Believe it or not, it's already Baseball season.
Crazy, isn't it? As of Friday, the Beavers will have gone seven months since their 3-2 victory over North Carolina in the NCAA College World Series.
The Beavers have a difficult task ahead of them, as they will have to replace much of the nucleus of the 2006 National Championship team. As a matter of fact, the Beavers lost All-American pitchers Dallas Buck, Kevin Gunderson and Jonah Nickerson; All-American outfielder and Pacific-10 Player of the Year Cole Gillespie; Pac-10 Defensive Player of the Year second baseman Chris Kunda; All-College World Series third baseman Shea McFeely and first baseman Bill Rowe; and draft pick outfielder Tyler Graham.
Talk about some major shoes to fill. Most of the starters on this year's team will have no Division 1 experience at all.
The Beavers may be without their big names from last year, but they are definitely not without talent. The Beavs return junior righthander Mike Stutes and senior lefthander Anton Maxwell, two guys that spent time in the starting rotation last year. They've also got junior righthanders Eddie Kunz and Daniel Turpen back in the bullpen, along with sophomore rigthander Mark Grbavac.
In the infield, Oregon State returns shortstop Darwin Barney and catcher Mitch Canham, two guys that will both be great leaders for the '07 season.
In the outfield, the Beavers will have senior Scott Santschi, Sophomore John Wallace, and senior outfielder/designated hitter Mike Lissman.
With only a handful of returning players, it's nearly impossible to place incoming players onto a depth chart right now. It's going to take awhile for Pat Casey and the rest of his staff to get everyone into a set lineup, but the guys need to be ready to play. Oregon State plays one of the most challenging non-conference schedules they've had for a long time, starting tomorrow in the earliest ever season opener for an Oregon State team. Also of note-- this is Oregon State's 100th year of playing varsity Baseball.
The Beavers take to the field tomorrow when they travel to play Hawai’i-Hilo. The game begins at 8 p.m. PST. The two teams will also meet in a double header on Friday starting at 3 p.m., as well as a game Saturday at 4 p.m. That's four games in three days.