Notes from Omaha: Day 4

Hogs in two?

What in the world just happened? That was the most incredible sequence of events I’ve ever witnessed in a baseball game. And it was all right in front of Con and I. Wow!

  • Today the Lord led us out of the desert and away from the clutches of our enemies. We checked out of that dump in Council Bluffs and checked into a life saving oasis in Omaha.
  • The day was full of good omens. The hotel, was only the beginning. We went back to a place called Upstream. It was delicious the first night we were here, so we figured we’d try it for lunch. Saw a few members of the Casey family, met a great beaver fan that chatted us up for a bit, took a ride with an unstable Lyft driver (but she kept saying how much she hated Arkansas, so that was fine.) It was just good vibes all around. We also got a spot in the shade for the ticket line. There was something in the air.
  • “Hogs in two”. Heard that one on repeat today. Listened to a lot of fans making celebration plans.
  • We switched it up and went to right field today. It was a great choice.
  • Fans were a little more tolerable tonight, but still a lot of annoying people. One guy behind us brought up Luke again (real original) I told him what I thought about that. He actually wanted to fight me and I gave him an open invitation. Oddly enough nothing happened. So sick of jokers that think they can just say whatever disgusting remarks they want with no consequence.
  • Another frustrating game. The Beavs continued to be their own worst enemy. I believe we counted three times that the Beavers had someone on third with one out or less and something catastrophic happened resulting in no runs.
  • Another gem from the bullpen. Eisert held down the fort in a phenomenal 5 inning, 7 strikeout affair. The bullpen has saved this team during throughout their stay in Omaha.
  • Things looked pretty scary right up until the Beavs were down to their final strike.
  • Grenier had a 2-2 count with a runner on third and two outs. He popped up the pitch in foul territory down the first base line, three Razorbacks moved in for the title clinching out…
  • Thud. The ball fell harmlessly to the ground. The Beavers had new life.
  • Grenier drove in the tying run with a single up the middle. We lost our minds. A brand new ballgame.
  • Then, Trevor Larnach crushed a ball to the right field bullpen and mayhem ensued.
  • The home run happened right in front of us and we lost our minds once more.
  • And a hush fell over the once incredible Arkansas crowd. Shoutout to Chris Herb.
  • Then Mullholland slammed the door in the 9th to finish it off.
  • The Beavs live to play another day. Game three is happening!
  • Arkansas fans went dark following the game. That crowd goes from arrogant to hopeless in about the time it took for Larnach’s home run to clear the fence.
  • So… Hogs in two?
  • Go Beavs!

Notes from Omaha: Day 2

We survived night one. I mean that quite literally between some rough Lyft rides and the things I mentioned regarding our hotel last night.

Here’s the updates we have to share:

  • Our Lyft driver last night was navigating off of his phone that was laying across his lap. I was praying as we zig-zagged down the road.
  • Got some 98 cent shower flops at Wal-Mart. Best purchase I’ve ever made. It takes me back to my days in Finley Hall.
  • Woke up to rain (some foreshadowing).
  • American Airlines had some weird glitch where the prices of their flights playfully bounced back and forth, fluctuating by as much as $200 within seconds. That’s a fun game to play while looking for flights home. I think we have one figured out for Thursday.
  • Got to the stadium at 2pm to stand in line for GA seating. We were behind a group of friendly Razorback fans. Friendly, but very confident.
  • Haven’t played a game yet and have already listened to about 100 hog calls.
  • We managed to be some of the first 150 people in the park. We had front row seats above the left field bullpen.
  • Some severely simple Arkansas fans were saying terrible things to Luke when he was warming up. Several old Beaver fans were ready to jump them, I threw in a few insults that I’m fairly certain they couldn’t understand.
  • Here’s where it got good. Freshman, Kevin Abel just stared that whole group down. He said something to them, but I couldn’t make out exactly what. That crew got pretty quiet after that. But it was cool to see how tight knit that crew is. With that attitude, I want Abel on our football team. Respect to him.
  • One Arkansas fan came over to apologize for the stupidity of the people in his section. Nice guy.
  • Meanwhile it was a gorgeous evening, but the game was sent into a delay due to the possibility of a major storm. We were baffled as it looked to be a great night for baseball.
  • 5pm turned to 6, then to 7. Approximately 15 minutes after 7, it hit! Lightning strikes were all over. The rain picked up and it felt like being in a hurricane on a fishing boat for a several minutes. The field quickly puddled up with water.
  • That Thursday flight? Yeah, we just cancelled and got one for Friday.
  • About 7:45 they officially called it. Game 1 will take place tomorrow evening at 4pm PST, 6pm CT.
  • We’re off to grab some pizza and avoid the hotel for a few hours.

