What is different about this Beaver squad then in years past?
The bullpen is bad. The only reliever I am comfortable with is Scott Shultz, and even he gave up two runs in 1.1 innings earlier this week against Sacramento State. The starters are having to go deep into the games and no lead is truly safe once they exit. With the amount of pitches our main guys are throwing, grouped with the inconsistent bullpen, this team will struggle to return to Omaha.
What makes the Beavers such a solid squad and where does there continued success stem from?
As rough as the bullpen has been, the starting rotation makes up for it. Ben Wetzler could very well set a school record for wins this weekend, and Jace Fry's recent performances have been so impressive that I'm almost disappointed when he doesn't take a no hitter into at least the fifth inning. Andrew Moore has had his struggles but his ERA is still under 3.00.
Last year Max Gordon was sensational against the Ducks, who is stepping up in his role?
Sophomore Jeff Hendrix has taken over for Gordon in center field. Although he's not as fast as Gordon, he still possesses above-average speed and has flashed the leather out there on a couple occasions. He leads off the Oregon State batting order due to his knack for making contact at the plate. In Gordon's signature ninth hole spot in the order is freshman Trever Morrison. He is a line-drive hitter that will beat out infield singles on occasion. While this team lost a great senior leader in Tyler Smith, they gained more arm strength and range at shortstop in Morrison.
How does Goss Stadium compare to PK in terms of how the field, fence and grass play?
There's not much of a difference. Goss has a turf infield and natural grass in the outfield. The fence is elevated in left field, so must home runs are hit to right, which sits at 330 feet.
Wetzler has been lights out in conference play, is he hittable at all?
Not really. He did suffer his first loss of the season two weeks ago in Pullman, where the Cougars capitalized on some placement mistakes by Wetzler. He seems to struggle a bit when his defense makes an error behind him, but I'm nitpicking. His stuff is as good as ever and he is a joy to watch.
This will be a fun one. We've seen some Civil War classics over the last few years and I expect this to be no different. Thorpe vs Wetzler, under the lights, on a Friday night? There will be no better college baseball atmosphere across the nation. (But I will be at the Moda, so HA!) I'll go the easy route and say home field advantage gives the edge to Oregon State, most likely two games to one. But if Oregon is able to get into the Beaver bullpen early, that decision could easily be flipped.