The Beaver baseball team has four series left in the season, three in the Pac-12 and one non-conference 4-game series against Abilene Christian to finish out the season at home. They also have two Tuesday single games with one coming up next week and another May 16th.
Currently sitting at 34-4 the Beavers are coming off a series win over USC winning the rubber match Sunday, and their 9th straight Pac-12 series dating back to last season. The consensus number one team has had two of the most dominant pitchers in the country in Luke Heimlich and Jake Thompson and just added the powerful arm Drew Rasmussen back to the rotation after missing 13 months from a Tommy John surgery.
Cal is currently in third place in the Pac-12 with a record of 20-21 overall and 12-9 in conference. They will be coming off of a series loss to Washington and will play a Tuesday game against University of San Francisco before coming to Corvallis. The Bears have had an up and down season and haven’t been able to string together series wins all season.
At University of Oregon
The Civil War series will be played at PK park this season. The Ducks are 25-14 on the season but 8-10 in conference and are sitting at 8th in the Pac-12. They are coming off a series win vs Arizona State winning the rubber match Sunday. They have one of the most dominant strikeout pitchers in the country in David Peterson who set a team record of 20 strikeouts in Fridays win over the Sun Devils. He will match up with Heimlich in what is likely to be a pitcher’s duel.
The Cougars are 20-21 on the season, but 6-12 in conference and sitting at the bottom of the standings. Even though they are at the bottom of the Pac-12 the Beavers will need to not overlook them as they have an almost identical record to USC who took a game off the Beavers this last weekend, and the Cougars are coming off a series win over Utah where they won Saturday and Sunday.
Abilene Christian University
The Wildcats are 12-28 on the season as of right now and sit at 2-19 in the Southland Conference. If last season is any evidence the final series of the season doesn’t really have any impact on NCAA tournament seeding (See Oregon State’s last series last season), but either way dropping games to a team having that bad of a season would not be a good look for the consensus number one team in the country.
Four things to watch in final four series
- Bryce Fehmel’s performance – The Saturday starter’s performance over the last two weeks has been less than outstanding. Against USC he gave up 4 runs (2 earned) in his 5 innings of work.
- Rasmussen’s return – The powerful arm of Rasmussen back in the rotation could never be considered a bad thing for the Beavers. Rasmussen missed 13 months with Tommy John surgery but in his first appearance it seemed his velocity on his fastball (95) and slider (87-89) seemed to be back to top form. He is the owner of the only perfect game in the history of the program his freshman year and could still possibly go in the first round of the draft this year after only pitching a quarter of the season. If Fehmel has troubles I wouldn’t be surprised to see him plugged into that Saturday spot sooner rather than later.
- The outfield “platoon system” – The infield has not really had a lot of shakeups all season, but the outfielders have been on the platoon system between Donahue, Kwan, Anderson, Cary, and Larnach getting time. Larnach for the most part is in the DH spot to keep his bat in the lineup and keep the other guys in as well, but the outfielders have been shifting daily. Keep an eye on the lineup depending on the opposing pitcher they see.
- RBI and HR battle – This is a fun one to look at as we move forward. With his homerun and double and 3 RBI’s in the game Sunday KJ Harrison took the lead in RBI’s (25) from Grenier (23) and tied him in home runs (4). The two as well as Madrigal and Larnach have been bouncing back and forth on the lead in these stats and the team competition is fun to watch.