first of their two national titles.
The Raiders only played their first baseball game in 1971, and have gone to the Division I post season 5 times, most recently in 2011, after finishing runner up in Division II in 1987, in the last of 7 trips they made to the D II playoffs.
With Jeff Hendrix still nursing a pulled hamstring, Michael Howard gets the start in center field tonight. Here's the Oregon St. lineup:
SS - Trever Morrison
1B - Kavin Keyes
LF - Michael Conforto
RF - Dylan Davis
3B - Caleb Hamilton
CF - Michael Howard
C - Logan Ice
Jace Fry Billy King (Coach Pat Casey is doing his silly start and scratch a pitcher thing again)
2B - Andy Peterson
P - Andrew Moore