#1 Oregon St. (42-11, 23-6) at USC (28-24, 15-14) / Rod Dedeaux Park, Los Angeles, OR / 12:05 PM PDT / Pac-12 Channel / KEJO 1240 AM / KPOJ 620 AM
Oregon St. and USC wrap up their regular seasons with the deciding game of their series this afternoon.
After taking the outright Pac-12 title with yesterday's 2-0 win, the second complete game shutout spun by Ben Wetzler in a week, the Beavers don't have a lot to play for, as the conference championship sewed up a "National Seed" in the NCAA Playoffs, though how high that seed is could still be affected, especially since Oregon St. had lost 3 out of their last 5 games before yesterday. And it would be nice to retain their first ever in season #1 ranking.
Perfect Game now projects the Beavers to have slipped to the #3 National Seed.
But Oregon St. head coach Pat Casey's focus now is getting set for the post-season, and discussed last night possibly not starting Andrew Moore in order to have him fully rested for next weekend's NCAA Regional, where you must win at least 3 game, and in the event of a loss, 4 games, to get to the Super Regional round.
Moore (5-4, 2.94 ERA) will get the start, however. Moore has pitched better than his w-l record, as his sub 3 ERA indicates.
The focus needs to be on offensive production though, as starting pitching hasn't been a problem, even in losses, and the Beaver defense is playing very well. Oregon St. has allowed more than 4 runs only 5 times since the first of March.
One change Coach Casey has made does not affect the batting order, as Dylan Davis will DH today, and Michael Howard will play right field to start. They could switch at some point in the game, and both remain in the batting order.
The Trojans will be looking for their 3rd series win against Oregon St. in the last 4 years, which would be only the second lost series this season for the Beavers. The 3 series wins since 2011 is something no one else could claim. A win will also earn USC a winning conference record to go along with the already assured first winning overall season in 9 years.
Whether USC can still snatch an at large bid to the NCAA Tournament with a series win, but not a sweep, is highly uncertain, and subject to upsets in other conference tournaments at this point.
USC head coach Dan Hubbs also didn't settle on a starter for today in advance, not knowing what all the circumstances might be.
His choice for a starter today is his normal closer, sophomore RHP Kyle Davis (2-4, 1.35 ERA). All 25 of Davis' appearances this season have been in relief, and he has 9 saves.