OSU BASEBALL: So about that bullpen...

THE QUESTION MARKS around the Beavs these days is all about the bullpen. In the super regional clincher, after all, OSU went to a starter who had thrown 123 pitches two days earlier to close it out.

OSU insists there is nothing to worry about.

But any team that wins it all in Omaha is going to have to rely, at least to some degree, on their bullpen. It's possible for the CWS winning team to have played as many as eight games in 10 days if they come through the losers bracket.

The health and effectiveness of the Oregon State bullpen is in question after last weekend, even if OSU insists that everything is fine. It's unknown if closer Max Engelbrekt, who tweaked his back against K-State, will be available. He did throw a bit on Wednesday, and it's possible he could be available Saturday for Game 1 (TV: ESPN2, 12 pm PT)

Then again, it probably won't be known unless he steps on the mound – if skipper Pay Casey wants to keep opponents preparing for him. Casey said injured closer closer Tony Bryant was OK to pitch in 2011 but he was never going to be able to go. Casey after the series was over and Bryant remained said he didn't want Vanderbilt to know the OSU closer wasn't available.

What it boils down to here is that Jace Fry, junior right-hander Dan Child and senior right-hander Taylor Starr have to be more effective than they were against K-State.

Fry only returned to action last month off an 11-month shelving after Tommy John surgery, while Child and Starr had been more effective during the season. K-State ripped the trio for seven hits in two innings to take Game 1 in the Super Regional. And it wasn't that they looked terrible on the mound, it was more being unable to get that third strike.

Scott Schultz and Tyler Painton are also in the bullpen mix and it would be a big boost if the Beavs had one of them get hot.

The good news is Oregon State's staff ERA is 2.27, best of any remaining team in the 8-team College World Series. First game opponent Mississippi State is no slouch, with a 2.77 ERA.

TD Ameritrade Park is a pitcher's park, too. Runs are likely going to be at a premium.

The format is the same as the opening regionals, with four-team, double elimination brackets. After the two bracket winners emerge for the final, it's best 2-of-3.

NOTABLE NOTES:
  • An all-Pac-12 championship final is possible, with Oregon State and UCLA on opposite ends of the CWS bracket.

  • Oregon State freshman right-handed pitcher Andrew Moore first team All-America by Baseball America. Matt Boyd was named to the third team.

  • Moore, the Pac-12 Freshman of the Year, is tied for the national lead with 14 wins this season, and his 1.36 ERA ranks second in the Conference. His three complete-game shutouts this season are the most by a Beaver pitcher in more than a decade. Also tabbed All-America by Collegiate Baseball, he's allowed just 18 earned runs in 119.0 innings. All Boyd has done is go 10-3 with a 2.13 ERA and pitch a team-high 122.2 innings.

  • Boyd's World pegs Oregon State's chances to make it to the final as the best of any team, at 53.2 percent. The next two favorites to advance are North Carolina (46.1) and LSU (31.9). Boyd's predicted champion, however, is North Carolina (32.1) while they tab OSU at 23.6. LSU is third at 21.0.

  • Of the four teams in OSU's four-team, double elimination brackets, the Beavs are the only national seed left (3). If Oregon State is to advance, they'll need to overcome a field that includes Mississippi State, Indiana and Louisville. All three had impressive super regional showings, knocking off national seeds. Louisville knocked off highly regarded Vanderbilt, while Indiana dispatched Florida State and Miss State bested Virginia.


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