By Andy / PNW Sports Fans
You would’ve thought Holy Cross and Yale were made of wood the way Oregon State chewed through last weekend’s regional. The Beavers left little doubt in all three games winning by a combined total of 27-3. The pitching was for the most part outstanding once again but perhaps more impressive were the bats. The Beavs showed the ability to to score runs in bunches and found themselves ahead early and often.
This weekend presents a different challenge. Oregon State wont be facing Holy Cross or Yale this time around. Instead it will be SEC power Vanderbilt visiting Goss Stadium for the Super Regional. The Commodores are 36-23-1 but have faced a rigorous schedule including having to beat Clemson twice to earn a trip to Corvallis.
Vanderbilt faced a lot of strong competition in the SEC and their fans aren’t afraid to let you know about it. I’m sure they respect the Beavers and what they have accomplished this season, but I certainly get the sense that they don’t fully buy the hype. There’s no doubt Oregon State will need to play some of its best baseball of the season if they have any hope of punching a ticket to Omaha.
The talented Commodores have two outstanding pitchers of their own including Kyle Wright, who many think could be the number 1 overall pick in the upcoming 2017 MLB draft. Vanderbilt compliments its pitching staff with a lineup that possesses some serious power, tallying a ridiculous 50 home runs.
Obviously the Beavers will be facing stiffer competition this weekend, but they should be able to take care of a streaky Vanderbilt team. My Vandy counterparts will certainly disagree and probably rebuttal by saying the SEC was far superior to the PAC 12 this season. After all, I can’t argue with the fact that there are six teams representing the SEC in the Super Regionals. But still, it’s not like the SEC is the MLB and the PAC 12 is a Single A short season division. Oh and let’s remember that the PAC-12 actually has 17 College World Series Titles compared to the SEC’s 10. Sure the Beavers might have lost a few more games had they faced Vanderbilt’s schedule, but 52-4 is no fluke. Aside from that I can pretty much guarantee this OSU squad wouldn’t drop two of three to Cal State Northridge or lose a game to Tennessee Tech. At the end of the day 52-4 is a far cry from 36-23-1 no matter what conference the teams play in.
I’m not saying Vanderbilt is a slouch. I actually think they are a really good team that is getting hot at the right time. As I stated before, OSU will need to play some of its best baseball to date if they want to move on. Yes, Vanderbilt is a formidable foe, but I also believe in the body of work this Oregon State team has put together. They have answered the bell at every checkpoint throughout this historical season and I don’t think they will cower in fear this weekend. When the Beavers take the field this Friday they’ll be focused on one singular thought. . . Omaha or bust!