#1 Oregon St. (41-9, 22-5) at Oregon (40-16, 17-10) / P.K. Park, Eugene, OR / 7:00 PM PDT / Pac-12 Channel / KEJO 1240 AM / KPOJ 620 AM
Top ranked Oregon St. visits Oregon this evening, in the finale of this season's baseball Civil War. The Beavers have already clinched the season series, having swept the Pac-12 series in Corvallis, and followed that up with a 4-3 12 inning win 2 weeks ago, on the same field in Eugene where tonight's game will be played.
The Beavers come in on a high note, having taken the last 2 games of their weekend series with now #8 Washington to take command of the Pac-12 race, and move to #1 in all the baseball polls for the first time ever during the course of the season.
The Ducks had a good week last week as well, downing Pacific, and then sweeping their series in Los Angeles against unsuccessfully defending National Champion UCLA, erasing the last hopes the Bruins might have had of getting back to the post-season.
The contest will be the first time the #1 team in the nation has visited Eugene, and only the 6th time the Ducks have played the #1 ranked team. A win would be a notable landmark event for Oregon.
Both teams will be looking to enhance or protect their seeding status for the post-season, though the outcome of the series ending conference series, Oregon St.'s at USC, and Oregon's hosting California (which will be Thursday, Friday, and Saturday evenings), will have a greater bearing, with both teams getting an RPI boost for another game against a quality opponent regardless of the outcome.
Oregon St. is in contention for the top national seed, and there's more than just prestige to protecting that, and could also carry over to determining which regional representative they might meet up with in the Super Regionals, should they win their regional.
Oregon is unlikely to get to host a regional unless there is continued faltering for several others, but if they are to have any chance, they need to sweep their final 4 games, which would send them into the post-season on an 8 game winning streak.
Their relative standing as one of the #2 seeds in the regionals is more likely what's at stake, but even in that case, a win tonight would help.
And a season sweep, for the Beavers, and avoiding one, for the Ducks, of course would have something to do with living with the outcome until next year, not to mention on the recruiting trail.
Neither team named a starter for tonight in advance, but its possible that the Beavers will again go with junior RHP Dylan Davis, normally their right fielder. Davis (0-0, 1.32 ERA) worked the first 5 scoreless innings of last week's 8-4 win over Portland, allowing only 1 hit and 2 walks, while striking out 5.
Davis, the Pac-12 leader in RBIs, also supplied most of the Oregon St. offense, with 5 RBI's including a grand slam home run.
Sophomore LHP Porter Clayton (2-1, 4.65 ERA) has started 2 of Oregon's last 3 "mid-week" games, both Oregon wins.
Oregon St. will probably still be without second baseman Andy Peterson, who is "day to day" after spraining his ankle in the dogpile celebration of Saturday's 1-0 walkoff win over Washington, and no final word on when first baseman Kavin Keyes, who has been out since breaking a bone in his glove hand against Washington St. last month, has come out yet either.