Oregon State (18-8 overall) is ranked No. 20 in the nation, by Baseball America. The USAToday Top 25 coaches' poll has OSU at No. 19.
The Beavs travel to No. 24 Arizona State (16-12) for a Thursday-Saturday series at Tempe's Packard Stadium. ASU began the season ranked No. 6 but is struggling, having gone 1-4 this past week.
Thursday's game will air on tape delay nationally. For fans in the Pacific Northwest, it can be seen on ROOT Sports Friday at 1 p.m. PT. Friday and Saturday's game will have a free webcast available through Arizona State.
Beaver Tyler Smith leads the Pac-12 with a .463 batting average.
Six Pac-12 teams are ranked in Baseball America's Top 25 poll: Arizona (4), UCLA (5), Stanford (6), Oregon State (20), Oregon (22) and Arizona State (24).
Meanwhile, four former Oregon State baseball players, all of whom made at least one trip to the College World Series during their tenure with the Beavers, will open the 2012 season on MLB rosters this week.
Jacoby Ellsbury will play in his sixth season for the Boston Red Sox in 2012. He finished second in voting for the American League Most Valuable Player award in 2011 after batting .321 with 46 doubles, five triples, 32 home runs, 105 runs driven in and 39 stolen bases. His 32 home runs set an Oregon State program record for the most by a former Beaver at the MLB level.
Ellsbury, an All-American during his tenure at Oregon State, played for the Beavers from 2003-05.
Darwin Barney played second base for the Chicago Cubs last season and is expected to man that position again this season while batting first or second in the lineup. A rookie last season, Barney, who played for the Beavers from 2005-07 and never failed to miss the College World Series, batted .276 with 23 doubles, six triples, two home runs and 43 RBI a year ago.
Joe Paterson was one of two Beavers to make their MLB debut in 2011 and ended the year with 62 appearances for the Arizona Diamondbacks – Paterson was one of two Beavers to also appear in the postseason. He went 0-1 on the year with a 2.91 earned run average after throwing in 34 innings. He picked up a save and struck out 28.
Paterson played for the Beavers from 2006-07.
Mike Stutes is looking to play in his first full season with the Philadelphia Phillies after helping guide the club to the postseason with 57 relief appearances. A Beaver from 2006-08, he went 6-2 with a 3.63 ERA in 62 innings. He struck out 58 after an April call-up from Triple-A Scranton-Wilkes Barre.
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