It has been a banner week for the Oregon State baseball team. Fresh off a sweep in Tempe, Arizona, the Beavs climbed in the rankings, swept the Pac-12 Player Of The Week honors with Jake Thompson taking home the pitching award and Cadyn Grenier claiming the player award, and Nick Madrigal was invited to play for Team USA this summer. Pat Casey hopes the good times keep rolling this weekend as the Beavs welcome the #9 team in the nation and Pac-12 foe Arizona.
How To Watch:
All games will air on Pac-12 Oregon, while games one and two will also air on Pac-12 Arizona
How To Listen:
The games will be broadcast on the Beaver Sports Network. For a list of radio affiliates check here.
Things are going very well this season in Corvallis, as the Beavers are coming off the first sweep in Tempe by a team not named the Sun Devils since 1997, lead the nation with an absurdly low team ERA of 1.06, and are ranked either first or second in every major baseball poll.
The pitching staff has been so good that it is impossible to highlight one pitcher, but I am going to anyway. Jake Thompson, the reigning Pac-12 Pitcher Of The Week, who was on the outside of the rotation looking in before the season started, has been nothing short of spectacular for Oregon State. The junior had battled injuries and inconsistency his first two seasons in Corvallis, but has seemingly put it all together this season with a team leading 5 wins, an insanely low ERA of 1.08 and was recently named the 61st best draft prospect by Baseball America.
The offense put together a strong series to open Pac-12 play scoring 16 runs and batting a collective .328 against the Sun Devils. Sophomore middle infielder Cadyn Grenier broke out in Tempe, going 7 for 13 and hitting his first career home run all while playing spectacular defense at second and short. Grenier’s performance garnered him the Pac-12 Player Of The Week Award. The offense also got big contributions from KJ Harrison, Trevor Larnach and of course Nick Madrigal, who received high praise from the Arizona State skipper.
ASU head coach Tracy Smith said he thinks Oregon State sophomore 2B Nick Madrigal is the "best baseball player in the country."— Matt J. Layman (@mattjlayman) March 18, 2017
The Arizona Wildcats are a very good baseball team, by far the best team OSU has faced so far this season, and will present the stellar OSU pitching staff with some new challenges. The Wildcats have a team batting average of .355 with four everyday players eclipsing the .400 mark, led by Junior outfielder Jared Oliva who is hitting .413 with 12 doubles, 3 home runs and 31 RBI’s. The Wildcat lineup will face challenges of their own however, as they have yet to face a pitching staff as talented as Oregon State’s and will be playing outside of a warm climate for the first time this season, having previously played in Arizona, Texas and Los Angeles.
The Wildcats starting pitching is solid but not spectacular, led by ace JC Cloney, who represents a must watch match-up with Luke Heimlich on Friday. As a whole the team ERA sits at 4.36. The key for Oregon State will be make the Wildcat starters work early in the game and get to the bullpen which appears to be the Wildcats Achilles heel so far this season.
Note: There is no indication that Arizona football coach Rich Rodriguez will be in attendance for the series, but if he is let’s hope it’s just as upsetting as his last visit to Corvallis.
(Game times and projected starting pitchers are subject to change)
Game 1: Friday March 24th - 7 PM PT
LHP JC Cloney (5-0, 1.12 ERA) vs Luke Heimlich (4-0, 0.25 ERA)
Game 2: Saturday March 25th - 4 PM PT
RHP Michael Flynn (2-0, 2.61 ERA) vs Bryce Fehmel (3-1, 2.00 ERA)
Game 3: Sunday March 26th - 11 AM PT
LHP Rio Gomez (2-2, 3.49 ERA) vs Jake Thompson (5-0, 1.08 ERA)
This will be the toughest match-up so far for Oregon State, but if the pitching can keep Arizona from putting up big innings the Beavs should claim their second Pac-12 series win of the season.