#3 Oregon State vs. #14 Auburn: Super Regional Preview
Auburn is a very talented baseball team that seems to be getting hot at just the right time, scoring over 50 runs during their three games as they swept the Auburn regional (3-0). Southeastern Louisiana, Florida State and UCLA did not put up much resistance. Auburn fans were rooting hard for Vanderbilt on Monday though in hopes of hosting a Super Regional. Instead they will make the long trek to Corvallis. Auburn has been almost unbeatable at home posting a record of 25-9, but have looked less confident on the road going 10-8 in true road games. The teams are remarkably close in terms of statistics. Just take a look below at a few of the big ones:
Oregon St - 4.20
Auburn - 4.47
Oregon St - .298
Auburn - .292
Oregon St - 52
Auburn - 69
On Base Percentage
Oregon St - .410
Auburn - .392
Oregon St - .453
Auburn - .459
Oregon St - 47-16 (20-10 Pac-12)
Auburn - 40-19 (16-13 SEC)
PLAYERS TO WATCH:
Trace Bright - SP: I always like to focus on the pitching to start because they control the games. Bright got the first start of the Auburn regional which he called an honor. The junior pitcher leads the team in innings pitched and he is holding opponents to an impressive batting average of .246. He’s a strike-out machine who could cause the Beavers some trouble. Bright’s overall ERA (4.80) and record (4-4) is surprisingly average though.
Joseph Gonzalez - SP: The hard throwing Sophomore started the 2nd game of the Auburn regional and might be their best option on the mound. Gonzalez’s ERA (2.90) and record (7-2) are very impressive. Oregon State will need to make Bright and Gonzalez work for it in Corvallis and get to Auburn’s bullpen as soon as possible.
Mason Barnett - SP: Barnett started against UCLA and struck-out 10 batters in 5.1 scoreless innings (pretty impressive stuff from your 3rd starter). Barnett has also made five relief appearances, so it’ll be interesting to see if they want to bring him out of the pen or not during the Super Regional.
Sonny DiChiara - 1B: The SEC Co-Player of the year, batting .397, OPS 1.369 and 20 HRs. He’s a dangerous hitter and you can’t really pitch around him (although he’s been walked an insane amount of times). The Senior has an inspiring story about overcoming health challenges and is looking to go out on top.
Bobby Peirce - RF: The outfielder from Scottsdale, Arizona is a formidable bat for Auburn. Peirce frequently bat behinds DiChiara in the lineup and both are power-hitters. He was a bit muted in the Auburn regional, but he was on an 11-game hit streak before the UCLA game on Sunday.
Blake Rambusch - 3B: The leadoff man for Auburn has been doing work all year long. He hasn’t missed a game and leads the team in hits and ABs. While he’s second to DiChiara on-base percentage and total bases.
Oregon State Check-In:
The Beavers got the job done versus Vanderbilt. Cooper Hjerpe was the star during the Corvallis regional with 10 strikeouts and 100 pitches in the opener. He then came on to save the game against Vandy in the rematch. Just a ho-hum 5 strikeouts over 2 innings in his first relief appearance of the season. Ben Ferrer, Brock Townsend and Ryan Brown were also all terrific on the mound last weekend. Jacob Kmatz got roughed up a bit in the first game against Vandy, the Beavers will need him to be sharp this weekend.
Offensively Oregon State will need to kick it up a notch if they want to advance to Omaha. Jacob Melton and Gavin Logan have both not looked 100% since returning from injuries. Last weekend they were a combined 4-for-33 at the plate (ouch). Melton hit a huge home-run in the finale against Vandy and Logan was on-base a lot scoring runs and making plays; but the duo will need to step it up this weekend.
This should be a great series and I could see it going either way. I think the Beavers win on Saturday with Cooper Hjerpe on the mound and then lose Sunday when Joseph Gonzalez starts for Auburn. Setting up another winner-take-all game on Monday with the Beavers moving on to the College World Series.
- Game 1: 6-4 Oregon State
- Game 2: 11-5 Auburn
- Game 3: 8-7 Oregon State