NO. 3 OREGON STATE opens super regional play on Saturday with the first game in a best of three series against Kansas State. If you've read up on K-State, chances are you've read about their hitting prowess. But that's not the main consideration. So what is...?

It's their ability to come back.

Oregon State, if they get up by one run or two or four or nine, cannot let up.

If the Beavs get complacent, if they take their foot off the gas, they run the risk of watching what would be the umpteenth comeback win by K-State this year.

Indeed, OSU must continue to try and put runs across the plate as if the game were tied for all nine innnings.

Case in point, the Wildcats rallied from a 3-0 deficit for a 4-3 win as they closed out the first ever regional in Manhattan.

When they clinched the Big 12 regular season title, Kansas State scored in each of the final four innings.

In the Big 12 tournament, they came from four runs down in the ninth inning. They came from one run down in the 10th inning. And they loaded the bases in the 11th inning.

But they can be beaten. They were the Big 12 champion but lost that Big 12 Tournament.

Oregon State is the No. 3 national seed. K-State was not one of the eight national seeds. The Beavs have superior pitching and oftentimes, great pitching beats great hitting. Of course, sometimes all it takes is for a couple hits to open the floodgates.

What OSU needs to do Saturday and this weekend is be mentally strong when things go K-State's way.

Every starter except for one on K-State's side is batting .300 or better. They have an .851 team OPS. They average 6.5 runs per game.

But Kansas State's pitching staff has been ordinary this season. The Beavs have to take advantage of that. They need to be patient at the plate, but they have to seize the moment too.

Lefty Joe Flattery (3.87 ERA) gets the ball on Friday. He'll be followed by a pair freshmen right-handers in Levi MaVorhis (4.05 ERA, .319 OBA) and Blake McFadden (4.40 ERA, .271 OBA).

Oregon State's hitting doesn't patch their pitching but the Beavs have the tendency to explode in one or two innings, with their patient approach paying dividends. Oregon State can get their hits, and runs, off of this trio. They are good, but not in any way dominant, pitchers.

K-State has never advanced to an NCAA Super Regional before. But based on everything they've been saying for the past couple of months, they believe they can win it all.

They don't hope they can. They don't really, really want to. They believe they can. And that kind of mentality can be a dangerous thing.

  • Matt Boyd (2.20 ERA, .195 OBA), Andrew Moore (1.22 ERA, .192 OBA) and Ben Wetzler (1.98 ERA, .224 OBA) are the expected starting arms for Oregon State, assuming the series goes the distance.

  • Oregon State played K-State last season, winning 13-5 on Feb. 26 in San Diego.

  • Game Times:
    Saturday 4 p.m.
    Sunday 7 p.m.
    Monday 4 p.m. (if necessary)

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