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Oregon State Baseball: Big Ten-Pac-12 Challenge Preview

The Beavs wrap their time in Arizona with games against Nebraska and Ohio State Feb. 22-25.

NCAA Baseball: College World Series-Cal State Fullerton vs Oregon State Bruce Thorson-USA TODAY Sports

After a perfect start to the year with two wins over New Mexico and a win apiece over Gonzaga and Cal Poly, Oregon State baseball continues their stay in Surprise with the Big Ten-Pac-12 Challenge. The Beavs and Utah will represent the Pac-12 in the event. Meanwhile, Ohio State and Nebraska will represent the midwestern P5 league.

The Beavs will play each Big Ten team twice on alternating days. It should be some quality action, so here’s everything we know about the schedule and the opposition.

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:

For a full list of radio stations across the state that will carry the games, check the game notes provided by OSU athletics. OSUBeavers.com will also have the audio all weekend.

Schedule

Game 1: Thursday, Feb. 22 - Noon PT - vs Nebraska

Game 2: Friday, Feb. 23 - Noon PT - vs Ohio State

Game 3: Saturday, Feb. 24 - 3 PM PT - Nebraska

Game 4: Sunday, Feb. 25 - 8 AM PT - Ohio State

Nebraska Outlook

The defending Big Ten champions look set for another big year this year, as they’re picked to finish second in their league behind Indiana. Fans may remember that Nebraska was actually in the Corvallis regional at the end of the 2017 postseason, but their path never crossed with the Beavs’.

To start their 2018 campaign, the Huskers are 3-1 with two wins over Washington State and a split two-game series with UC Riverside.

Senior RHP Luis Alvarado will likely get the start on Thursday. He went 4.2 innings with nine strikeouts and one earned run in his first career start last Friday, which was a win over UC Riverside. Meanwhile, LHP Nate Fisher looks like the guy for Saturday. Fisher also made his first career start this past weekend and went 5.0 innings, giving up two runs, and struck out seven batters in the Huskers’ loss to UC Riverside.

Offensively, keep an eye on Scott Schreiber, who was Nebraska’s biggest weapon at the plate last year. In 2017, He was the Huskers’ leader in batting average (.330), slugging percentage (.494), hits (77), RBIs (51), home runs (7) and doubles (15). This year, he’s already got five hits and five runs in four games. I don’t expect that loss like what we saw against UC Riverside to be a regular thing this year.

This is a good team.

Ohio State Outlook

The Buckeyes are a solid team in their own right. They missed the 2017 postseason with a 22-34 record in competitive conference. However, one of those wins was against the Beavs in this exact event last year. This season, they’re off to a 3-1 start with two wins over Milwaukee, plus a split two-game series with Canisius.

Ohio State looks like they’ll send senior righty Ryan Feltner out to start on Friday. The top MLB prospect in the Big Ten, according to D1Baseball.com, got the win in his first start of the year last week allowing four earned runs with six strikeouts in five innings of work. On Sunday, look for their fifth year senior Yianni Pavlopoulos to get the start after his five-inning, four hit, two-run game last Sunday.

First baseman Noah McGowan is a guy that you’re probably going to hear quite a lot about this year. The senior was named a National Player of the Week this week (as was Trevor Larnach) after turning in 13 RBIs this past weekend. His versatility is also awesome to watch as I feel like I’ve seen him play about four different spots since he jumped to the D1 level from community college.

McGowan is a great player and a hitting derby between him and Larnach would be great to watch. But as a team, Oregon State should be able to overpower the Buckeyes in both of these games.

In Conclusion

These are four winnable games, particularly if Oregon State’s offense plays as well as they did last weekend. Nebraska is a little bit of a concern though. There’s definitely less room for error, particularly with pitching and the young guys. Look for some close, entertaining baseball games here.