By Braught / PNW Sports Fans
The Beavers are back in Omaha for the College World Series again after going on tear through their Regional and Super Regional. The Beavers are 5-0 in the postseason, having beat their opponents by a combined score of 44-9. The last time Oregon State was in Omaha was 2013, when Mississippi State knocked them out in the semi-finals and Michael Conforto would prove to me that not only was his bat worth the 10th overall pick in the following year’s draft, so was his arm. In game 1, Mississippi State hit a routine fly ball to LF and they sent their runner from 3rd. Conforto’s throw beat the runner by about three steps. Also on that 2013 team was Max Engelbrekt, who will be making his second appearance in Omaha.
No disrespect to Vanderbilt, who I thought was one of the better teams in the field but awaiting the Beavers in Omaha are far tougher opponents. Five of the national seeds advanced to Omaha, the most since 2011 and the 7 other teams went 35-4 in the Regional and Super Regional’s. One of two teams not to sweep their Super Regional, is the Beavers first opponent in Game 1 of the CWS, Cal State Fullerton.
Cal State has gone 34-21 and come out of the Big West Conference. They had an impressive sweep of Stanford in the Trees own Regional before going to Long Beach State where they took 2 of 3. (Side note: Cal State lost game one to Darren McCaughan and his flow, who threw a gem of a 2 hitter and has been drafted in the 17th Rd by the Mariners) Cal State is led by Zach Weisz and Scott Hurst who each carry an OPS over 1.0 and anchor their OF. Connor Seabold is their ace, who comes in with 120 K’s in 120 IP. He does have an OBA over .260, so he is hittable. Both Connor and Scott were taken in the third round of the draft this last week.
The other two teams on the Beavers side of the bracket are Florida State and LSU who both bring potent offenses. Florida State is also led by two 3rd round draft picks in SS switch hitting Taylor Walls and 3B Dylan Busby. Walls is a disciplined hitter with 63 walks this year while Busby brings the power with 14 homers and 62 RBI’s. FSU showed grit and pitching depth after dropping game one of their own regional and winning it out of the loser bracket.
Like the Beavs, the LSU Tigers bring in their own long winning streak, 16 games. I think LSU is the next best team in the tournament. Team ace, Alex Lange has 134 K’s in 113 IP and was selected in the 1st round of the draft. Their up the middle combo of Cole Freeman and Kramer Robertson were each taken in the 4th rd of the draft and bring experience to the table as seniors who have been to Omaha, in 2015. And lastly, there is the Tigers baseball destroyer of a RF, Greg Deichmann who has hit .320 this year with an OPS of 1.035 and 19 home runs.
We all know what the Beavers bring to Omaha. Their determination after being snubbed last year, the nations leading ERA, timely hitting, and only 4 losses on the year! I will not make too many assumptions on what Pat will do with the pitching rotation but I will assume that Jake will throw game one. If he is able to replicate what he has been doing all year, the Beavs should be in good position to make it out of Saturday unscathed.
Game 1 of the CWS will be played at noon Saturday on ESPN.