We're just over halfway through the season, and at 16-12, there's still room for this young team to grow. With a 4-5 conference record, the Beavers find themselves needing to steal a couple from Arizona State to climb into the top tier of the conference standings.
But as we know, a win over Arizona State will not be an easy task. In the DeMarini Invite earlier this season, the Sun Devils blanked the Beavers 11-0. Greg Peavey made his first collegiate start for the Beavers, and got shelled by ASU in the first inning, giving up seven runs right off the bat. The Beavers contained the Sun Devils to four runs in the final eight innings, but the Beaver offense could only produce six hits the entire game. Oregon State left seven men stranded, and only got one baserunner to third base.
So, what's different this time around?
First of all, Oregon State is hitting the ball much better than they did in the pre-season. The Beavers battled Stanford and Cal in the last two weeks, dropping both series' two games to one. The Beavers rank 52nd nationally in batting average, behind only Arizona State and California in the Pac-10.
Ryan Ortiz continues to hit the ball well, and it looks like Jordan Lennerton is coming out of his funk at the plate. Lots of the Beavers are stringing together hitting streaks these days: Drew George is hitting .533 over his four game streak, Jordan Lennerton is .583 over three games, Jason Ogata is .429 over five games, Daniel Robertson is .333 over four games, and Joey Wong is .467 over three games.
The one facet of the game that seems to be struggling is the pitching. It seems like we are relying a lot on our young arms when we have veterans that should be leading the way. Stutes and Reyes have both had their struggles, and Ketizman and Grbavac out of the pen have had their good days as well as their bad days. Mike Stutes, who has been the Friday starter for this year and last, is not listed as the probable starter today. There's probably a good chance that he will start the game, but it seems like the OSU coaches haven't made a decision on that yet. They may try to put Mike in the bullpen or move him to Saturday or Sunday to give the Beavers the best chance to win.
Runners left on base have also been a problem, but historically, it's always been a problem for Pat Casey's teams.
This weekend's games are set for 7:00 p.m. Friday, 6:00 p.m. Saturday, and 1:00 p.m. Sunday.