Oregon St. (38-16-1, 19-10-1), the second place finisher in the Pac-12, takes on Texas (30-25, 11-13), the winner of the Big XII Tournament today to kick off the Dallas regional in the NCAA Baseball playoffs, hosted by the Dallas Baptist Patriots.
First pitch was scheduled for shortly after 1:30 PM CDT (11:30 AM PDT), but heavy rains overnight required extensive field drying (including the use of a helicopter) and prep work, so game time has been pushed back 1 hour to 2:35 PM CDT (12:35 PM PDT).
The game will be on ESPN3 and the Longhorn Network (limited distribution).
The regional will be played at Horner Ballpark on the Dallas Baptist campus, located southwest of downtown Dallas.
The Beavers, initially picked to finish 5th in the Pac-12, surged late in the season, and while they came up short of defending their last 2 conference championships (to UCLA, who wound up the #1 seed nationally), earned their 7th straight trip onto the road to Omaha, and 10th in the last 11 years, and go into Dallas as a 2 seed. Oregon St. went 15-5-1 after mid-April.
The Longhorns also made a late season charge to move from likely being left out of the field, after advancing to the CWS last year, to earning the Big XII's automatic berth in the post-season, and the 3 seed in Dallas, just 3 hours or so up the road from campus in Austin. Texas reeled off 6 wins in their last 7 games, including a 6-3 win over Oklahoma St. Sunday in the BIG XII Championship game.
Oregon St. and Texas have only met once previously, in the 1952 CWS, when the Longhorns prevailed 10-1.
Regional host Dallas Baptist (43-13, 15-6 in the Missouri Valley Conference), the runner up in the MVC, and the runnerup nationally in RPI, hosts the Virginia Commonwealth Rams (37-22, 14-10 in the Atlantic-13/10), who won the A-10 Tournament, in the 7 PM CDT second game, with today's losers meeting in an elimination game tomorrow morning at 11 AM CDT (9 AM PDT), while the winners will meet tomorrow evening at 6 PM CDT (4 PM PDT).
(Weather advisory, there is a 60-70% chance of rain both today and tomorrow in Dallas, and during those rainy periods, the rain is forecasted to be heavy, so delays are a possibility. Dallas Baptist's infield is turf, but the outfield is not. Temperatures are expected to be in the mid-80s, with the humidity in the same range.)
Oregon St.'s Trevor Morrison, who has been out over a month with a broken bone in his hand, suffered April 26 when he was hit by a pitch, has been cleared to return to action this weekend, While the Beavers have not missed a beat at shortstop with Caleb Hamilton filling in, Morrison's return gives the Beavers options defensively, and a boost in depth offensively, both in terms of Morrison's contributions (.319 average with 18 RBIs in 40 games), and also the depth to have pinch hitter flexibility and matchup substituion options.
Both the Beavers and Longhorns are big on small ball, under coaches that are legends of the game, and multiple CWS, never mind conference and regionals, winners, in Oregon St.'s Pat Casey and Texas' Augie Garrido. (Not that either coach will turn down a homer or two, a possibility in Horner Ballpark, or a multi-RBI double late in the game.) But the game is likely to be low scoring, and especially with both teams going with their best arms in the regional opener.
UT lineup vs. Oregon St. Johnson LF Baker DH Hinojosa SS Barrera C Shaw RF Gurwitz CF Marlow 2B Clemens 1B Boswell 3B French RHP— Texas Baseball (@Texas_Baseball) May 29, 2015
Oregon St. as always opens with junior RHP Andrew Moore (7-2, 1.73 ERA), who was second behind UCLA All-American David Berg in Pac-12 Pitcher of the Year voting, as well as in ERA. Moore was also named to the Louisville Slugger All-American 2nd team this week. With second place in the conference, and seeding as well, at stake last Friday, Moore threw a 99 pitch complete game 2 hit shutout at California last week, in which he threw 70 strikes, with no walks, and erased the 2 Bears who got hits by getting double play balls, on his way to a 4-0 win over the Bears.
Texas will counter with Parker French (5-3, 2.33 ERA). French threw a complete game, 127 pitch 2-1 win against Texas Tech on Wednesday of last week in the first round of the Big XII Tournament, then came back for an inning in relief in the tournament title game Sunday against Oklahoma St., which bumped the Cowboys out of a National Seed down to the top non-national seed.