CWS Preview

Braught / PNW Staff

Wow! What a fun College World Series it has been. The Beaver’s two Ace’s have looked awful and far too many errors have been committed but that hasn’t mattered as the both the bullpen and offense have stepped up. Their is no quit in this team and I know half of the PNW crew never lost faith that we would be in the finals. Unfortunately, I am unable to make it to Omaha, as I have recently started a new job. But I know Con and Andy will shut TD Ameritrade down for me.

Usually when I begin researching for a new series, I look for common opponents. I did not expect to find as many but I was wrong. The Beavers and Razorbacks have had six common opponents thus far: Arizona, Cal Poly, San Diego, USC, LSU and Mississippi State.

The Razorbacks:

  • Beat Arizona 1–0
  • Lost to San Diego 7–6
  • Lost to Cal Poly 4-3
  • Won the series with USC two games to one
  • Lost the series to LSU
  • Were swept by Mississippi State in three games.

The Beavers:

  • Lost two of three to the Arizona in their early season hiccup.
  • Beat Cal Poly 16–7
  • Destroyed San Diego 23–6 & 19–6 in a late Monday and Tuesday season series
  • Won two of three from USC in late May
  • Destroyed LSU in the regionals.
  • Won two games versus Mississippi State to reach the CWS.

Altogether the Beavers went 10-3 and the Razorbacks were 4–8.

Some common pitchers in all those games are:

  • MSU’s Ethan Small, whom Arkansas got six hits and one run in six innings with six strikeouts. Meanwhile, the Beavers ran him off after 4.2 IP and seven hits for five earned runs.
  • Zach Hess of LSU went seven innings against Arkansas, giving up six hits, four walks, and four earned runs. The Beavs ran him off after 3.1 innings and eight earned runs on eight hits.
  • Kyle Hurt of USC threw seven innings against the Beavers giving up 10 hits and four runs. He threw 4.3 IP against the Arkansas giving up three hits, four walks, and one earned run.
  • Quentin Longrie of USC threw four innings against the Beavers giving up four hits, five walks, and four runs. He went 7.1 innings against the razorbacks giving up eight hits and two walks but only one earned run.

Take from those matchups as you wish.

From there, I usually begin to look at the pitchers that will be throwing. Mostly focused on starters but relievers/closers will catch my eye if they are dominate. At Oregon State we have been spoiled with killer pitchers for many years and usually other teams staff does not standout to me comparatively. But Arkansas’ does. They have legit arms.

Blaine Knight (13 – 0, 2.88 ERA) is their game one starter. The righty has thrown 106.1 innings this year and has a WHIP of 1.06 (!). He pounds the strike zone with his great command and batters only hit .226 against him. The knock on him has been his durability and is probably why he was not drafted until the third rd round. MLB Pipeline has his mid-90’s fastball graded out as a 60. His next best pitch is a slider / cutter at 55 and both a changeup and curveball graded out at a 50. A four-pitch mix with great command usually means dominance.

Game two starter will be Kacey Murphy ( 8-5, 3.16 ERA) who only threw 4.2 innings against Texas Tech in Omaha. The southpaw was the first pick on day three of the draft (11th rd) because of his command. Opponents are batting .222 against him and his WHIP is 1.04 . I was not able to find much on his mixes of pitches.

And if there is a game three, the Razorbacks will throw Isaiah Campbell (5 – 6, 4.12 ERA). The righty looked good on Friday against Florida when he gave up only two hits and two runs in five innings. He was the 109th best prospect by MLB Pipeline going into the draft but has not had the season he wanted after returning off shoulder surgery. He fell to the Angels in the 24th round. His WHIP is 1.38, which is still pretty good. Especially when you see that he has had 73K’s in 67.2 IP.

