Oregon State played some brilliant baseball to start their season 4-0. The next step they’ll take in their quest to return to Omaha is, fittingly enough, to take down the Nebraska Cornhuskers.
After winning the Big 10 regular season in 2017, the Cornhuskers took a big step back in 2018, finishing the season 24-28. Expectations aren’t super high for Nebraska this season, but injuries limited their pitching last season so there’s hope that they will be much improved.
They’ve gotten off to an impressive start so far in 2019, winning their first series against UC Riverside 3 games to 1. In that first game, Nebraska was down 5-3 in the top of the seventh, then scored 18 runs to win the game 21-6. All told, the Huskers scored 47 runs over the weekend, winning two more games 10-6 and 7-1, and losing one 10-9.
Jaxon Hallmark has been the biggest bat so far. Hallmark had 8 hits and 10 RBI in the Huskers’ first series, for an average of .444. Hallmark earned a spot on the Big 10 All-Freshmen Team last season, and may be the best returning player in the lineup.
Nebraska picked up a strong recruiting class this off season, and the name many people are keeping an eye on is Spencer Schwellenbach. Schwellenbach is a two way player, but at Nebraska he’s expected to play the infield. Against UC Riverside, he got 5 hits and 4 RBI, and an average of .263.
Last season the Huskers lost two pitchers to Tommy John surgery. They’re both back this year, which should be a boon to a rotation that had a 5.70 team ERA in 2018. Chad Luensmann was one of those two, and is expected to be the Friday (or Thursday this week) starter. He struggled in his first game since 2017, giving up 5 hits and 5 runs. It may take him awhile to shake that rust off.
Reece Eddins, normally a rotation player, got the first Saturday start, and gave up 7 hits and 7 runs. The second Saturday starter, Nate Fisher, fared better, allowing 3 hits and no runs, but only pitched 3 innings. Sunday’s starter, Freshman Colby Gomes, allowed 6 hits and no runs over 4 innnings. It’s clear Nebraska is still experimenting with their rotation, and the four game weekend seemed to strain them.
Oregon State is a better team than Nebraska, and should win this series. But you have to respect what that lineup was able to do last weekend. If they get off to a hot start, it could be hard for the Beavers to get back in the game. I am pretty excited to see what all these young Beavers who impressed last weekend do against a Nebraska rotation that’s still figuring itself out.
UPDATE: Today’s game postponed due to rain
Bad news #BeaverNation. Today's game has officially been postponed due to rain.— Oregon State Baseball (@BeaverBaseball) February 21, 2019
We'll play two tomorrow - at 11 a.m. PT and then at 3 (12 and 4 in Arizona).
- Game 1: Friday, February 22 - 11:00 AM PT
- Game 2: Friday, February 22 - 3:00 PM PT
- Game 3: Saturday, February 23 - 4:00 PM PT
- Game 4: Sunday, February 24 - 8:00 AM PT
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