We’ve waited a long few months, but it’s now time catch Oregon State baseball in action, Beaver fans. The consensus #2 team in the land gets it rolling with the Sanderson Ford College Baseball Classic in Surprise, Arizona, at the spring training home of the Texas Rangers and Kansas City Royals. The Beavs have games scheduled for Friday, Saturday, Sunday, and Monday against some solid competition from all over the country.
Projected starting pitchers are subject to change
How To Watch:
You can’t. No outlet will be televising or providing live video of any of the games this weekend. ):
How To Listen:
Game 1: Feb. 16 - Noon PT - vs New Mexico
The Lobos were the regular season champions in the Mountain West Conference a year ago before going 1-2 in their conference tournament, where their season ended. UNM is the favorite to win the league again, per the Mountain West coaches poll.
This will be the Beavs and Lobos’ first meeting since 2015 where they played twice on neutral sites. UNM won both of those games.
Junior outfielder Jared Mang is UNM’s biggest threat offensively. He hit .373 last season with nine home runs, 17 doubles, 62 RBI and 62 runs. Their closer is also one to watch in Christian Tripp. As far as starting pitchers go, that’s a bit of a mystery as most of their regular guys from last season are gone.
NEWS: The seven head coaches in MW baseball have picked @UNMLoboBaseball to win the 2018 @MountainWest title. First pitch is set for Friday! Details: https://t.co/kk1WI4BHK5 #MWBSB pic.twitter.com/KyUb5yTGSh— Mountain West (@MountainWest) February 13, 2018
Game 2: Feb. 17 - Noon PT - vs Gonzaga
The defending WCC champs get their first shot at the Beavs since 2014 after their matchup in Arizona last season was canceled due to rain. The Zags are going to be a much different look this year, however, after losing five of their eight regular starting fielders from 2017.
Sophomore Casey Legumina heads up the starting pitching rotation. He tallied a 5.46 ERA in 57.2 innings last season with 36 strikeouts. Redshirt junior outfielder Daniel Fredrickson will likely be the guy they end up leaning on for leadership and offensive production this year. Fredrickson had the second highest batting average on the team last season at .305.
Anything can happen in the first weekend, but I expect the Beavs’ advantage of being a much more experienced, cohesive unit to carry them to a win over their Pacific Northwest counterparts.
Game 3: Feb. 18 - Noon PT - vs Cal Poly
The Cal Poly Mustangs finished second in the Big West Conference a year ago with a 28-28 record. Centerfielder and leadoff hitter Alex McKenna is arguably their best player and one of the better non-power-five players out there, in my opinion. Baseball America seems to think so too after putting him on their preseason All-America team. McKenna started every game for the Mustangs hitting .360 with 11 doubles, two triples, and five home runs while scoring 31 runs in 2017.
Oregon State last hosted the Mustangs in a three-game series back in 2015 where Cal Poly was victorious in two out of three.
While a starting pitcher for Sunday is not set in stone, the Beavs are likely to get a matchup with Jarred Zill who was sidelined in 2017 after needing Tommy John surgery. Zill was their Sunday starter in 2016 with a 4-3 record and 2.79 ERA as a sophomore.
Cal Poly junior center fielder Alex McKenna is the lone player from a Big West Conference school to land on Baseball America's 2018 Preseason All-America Team. https://t.co/sLiibLrlZD pic.twitter.com/vDyJtcTv2M— Cal Poly Baseball (@calpolystangs) January 29, 2018
Game 4: Feb. 19 - 1 PM PT - vs New Mexico
The Beavs and Lobos get a second shot at each other on Monday afternoon. Since I talked a bit about them already and their pitching rotation is something of a mystery, here’s a gif of a Lobo puppy who’s ready for a nap.
Opening weekend is a great time to get any kinks out. While Oregon State is extremely capable of going unbeaten in these four games, there’s no reason to panic if one slips by. This is particularly true of those games against New Mexico.
For more on the upcoming campaign, check out our roundtable discussion on the 2018 OSU baseball season.