Two relievers stood out, Jake Reindl (3 -1, 2.87 ERA) and Barrett Loseke (4-2, 2.86). Opponents are hitting .191 against Barrett who was selected by the Yankees in the 17th round. Jake was selected one pick later and has an impressive 64Ks to 53.1IP.

And then I will begin to look at the other eight positions on the field. Defense is hard to gauge from stats (.972 fld%) and I usually rely on what others say there. I read that Dominic Fletcher in CF is very athletic and is a guy to keep an eye on. In terms of offense, this is quite evenly matched; which is not something I expect of many teams. Third basemen, Casey Martin, leads Arkansas with .357 average and a 1.013 OPS. Their second basemen, Carson Shaddy, has an OPS of 1.057 and a .335 batting average. Heaston Kjerstad, LF, and Eric Cole, RF and 4th rd pick, are hitting .337 and .325 respectively. As a team, they are hitting .302 on the season and are regarded as one of the top hitting teams.

And finally, how teams and players are performing recently is very important. Arkansas is quite rested compared to the Beavers because they have only played three games in Omaha. The centerfielder above, Dom Fletcher, and Casey Martin, are hitting .571 in Omaha.

Even though the Beavers have played five games in eight days, their two aces have not thrown well at all, and Kwan may not be able to play, I still think the Beavers are the favorites. The few Vegas lines I was able to find also feel the same way, somewhere between -245 to -345 for OSU to win it all. The lineup is red hot, hitting .351 in Omaha and I have a hard time believing Heimlich and Fehmel each have three straight bad games. The Beavers are also Omaha experienced and are led by one of, if not, the best coaches. I strongly feel that Con and Andy will be flying back after having shut down TD Ameritrade with a National Championship.

Grace and Peace.

Beavs back in Omaha looking to finish what they started

By Andy / PNW Sports Fans

It seems like yesterday that the Beavers historic 2017 season came to an end in Omaha. But it didn’t conclude with the dogpile that had been seemingly written into the script months prior. A team that came to Omaha with just 4 losses on the season, was instead sent home from the doorstep of the championship series. How could this be? What happened? Greg Street couldn’t see an elephant if its trunk was touching his nose! The Beavs were a team of destiny! These thoughts among others raced through my head as my friends and I finished our beers in disgust at Prineville’s, Ochoco Brewing (Shoutout to them. Good food, good beer and they put the game on for us after a dusty day of softball.) We were supposed to embark on a cross country road trip the following morning to take in the championship series. But like the Beavers, the season didn’t end with us being where we’d hoped.

No matter how hard we tried to pinch ourselves, it was over. The best Oregon State baseball team to ever grace a diamond was coming back to Corvallis empty handed. It was a sobering couple of weeks. An all time great team wouldn’t be rewarded with the immortality it deserved. Instead it would be remembered as a great season that ultimately ended with thoughts of what could have been.

Fast forward a year to present day. Here we are. The Beavers are back in Omaha with a chance to start over and be remembered in a positive way (Hopefully John Canzano and the Oregonian see the irony). It won’t be easy. This field is stacked with blue bloods, immense talent, and teams that are incredibly tough outs. Oh, and the Washington Huskies will also be there.

A lot of familiar faces remain from last year’s squad. Nick Madrigal and Steven Kwan are back. Cadyn Grenier, Trevor Larnach, Adley Rutschman, and Bryce Fehmel are there too. Battle tested seniors Jack Anderson, Kyle Nobach and Luke Heimlich (who decided not to pitch last year because our society doesn’t truly believe in two sides to a story, rehabilitation, or second chances) will all be there. And of course, Pat Casey will be there donning the number 5 from a sun soaked dugout of TD Ameritrade Park.

Yes, much will be the same. But one key difference will be the repetitive muttering of a single word by both players and fans. “FINISH”! It’s a word Nick Madrigal and other leaders of the team have repeatedly used to describe the sole focus of this season. It’s the reason a customary dogpile was absent from an Omaha clinching celebration. And it is that word that will ultimately define the 2018 Beavers. It’s time to finish.

