Oregon St. makes their first visit to remodeled Husky Ballpark this week, for their Pac-12 series against Washington, beginning tonight at 5 PM. The series has been moved up, for a Thursday evening, Friday night, Saturday night format, in order to accommodate full coverage by the Pac-12 Network.
It's actually the second season for the great new facility on the shores of Montlake, which replaced what was barely more than a glorified high school ball field, but the Beavers weren't scheduled into Seattle last season, so this will be the first introduction for many Oregon St. fans to the long overdue, but well worth the wait, new home of the Huskies, if they didn't take a side trip to check out the stadium last fall when making the first visit (again well into the second year of existence) to remodeled Husky Stadium.
Oregon St. (27-13, 10-8) enters the Northwest rivalry weekend in 5th place in the Pac-12, but only 4 1/2 games behind conference leading UCLA, after pulling out a home series win in each of the last 2 weekends at Goss Stadium with thrilling Sunday victories, first over Arizona, and then USC, who was ranked in the top 10 at the time.
Washington (23-19, 8-13) sits in 9th place, a full 8 games back, after having dropped 2 out of 3 games in each of their last 3 Pac-12 series. But Husky fans can see a post-season berth from their seats at Husky Ballpark as clearly as they can see the sound, and on a clear day, Mt. Rainier, as 10 of the Huskies 13 conference losses have been by 1 run.
The early in the week start to the series might be a challenge for many Oregon St. fans, but those able to get away by mid-day on Friday can make it a notable weekend, taking in both the Friday and Saturday games, and also turning out for the Windemere Cup (and the Cascade Cup) races Saturday morning, which the Oregon St. crew team will be competing in.
The Windemere Cup, annually hosted by Washington, is one of the premier sporting events on the west coast, as well as in collegiate rowing, as thousands turn out to watch, from shore, the bridge over the Montlake Cut, and even from on the water.
The "8s" from Washington, the Argentine National Team, Virginia, and Oregon St. compete for the 2012 Windemere Cup.
This year, in addition to the Huskies, who are ranked #2 in the nation, the Cup will feature the New Zealand National U23 team, the 2 time defending world champions.
But first things first; there's a baseball game tonight. A win will secure a winning record for the month of April for Oregon St., extending their streak to 15 months in the regular season with a winning record, dating back to 2011.
The Washington series is the first of 3 in a row for Oregon St. against the 3 teams that are currently in the bottom 3 spots in the conference, so the opportunity for the Beavers to make a late season surge is certainly aided by the upcoming schedule.
Oregon St. will start off with junior RHP Andrew Moore (4-2, 1.94 ERA). Moore had one of the best outing of his career 2 weeks ago in beating Arizona with a complete game 5 hitter, but followed that up with his worst career outing last Friday night against USC. The Trojans pounded Moore for 9 hits and 6 runs in what would eventually be an 11-3 hammering that was the worst Friday night loss in years for the Beavers, though it prompted a 2 win bounce back the rest of the weekend, keyed by a brilliant performance by Dane Lund, who had a 4 for 5 plus 2 walk weekend, including a triple, 2 RBIs, and 3 runs scored.
Washington will go with freshman RHP Noah Bremer (5-2, 2.29 ERA). Bremer got the win last Friday night, working 5+ innings in which he allowed Oregon just 2 runs in the Huskies 10-4 win in the Ducks' home ballpark.
Also, Oregon St. shortstop Trevor Morrison is questionable for tonight, after having been hit by a pitch in the USC series.
Morrison is not in the starting lineup with Caleb Hamilton sliding over to shortstop. Michael Gretler is at 3rd and Christian Donahue is at 2nd. Morrison is out for about a month with a broken bone in his hand.