In a season that has been record setting for the Oregon State baseball team, the recognition for this team has gone largely unnoticed. If you live in Oregon or are an alumni of Oregon State you know how well this team is playing this year. Outside of the state, people have no clue what the Beavers are doing on the diamond. It’s time to shed some light on the 2017 version of the Oregon State Beavers baseball team.
For 10 straight weeks the Beavers have been ranked as the consensus number one team in the country. However, if you thought you would find this team on ESPN on a fairly regular basis you would be greatly disappointed. The four-letter network has decided to not televise this number one ranked team. ESPN has decided to concentrate on their connection to the SEC and televise SEC games.
Now, the Pac-12 Network has televised more than their fair share of Beaver baseball games, but the respect factor for this team from other sports networks has been dismal to say the least. Thank God for the Pac-12 Network or nobody would be clued in to what has been happening in Corvallis, Oregon.
Here is what the Beavers have accomplished this season:
- 27-3 in the Pac-12 Conference. First time ever a team got to 27 wins in conference.
- .918 win percentage which is ahead of the all-time best of Arizona State of .914.
- Won the Pac-12 Conference title outright.
- Won 23 straight games and was 28-1 midway through the season.
- Team ERA of 1.90
- WHIP of .99
- Tied for most shutouts at 10
- Luke Heimlich should break the ERA record with his .76 earned run average in his amazing 94.1 innings pitched.
The pitching that Oregon State has shown this season has been on a level above anybody else in college baseball. If you are looking for a team that will not allow runs coming across the plate, then this Beaver team will have you smiling all day long.
The Beavers are not the long ball hitting type of club.
Oregon State has guys that spray the ball all over the field.
Nick Madrigal, the leader of the Beavers, has been an absolute monster this year. He will be able to tryout for Team USA as well. Madrigal has 76 hits, 18 doubles, two triples, four home runs, and .386 average. Nick also has a slugging percentage of .586 that keeps him at the top of the batting order for Oregon State.
The pitching staff has been tremendous all season long for the Beavers. The pitching staff will keep the Beavers in games and will also cause the Oregon State opponents to virtually have no chance at getting back into games once the Beavers get the lead. The team ERA is 1.90 and the confidence that the pitching staff has when they take the mound is one of the reasons why the Beavers have been so untouchable in 2017.
Jake Thompson became the nation’s first 12 game winner recently. Thompson has an ERA of 1.01 in 98 innings pitched. The opponents batting average against Thompson is a paltry .166, to go along with 94 strikeouts, and his 29 base on balls.
Not to be outdone is Luke Heimlich who is 9-1, .87 ERA, has 114 strikeouts, with only 20 walks. Heimlich has done all this in 103.1 innings. Luke Heimlich has kept his opponents batting average to a measly .176.
In other words, the Beaver pitchers can’t be touched.
I know other writers like to nit-pick at a team when the team is playing at such a high level. I am not going to do that with the Beavers. I just want to appreciate what this team is doing. If you are old enough to remember the back-to-back titles in the mid-2000’s, then you are probably having flashbacks to those teams.
The National Championship teams had all the same ingredients that this current team has. They had great pitching, good hitting, tough minded, and a coaching staff that doesn’t let them get lazy. The other aspect of the Beavers that is also similar to the title teams is that they do have a bit of swag to them.
The experience that they have garnered from this season has given them an attitude of sorts when they step on the baseball diamond. Every great team needs some swag when they are trying to win the ultimate prize in college baseball. However, the swag that I believe that they possess is not to the point where fans or the coaches believe it’s arrogance/cockiness.
Can this team be beat? Yes. Anybody can be beat on a given day, but for the reasons mentioned, it’s going to be a difficult thing to do against this Oregon State team.
The rest of the country needs to wake up and recognize that a possible path to the National Championship will most likely go through the Oregon State Beavers.