Game 55 - Oregon State vs. Texas A&M - 12 PM PT - Video and Audio Links TBA
Today's game should prove to be interesting, as it's almost to the point where statistics, percentages, ratios, and all that don't matter any more. It's all about who has the most heart, determination, and desire to win, and for Oregon State, I believe that all needs to start on the mound.
The pitcher hasn't been announced yet by the Oregon State coaching staff, but it seems to me that the logical starter would be Jorge Reyes. Jorge is a guy who hasn't played to the absolute best of his ability with a high level of consistency since the Beavers were in Omaha two years ago. We've seen signs of the old Jorge, but we need it to come back in full force. Now. And I believe that Jorge is the type of guy who could thrive in a loser's bracket, win-or-go-home atmosphere.
I'm not sure who Texas A&M will start on the mound. It seems like they could go back to Brooks Raley, since he just threw two innings against the Beavers on Friday, or they could turn to another guy in their bullpen. It will be intersting to see how the coaching staffs conserve their pitchers, because if you win, you play on, but if you lose, you go home.
Will revenge on the part of Texas A&M be a factor? Possibly. I think that the Aggies are the team with the advantage on paper, and could quite easily blow the Beavers out of the water after they suffered defeat at the hands of Oregon State two days ago. But if Oregon State turns in a performance offensively anything close to what they did on Friday afternoon in the first five innings, I like Oregon State's chances.
The Beavers were in this exact same predicament two years ago in Charlottesville-- we've already discussed that. After beating Rutgers to get into the winners bracket, the Beavers suffered a 13-inning loss to Virginia. The difference in the two seasons though, is that while the Beavers lost in 13 innings in their first loss in 2007, they lost 13-1 in 2009.
From there, the Beavers beat Rugters again, before beating Virginia on back to back nights behind the pitching of Joe Patterson, Daniel Turpen, Eddie Kunz, and others. Substitute Texas A&M for Rutgers and TCU for Virginia, and you have what the Beavers are hoping to do in the coming days.
All year, the Beavers have been stressing pitching and defense. The defense is there. Today, I believe that it's going to come down to pitching and offense. Because if there's no offense at all, even the best pitcher in the world couldn't win a game.
If some of the regulars would like to share their thoughts as well on the nature of this game, the comment thread is the place to do that.