When we took a look at the Beavers in the first Baseball Report of the season, they were 7-6 coming off a two game series with Nevada. Nine games later, we're here to re-evaluate:
Well, what's changed since the middle of March? For one, confidence seems to be higher, which is definitely a good thing considering Pac-10 play has started. The Beavers pulled out back to back wins over Washington last Saturday in two very different styles, then won a long extra inning game against the University of Portland on Monday. The offense is continuing to improve, with the team batting average four points higher at .316. Drew George still leads the team in batting average, although his average has dropped from .429 to .386 over the last nine games. John Wallace has emerged as a clutch hitter, and has moved in behind George in the batting average category. Jason Ogata, OSU's normal DH, is also still doing well at .371.
On the mound, the team ERA has dropped from 6.08 to 4.08 over the last two weeks. Mike Stutes was 1-3 with a 7.29 ERA nine games ago, but is now 2-3 with a 4.91 ERA two starts later. He will get the start on Friday against the Bears, with James Nygren following on Saturday. Sunday's starter is yet to be determined.
Defensively, the fielding percentage continues to improve. The multi-error games are becoming more and more scarce, and the coaches are starting to settle guys in at starting positions. John Tommasini seems to have secured the second base spot, while Garrett Nash is making a push at the everyday left fielder spot, even though he's a true infielder. Ryan Ortiz has emerged as starting catcher, and center fielder Chris Hopkins is starting to get back into a a rhythm at the plate. However, Jordan Lennerton is struggling offensively, as is Joey Wong. Joey did have the game winning base hit against Portland on Monday, but ended up going 1-for-7 in the game. Sometimes it's all about confidence, and maybe the game winner helped to boost Joey's.
After the first week of Pac-10 play, the Beavers find themselves in a three-way tie for second place with California and Stanford at 2-1. Arizona State is in first place alone after they swept USC in three games last week.
After the three game series at Cal, the Beavers return home to play Stanford before heading to Tempe to challenge the Sun Devils.
Bottom line, our minimum goal should be to win every series.
Previous OSU Baseball Reports:
2008.1 (March 17, 2008)