About seven months ago, the Oregon State Beavers were on top of the world after winning their third national title. Now, they’re back at it with a new head coach, a mostly new lineup, and a renewed sense of purpose.
The 2019 season begins with a few weeks in sunny Surprise, Arizona...meanwhile most of Oregon is freezing and under water...
At any rate, we’re taking a look at what’s ahead for another top ten OSU team in the first four games of the regular season.
Projected starting pitchers are subject to change
How To Watch:
No video feeds this weekend, unfortunately
How To Listen:
Game 1: Feb. 15 - Noon PT - vs New Mexico
The Lobos struggled a bit in 2018 after winning the Mountain West Conference the year before. UNM finished the season with a record of 20-33-1. Two of those losses came at the hands of the Beavers in Surprise in this very event. That included a 15-3 loss in the final day.
Expectations don’t really indicate this team will make a big jump this year. Collegiate Baseball predicts UNM to finish last in the Mountain West in 2019. They’re an experienced team, which can go a long way, but they can’t let teams get giant leads on them the way that Oregon State and a few other ball clubs did in 2018.
The Mang brothers (Jared and Connor) will most likely be leading the charge offensively for the Lobos after going .326 and .284 respectively at the plate in 2018. Their closer Malachi Edmond is probably their best arm with 56 strikeouts last season, but they have to get into a position where they actually need a closer first.
Game 2: Feb. 16 - Noon PT - Gonzaga
The other Pacific Northwest team making the trip down to Arizona, the Zags return a lot of talent after winning the WCC tournament last season. The Bulldogs were also picked to win the conference again in 2019.
Redshirt sophomore infielder Ernie Yake returns after making Collegiate Baseball’s Freshman All-American team last season. The Bellingham native hit .322 last season with 76 hits. That put on him this preseason’s All-WCC team.
Pitcher Casey Legumina is also a dangerous weapon for the Zags. He had a program record 13 saves in 2018 and made the Stopper of the Year watch list. This year, he’s a Collegiate Baseball preseason All-American.
Game 3: Feb. 17 - Noon PT - Minnesota
The first of two games this weekend where the Beavs rematch their super regional opponent from last postseason. For a refresher, the Golden Gophers finished the season 44-15 after winning the regional that they hosted.
For this season, the defending Big Ten champs are likely a tournament team once again. Big Ten coaches even picked them to repeat for the conference title. RHP and Gig Harbor, Washington native Patrick Fredrickson returns from his All-American freshman campaign where he had a 9-0 record, a 1.86 ERA, and had 73 strikeouts.
The Gophers’ pitching all around is one of the more impressive staffs out there. Max Meyer is on the Golden Spikes watch list as well as the NCBWA Stopper of the Year watch list. OSU may not see either of these guys on Sunday, but this game has more intrigue than most other D1 opening weekend games.
They just can't get enough of @mxmeyer22 this preseason.— Minnesota Baseball (@GopherBaseball) February 11, 2019
The #Gophers closer can now add a spot on the @NCBWA Stopper of the Year Watch List to his accolades in 2019.https://t.co/CSbLZXy2a3 pic.twitter.com/EytOzuxwH8
Game 4: Feb. 18 - 1 PM PT - New Mexico
The Beavs close the event out with a Monday afternoon rematch against the Lobos. I’ve given you all I can on the Lobos for the time being, so here’s a compilation of GIFs from Albuquerque’s greatest contribution to society: Breaking Bad.
Based on the fact that Kevin Abel and Bryce Fehmel are likely to start the first two games, it seems likely that the Beavs get it done in those. The Minnesota game will be a little tougher and it could be the first real test of OSU’s depth this season. OSU should come out of this weekend winning three of four, if not a sweep.
For more on the 2019 season getting started, here’s a few other things we’ve written in the last few weeks.