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Preview: Oregon State Baseball Faces UCLA To End 2018 Regular Season

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Three against the Bruins Thursday-Saturday will determine Oregon State’s final ranking heading to th NCAA tournament.

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

Well Beaver fans, we’re tantalizingly close to the postseason.

A couple of ranking services still have OSU at #2 in the nation, but the NCBWA bumped the Beavers up to #1 after they took two out of three from USC over the weekend. Oregon State had no trouble in the Friday and Saturday games of that series. But their Sunday troubles continued, showing that they still need to figure that third starter situation out.

Starter issues aside, the 42-9-1 Beavs will most definitely be hosting a regional in the coming weeks, regardless of how this week’s home series against UCLA turns out.

In other news, Nick Madrigal and Trevor Larnach are both finalists for this year’s Golden Spikes Award. Larnach ranks in the top 15 in the nation in RBIs with 64. Madrigal, despite missing time due to a missed injury, has made the list for the second straight season. Madrigal has a perfect fielding percentage this season with 51 putouts and 69 assists.

Luke Heimlich also won another Pac-12 Pitcher of the Week award for his 14-strikeout day against USC this past Friday. He remains the strongest part of Oregon State’s pitching group.

Starting pitchers are subject to change.

How To Watch

Thursday and Friday’s games will be broadcast on the Pac-12 Network. Saturday’s game will be broadcast on ESPNU.

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. They also have a TuneIn station.

Schedule

Game 1: Thursday, May 24th - 4:00 PM PT

Game 2: Friday, May 25th - 4:00 PM PT

Game 3: Saturday, May 26th - 2:02 PM PT

Opponent Outlook

The Bruins (ranked as high as #9 in the nation) were just ahead of the Beavs in the conference standings for much of the season. But right around the time that Oregon State really turned it on and overtook Stanford in the national rankings, UCLA went a different direction.

35-17 overall, the Bruins are 6-6 in the month of May so far. That included a sweep at the hands of Arizona, a loss to Long Beach State, and losing two out of three against Washington. Most recently though, the Bruins demolished Oregon with a three-game sweep in which UCLA outscored the Ducks 37-7.

In that Oregon series, sophomore outfielder Jeremy Ydens did well enough to earn himself Pac-12 Player of the Week honors. Ydens hit .571 (8-14) with two home runs, two triples and drove in 10 runs while scoring eight times against the Ducks. He’s played well all year as he is top-10 in batting average, hits, stolen bases doubles and triples in the league. Ydens has also contributed to UCLA’s league-leading .981 fielding percentage this season.

In terms of both team offense and pitching, UCLA has remained one of the better teams in the nation. Their 2.98 team ERA is second in the Pac-12 and sixth in the nation. Friday starter Jake Bird leads the Pac-12 with a 1.97 ERA and could give the Beavs some trouble with a 7-3 record on the year.

In Conclusion

Oregon State finishes the year with, on paper, one of their most difficult opponents of the season. UCLA has much more to play for in terms of seeding here, so expect them to give Oregon State everything they’ve got. It really wouldn’t surprise me if the series came down to that third game on Saturday. Good thing it’s on national TV then!