The #4 Oregon State Beavers pulled themselves out of a mini skid this week with thrilling back-to-back victories over the Nevada Wolfpack. Now 23-4, they try to bring that positive momentum into Pac-12 play. Close on the heels of league-leading Stanford, Oregon State will try to pick up a series win over streaking, but basement dwelling Arizona.
Obviously, Adley Rutschman has been a huge spark plug for the Beavs both at and behind the plate. The sophomore earned midseason All-American honors from Perfect Game USA alongside Trevor Larnach this week. While as a team the Beavs have exhibited a few struggles lately, they have excelled at getting runners on base. The Beavs currently boast the tenth best team batting average in the nation at .311. They could be put to the test this week however against this Wildcat team that’s played very well at home.
Plus...could Nick Madrigal come back?...Probably not.
Project starting pitchers are subject to change.
How To Watch
All games this weekend will be televised on the Pac-12 Network.
How To Listen
Game 1: Friday, April 6th - 7 PM PT
Game 2: Saturday, April 7th - 7 PM PT
Game 3: Sunday, April 8th - Noon PT
Coming into Friday’s opener, Arizona is 17-10 on the season, but has a 2-4 record in league play. They were swept by UW in Seattle but took two of three from WSU at home. Overall, the Wildcats have 14 of their 17 total wins at home this year. Included in that overall record is their current win streak of five games.
Arizona is also just behind OSU in team batting average with .294 and just ahead of OSU with a team ERA of 2.67. In our season preview for this team, I said that their success would be contingent on outfielder Alfonso Rivas having another big year. He’s certainly pulling his weight with 37 hits and 22 runs with 25 RBIs. Cesar Salazar has also been a great contributor with a .384 average and 33 hits.
In terms of pitching, Friday starter Cody Deason is one to watch. The right-hander is 3-1 in six starts with a team-leading 1.62 ERA. He’s also up to a respectable 34 strikeouts on the year.
Really Arizona’s struggles so far have come down to two things: not winning on the road and not pulling out close games. Of their ten losses, only two have been by more than one run. They have the home-field advantage in this series, but Oregon State seems to have the edge in winning close games, as of late.
You’ve got to play A+ baseball to beat Arizona at home. Honestly, if this was in Corvallis, I would feel pretty confident about the Beavs chances, but we’re in the desert. This could be a great, entertaining series. But because the Beavs have the superior offense right now, I’m going with my gut and saying Beavs in two very close wins.