#5 Oregon (42-14, 19-8) at #23 Oregon State (35-18, 15-12) at 5:35 PM PDT at Goss Stadium at Coleman Field - KEJO 1240 AM & KPOJ 620 AM - Audio & Video Stream on Beaver Nation Online, for a fee
Oregon and Oregon St. square off this weekend in the last 3 battles of this year's Civil War, and the 3 that count in the Pac-12 standings. Last year, it was the Ducks who hosted the season ending series, with the Beavers needing just 1 win to claim the Conference Championship. Oregon swept the Memorial weekend games, depriving Oregon St. of the title, and maybe a home Super Regional.
This year, the tables are turned, as the Ducks fly in leading the Pac-12, while the Beavers are 4 games back, in 6th place, and though they are almost assuredly headed for the NCAA tournament, they can not win the conference. But they may be able to spoil Oregon's title hopes, and win the Civil War for the year, which is currently tied at a game apiece.
Oregon holds the tie-breaker on second place Arizona, as well as all 3 teams tied 2 games back for third, UCLA, Stanford, and Arizona St., so their magic number is any combination of 2 Duck wins and Wildcat losses, and a single Oregon win or loss by the Bruins, Cardinal, or Sun Devils eliminates that team. So even a Beaver sweep will not by itself prevent the Ducks from winning the Pac-12.
However, a National Seed, which would guarantee hosting a Super Regional if Oregon can win their regional, could be at stake. For Oregon St., its unlikely that they will get to host a regional, as it would require other teams to stumble, and stumble badly, but its not impossible should they sweep. In any case, the Beavers' seeding will also be affected one way or the other by weekend's outcomes.
Oregon swept a 3 game series from Seattle last weekend, and then beat Portland 2-1 Wednesday in Eugene, after a Tuesday game in Portland was rained out, extending their current winning streak to 9 games, and 15 wins in their last 16 contests.
Oregon St. took 2 of 3 at Washington St. last weekend, with Sunday's 7-5 win over the Cougars the 3rd consecutive series winning Sunday victory, giving them 5 series wins in the last game of the series in 7 tries in the last 8 weeks.
A win at any point this weekend will also make Oregon St. Coach Pat Casey the winningest coach in Beaver history, passing Jack Riley.
Oregon St. won the first battle of the Civil War, taking a 7-1 win on April 24 in Eugene, behind a strong 7 inning performance by Taylor Starr, and a 4 run 3rd inning that started with back to back doubles by Joey Matthews and Tyler Smith.
Oregon evened the series 2 weeks later, taking a 3-2 pitching duel, also at PK Park. The Ducks got all 3 runs in the first inning, and held the Beavers scoreless until the 8th inning. It was the best effort of the season by the Oregon St. bull pen, as Scott Schultz, Dylan Davis, Matt Boyd, Cole Brocker, and Tony Bryant combined to allow 1 hit in 5 1/3 innings, but Oregon closer Jimmy Sherfy squelched the Beavers in both the 8th and 9th innings to close out the win.
Oregon will open the series with their ace, senior RHP Alex Keudell (10-3, 1.80 ERA). Keudell set the single season Oregon record for wins and tied the Ducks' career mark with the 22nd win in a 6-0 victory over Seattle last Friday. Keudell went 7 2/3 innings in earning his 9th win in his last 9 starts, allowing only 5 hits and 1 walk. Keudell left with only a 2-0 lead, as the Ducks assured the win when they added 4 runs in the bottom of the 8th.
Oregon St.'s Friday night starter is as usual sophomore LHP Ben Wetzler (6-2, 3.30 ERA). Wetzler couldn't get through the 5th inning last Friday at Washington St., despite having a 7-1 lead, thanks to Michael Conforto's 3 run homer and a pair of round trippers by Danny Hayes, who was on his way to a weekend that earned him Pac-12 Player of the Week honors.