By Andy / PNW Sports Fans
The Beavers wrap up the regular season with a home series against the 17th ranked UCLA Bruins in what will serve as a good measuring stick for where this team is at heading into postseason play.
Sure, OSU still technically has a chance to repeat as PAC 12 Champions. However, that will require the Beavs to not only sweep a strong Bruins team, but Stanford would also need get swept by Washington. So while unlikely, it’s not impossible.
Sure, an improbable late PAC 12 title push would be awesome, but I’m more concerned with what the Beavers can control this week. I want to see how the team responds against a solid contender after yet another Sunday letdown. I believe coach Casey will have the guys ready to go and looking to make a statement before Selection Monday.
If the Beavers play to their ability, they should be able to take two out of three and have a punchers chance at a sweep.
Forget the conference title, there are also other major postseason implications on the line this weekend. If the Beavers take care of business, they should end up with a national seed and wouldn’t have to play on the road again until Omaha.
To make those possibilities a reality and get the best of UCLA this weekend, Oregon state will need customary outings from Luke Heimlich and Bryce Fehmel. Those two are as good as any 1-2 punch in all of baseball. The question (as it has been all season) is who can provide a decent start in game three? Kevin Abel has shown glimpses of being the guy, but has struggled with control at times. Finding another reliable starting arm is something the Beavers desperately need if they want to make another deep run.
Aside from starting pitching, the bats will need to get back to form. This really isn’t something I’m all that concerned with. This squad has maybe the best 1-9 lineup I’ve ever seen. I doubt they will have multiple clunkers in a single week.
Do my keys to success seem like an oversimplification? Are you thinking to yourself, “Connor could’ve come up with that analysis!”? Good! Because it is simple! This team is immensely talented and coached by a freaking legend! Yeah, the keys to success are simple. The only consistent issue all year has been finding a reliable third starter. That’s honestly all the 2018 Beavers are missing at this point. Sure, they aren’t 56-6, but I will take 42-9 any time. That’s an incredible record and shows that they are certainly capable of getting back to TD Ameritrade Park and finishing what they started a year ago.
I’m looking forward to a great weekend of baseball and seeing what sort of momentum Oregon State will take into the regional.