As Oregon St. gets ready to face Vanderbilt this weekend in the NCAA Baseball Super Regionals in Nashville, TN, the minds of Beaver nation is on the health of the pitching staff.
The good news is closer Tony Bryant, who took a line drive off his pitching arm shoulder in the Georgia game Sunday night, has pronounced himself to be fine, with no lingering effects. Head coach Pat Casey anticipates Bryant being fully available this weekend.
The situation surrounding usual second starter Josh Osich isn't so clear, though. Osich came out of the Georgia game after one inning plus, and concerns about his back being stiff arose and persist. It was clear that Osich's struggles had to do with his back mechanics, and a stiff back accounts for that.
Casey said that in addition to Osich's back being stiff, he's also having some arm problems. Osich has been meeting with the team doctor to determine if it's more than normal shoulder tendonitis.
"It feels all right, right now," Osich said. "I'm going to go see a doctor later and see what he says. I had an off day and my arm wasn't feeling the best that it does. It's kind of tough throwing strikes when it does that."
Casey hopes Osich will be ready for the "if-necessary" third game on Sunday.
Who will go to the mound the rest of the weekend is still up in the air as well.
Oregon St. ace Sam Gaviglio (below, photo by Andy Wooldridge) will make one of the first two starts, but its not known yet which one.
"It's Sam's call," Casey said. "If he wants the baseball on Friday, he will get it. His only decision will be if he needs another day's rest. If he doesn't pitch Friday, I can't tell you who we're going to throw, because I don't know."
Gaviglio last threw on Saturday in Oregon St.'s win over Creighton, and went the distance. He would be going on a day shorter of rest than has been his norm, and Casey has held him until Saturday other times during the season in order to not shorten his rest cycle. Gaviglio did say he would like to throw Friday, but will make a final decision based on how he feels that afternoon.
Who gets the other start(s) [if Osich isn't up to form] remains to be seen, and it could be a committee effort amongst James Nygren, who got the win over Arkansas-Little Rock Friday night, Ben Wetzler, who had last weekend off, but was the next up had Bryant been unable to continue, Scott Schultz (above, photo by Andy Wooldridge), who worked most of the Georgia game in relief of Osich, or Adam Duke, who got his first win for Oregon St. in just his fifth appearance against the Bulldogs.
In other news this week, Kavin Keyes (above, photo by RVM) was named to the freshman All-American Team by Louisville Slugger and Collegiate Baseball. Keyes, who was an early enrollee this spring, and could have been playing for his Alta High School team in Sandy, Utah, instead leads Oregon St. with a batting average of .316. Keyes also has 10 doubles, a home run, and 30 RBIs, and has appearred in 53 of 58 games.