Oregon St. opens a critical Pac-12 series against USC this evening at 5:35 PM at Goss Stadium.
The Beavers (25-12, 8-7) come in in 5th place in the Pac-12, 4 1/2 games behind 3rd ranked conference leading UCLA (but really 5, as the Bruins hold the tie-breaker), but only 1/2 game behind California, after having finally won a series, taking 2 of 3 from Arizona last weekend. Oregon St. has 3 games in hand on California, and will host the Golden Bears in the last series of the regular season.
It's the second home series in a row for Oregon St., who had lost 3 series in a row, and 3 of 4 conference series before overcoming the 'Cats. The Beavers also be on the road for 2 of their next 3 Pac-12 series.
The 10th ranked Trojans (29-10, 10-5) took 2 of 3 from Oregon last weekend, and are 2 1/2 games behind the Bruins, in 3rd. place, though again, really 3 games back due to UCLA having the tie-breaker, after winning the series against USC 2 weekends ago.
It's the first of consecutive conference road trip weekends for USC, and the first of 3 of 4 road series in the next 4 weeks.
USC appears headed for the NCAA Tournament, but their seed and location for their regional are very much still up in the air. Oregon St. making a postseason appearance is still far from assured, though taking the series against Arizona certainly helped, but a good weekend against the highly ranked Trojans would go a long ways, especially since the Beavers lost their series to Cal-Poly, a team USC won their series against.
Last year, USC took 2 of 3 games from Oregon St. in LA, though the Beavers only needed 1 win to clinch the Pac-12 Championship. The last time the Trojans were at Goss Stadium 2 years ago, Oregon St. swept the series, taking all 3 games decisively.
There will be no television for any of the games of the series, but there will be the Oregon St. stream.
In his unending search for offense, Oregon St. head coach Pat Casey has shuffled the batting order again, putting Jeff Hendrix back in the leadoff spot tonight.
Oregon St. will start junior RHP Andrew Moore (4-1, 1.40 ERA), who was named the Pac-12 Pitcher of the Week after last Friday's 5 hit, 8 strikeout complete game 3-1 win over Arizona.
USC will counter with junior LHP Tyler Gilbert (2-1, 2.15 ERA), who has 4 starts this season, but has primarily come out of the Trojan's bullpen. USC's Friday night regular starter has been Brent Wheatley (2-2, 3.04 ERA), but Oregon jumped Wheatley for 4 runs in the top of the first inning last Friday night in LA, and Wheatley didn't get through the 4th inning, though the Trojans exploded to take the lead for good in the bottom of the 4th, with 5 runs, on their way to a 13-5 win. The week before, Wheatley took the loss against UCLA, giving up 5 runs in less than 6 innings work, hence this week's shakeup.