See you in Omaha!

3 Quick Hits: Omaha Baby

3 Quick Hits: Omaha Baby

By Con

Monday edition of 3 quick hits on this glorious day in June.

Here we go.

1. Omaha

2. Omaha

3. Omaha

Need we say more??? We will…

1B. Omaha

What will it take this year? Pat has the boys throwing gas and playin’ fast. A great quote from him post-game Minnesota: “Omaha is no different in the actual game of baseball. I tell the guys, you have to pick it up and throw it when the ball comes to you and hit it when it’s thrown to you. Pretty simple. The game doesn’t change.”

Can we get an “amen” for Pat??? But seriously he has the Beavs firing on all cylinders right now. Bullpen is coming in to it’s own and the key in Omaha will be the same thing the Beavs did in this series: Grinding out at bats and wearing the opposing pitchers down.

I don’t have a stat for this but it seemed like every at bat OSU had against any Minnesota pitcher was going deep into counts and pitch counts. It was KEY in getting that freshmen gum smacker out of there as he looked all world the first time he faced OSU’s lineup. The Minnesota coach said it best: “It is hard and almost impossible to pitch well to that lineup for 9 innings. We didn’t do that.”

Lindsay Meggs and UNC watch out for the revenge tour. Contact LSU for details…

2B. Football Recruiting Weekend

HUGE weekend for Jonathan Smith and crew. 4 commitments Sunday night. Game changing 4 star DE/LB hybrid who will be locked in with a brother on the team already. The LB’s look rangy and sideline to sideline players. Hopefully, the 6’4″ receiver does better than our last one wearing #13… Momentum is building… Also Dr. Evil decommitting from the team down south… LOL!

3B. NBA Finals Comment

Houston with Chris Paul beats Warriors.

Dubs are still the champs though. No one likes Draymond still… LBJ about to pull a KD who pulled and LBJ originally.


Paging Neil Olshey: Do something.

Go Beavs.

Omaha, Omaha, Omaha.

Corvallis Super Regional Preview


By Braught / PNW Sports Fans

The reward for the Beavers after pummeling the LSU kitty cats is a top 10 match up with the University of Minnesota. Besides the great series we will witness this weekend, the best thing to come out of this is our reminder about how much Scott Barnes looks like the Minnesota mascot, Goldy. Google it! You’ll thank me later.

Minnesota (44-13)  won the Big Ten conference regular season and the Big Ten conference Tournament before hosting a regional that included UCLA. The Gophers beat the Bruins twice to advance on.

Probably as no surprise to anyone in the west, I have not watched any Big Ten baseball besides when in Surprise, AZ for the Pac 12 – Big Ten challenge in February. What I do know is that Minnesota’s ace is Freshman Patrick Fredrickson, who was the Big Ten pitcher of the Year and is a Freshman All American . In 14 games, 92 IP,  he went 9-0 with a 1.76 ERA (18 ER total) and an impressive 70 to 24 strikeout to walk ratio. Opponents only batted .205 against him. That is Heimlich like (.211). And to make it worse, he’s from Gig Harbor, we could of had him. From what I have read, he has been there day 2 starter and Reggie Meyer (8-3, 2.62) has been there Day 1 starter. In the pen or day 3, they have Brett Schulze, who also was 9-0 albeit in 51.2 IP. He gives up a few more hits, with an OBA of .269 and 51 hits total. Their closer is Max Meyer, a freshmen who’s OBA is .156 in 40 IP and was named Freshmen Reliever of the Year today.

Their offense seems quite balanced like the Beavers but I do not know what Big Ten pitching or the parks are like to know if it is legit. They are led by 3rd round pick, SS Terrin Vavra, who was a 1st team All American this year. He is generally in the 3 hole and his OPS of 1.094 and 10 HRs lead the Gophers. Their lead off is generally 2B Luke Pettersen and his .408 OBP, followed by LF Ben Mezzenga and his .463 OBP.  And in the 4 hole is Ean Wilson, son of Dan Wilson of Mariner Catcher fame, who is pretty good hitter himself, .825 OPS and 5 HRs. The first three guys are Juniors or Seniors, so they have veteran experience and leadership.

