Oregon State has successfully jumped to the #1 spot in five of the six national rankings. The Beavs have been able to find ways to win so far in their non-conference schedule, but face what may be their biggest challenge thus far with a trip down to Cal to face the 12-4 Golden Bears in their first series of league play this season. They’ll also have to play the first two games without their head coach Pat Casey as he still has two games left on his suspension from making contact with an umpire last weekend. If you’re looking for more on the Cal baseball program, our own Ross Parker previewed their season a few weeks ago. I recommend you check that out. But for right now, we’ve got the Beavs with an interesting test against a squad that played especially well on their home field so far.
Projected starting pitchers are subject to change.
How To Watch
You can’t. :( No video streams seem to be available for this series.
How To Listen
Game 1: Friday, Mar. 16 - 7:05 PM PT
Game 2: Saturday, Mar. 17 - 3:05 PM PT
Game 3: Sunday, Mar. 18 - 1:05 PM PT
Through the first few weeks of the season, Cal leads the Pac-12 in nearly every offensive category. That includes batting average, slugging percentage, hits, runs scored, and RBIs. In his first season at the helm, head coach Mike Neu has Cal sitting at 12-4 a month into the 2018 campaign. They’ve been particularly impressive at home, where they’ve yet to lose a game this season (9-0). Their losses came in neutral site games against Louisiana Tech, #11 Texas A&M, and Cincinnati, plus a loss at San Diego.
To put it in perspective, they beat CSU Bakersfield, who honestly isn’t completely terrible, 23-2 in one of their games. One game. 23 runs. All in favor of the mercy rule, raise your hand.
In particular, keep an eye on first baseman Andrew Vaughn. This kid is an absolute stud and I’d be very surprised if he was not wearing a major league uniform in a few years. This season, he’s already up to 10 homers with a league-best .472 batting average and a slugging percentage of 1.113.
GSA SPOTLIGHT: In my latest @USAGoldenSpikes Spotlight, I tell the story of how @CalBaseball's Andrew Vaughn went from a guy expected to have a solid career to one of the nation's premier bats and power hitters. Read:https://t.co/hJyrE6k0w1 pic.twitter.com/puL1UkDwg3— Kendall Rogers (@KendallRogers) March 14, 2018
Pitching, there’s a couple of names to worry about in the Bears’ lineup. First, Friday starter Jared Horn (3-0, 5.23 ERA) has struck out 23 batters and walked just 9 batters. Reliever Aaron Shortridge has 24 strikeouts in 2018 and just 14 hits in six appearances.
Most recently, Cal beat San Francisco on the road after sweeping a four-game series with Brown at home. In four out of those five games, the Bears won by just one run. Obviously, this club is far from invincible and will provide some great entertainment.
This is a very good Cal team. I doubt that the absence of Pat Casey will really affect this Beaver team all that much, but I do think that one of these games squeaks out of their grasp just because of the strength of the Cal offense. I'm always open to being proved wrong though.