The Oregon State Beavers have moved one step closer to their goal. The Beavers are moving into the Super Regional round of the college baseball playoffs. The next barrier to that dream of being atop the college baseball world is Vanderbilt.
In a previous article, I talked about the greatness of the Beaver baseball program. So far, they have not let me down. This team is on a mission to prove that the center of the baseball world will reside in Corvallis, Oregon.
The greatness of the what the Beavers are doing this season is undeniable. Oregon State is 52-4, have a team ERA of 1.76, have a fielding percentage of .977, allowed only 18 home runs, kept their opponents batting average under .200, and have 466 strikeouts.
When you do things like the Beavers have done, it’s no wonder why Oregon State is the number one overall seed in the NCAA College Baseball Playoffs.
Still, the team is playing with that chip on their shoulder. That chip is keeping the reality of losing in the front of their mind. Even though they have only lost four times this season, if the team doesn't get to College World Series, this season would be a complete loss to them. Therefore, the work ethic that each one of the players has shown this season has helped keep the focus of the team on the main prize that will hopefully be won in Omaha.
Coach Casey knows that if his team wants to get past Vanderbilt the team has got to play better. That type of comments may come as a bit of surprise from a coach whose team won the Corvallis Regional by a combined score of 27-3. He let the players enjoy winning the regional, but noted that the team has to play a complete nine inning game and not to have any let up in the late innings.
The questions for the Beavers heading into the best of three series with Vanderbilt will be with pitcher Drew Rasmussen who is coming off Tommy-John surgery and looked a bit worn out to Coach Casey. The other question will be with their Pac-12 POY, Nick Madrigal, who according to Coach Casey is not fully healthy. Madrigal is battling a bone bruise, but don’t expect that to keep him out of any game in the Super Regional.
I fully expect the Beavers to make it to the CWS. What is going to get Oregon State to that eight team tournament?
The Beavers arguably have the best pitching staff in college baseball. The team ERA is 1.76 and they have a great 1-2-3 punch in Luke Heimlich, Jake Thompson, and Drew Rasmussen. All three of these pitchers have an ERA under 1.30 and will most certainly be taken early in the Major League Baseball Draft. The Beavers will certainly be riding the arms of these three young men to get to Omaha.
The other aspect of this season that I believe sometimes gets overlooked is Coach Casey. He has been the constant, calming influence on this team. He’s been this way since he took over the program and is a big reason why the program is where it’s at. He knows the buttons to push, he knows when to pull back on the reigns with the players, and he knows what players fit his program and he doesn’t vary from his type of guys.
If Beavers are going to win the CWS they are going to win it because of how complete of a team the Beavers have. They have hitters, pitching, coaching, speed, and the all important chemistry that will carry these guys to Omaha.
It has been a season to remember for Oregon State and lets hope there are few more memories made in the next couple weeks.