The Gophers are not a team to be overlooked. They have all the talent and leadership necessary to come in a knock the Beavers out. I would still give the edge to the Beavers and believe a two game sweep should occur.

The Beavers are marching out a 1st round talent in Luke Heimlich, the gamer Bryce Fehmel, and their top 6 pitchers were all drafted, or will be drafted, in the top 10 rounds. There is just too much experience to lose. Not to mention the Goss Stadium crowd they will be playing in front of. The Beavers are 10-2 in Super Regionals at Goss. I expect that to be 12-2 after this weekend.

See you at the park.


Corvallis Regional Preview

By Andy /  PNW Sports Fans

Another regular season is in the books and it’s time to look ahead to playoff baseball in Corvallis. With a 44-10 (22-9 PAC 12) record, Oregon State earned the #3 overall national seed in the NCAA tournament, which means as long as they keep winning, they’ll keep playing at Goss, right up until the College World Series.

Aside from Oregon State, the Corvallis Regional will play host to LSU (who knocked the Beavs out in Omaha last year) San Diego State, and Northwestern State (Louisiana).

So with that information established, let’s breakdown the threat level each team poses in the regional:

*Threat level is determined on a 1-5 scale, with 1 being lowest threat, and 5 being the greatest possible threat.

Northwestern State Demons

Conference- Southland

Record- 37-22 (18-12)

Key Wins- Nebraska, Louisiana Tech, Southland Conference Tournament.

Threat Level- 2

Thoughts- While  the Demons are riding a  five game winning streak and coming off of a conference tournament title run, It’s important to remember that the level of competition in the Southland conference is not equivalent to what the Beavers faced all year in the Pac 12. While it’s true that any team in the tournament is capable of making a run, it would be a major letdown if the Beavs couldn’t get the regional started off with a win on Friday night. Northwestern State will play hard, but ultimately, there is too much talent in the Corvallis regional for the cinderella candidates to keep dancing.

San Diego State Aztecs

Conference- Mountain West

Record- 39-19 (18-12)

Key Wins-  Washington, Cal State Fullerton (twice), Mountain West Tournament.

Threat Level- 3

Thoughts- The Aztecs have proven they can play with anybody. They are coming off of their fifth conference title in six years and are not afraid of quality opponents. As a level 3 threat, I consider San Diego State a formidable foe. The only reason I don’t give them a 4 is because I really believe in this Oregon State squad. That, and the fact that the regional is within the friendly confines of Goss.

LSU Tigers

Conference- SEC

Record- 37-25 (15-15)

Key Wins- South Carolina, Arkansas (three times), Florida.

Threat Level- Midnight (that’s a joke for those that watch The Office) I’ll give them a 4.

Thoughts- Ah yes, LSU. I’m pretty sure everyone in Beaver Nation was “chomping” (funny, this is actually a commonly misused phrase. The original phrase is actually champing at the bit. You’re welcome.) at the bit. Anyway, everyone knows the history as LSU knocked an OSU team destined for a national title out of Omaha last season. Most fans are rightfully bitter about how that all went down. There was a foul ball debacle and a Greg Street malfunction, but when the dust settled, Oregon State didn’t emerge as champions. Having an opportunity to exact revenge is all this team could ask for. It won’t be easy as LSU has been playing good ball lately and has been tested in the rigorous SEC. Don’t be fooled by a 37-25 record. This team is elite when it wants to be. The one thing that gives me pause with LSU is their 4-14 road record. It’s easy to pile up wins with 10,000 Tigers fans backing you at Alex Box stadium, but this ball club hasn’t faired quite as well on the road against fellow elite competition.

This is going to be a wild regional. Truth be told, I think this group is pretty tough when looking at the pedigree of teams making the trek to Corvallis. The good news is if Oregon State survives the test, it will mean they are playing championship level baseball.

*Note for readers- OG PNW contributor, co founder, and friend to all, Braught will be at the games. Look for the handsome, slender man in the outfield finding creative ways to steal views. If he’s a little hesitant or shy at first, offer him a “coldie” (found out during the Stanford series that this is the term Pat Casey prefers). You’ll be glad you did.

Go Beavs!