Oregon St. (8-3) and Portland (4-11) kickoff their annual triangular in-state series today, with the first game on the bluff in north Portland. The Pilots will make the trip down to Goss Stadium next Tuesday, and then the teams will wrap up the series with the neutral field matchup at Volcanoes' Stadium in Keizer on Tuesday, April 14.
The weather gods have smiled on baseball in the state of Oregon so far this spring, but even if they hadn't, such an early date at Joe Etzel Stadium that would have been highly dubious in past years would likely go off as scheduled this season, as the Pilots are debuting this year a totally artificial surface, going a step beyond the Beavers' remodel with even an artificial surface mound. How things have changed with baseball in the northwest in the last few years!
The Beavers come in having won 4 in a row, and 6 of their last 7, including a weekend 3 game sweep of Grambling last Friday night and Saturday, behind an offensive onslaught that scored 44 runs on the sometimes hapless, and mostly overmatched, Tiger pitching. No, those were NOT scrimmages between new Oregon St. coach Gary Andersen's football team and the FCS Tigers, though the final scores of 10-7, 25-3, and 9-2 by themselves would not tell you that.
The Pilots of the West Coast Conference are back home after a trip up I-5 to Seattle (actually Bellevue) yesterday, where they beat Seattle 2-1.
Portland is off to a struggling start. They did get a 5-2 win over UC-Davis last Friday night, but dropped their Saturday and Sunday games against the Aggies, and lost 4 of 5, and 7 of 9, before beating the Redhawks for the second time this season yesterday.
There will be no tv or streaming video of this game.
Oregon St. totally dominates the series, and have won the last 21 meetings. A Beaver win to day will make the winning streak the longest in program history against any opponent.
Between the youth of the Oregon St. pitching staff and the combination of this being the second mid-week game in as many days from a Portland staff that's scuffling, its not surprising that either team announced a starter in advance. Even once announced, don't be surprised at multiple pitching changes, coming early and often.
Oregon St. head coach Pat Casey ultimately settled on freshman RHP Sam Tweedt (1-0, 2.25 ERA) when he announced his lineup, which also includes Dane Lund catching, with Logan Ice initially on the bench, possibly in anticipation of 4 games in 3 days this coming weekend against Fresno St., and a 6th game within a week.
It's Twedt's first career start, after 4 appearances out of the Beaver bullpen.
Junior LHP Cole Doherty (0-1, 10.38 ERA) goes to the mound first, getting the start for Portland, his third of the season.