Hopefully, Sam Gaviglio is sleeping right now.
The Ashland, Ore. native will be making the sixth start of his Oregon State career today at Lupton Stadium in Fort Worth, Texas. Gaviglio, who quietly amassed the best win/loss record on the team at 9-1, has been the most effective Oregon State pitcher as of late, and will play a large role in the success of Oregon State in the Fort Worth Regional.
Gaviglio, who admitted to being nervous in yesterday's press conference, is coming off a complete game shutout of Stanford last week, in which he allowed just three hits and struck out seven.
"When you run a freshman out on the mound, anything can happen," Pat Casey said of starting Gaviglio in the regional opener. "We're starting him because he throws the most strikes. He's going up against a dangerous club, and could get into trouble if he flinches."
The Aggies, who have just average offensive numbers when compared to the Big 12, possess some stats that absolutely dwarf those of Oregon State. For example, the Beavers have scored 147 runs over the course of the year, while Texas A&M has scored 404.
And of the Gaviglio's start, Casey said, "I told him, listen: you're too young to call your girlfriend, so call your mom and tell her you're pitching."
Clearly, the Beavers will look to play small-ball, striving to score one run per inning and taking anything more as a bonus. With this strategy, however, there is limited leeway for mistakes on defense or on the mound.
"There's no room for error when you're scoring four or five runs per game," coach Casey said. "If we were scoring eight or nine, there would be room for error."
Like Pat Casey has said, the Beavers need to just stick to their guns in this post-season. This year's team isn't the greatest club offensively, but with great defense and pitching, they should be able to do enough to pull off victories on an NCAA Regional stage.
But heck, today's game with Texas A&M could be the beginning of the offense's uprising, as they could very well raise their season .275 average by way of getting hot at the right time-- just like the team did in 2007.
However, the mindset from Coach Casey and the team remains: "We just need to do what we do well, and if we do that, we can win."
The Road to Omaha begins today at 12:00 PM, when Texas A&M starter Brooks Raley will throw out the first pitch of the Fort Worth Regional. The game will be webcast live on TCU's website, and audio of the game will be available on OSU's site. I'll aggregate all the game-day links you need into an open thread that will hit the front page of Building the Dam in a few hours.
For now, enjoy the last few hours before post-season baseball begins. If you're looking for more Fort Worth Regional related reading material, simply scroll down to find more preview pieces.